Fox Is Now Basing Its Business "Reporting" on Urban Dictionary and Random Tweets

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 6 2013 5:08 PM

Fox Is Now Basing Its Business "Reporting" on Urban Dictionary and a Few Random Tweets

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Is Twitter going public?

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

A pair of Fox Business reporters think they landed themselves quite the scoop this afternoon: Twitter has "possibly" confirmed that it's moving forward to go public next year, report Katie Roof and Charlie Gasparino. While there have been wide-spread rumors of an IPO coming down the pipe, confirmation would still be pretty major news in the world of finance. But, of course, as the Fox headline suggests, they know about as much as anyone else does at this point: "Twitter Confirms IPO -- Or Maybe Not." The first few graphs of the story make it pretty clear that they have no facts to support the first half of that headline:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Twitter has finally, possibly, confirmed that it’s moving forward with a 2014 initial public offering.
The notoriously tight-lipped social networking site has remained even more tight-lipped with the press amid speculation that the company is planning to go public sometime next year. But today, the company possibly for the first time, provided some “detail” about its future.
FOX Business’s Katie Roof asked Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner in an email  if anyone at the company can “chat with me about IPO rumors.” Penner’s response, was a simple, but interesting: “…”
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Oh, have no fear, it gets better. The next graph cites the online source all business reporters turn to when they need to decode complicated statements from PR flacks: the one and only Urban Dictionary [sic]:

According to the Urban Dictionary a “…”, also known  as an ellipses, can be interpreted “to indicate the omission or suppression of a word or phrase. The ellipses also “usually indicates a pause or silence.”

At this point, the pair of reporters apparently felt it necessary to turn to Twitter to confirm their suspicions, and they got in the form of "several people" who responded to their tweet. The article, however, cites only one such person: @HeisePete, whose Twitter bio reads "2&20 4 10+, Intl travel, comedy aficionado, foodie, all sports except one." For posterity's sake, here is Gasparino's tweet and the response, which was quoted in the report:

FoxB

Update 5:45 p.m.: My colleague Will Oremus just got a hold of Penner on the phone a few minutes ago. And, indeed, when asked to confirm that Twitter was planning an IPO, she replied with … several moments of silence! "That’s basically a confirmation, no?" Oremus joked via Twitter. In fact, Penner’s only comment was, "As you can imagine, I don’t really have a whole lot to say about any of this."

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