At CBS Detroit, Fan Site 'Scuttlebutt' Is Enough to Report False Batmobile Theft
September 13th, 2014, 7:58 AM
Friday evening article:
Holy crap, Batman -- look what happened to a a once-distinguished news organization.
The CBS Detroit broadcast group's website posts a 10-paragraph article, if that's the right word, about something that may or may not have happened:
A website is reporting that the Batmobile, from the upcoming Batman v. Superman flick, has gone missing in Detroit and is presumed stolen.
Sounds serious and dramatic. And yet no other local media outlet has a word about it.
Further reading suggests why.
"Presumed stolen" refers to a presumption by the anonymous writer of a four-sentence post by Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, an Illinois site for comic book fans. Its brief item begins:
The scuttlebutt from sources in Detroit is that one of the Batmobile models being used in the filming of Batman Vs. Superman has gone missing, believed stolen.
That site adds: "Warner Bros representatives did not respond to inquiries."
The CBS Detroit writer, Evan Jankens, also makes a nod to verification:
Our brother station WWJ put a call into the Detroit Police Department to see if there is any truth to this. (Update! As of 4 p.m., police were saying they hadn’t heard about this, but were looking into it).
Members of the broadcast group are WWJ-TV (Channel 62), WWJ Newsradio 950 and two sports radio stations.
Absent any confirmation, Jankens riffs speculatively on the notion of a possible Batmobile-jacking:
If this is true I could only imagine seeing it driving down 696 in rush hour.
Seriously, how the heck could someone steal this car? . . . No, it’s the BATMOBILE! It has machine guns in the front.
Does this person — if the rumor is true (we don’t know how credible the source is) — think that he or she can just go cruising around in this car no one will notice?
Hey, we like Friday afternoon playfulness as much as the next keyboard jockey, but stay on the other side of publishing a story from someone else's anonymous source that requires disclaimers such as "if the rumor is true" and "we don't know how credible the source is."
That wouldn't slide past a high school student publication adviser and it seems like a disservice to readers of CBS Detroit, which didn't share the wispy piece on its Facebook pages and presumably not on its newscasts.
The contrasting tweets below show two approaches to the Bleeding Cool short. The first was sent by CBS Detroit's writer to the film director after publication, while the second was posted instead of a preliminary article.
.@ZackSnyder did the Batmobile get stolen? http://t.co/zz07zWOxh9— Evan Jankens (@KINGoftheKC) September 12, 2014
Craziest question I've asked Detroit police in a long time: Did someone steal the Batmobile? Awaiting response.— Motor City Muckraker (@MCmuckraker) September 12, 2014