This Google YouTube story is a true marvel of unsubstantiation. While the Journal said last week it had one (off the record) source, and TechCrunch gave it about a 40% chance based on its own anonymous sourcing, the UK papers, apparently trying to get ahead of a possible announcement Monday, are truly outdoing themselves.
The Times UK sources it thusly: “Google is expected early this week to announce a $1.6 billion (£850m) deal to acquire YouTube.” In other words, there is no source.
Sky News posts it this way: “Online search engine giant Google is expected to agree a £850m deal to buy video sharing website YouTube.” Yup, no source either. Oh wait, save for this gem: “The Sunday Times has suggested the site’s owners would welcome financial help to support the cost of hosting the ever-growing number of clips – reported to be £800,000 each month.”
While this may well happen, I have to ask, since when have stories with passive sourcing – ie, “is expected to” – passed for journalism?