The British Have Exported An Incredibly Specific Rumor to America

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This is a little weird. 

This morning, I was working on a tiny story about the movie theater chain AMC introducing a texting aisle in the back of its theaters. I found a handful of stories about the texting aisle. Most of them referred back to the English paper The Independent as their source. But when I tried to follow the links back, the story was gone. The only place you can still find it is on the Internet Wayback Machine.

AMC’s head of PR is on Twitter, and his feed is a string of tweets emphatically denying that there’s any truth to the texting-only aisle story.

So what happened here? It’s a little unclear. It looks like The Independent spread a rumor and then quietly disappeared their incorrect story. I checked the Independent’s corrections page for any mention of the AMC story, but there’s nothing there.

The Independent’s original story was sourced through reporting by another UK paper, The Sunday Times. (The Sunday Times still has their original story up, without any visible correction here.)

It’s funny. AMC has nearly 400 theaters in North America, and only one in England. So this rumor (or rumour, if you will) wouldn’t matter much to British readers, except for as a sign-of-times story. But once it was imported to America, the rumor had more steam, since nearly everyone has an AMC theater in their neighborhood.

TLDR’s executive producer, Kat Rogers, is also an English person, and she said that people’s expectations of newspaper transparency are different in our former sovereign. Maybe. This still feels a little cheap though. Stop exporting rumors to America, England. We have enough of our own.