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Ugh, More Yahoo!-Alibaba Sale Rumors

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The media are activated and in a tizzy, for the 1,423 time, about an impending Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) sale of Alibaba. And who knows? One of these times (maybe even this time) they'll get it right.

But here's the possible deal: This latest, greatest Alibaba sale rumor came hot on the heels of the news that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, who came from eBay (EBAY), fabricated his college education credentials -- a scandal that has the CEO in the hot seat.

There is no way to know for certain when it comes to anonymous sources, but it is quite possible that these so-called "people familiar with the matter," the only sources quoted, are floating the deal out there as a tool of distraction.

The media aren't picking up on this, even as a possibility. They are merely relating the Thompson scandal to the possible derailing of the deal.

Toward that end, The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, weighed in with a shrug: "It is unclear how revelations earlier this week about inaccuracies in Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson's education credentials might affect the potential deal.

To Reuters, the "situation may have become more complicated" following the revelation.

Forbes was dismissive about the potential impact: "Of course, with the silly resume-gate scandal over Thompson's habit over misstating his undergraduate major, a deal could still be derailed. I'm not sure why it matters; do you think Alibaba's Jack Ma knows or care about Thompson's undergraduate major?"

It's hard to say. But the media should say this: the 1,423 round of articles about a potential Yahoo! sale of Alibaba might just be an attempt to shroud the scandal that has Thompson fighting for his job.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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