If you want proof of the harm irresponsible reporting can do, look no further than how the factual errors in the article in Globes about Israel and Google Earth (blogged two days ago) have metastatized into the belief that “Google Earth caves in to Israel”. Yes, the blog Battleangel takes [(updated) the mangled IsraelNN version of the article] at face value,
adds a pinch of presuppositions, and arrives at that conclusion.
So, for the record, Israel isn’t strongarming Google, from the available evidence. Yes, it is indeed remarkable that a US law constrains US satellite operators on images of a sovereign state other than the US (and not for all US allies, but just one state), but if you want to complain, the proper target is the US congress and the executive, not Google.
If you want to accuse Google of being strongarmed by a state when it comes to satellite imagery (be it China, India, South Korea, or Israel), kindly provide some evidence first.
[Update 12:45 UTC: Another example of this meme spreading.]
[Update 12:49 UTC: IsraelNN manages to mangle the original news story even more. This version is truly remarkable.]