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I just finished writing a list of the Top 20 Satirical Candidates of All Time, which I've now added to the site. It seemed an appropriate time for it. I chose "Nobody" as the #1 satirical candidate. I thought it was an obvious choice. After all, how can Anyone top Nobody?

But also on the list are the foot powder that won an election, Pat Paulsen, Stephen Colbert, Vermin Supreme, etc.

What the list doesn't cover is mock political parties. The focus is entirely on candidates.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 16, 2008
Comments (19)
A picture (top) has been doing the rounds showing Piper Palin, Gov. Palin's six-year-old daughter, apparently giving a boy the finger. Yes, it's a hoax. In the original (bottom), which can be found on the Alaska state website, it's clear that Piper has two fingers raised.



Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 06, 2008
Comments (84)
Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan has announced that he is shocked, shocked to learn that his honorary degree from Oxford University is fake. The dodgy circumstances by which he obtained it eight years ago (via "an agency in Tehran for English-language affairs that represents Oxford University") never raised any red flags with him. Nor did any of the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the document (misplaced commas, the word "entitle" is misspelled, etc.)

Kordan is, appropriately, in charge of guarding against fraud and forgery in Iran's upcoming election. Link: LA Times



Coincidentally, the United Arab Emirates announced today that it will "impose a life ban on the employment of those found to be using fake certificates in order to secure jobs in the country."
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 02, 2008
Comments (9)
Apparently John McCain's campaign has access to the same time machine used by the Chinese journalists at Xinhua News who reported the launch of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft (including the astronaut's dialogue) hours before it happened. (See previous post.)

McCain's campaign has been running an ad in the Wall Street Journal's online edition declaring that "McCain Wins Debate," which is a bold assertion considering that the debate will only happen tonight.

Link: Washington Post

Categories: Advertising, Future/Time, Politics
Posted by Alex on Fri Sep 26, 2008
Comments (6)
Margriet Oostveen describes in Salon.com how she composed phony letters-to-the-editor on behalf of the McCain campaign:

The assignment is simple: We are going to write letters to the editor and we are allowed to make up whatever we want -- as long as it adds to the campaign. After today we are supposed to use our free moments at home to create a flow of fictional fan mail for McCain. "Your letters," says Phil Tuchman, "will be sent to our campaign offices in battle states. Ohio. Pennsylvania. Virginia. New Hampshire. There we'll place them in local newspapers." ...

"We will show your letters to our supporters in those states," explains Phil. "If they say: 'Yeah, he/she is right!' then we ask them to sign your letter. And then we send that letter to the local newspaper. That's how we send dozens of letters at once."

This is called "astroturf" (i.e. an artificial grassroots campaign). It's a popular campaign strategy. Basically a variation on the fake testimonial technique in advertising.

Some notable moments in the history of Astroturf:

• In 2003 democrats noticed similar letters in support of President Bush's economic policies appearing in papers such as the Boston Globe, the Cincinnati Post, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The letters all began with the line: "When it comes to the economy, President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership." The letter was traced back to a Republican website, gopteamleader.com, that had posted it and was encouraging readers to print it out and send it to local papers.

• In 1997, when the Justice Department was suing Microsoft for violating antitrust laws, Utah's attorney general noticed he was receiving numerous pro-Microsoft letters peppered with similar phrases such as "strong competition and innovation have been the twin hallmarks of the technology industry." Upon closer investigation, he discovered that some of the letters came from people who were dead. It turned out Microsoft was composing the letters and then sending them to individuals who had expressed positive sentiments about Microsoft in phone polls. The individuals were instructed to sign the letters and forward them to their attorney general. But unfortunately for Microsoft, some of the individuals had died in between being polled and receiving the letter. Their family members, thinking the letter was some kind of official document, had signed the letter and forwarded it on with a note explaining the situation, thereby exposing the whole scheme.

(Thanks, Bob and Joe!)
Categories: Advertising, Politics
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 25, 2008
Comments (4)
The following cease-and-desist letter, supposedly written by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart to John McCain, has started doing the rounds. Warning: NSFW language!



Is it real? Well, the Wilsons did email out a statement asking the Republican campaign not to use their music, and in a phone interview, after the Republicans used their music anyway, Nancy Wilson said, "I feel completely f--ed over."

However, the article above seems to be satire. It comes from Seattle's The Stranger newspaper and ran as their "New Column" feature, which usually is a spoof piece. (Thanks, Big Gary!)
Categories: Music, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 23, 2008
Comments (5)
It looks like the McCain campaign is playing the old political game of inventing inflated crowd estimates. They told reporters that 23,000 people attended a Sept. 10 rally. They attributed that estimate to a fire marshal. However, "Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it." What's more, "Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign."

But the McCain campaign isn't revising the figure:

"The 23,000 figure was substantiated on the ground," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "The campaign is willing to stand by the fact that it was our biggest crowd to date."

Democrats have been known to play the same game. In fact, political prankster Dick Tuck used to pose as a fire marshal to provide reporters with low estimates of the turnout at Nixon's rallies.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 15, 2008
Comments (10)
This one is titled "Caribou Barbie". I wouldn't label it fake based on the content (seems totally believable to me), but if you enlarge it you can see that Palin's head is far more pixellated than the rest of the picture, indicating it was cut-and-pasted in.

This Vogue cover was created by "Ishmael Melville" of the Kodiak Konfidential blog back in Dec 2007. Palin really did appear in Vogue, but wasn't on the cover. However, apparently a couple of news sites believed this photoshop creation was the real thing.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 03, 2008
Comments (6)
McCain announced his decision yesterday (Friday) that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will be his running mate, and already the photoshopped pics of Palin are starting to circulate.

Actually, this picture of Palin in a miniskirt seems to predate Friday's announcement, but now that she's on the ticket with McCain it's begun to appear everywhere.

It definitely is photoshopped -- a case of head transplantation. The real picture of Palin, from which her head was lifted, seems to be the one below, posted on Flickr by "marymary81" on Feb. 1, 2007.



Update: I added the image to the Hoax Photo Database.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Sun Aug 31, 2008
Comments (14)
The website of Fosh Automotive appeared a few weeks ago, promising that the company was soon going to unveil an unlimited mileage electric car that would sell for under $25,000. A lot of people were skeptical.

Fast forward to a few days ago, when Fosh unveiled something, but it wasn't an electric car. Instead, it was a bizarre anti-Obama, anti-abortion diatribe. Turns out the whole "electric car" thing was a bait-and-switch to lure eco-liberals to their site and then hit them with pictures of dead babies.

More evidence that conservatives basically have no clue how to pull off a good hoax. (via Ecorazzi)
Categories: Politics, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 27, 2008
Comments (4)
Last week 28-year-old artist Yazmany Arboleda rented an empty storefront across the street from the New York Times building near Times Square to house his art exhibit. He then posted the title of the exhibit in the window: "The Assassination of Hillary Clinton / The Assassination of Barack Obama."

It didn't take long for the secret service to show up and haul him in for questioning. Arboleda pleaded innocence, insisting he was referring to character assassination (by the media), not the murder-type of assassination, and the secret service released him a few hours later.

Arboleda insists that what he did was not a hoax, and I'd agree. Seems more like a publicity stunt to me. But he did engage in some media hoaxing a few months ago. From mediabistro.com:

Earlier this year, Arboleda crafted elaborate press releases, exhibition websites (complete with PhotoShopped installation shots), and even fake Chelsea art galleries where his Clinton and Obama shows were allegedly installed and hastily censored (Michael Musto fell for it, as did the news team at a Univision affiliate).

So, if I have this straight, Arboleda first invented a hoax exhibit. But last week he opened the exhibit for real. Some of the works on display included a gigantic representation of a black penis, and lettering on the wall that asks "Would you have sex with her? Neither would Bill." Obviously he's not one for subtlety. (Thanks, Bob)
Categories: Art, Hate Crimes/Terror, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 09, 2008
Comments (1)
From the March 19th edition of the Mahoning Valley Tribune Chronicle:

It was incorrectly reported in Tuesday’s Tribune Chronicle that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton answered questions from voters in a local congressman’s office.
Reporter John Goodall, who was assigned to the story, spoke by telephone with Hillary Wicai Viers, who is a communications director in U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson’s staff. According to the reporter, when Viers answered the phone with ‘‘This is Hillary,’’ he believed he was speaking with the Democratic presidential candidate, who had made several previous visits to the Mahoning Valley. The quotes from Viers were incorrectly attributed to Clinton.

You have to wonder how a reporter could be that clueless. Did he seriously imagine that Hillary Clinton would be there answering the phones? Or maybe he knew it wasn't Clinton, but thought it would make the story sound better if he attributed the quotes to her, and that no one would ever know the difference.
Categories: Identity/Imposters, Journalism, Politics
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 23, 2008
Comments (8)
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