Here is an example of checkbook journalism at its worst:NYT: Web buzzing over possible new version of the iPhone
To be clear, it's not the NYT in question here, but rather one of my favorite gadget sites Gizmodo.
Depending on how you think things like this play out, somebody 'found' a next-generation iPhone prototype in a San Jose bar, and sold it to Gizmodo.
They proceeded to photograph, analyze and even rip it apart, documenting their findings in great detail on their site. The result: millions of hits.
Now it is possible that Apple 'leaked' the unit in an effort to gain some free publicity, but this is not their usual tactic.
Perhaps it was a disgruntled employee, but again, that would be unusual for Apple.
This story is disturbing for two reasons - first being the idea that somebody can buy 'lost' property from the finder. I would call that fencing.
Second, once Gizmodo had the phone, they clearly understood what they had, and who it belonged to. Analyzing the phone publicly and tearing apart it at best ethically questionable, and possibly criminal. Gizmodo claims their lawyers cleared the vandalism and story, but even if it was legal (and even if Apple was secretly complicit), that doesn't make it right.
Have we become such zombies to this gadget that we are willing to throw ethics out the window just to find out a juicy detail or two about it?