Steve Jobs is still kickingMarch 30, 2011: 7:14 AM ET
The six weeks the National Enquirer gave him are up
A supermarket tabloid shows a radio talk-show doctor and a Florida critical care physician photographs of a patient they have never examined. They pronounce him gravely ill and give him six weeks to live.
You might think that the takeaway message from this would be a story about medical ethics. But the patient was Steve Jobs, and what happened instead was a journalistic free-for-all and a three-day run on Apple (AAPL) shares that knocked $22.6 billion off the company's market cap.
Jobs, of course, showed up at a dinner with President Obama the next day and at the iPad 2 unveiling two weeks later looking no better or worse than he has for years. His new gadget is selling like crazy and the stock has recovered half its losses.
Meanwhile, the tech reporters who jumped on the story get to put these headlines in their clipping folders:
- Daily Mail: Cancer-stricken Apple boss Steve Jobs 'may have just six weeks to live'
- Gizmodo: Steve Jobs Has "6 Weeks to Live," Says the National Enquirer
- Phones Review: iPhone Guru Steve Jobs Gets 6 Week Death Sentence
- Mobile Marketing Watch: Apple CEO Steve Jobs Believed to be Gravely Ill
- RADAR: Steve Jobs Receiving Treatment At Cancer Clinic Where Patrick Swayze Was Patient
- Digital Trends: The National Enquirer gives Steve Jobs 6 weeks to live
- The Next Web: Steve Jobs receiving cancer treatment in hospital. May be terminal.
- VentureBeat: Steve Jobs' cancer clinic sighting sparks new Apple worries
- SAI: Silicon Alley Insider: Steve Jobs Spotted Leaving Stanford Cancer Center
- New York Magazine: Steve Jobs Is Receiving Cancer Treatment at a Clinic in Stanford
- RazorianFly: More Rumors Of Steve Jobs' Health Surface
- Daily Mail: Paper publishes shocking pictures of skeletal Steve Jobs
- AppleInsider: Apple's Steve Jobs reportedly seen at California's Stanford Cancer Center
For more of the same, click here.
Also on Fortune.com:
- Survey: Apple poised for gains in China
- Why Apple's developer conferences sell out faster every year
- How many iPads did Apple sell?
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]