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20.5.06

Guy Faux Week 

Quite a few blogs have covered the story of , the Congolese data support expert who was mistakenly interviewed on the ’s News 24 last week.
   If you don’t know the story by now, Mr Goma went to the BBC for a job . He shared the same first name as the news channel’s guest, Guy Kewney (whose blog entry about this incident is here), and was taken on air, where he had to answer questions about the Apple Corps v. Apple Computer contract case. He did so admirably, but then, being in the computer field himself, he was not totally ignorant about the phenomenon of online music.
   Comments have been favourable toward Mr Goma. He maintained the air of an , which led many to think that experts on the news these days can look without being so. A few others have said that news has become so insignificant that pass for it.
   Initially, Goma was wrongly identified as a ‘’—something which I originally found insulting. Was it because he was black, or did the ‘cab driver’ angle make the BBC’s blunder more serious? Or does this make an assumption that are stupid—when in fact, anyone who can memorize London’s maze of streets is a certifiable ?
   When I asked the question on one blog, I was told that most of London’s cabbies are native and indigenous—and that is certainly the case when I visit the city. I can only assume that the incorrect title came up via a game of 以訛傳訛 (it ain’t ‘Chinese whispers’ where I come from) via email and then reported as fact, notably by the Daily Mail.
   The original mistake I can understand; however, the subsequent goof seems like a case of the pot calling the kettle black. At least the BBC exposed its own error, rather than hide behind false . This was an innocent mistake to which Mr Goma himself apparently contributed by raising his hand when Guy Kewney was called. It can happen. It is less of a blunder than the intentional reporting of falsehoods.
   But I was interested to read that can fool us into thinking the is an expert. I never saw myself on the TV One on March 12, but a lot of people talked about it. Some people thought they saw me on a rival network because they were predisposed into thinking that TV3 offered superior news. And through the years, I had been quoted in non-televised media (CNN.com, The Daily Telegraph, and elsewhere), but for some reason, does elevate you.
   Mr Goma has become a phenomenon within and without the , appearing on other TV show interviews (on Channel 4, ITV and the BBC itself), while I imagine Mr Kewney’s web publications have benefited hugely from the . The mistake has generated for two men, another topic for classes around the world.
   I don’t expect TV news to change drastically overnight, but if people are questioning the relevance of the medium, as the Goma interview exposed, will it begin to suffer the same fate as ? After all, if we can get news directly from the people in the relevant neighbourhoods or specialist areas, and are becoming more widespread, then surely of news will be a commonplace thing by the end of the decade?

Del.icio.us tags: BBC Guy Goma news TV news tv newsmedia media blogosphere fame newspapers race authority blooper expert expertise perception
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Comments:
I think he did pretty well considering the tv station made a mistake. I wonder if I'd do just as well in a case of mistaken identity.  
He was also mentally prepared because he was going for a job interview, and thought the TV one was the real thing. I imagine for the rest of us we would say, ‘You’ve got the wrong person,’ from the outset and not know it was live.  
It's just a real pity that in the end he didn't get the job. I think after that performance I would have hired him on the spot :D  
That’s a shame: I didn’t know he missed out. Well, let’s hope he has made a few extra bob through his TV guest appearances! Mr Goma is running at 103,000 Google references, which puts a lot of us to shame—that exceeds Charlotte Dawson by over 200 per cent.  
www.guygoma.com  
Ahhh yeah. This guy was great, the ultimate "Fake it 'til ya make it" moment.  
Britain is planning to deport him, so poor Guy Goma may not benefit from his new fame:

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/archives/2006/05/23/bbcs_wrong_guy_may_be_deported.html  
At a guess, I would say his Google references would be falling now …  
Apparently, Mr Goma’s visa was sorted three years ago, reports guygoma.com, and he was not at risk of deportation.  
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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