Articles about "Hoaxes"

White House Fence

White House tried to squash fainting-intern story

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. White House edits pool reports: The White House press office sometimes demands changes to pool reports before it “forwards them via e-mail to a database of thousands of recipients, including news outlets, federal agencies and congressional offices,” Paul Farhi reports. “This two-step process enables White House staffers to read the pool reports — and potentially object to them — before press aides send them to recipients.” HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery tells Farhi the White House tried to squash her fainting-intern story. (WP)
  2. Pirates release journalist: Somali pirates released freelancer Michael Scott Moore, CNN reports. Michel Todd of Pacific Standard, for which Moore wrote a weekly column, said the magazine “had been encouraged by the FBI and State Department to (not) write about it because this would hurt his cause.” (CNN)
  3. Layoff season is upon us: The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal laid off 17 people yesterday, according to the Memphis Newspaper Guild. (Poynter) | The O.C. Register laid off people yesterday after owner Aaron Kushner abruptly closed the Los Angeles Register. Gustavo Arellano has 19 names. (OC Weekly) | The Des Moines Register “said on Monday that it was restructuring its newsroom, making cuts among editing and production staff and requiring all existing employees to reapply for their jobs.” (WSJ) | Related: “The Washington Post announced large cuts in retirement benefits on Tuesday, declaring that it would eliminate future retirement medical benefits and freeze defined-benefit pensions for nonunion employees.” (WP)
  4. Hoax alert: A company called Rantic Marketing says it was behind a purported threat to release nude photos of the actress Emma Watson. (HuffPost) | A lot of outlets reported on the “threat,” including the New York Daily News, Mashable, CNN and Slate. | Related: The “three-breasted woman” story is a hoax, too. (TMZ, Snopes)
  5. Speaking of things that may be illusory: San Diego philanthropist Malin Burnham wants to turn U-T San Diego into a nonprofit. Liam Dillon reports Burnham’s hopes well for Voice of San Diego, but an editor’s note on Nieman Lab, which republished the interview, says “I think there’s reason to believe that, in three months, we’ll either still be waiting for an IRS judgment on this or hearing about how the deal didn’t work out.” (Nieman)
  6. AP and Deloitte survey Middle Eastern and North African news consumers: “Seventy percent of respondents use social media for news more today than they did last year, and 59 percent discover the majority of news this way. However, the research also indicates that TV remains important for finding out more on a story once it has broken, with 43 percent accessing it first to get more information.” (AP)
  7. News orgs ask DOJ to investigate how Ferguson officials treated the press: 44 news organizations signed a RCFP letter urging “that the unlawful arrest and mistreatment of journalists covering events in Ferguson be included in the investigation.” (RCFP)
  8. Great moments in sports media, Wednesday edition: The San Francisco Giants are reportedly boycotting CSN Bay Area reporter Andrew Baggarly after he reported on an argument between pitcher Sergio Romo and coach Shawon Dunston. (Deadspin) | “Tiger: ‘Off the record? Because the majors are over.’ Asked him for comment on the record. He paused and said, ‘Because the majors are over’ (@dougferguson405)
  9. Front page of the day, selected by Kristen Hare: TBT, a publication of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, fronts the three-breasted woman hoax, which, surprisingly, is a Florida story.


  10. Job moves, edited by Benjamin Mullin: Jill Geisler will be an affiliate at Poynter. She is senior faculty of leadership and management there. (Poynter) | Leila Brillson is now digital editorial director at Nylon and NylonGuys. Previously, she was entertainment director for Refinery29. (Email) | Clinton Cargill will be director of photography for Bloomberg Businessweek. Previously, he was photo editor at The New York Times Magazine. (Email) | Blathnaid Healy is now UK editor at Mashable. Previously, she was chief operations officer for Tim Chester has been named deputy UK editor at Mashable. Previously, he was senior Web editor at Rough Guides. Ben Maher is now UK advertising director at Mashable. He was agency director at Weve. (PRWeb) | Andy Lack has been named CEO of U.S. international media overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He is chairman of the Bloomberg Media Group. (TV Newser) | Iain Williamson is now an associate publisher at Defense One. Previously, he was director of sales at Intermarkets, Inc. Patrick Lavan is now senior account director of Defense One. Previously, he was an account director there. (Email) | Kristin Boehm is now deputy editor at Previously, she was director of news and engagement there. (Fishbowl NY) | Job of the day: Scripps Treasure Coast Media is looking for an “innovative columnist.” Get your résumés in! (Journalism Jobs) | Send Ben your job moves:

Programming note: MediaWire Morning and the rest of the Poynter dot org crew will be at ONA in Chicago through Saturday. I’d love to say hello if you’re there! (@abeaujon/703-594-1103/ I’ll observe Central time while there, so you may get this roundup later than usual on Thursday and Friday.

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Correction A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Bloomberg chairman Andy Lack was named CEO of the United States International Communications Agency. In fact, he was named CEO of U.S. international media overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Read more


Florida newspaper runs photo of ‘two-headed alligator’

TBT, the tabloid publication of the Poynter-owned Tampa Bay Times, may have been duped by a prankster. It ran a photo of a two-headed alligator on its front page Monday.


The image comes from Justin Arnold, who wrote on his Facebook page that he “was walking my dog yesterday and noticed a few people gathered by the Hillsborough river in Seminole Heights. When I went closer I was amazed to see this two headed alligator. According to Florida Fish and Game it has been reported by several people and they explained it as a failed separation of monozygotic twins and that it is common in reptiles. Please share this picture so others can keep their eyes out for it.”

Others in the region have picked up the story. WTSP posted a story about the gator, though it notes “the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tells us they’ve received no reports of a two-headed alligator in the area.” First Coast News is also running what appears to be an earlier version of WTSP’s story. WWSB has posted a skeptical story, as did WTVT.

Justin Arnold has a collection of astonishing photos on his Tumblr, including a fur-bearing trout and other oddities. One posting of a mythical water creature was reportedly captured by Arnold two hundred years ago.


Arnold posted a second photo of his gator on Tumblr, this time complete with a trail for the beast’s tail.


Reached by phone, TBT Editor Neville Green said two readers submitted photos of the two-headed gator. “If we have been hoaxed, we certainly are guilty of it,” Green said. “On the other hand, we did not say it was a live alligator.” Read more

1 Comment

Editor: Columnist pranked by ‘Breaking Bad’ plot ‘treats all letters as sincere’

Winnipeg Free Press advice columnist Miss Lonelyhearts was fooled by a letter that attributed plot points from “Breaking Bad” to a reader called “Stressed and Confused.”

In an email to Poynter that he also sent to The Huffington Post, Free Press Editor Paul Samyn said: “Readers write to Miss Lonelyhearts because she is widely seen as offering expert advice on relationships – not for her knowledge about pop culture or television (they write to her colleague Brad Oswald for that).”

He continues:

In this particular case, Miss L took the writer at face value and offered advice she thought best suited their problem — advice we are hearing her readers also thought was wise.

Read more

Jimmy Kimmel: It’s ‘easy’ to fool the media


In an interview from Austin, Texas, Peter Kafka asked Jimmy Kimmel about his hoax videos, like the Sochi wolf and the twerking disaster video.

“I’ve heard people suggest that these will get harder for you to do, because people will catch on. But it seems like you can do them forever,” Kafka asks him. The TV host replies:

As long as people want to be the first one to post something, to get people to click through, it will be easy. If people start evaluating material, it will make it more difficult. [Laughs]. But I don’t see that happening. I don’t see us headed in that direction.

Kafka asks him if he’s “trying to comment on the media.” Kimmel replies: “I leave those comments for others to make.”

At the 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner, Kimmel did in fact make some comments about the media, cracking jokes about Rupert Murdoch, CNN and Keith Olbermann. Read more


Justin Bieber hoax snares numerous outlets


CNN, Gawker and The Atlanta Journal Constitution were among the media outlets who fell for a radio station’s hoax about Justin Bieber moving to Atlanta, Sydney Smith reports. Smith counts more than 20 outlets that ran stories claiming residents of Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood were protesting a potential move by Bieber into the city. (In fairness, legitimate Bieber news can often be difficult to believe.)

Amazingly, the Daily Mail wasn’t on Smith’s early list, but she assured me in a tweet the Mail was, in fact, on this fake story. Phew!

Some lovely images of bogus news: Read more

1 Comment

Reporter falls for source with fake juvenile name, other Gannett properties print it


Fourteen Gannett properties ran a quote from “Howie Felterbush” about the George Zimmerman verdict, Rhonda Roland Shearer and Sydney Smith report. Most of the outlets deleted the quote. Some, like WTLV and USA Today, updated the story with a note saying “Earlier, this story included a comment from a source whose name could not be verified.”

WTLV executive producer for special projects Anne Schindler told the reporters she interviewed the person, whom she’d noticed not a lot of other reporters were interviewing. “Maybe I need a 7th grader to approve my copy — to pick up on the boner jokes,” she told iMediaEthics. “I missed it.”

Just to be safe, Shearer and Smith searched public records for a person with that name, coming up with a Peter Felterbush in Pennsylvania and a Howie Filterbush in Tennessee. They also compiled a chart of which Gannett properties did what with the quote. “It’s not even that good of a joke,” Schindler told them. Read more

Word on keyboard

Why Tablet paid an author who tried to hoax it


The Hebrew sci-fi classic “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” was fake and fake and fake, but Tablet published a piece about its “author” anyway, with a full accounting of why.

Israeli writer Shay Azoulay pitched the magazine a biography of Jacob Wallenstein, whom Azoulay claimed was the author of the first science fiction book in Hebrew, “Blueprint for the World in the Year 2050.”

One problem, though. There was never a Jacob Wallenstein.

Senior editor Matthew Fishbane preludes the faux biography on the faux opus by the faux Wallenstein with the story of how it came to Tablet and how, with a few fairly innocent questions thrown out over time to Azoulay and other colleagues, the folks at Tablet figured things out.

Azoulay quickly apologized, Tablet reports. He just wanted to get noticed.

And he also got paid, a decision Fishbane says in an email to Poynter the magazine “wrestled with.” Read more

1 Comment
Word on keyboard

Denver Fox affiliate, hoaxed by story of man being mistaken for a terrorist

TVSpy | Perazzi | KDVR | KUSA |

Denver TV station KDVR, a Fox affiliate, broadcast a story Saturday that claimed an Italian shotgun-company executive “was taken in for questioning by law enforcement” after a taxi driver mistook him for a terrorist. KDVR didn’t speak to the executive, Daniele Perazzi, but to his “U.S. attorney,” who “told FOX31 Denver that her client was scared during the incident because he’s not familiar with U.S. gun laws and thought he’d done something wrong.”

Daniele Perazzi died in 2012. The “incident is devoid of any foundation and the news is completely fabricated,” the company said in a statement.

And the woman who contacted the station wasn’t an attorney, KDVR now says. But she wasn’t the only one flogging the story, KDVR reports:

David Kopel, a nationally-recognized Second Amendment attorney with the Independence Institute in Denver, first told FOX31 Denver about the alleged incident Saturday. He referred us to Korrine Aguirre, who, it now appears, concocted an elaborate but false story.

Kopel has been visiting faculty at Poynter and recently spoke at a Poynter seminar on how to cover guns. Read more


Prank call sends police to Wolf Blitzer’s house

The Washington Post | The New York Times

Montgomery County, Md., police arrived at CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer’s house Saturday evening after receiving a message claiming there had been a shooting there, Michael Laris reports.

After calling CNN, police learned that it was another case of “SWATing,” in which hoaxters send disguised emergency messages hoping for a big police response. A CNN spokesperson told Laris that Blitzer was “traveling and unavailable for comment.”

Security writer Brian Krebs had a dinner party interrupted by such a call in March. Adam Nagourney and Ian Lovett reported earlier this month that the problem has gotten so annoying in Southern California that police are responding more warily to distress calls from celebrities.

Previously: Hoax sends SWAT team to reporter’s house Read more

Bird words

‘Let Me Tweet That For You’ site raises concerns for journalists

This tweet looks pretty real, doesn’t it?

It’s not, though. I faked that tweet using a Web service named “Let Me Tweet That For You.” It’s pretty simple — you type in a Twitter username and a message, and it generates a realistic-looking image of a tweet from that person. It even adds fake retweet and favorite counts to lend some more credibility.

The site is a project of OKFocus, a New York-based marketing agency. It’s actually about a year old, but has been somehow rediscovered this week and is really taking off on Twitter. Read more