TMZ might be responsible for a lot of ethically questionable journalism, but never against real people just celebrities. Besides, it's TMZ. No one is expecting them to win any Pulitzer prizes for coining the phrase "Jelena." So, given the sensational nature of the gossip site it wasn't shocking when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a TMZ drone was in the works. In a story about the use of domestic drones, the SF Chronicle said the TMZ drone was part of a slew of applications to the FAA.
The story quickly went viral. Gizmodo jumped on the story and cited the use of drones by European paparazzi to spy on celebs in the French Riviera. Even the venerable Forbes Magazine, not one for idle Internet chatter, got in on the act. Forbes cited the TMZ drone as an example of the commercial future for the military tech.
"There's also a huge potential market for private use. Just start with the TMZ example. Yes, it may seem ridiculous, but it's not hard to imagine what TMZ could do with a couple of relatively inexpensive drones: hover over Lindsay Lohan's car wreck as the police arrive, or outside the courtroom afterward, shooting video," stated the article.
A TMZ drone would be a great story ... if it were true. TMZ released this statement:
"TMZ is NOT getting in the DRONE business ... we don't have a drone ... we don't want a drone ... we never applied for a drone ... despite a bogus report to the contrary.
There are several major websites citing a story first published in the San Francisco Chronicle ... which says TMZ filed an application with the Federal Aviation Administration seeking to use a drone device.
Truth is ... while drones are, in fact, awesome ... it just ain't true."
After a little more reporting, the SF Chronicle came to the same conclusion and updated the article:
"Editor's note: This story has been changed to remove a reference to the celebrity web site TMZ applying for a permit to operate a drone. On Tuesday, TMZ denied that it has asked to operate a drone and the FAA issued the following statement: "TMZ does not have FAA authorization to fly an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), and we have no record that TMZ ever requested or inquired about an authorization."
Gizmodo also admitted the error. Forbes is not admitting defeat. It only goes so far as to acknowledge that TMZ denies the TMZ drone rumors and links to what it calls a reputable report. The problem? The report is the SF Chronicle story, complete with the above Editor's Note.
So, for the first time in the history of ever: TMZ 1 - Forbes 0