United Airlines was nearly wiped out today because — somehow — an old story about its 2002 bankruptcy filing ended up on a Florida newspaper’s site. Editor and Publisher Magazine reports. (Update: Florida paper says ‘it wasn’t us.’ But Forbes.com quotes some newspaper officials earlier as having ‘pulled’ the story. Which is it?)
Then, according to Bloomberg, the story got posted on Bloomberg’s newswire (an operation that’s supposed to provide dependable information for investors) by Income Securities Investor, an outfit that describes itself as an independent research firm.
The situation shows that airline analysts don’t believe their own analysis, Marketwatch proclaimed.
Oh, it revealed much, much more.
For this to happen, several realities have to exist:
1) “Research firms” have to get their information off newspaper sites or via Google.
2) Newspaper and Web site editors have to be that incompetent to post six-year-year old stories on their Web sites.
3) Actual investors have to be that lazy about researching how they’ll invest their money to depend on either #1 or #2.