The New York Times' Noam Cohen wrote an article that takes a deeper look to an issue this blog identified in Septmber, When Google News' Search is Too Good. Check out "Spinning a Web of Lies at Digital Speed.
The article looks at ireport.com, CNN's user-generated site, which has posted some wrong information that nevertheless got picked up as true. Some for Digg.
Jay Adelson, Digg's chief executive, told the Times, "There is almost a short-seller mentaility in the blogosphere. We allow anyone to submit on a level playing field. We allow the digital democracy to be the fact checkers. There is definitely some risk to that."
Citizen journalism has its risks. It will be a challenge to PR functions to approach these sites to defend negative news -- just as it will be a challenge to use them effectively to promote positive news without being seen as too self-serving. Transparency may address the situation in part, but will not eliminate it.