Fake @CokieRoberts Twitter account fools journalists

One of two things happened on Monday:

  1. Veteran political news analyst Cokie Roberts joined Twitter and began a hapless and uncharacteristically snarky campaign of ranting, later mistaking Twitter for Google and tweeting Applebee’s-related search queries; or
  2. Someone pretending to be Roberts decided to start a hoax account mocking the twitterphobic NPR and ABC journalist.

The answer: No. 2.

The @CokieRoberts account has a legit-sounding bio: “Senior news analyst for NPR; Commentator for ABC; Proud mother of two and grandmother of six.” But the tweets are a bit extreme.

Andy Carvin called out @CokieRoberts as a fake and sais “she told NPR via email that she didn’t set up the account.”

Lots of journalists have been retweeting the misguided Applebee’s queries. BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski speculated the whole thing may be an “Applebees viral marketing campaign.”

In 2009, Roberts told a crowd at the Newseum that Twitter is a “rude” and “appalling” technology, according to The Hill newspaper. Perhaps that was inspiration for the hoaxster.

Fake Cokie Roberts Twitter account fools real journalists (again)

Despite having all the signs of a fake Twitter account — it was created recently, earlier tweets bear little resemblance to something the NPR journalist would say — people treated this Cokie Roberts imposter as if she were real.

Storified by Julie Moos · Fri, Oct 26 2012 12:09:28

It started with these tweets today:
nearest ApplebeesCokie Roberts
washington dc applebeesCokie Roberts
"washington" + "dc" + "applebees"Cokie Roberts
"washington dc" + "applebees" + "directions"Cokie Roberts
homemade applebeesCokie Roberts
"applebees dessert shooters recipe"Cokie Roberts
Soon, the odd tweets were spotted.
What the hell is going on? Why is @CokieRoberts in frantic need of Applebees dessert recipes? http://ow.ly/eNKQEFishbowlDC
Seems @CokieRoberts has mistaken Twitter for Google http://lockerz.com/s/256365985Anthony De Rosa
NPR’s Cokie Roberts (@cokieroberts) pulled a sincere @oldmansearch and it was kindof adorable. http://bit.ly/TeKNUyErin Griffith
@TwitchyTeam Cokie Roberts using Twitter to search for Applebees directions and menu. https://twitter.com/CokieRobertsWright Shumate
Cokie Roberts Confused By Twitter, Googles For Applebee’sBY IBTimes Staff Reporter | October 26 2012 2:28 PM NPR analyst and ABC commentator Cokie Roberts started tweeting this week, and from he…
Should have asked Siri. RT @CokieRoberts: washington dc applebeesArcherFan1776
15 minutes of fame on Twitter for @CokieRoberts http://lockerz.com/s/256370040Anthony De Rosa
Then, the account was exposed as fake.
@jeffsonderman She told NPR via email that she didn’t set up the account.Andy Carvin
@jeremyscahill Yeah, we’ve been investigating it this week. We managed to contact her and she confirmed it wasn’t her.Andy Carvin
btw, all credit for debunking @cokieroberts’ twitter account goes to our intern @rachelcbrody, who encouraged us to investigate it further.Andy Carvin
@acarvin what’s amazing is that I saw MSNBC show her tweet about Women and the elecs, looked at feed and saw that Applebees stuff.jeremy scahill
@acarvin but when you managed to contact her, was she at Applebees? ;)jeremy scahill
No comment. RT @jeremyscahill: @acarvin but when you managed to contact her, was she at Applebees? ;)Andy Carvin
@acarvin It is sort of a brilliant hoax, given that the user tweets actual news, as well as, um, odd commentary.jeremy scahill
@jeremyscahill Yeah, the real news was a nice touch.Andy Carvin
.@CokieRoberts appears to be fake. We’re as disappointed as you are.Daily Intel
No. Please no. This was all I had today. RT @DailyIntel: .@CokieRoberts appears to be fake. We’re as disappointed as you are.Mark Joyella
Who starts a fake Cokie Roberts Twitter handle? Honestly. RT @DailyIntel .@CokieRoberts appears to be fake. We’re as disappointed as you areJared Currier
This is not the first time journalists and others have jumped on a fake Twitter account:
Fake NYT ombudsman Twitter account tricks some journalists | Poynter.Standing for journalism, strengthening democracy | Journalism training, media news & how to’s
HuffPost, CNN, Mediaite fall for fake Twitter account of NC governor | Poynter.The Huffington Post rather embarrassingly fell for a fake Twitter account and wrote a story yesterday about one of its tweets. This is bu…
Fake Wendi Deng Twitter account raises real questions for journalists | Poynter.The Guardian | The Washington Post | The real Rupert Murdoch joined Twitter last week, but his wife did not. So, why and how did Twitter …
Assuming Twitter suspedns the fake account, here are the other tweets, a giveaway they didn’t originate from Roberts.
Wishing I could just rent Joyful Noise for the 10th time instead of watching the debate.Cokie Roberts
I’ll bet these two are just happy to SIT for a change.Cokie Roberts
Obama’s flag pin slightly smaller than Romney’s. Automatic loss.Cokie Roberts
Romney WON’T wear rose-colored glasses, but only because he hates hippies.Cokie Roberts
When I imagine his face, Romney has one perfect strip of white for his teeth like Barney.Cokie Roberts
Romney first to mention Bin Laden, Obama first to mention Israel, me first to mention that Joyful Noise is probably on demand right now…Cokie Roberts
Maybe Latin America can buy some of our debt! #ProblemSolvedCokie Roberts
@BarackObama That goes for you too, Mr. President! Tweeting during the debate is #RUDECokie Roberts
Oh I get it, this is a "foreign policy" debate because our country is owned by foreign interests. Clever!Cokie Roberts
Romney: "Come on to the website, we’ll show you how we do it." That’s what Groupon said, now I have $1000 in massage coupons I’ll never use.Cokie Roberts
Obama: "We have fewer horses and bayonets." Is this what @realdonaldtrump is going to release tomorrow?Cokie Roberts
So weird, my friend Lynn just called and we got in an argument! #LynnDebate (Your son will figure it out on his own, Lynn.)Cokie Roberts
Guys, Israel wants to be friends with BOTH of you. #DontMakeHerChooseCokie Roberts
To be fair, I heard the laser finale of the #ApologyTour was AMAZINGCokie Roberts
RT If you want Malia to debate Tagg before election day.Cokie Roberts
Ew, Romney "brushes his hands."Cokie Roberts
"Any means necessary" – Mitt Romney, Malcolm XCokie Roberts
Task force to go after cheaters? ATTN: @thejoeygrecoCokie Roberts
Romney: "They sell us this much stuff, and we sell them this much stuff." But we love them thiiiiiis much!Cokie Roberts
The last time Romney called something "the heights of silliness" he was watching Craig eat ice cream from a mini plastic baseball helmet.Cokie Roberts
"Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" by Mitt Romney. http://nyti.ms/WEYe7nCokie Roberts
Neither of them drank any water! #BothGlassesFull #WASTEFULCokie Roberts
Ok! Time to get my Joyful Noise on! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlR_vDzDNyECokie Roberts
INTERVIEW: Cokie Roberts Analyzes Monday’s Debate http://kstp.mn/63l29 via @KSTPCokie Roberts
nearest ApplebeesCokie Roberts
washington dc applebeesCokie Roberts
"washington" + "dc" + "applebees"Cokie Roberts
"washington dc" + "applebees" + "directions"Cokie Roberts
homemade applebeesCokie Roberts
"applebees dessert shooters recipe"Cokie Roberts
Women voters hold keys to the White House http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121025/OPINION03/121029697/cokie-and-steve-roberts-women-voters-hold-keys-to-the-white-houseCokie Roberts
And if that isn’t proof enough, there’s this:
Cokie Roberts: Twitterting ‘rude’ and ‘appalling’ – The Hill’s Twitter RoomTwitter is a ‘rude’ and ‘appalling’ technology, according to ABC News’ Cokie Roberts. While speaking at the Newsuem on Tuesday, the veter…

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  • Dr_Syn

    2 hours later, Entertainment Weekly still thinks it’s real.

  • http://viktorsblog.com/ Viktor Nagornyy

    Bad journalism on the part of any and all news media allowing to publish an article about Cokie Roberts without verifying that it is a legitimate account. Now we know who fact-checks and verifies information. Most likely they tried to beat everyone else to the punch, publishing news first. Now you have this mess.

    I can hear my Newswriting professor in the back of my head… “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.”