You can’t trust anything funny on the Internet these days

Alabama.com | TechPresident
Birmingham News reporter Kyle Whitmire has the real story behind this photo of a purported Alabama sorority member embarrassing herself with a poorly written anti-Obama sign.

This photo has gone viral on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

Turns out, it was too ironic to be true.

Whitmire interviewed the woman, Kim Stafford, who grew up in Boston (not Alabama), is not in a sorority and intends to vote for President Obama.

She made the sign as part of a “Tea Party” costume for a college party, intentionally misspelling words “to make sure no one thought she was serious,” Whitmire reports. Her roommate put that photo on Facebook, and off it went.

It’s not the first time an embarrassing viral photo related to this year’s presidential campaign turned out to be fake. You might recall the unfortunate misalignment of children whose shirts spelled “RMONEY” instead of “ROMNEY.”

One post of this photo was shared more than 82,600 times on Facebook.

That was an outright fake, as TechPresident thoroughly explained. It was doctored (you can see the original AP photo) for fun by the co-founder of a liberal online message board. But it was quickly spread through social media by people who thought it was real.

Something to think about the next time you see a viral photo that seems too good to be true: It probably is.

Related: Fake @CokieRoberts Twitter account fools journalists | The risk & benefits of reporting on memes

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Frazier/534440771 Donald Frazier

    Oh, the t-shirt thing is real alright, even if it didn’t actually happen…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Frazier/534440771 Donald Frazier

    Oh, the t-shirt thing is real alright, even if it didn’t actually happen…

  • Anonymous

    1 and 2 are unsubstantiated assumptions. 3 is an overreaction to a lighthearted caricature.

    This post really isn’t about Kim, so lets keep it clean folks.

  • Anonymous

    1 and 2 are unsubstantiated assumptions. 3 is an overreaction to a lighthearted caricature.

    This post really isn’t about Kim, so lets keep it clean folks.

  • Anonymous

    Likely 1) has no functional understanding of college level economics; 2) doesn’t believe that deficit spending today is her liability tomorrow; and 3) having not an once of political correctness, seeks to publicly display a racist comment which offends most Kenyans, while believing it’s funny!

  • http://twitter.com/sharkattackks Kim Stafford

    But wait, why?..

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    here is link to likely photoshopped UK tabloid crying glacier photo i mentioned earlier, Jeff, maybe look into it.
    http://www.2012thestream.com/t724-the-famous-2009-crying-glacier-face-photo-might-have-been-photoshopped-by-the-news-agency-and-is-fake

  • http://profiles.google.com/danbloom Dan Bloom

    Jeff, a viral photo from 2009 that I have been researching might be worthy of your taking a look at. If you google “Glacier crying face woman Norway” you will see over 10,000 google hits from all over the world. It is an alleged real photo of a glacier’s face in Norway, reportedly shot by an American wildlife photographer who also does amazing wildlfie shots and works for National Geographic, who allegedly sold the photo to a UK tabloid agency called Barcroft Media, know for their fake photos, and the photo online now for 3 years purports to show a woman’s face on the face of a glacier in Norway shedding tears as meltwater from the glacier flows out fo her ears, and the photo was used by UK tabloids first to say SEE EVEN MOTHER NATURE IS CRYING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, and then used by climate denialists to say SEE HOW NUTTY THOSE CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE and still, 3 years later, we do not know if the photo was even a real raw negative photograph or a doctored one. And if doctored, most likely by Barcroft, not by the US photographer himself, Michael Nolan, who would never do such a thing. But UK tabloids do these things. Here is my take on my blog. With new computer software that can spot photoshopped photos, we might be able to determine one day if this crying glacier face is real or faked.

  • Anonymous

    If Kim is a representative of America’s future – then we haven’t got one.

  • Anonymous

    This one is real. I saw the print issue of the Tupelo Daily Journal the day it was issued.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_fTT9xlgZ9CU/S7pTLYYU5eI/AAAAAAAAl7k/Bv2AwBduSSM/s1600/MS+TBaggers3.jpg

  • Anonymous

    Poe’s Law. (Nathan, not Edgar Allen.)

    Don’t know it? Worth looking it up, folks.