It's clear that the news media doesn't need facts. If they get in the way of a juicy story, what to do? Just get rid of them and run the story, even if it's all made up:
GamerDad, which is SPOnG’s new favourite site for all things to do with gaming and parenting, reported that one of their writers, David Long, was interviewed in depth for the piece by Nydia Han of Channel 6 Action News in Philadelphia (an ABC Affiliate) and that Mr Long made it clear to her that Pictochat was neither an Internet-enabled service, nor a threat to children from potential paedophiles anonymously attempting to meet or ‘groom’ children over the service
The problem? Pictochat is strictly peer to peer, operating only with other DS units within a few feet. Meaning, if you get unwelcome messages, you can probably see who's sending them - just look for someone within a few feet banging away on a DS. Never mind that though - it's not scary enough. ABC news had to make the story scary:
It seems Ms Han then decided to totally ignore all of the facts as presented to her by GamerDad's Long and run with the erroneous and misleading story about an 11-year old girl being stalked over Pictochat in a WiFi hotspot.
Now, whilst this is merely an ABC News affiliate mis-reporting a story about gaming - which regional press all over the world do with alarming regularity - it's still worth pointing out that the story was picked up by hundreds of gaming news sites and forums (SPOnG included) and even on Slashdot.
It's things like this that make me question nearly everything I see in the media. They don't get it right in areas that I happen to be informed about - which makes me wonder about the stuff I'm not that well informed about. I now cast a skeptical eye over all media reporting, whether it be about technology, science, environmental issues, politics - you name it.
Update: Here's a link to the ABC Story. They eventually (final paragraph) have a spokesman from Nintendo explain that you would have to be within 65 feet to get contacted in Pictochat - the rest of the story really pushes the idea that the wireless net connection is at fault. The scare quotes in the story push that idea hard.