Not Quite Virgin Territory
By E.J. Gong Jr.
We learned this week the Internet virgins story was a big hoax. From the outset, it sure seemed suspicious.
Two 18-year-old religious honor students, Mike and Diane, would have their first sex for the world to see via a live Webcast.
This week, the Web sites creator admitted it was a scam, saying Mike and Diane were out-of-work 20-something actors. He said he planned to have the two actors abstain from sex during the big moment. Ken Tipton, the creator, would then appear on camera to say gotcha!
The truth is that Tipton, a struggling Los Angeles movie maker, craves attention and money. Judge him however you want. Whats more interesting was how the press handled this story and how angry it got when reminded the Internetlike life itselfis filled with both truth and BS.
At a hostile press conference held at a condom shop (no kidding), two dozen reporters from places like the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters and The Associated Press blasted Tipton.
They screamed, It was a con! and, You're a liar! Several shouting matches broke out between Tipton and angry reporters.
Journalists, like anyone else, dont enjoy getting suckered.
Perhaps weve been given too many reasons to trust the Net. Theres been the first live Internet birth, the quirky-but-honest JenniCam and real-time stock quotes. But dont forget the fake TWA Flight 800 bombing records posted online and the e-mail Kurt Vonnegut supposedly wrote, but didnt.
Maybe theres a simple lesson here: Dont believe everything your hear and read on the Internet.
Whats Larry Ellison doing with former junk bond king Michael Milken? Oh, nothing just building a massive educational empire. Two years ago, they quietly kicked in $500 million to establish Knowledge Universe, a company aimed at buying educational firms.
So far, theyve purchased more than a dozen companies worldwide, ranging from a U.S. educational toy maker to a British job training center.
I finally got through to Kalinske for a quick chat and he said the company wants to be a cradle to grave educational firm. They want to own preschools, day-care centers, schools for high school dropouts and learning centers for retirees. Folks, keep your eyes out for this company.
A chain e-mail rankled one of the nations finest hotels this week. Someone sent out a story about a crocodile eating a golfer at the posh Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla.
Maybe folks would have dismissed the tale if werent for the gruesome attached photograph. In it, a worker with rubber gloves pulls out a human arm from the crocs ripped-open stomach. The photo, which isnt for the faint of heart, is all too real. Too bad the story isnt.
Breakers Hotel spokeswoman Jacqueline Whitmore said it has received hundreds of calls from potential guests around the country.
I compare this prank to tabloid journalism, Whitmore says. When you're at the top of the heap, someone wants to knock you down.
But there are no crocodiles in that part of the statejust alligators. And the golf course isnt on a swamp.
A spokesman for the Florida Department of Game and Fresh Water Fish thinks the photo is real, taken in South America where massive crocodiles have been known to eat villagers in rural areas.
E.J. Gong Jr. is an ABCNEWS.com staff writer.