What can I say? Sometimes our newsbots make mistakes.

So we ran a story about Obama and used a photo of Osama, and now the media is making a big deal of it. I accept the responsibility for this mistake and I humbly beg forgiveness from those who were wronged by our actions. But at the same time, I don’t think we did anything terribly wrong here. We are at the leading edge of the transformation of the news business, and when you’re the pioneer you sometimes get some arrows in your back. Would anyone really prefer to go back to the old model where you had to hire dozens or hundreds of “editors” and “reporters” and have them manually assembling news pages by manually selecting photos to go with stories? Face it, that’s a lousy and inefficient model, and even if you outsource the labor to India you still can’t get the costs down low enough to accommodate the kind of CPM rates we’re now getting for general purpose news. Sorry, folks, but that’s reality. And CPM rates are only going down from here. So if we’re going to make any kind of profit then the process of gathering and presenting the news is going to have to be automated and democratized, with more of the kind of stories that people actually want to read (Britney’s snatch, Lindsay’s lesbian kiss, video of a dog kissing a cat) and lots of click-generating slide shows (top 10 nude beaches, top 10 wealthiest porn stars). Good news is we’re getting way better at it and we hardly ever put the wrong photo with a story. But again, I humbly apologize to anyone who was offended and I beg your forgiveness. Yahoo regrets the error. Thank you.