Nick Denton, who still claims he’s the world’s greatest investigative journalist even though he twice incorrectly identified Fake Steve and swore both times he had me dead to rights, is determined to make a go of this Valleywag gossip blog. So last summer he hired Owen Thomas (photo) and put him in charge, believing that because Owen had briefly worked as an administrative assistant at Business 2.0 he was a real Valley insider and would get all the juicy gossip. This, Denton figured, would improve Valleywag’s pathetic batting average — like maybe one in five items would turn out to be true instead of one in ten.
Sadly, Owen keeps delivering huge scoops that are really sizzly and exciting but often have just one teeny tiny problem which is that they’re simply not true. Like check out this one breathlessly posted at 2 in the morning where Owen claimed Mark Zuckerberg had sold some of his share in Facebook, which turns out not to be true. So, half a day later, Owen penned this groveling apology in which he tries to blame the whole thing on Facebook insiders who apparently gave him some bad dope.
Money quote: “The most likely explanation: Facebook’s $15 billion valuation has sparked a round of fear and greed inside the company. Early employees, themselves large shareholders, are agitating to have Zuckerberg let them take money off the table …”
Actually that’s not the most likely explanation. Owen, I hate to break this to you, but the most likely explanation is that people in the Valley friggin hate you and are feeding you fake shit because they know you’ll print it and look stupid.
As Sebastian Bach once sang: It’s so easy, baby. Or was it Ted Nugent? Or the MC5? I get them mixed up.
Owen, take my advice: Stay away from the brown acid, brother. It’s not poison, but it’s badly manufactured.