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Category: Journalism
Actual Headlines From 2004
Posted by The Curator on Wed Jan 05, 2005
I received an email containing this list of THE YEAR'S BEST [ACTUAL] HEADLINES OF 2004! But, of course, these aren't really headlines from 2004. This list has been going around for at least four years. Check out this competition from 2000 in which people created images to match some of these headlines. Plus, I doubt any of these were ever actual headlines either.Crack Found on Governor's Daughter.Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says.Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers.Iraqi Head Seeks Arms!Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?Prostitutes Appeal to Pope.Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.Miners Refuse to Work after Death.War Dims Hope for Peace.If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile.Red Tape Holds…
Categories: Email Hoaxes, Journalism Comments (7)
Most Dubious News Stories
Posted by The Curator on Wed Dec 08, 2004
Alan Caruba, Founder of an organization called The National Anxiety Center, has published a list of the 'Most Dubious News Stories of the Year'. Some of the entries include: The University of Szeged in Hungary announcing that mobile phones may damage men's spermReuters reporting that tens of millions of people in America may drown when a volcano in Africa cataclysmically collapses into the sea (though scientists only think this will happen 'sometime in the next few thousand years')The New York Times reporting that the collapse of the Earth's magnetic field has begun in earnest (again, look for the effects of this to become evident in a couple of thousand years) However, although Caruba has a point about…
Categories: Journalism Comments (19)
BBC Falls for Bhopal Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Sat Dec 04, 2004
The hoaxing of the BBC has now been all over the news. In case you haven't heard, on Friday the BBC broadcast an interview with a man claiming to be a representative of Dow Chemical, Jude Finisterra (is the guy's last name supposed to mean 'the end of the world'?). During the interview the man said that Dow had decided to accept full responsibility for the chemical disaster that killed thousands of people in Bhopal twenty years ago, and in addition it would pay $12 billion in compensation to the victims. The BBC broadcast the interview twice, causing Dow's stock value to promptly drop. Later that same day it became clear that the man wasn't a representative of…
Name Change for I-69
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Is Indiana Congressman John Hostettler really introducing legislation to change the name of Interstate 69 to Interstate 63, because religious groups feel that I-69 is too risque whereas I-63 is more 'moral sounding'? Of course not. But the story has spread pretty far by now. When I first saw the headline linked to on Blogdex, I assumed it was real after glancing at it quickly. I should have known better. After all, the story comes from the Hoosier Gazette, which is becoming well known as a source of news hoaxes. Check out this article at Indystar.com about Josh Whicker, the creator of the Hoosier Gazette. He's already scored three successful hoaxes before this one. There was…
Categories: Journalism, Sex/Romance Comments (14)
Ananova Corrections
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 27, 2004
I've said before that I don't trust the Ananova news service, and now here's proof that they really do make some questionable claims. Craig Silverman, of Regret the Error, links to Ananova's corrections page where they apologize for the following strange errors, among others (though personally I think the corrections they've listed are only the tip of the iceberg): Robotic relief - an apology. On September 11, we published a story suggesting that Indian scientists had invented a robot with the ability to improve couple's sex lives. Bill Clinton - an apology. Bill Clinton has asked us to make clear that he won't be appearing in commercials for a Chinese men's clothing…
Categories: Journalism Comments (4)
Slovakian Satire Reported as News
Posted by The Curator on Wed Oct 13, 2004
Here's another case of the media in one country reporting another country's satire as straight news. About a week ago the Austrian paper Der Standard reported that a Canadian-American company was going to privatise and expand the Bratislava airport, which would involve the relocation of the entire village of Ivanka pri Dunaji. And where did Der Standard get this story? From the website of sme.sk, a Slovakian paper. It didn't notice that the story was over six months old and dated April 1st. What happened next, of course, was that the news bounced back to Slovakia where it was also reported as true, with the Slovakian media citing Der Standard as their source. Probably gave the villagers in…
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
CBS and the Bush Memos
Posted by The Curator on Mon Sep 27, 2004
Looks like while I was on vacation I missed the riveting spectacle of CBS News falling flat on its face and humiliating itself by falling for an obvious hoax involving President Bush's service (or lack of it) in the National Guard. A lot of ink has already been spilled over this (especially about the difference between Microsoft Word-produced fonts and typewriter-produced fonts), so I won't repeat the whole sorry episode. But I did notice that many commentators have pointed out that this is not the first time the media has fallen for a hoax. But the only previous example of a hoax that anyone seems to mention is the Hitler Diaries. So here are…
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
Meteor Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Jun 03, 2004
A couple of people have sent me links to this meteor hoax that the AP fell for. The AP reported that a meteor about the size of a small car hit near Olympia, Washington early this morning. Its source for this story was one Bradley Hammermaster, supposedly an Astronomy professor at the University of Washington, who called in a report of the meteor to Seattle's KIRO radio. The AP later had to admit that, "No one by the name of Hammermaster is known to the astronomy department, and the description given by the caller to the station of the object... was clearly bogus." However, it does appear that there really was meteor activity over Washington state,…
Categories: Journalism, Science Comments (2)
Has Rumsfeld Banned Camera Phones in Iraq?
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 25, 2004
Lots of media outlets have been reporting that Rumsfeld has decided to ban camera phones in Iraq, in the wake of the photos of prisoner abuse coming out of Abu Ghraib. For instance, the story is on Yahoo! news, the Washington Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald. The Register, at least, points out that there are doubts about the story, while also noting that it would be almost impossible to actually enforce such a ban. But what's the source for this news. The Sydney Morning Herald refers to some British newspaper called The Business. But what's that? Is there such a paper? The story actually seems to come from The…
Categories: Journalism, Military Comments (1)
Five Hoaxes that Fooled the British Media
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 17, 2004
Following up on the recent hoaxing of the Daily Mirror, the Guardian offers quick summaries of five other hoaxes that fooled the British media: the Diana tape affair, the Hitler Diaries, the British Leyland 'slush fund,' Martin Boormann alive, and the Zinoviev Letter.
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
Daily Mirror Hoaxed
Posted by The Curator on Sun May 16, 2004
The photos of British soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners published by the Daily Mirror turn out to have been staged, as was speculated since the photos first saw the light of day. The board of the Daily Mirror has apologized for printing them and fired its editor, Piers Morgan. Tip-offs that the photos were fake included:One soldier was carrying a type of rifle not issued to soldiers in IraqThe soldiers were wearing the wrong type of hatOne of the vehicles shown in a photo was a type not deployed in IraqThere was no sweat or injuries on the prisoner who had supposedly been tortured for eight hoursThe people in the pictures looked like they were standing still…
Categories: Journalism, Military Comments (0)
Quarantine
Posted by The Curator on Tue May 11, 2004
What would you be willing to do for a brief shot at fame? Would you embarrass yourself on national TV? Of course, who wouldn't nowadays. But would you lock yourself in a lab and allow yourself to be exposed to all manner of infectious diseases? That sounds a bit dodgy, but this was the premise of the new reality TV show, Quarantine, recently advertised in the Daily Mirror. Remarkably, hundreds of people applied to be on it, and the applications are still rolling in. Thankfully the whole thing was a hoax, an experiment "to discover just how far people will go in their pursuit of fame." (Thanks, 'Ed the doc').
New Zealand Rapper MC Emu
Posted by The Curator on Tue Apr 13, 2004
On the Fighting Talk weblog journalism student Patrick Crewdson gives an example of how hoaxes can make the leap from being fiction into becoming fact. He once edited a journal called Critic that published a joke article about "New Zealand's least-known musician": rapper MC Emu. Of course, MC Emu was fictitious, but now references to this rapper have begun to appear in serious histories of New Zealand music... references that seem to credit MC Emu with being a real character.
Categories: Entertainment, Journalism Comments (1)
Stories that sound like jokes, but aren’t
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 02, 2004
Every year on April 1 reporters test our wits by mixing in a few joke stories with the real ones. But then there are also the stories that are real, but sound like jokes. These stories challenge us to keep our skepticism under control. This year, the biggest example of that was Google's Gmail announcement that had many people swearing it must be a joke. Then we also had an article released by the British National Archives describing a bizarre WWII plan to place chickens inside of nuclear bombs (to keep the bombs warm). Apparently true. Finally, there's this story about Canadian plans to annex a group of Caribbean islands, thereby transforming Canada into an expansionist, imperialist…
Glass and Blair: Together At Last
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 29, 2004
Christopher Frizzelle of The Stranger managed to get a real scoop. He convinced both Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass to sit down and talk with him simultaneously, so that they could compare notes on their careers as rogue journalists. Unfortunately, this dream interview never occurred. The Stranger later published a tongue-in-cheek retraction. And Stephen Glass himself denied that the interview took place. Still, Karl Freske (whom I have to thank for providing me with a heads-up about the story) has an interesting theory. He speculates that "it's just possible that the interview is real and that the 'hoax declaration' is the hoax. Less likely, but well within the Stranger's…
Categories: Journalism Comments (0)
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