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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Journalism
Man Sues Over Lack of Axe Effect — A news story is circulating claiming that an Indian man, 26-year-old Vaibhav Bedi, has sued Axe deodorant (aka Lynx in Europe) because he failed to land a single girlfriend after using their product for seven years. It's in The Australian and the Daily Record, among other news sources. This is an example of satire being mistaken as news. According to Asylum.com: Axe spokesperson Heather Mitchell sent Asylum this statement: "We've been following the news reports from India where a…
Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2009.   Comments (2)

Newspaper claims Armstrong admitted moon landing was a hoax — Satire mistaken as news: On Monday, August 31 The Onion published an article claiming that Neil Armstrong had been convinced, after watching a few "persuasive YouTube videos," that "his historic first step on the moon was part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the United States government." A few days later this claim was picked up by a Bangladeshi newspaper, the Daily Manab Zamin, and run as fact. The paper has now apologized for its mistake, noting "We've since learned that the fun…
Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009.   Comments (3)

Vinayak Gorur, sous chef — On May 13, 2009 the Ahwatukee Foothills News ran an article about Vinayak Gorur, a local guy who, at the age of 21, had become the youngest ever sous chef at the upscale Compass Restaurant in downtown Phoenix. But a few days ago, the paper ran an apology, admitting that Gorur wasn't really a sous chef at the Compass. Gorur had invented the entire tale. Why isn't clear. A few things evidently went wrong in the paper's fact checking process. First, they never called the Compass…
Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2009.   Comments (14)

Fake Air France Footage — Posted by Peter in the forum: TV station airs Lost as Air France crash footage A BOLIVIAN television news channel has been left red-faced after falling for a hoax that saw it claim pictures from the hit TV show Lost were actually the last moment of Air France flight AF447 before it plunged into the ocean on June 1. Source This confirms my theory that should a suitably dramatic picture of a major event not exist, one will be created. It's because our culture craves visual images. And…
Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009.   Comments (1)


Wikipedia Hoax — Irish student Shane Fitzgerald conducted an experiment to test whether journalists blindly rely upon wikipedia as a source of information. Shortly after composer Maurice Jarre died, Fitzgerald placed a false quote on the wikipedia page about him, claiming Jarre had said: "One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing…
Posted: Thu May 07, 2009.   Comments (9)

Ads Disguised as News Columns — Should the LA Times have run an ad designed to look like a regular news column on its front page? (The ad was for an NBC news show Southland.) Critics, who include quite a few of the paper's own staffers, argue that it crossed a line of journalistic integrity. The paper's defenders point out that all newspapers are losing money nowadays, so whether you like it or not, expect to see more ads disguised as news columns in the future. [Editors Weblog]
Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009.   Comments (10)

Cheating Hubby Caught on Street View — A recent article in The Sun (and we all know how diligent The Sun is about fact checking) claimed that a woman, while using Google Street View, spotted her husband's car parked outside another woman's home. Now she's filing for divorce! But Matt Platino, of the Idiot Forever blog, claims he hoaxed the sun into printing the story: I emailed The Sun, first with the email address sashaharris289@gmail.com. I shot them a “frantic” note: Hey Sun, I need your help. One of my mates caught…
Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2009.   Comments (6)

Astrological Discrimination — Two days ago the Daily Mail published an article describing an unnamed "Salzburg insurance company" that seems to be practicing a form of astrological discrimination in its hiring. The company is said to have placed this ad in newspapers: We are looking for people over 20 for part-time jobs in sales and management with the following star signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Aquarius, Aries and Leo. When accused of discrimination, the company responded: "A statistical study indicated that almost…
Posted: Fri Feb 06, 2009.   Comments (8)

New York Times Hoaxed — The NY Times apologized for printing an email from the Mayor of Paris in which he criticized Caroline Kennedy's bid for Clinton's senate seat. You see, it's easy to put a fake email address in the "From" field, so it's the Times's policy to always check that the person who seems to have sent them an email actually did so. But they didn't do that in this case, and now the Mayor is denying he wrote the email. The Times is "reviewing procedures" to make sure something like this doesn't…
Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008.   Comments (2)

Man names son “Carter Barack Obama Sealy” — A Broomfield, Colorado man got his name in the local newspaper for claiming he had named his new son Carter Barack Obama Sealy. He also said that his two other children were named Brooke Trout Sealy and Cooper John Elway Sealy. Supposedly he had a deal with his wife. She got to choose the kids' first names, and he got to choose their middle names. The children's grandmother spilled the beans on the father, notifying the paper that the names were not real. The guy's wife explained that…
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008.   Comments (5)

The Fake New York Times — If you were lucky enough, you might have been able to get your hands on one of the approximately 1.2 million fake copies of the New York Times that were handed out today, mostly in NY and LA. Otherwise, like me, you'll have to try and buy a copy on eBay. The paper, dated July 4, 2009, declared "IRAQ WAR ENDS" on its front page. Articles inside described the repeal of the Patriot Act, and the indictment of Bush on high treason, among other things. There was also an accompanying website.
Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2008.   Comments (6)

Fake reporting of Shenzhou VII launch — China recently launched its third manned mission to space. Oddly, the Xinhua news agency reported the launch hours before it occurred. This would be understandable -- news agencies routinely prepare copy about major stories in advance of the event itself -- but the article included detailed dialogue between the astronauts: "One minute to go!' 'Changjiang No.1 found the target! ... "The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12…
Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2008.   Comments (2)

The Montgomery County Bulletin Plagiarism Scandal — The story of the Montgomery County (Texas) Bulletin Plagiarism scandal, so far: 1) A reader pointed out to Slate.com writer Jody Rosen that an article he had written about Jimmy Buffett had been plagiarized by Mark Williams, a writer for a small weekly Texas paper, the Montgomery County Bulletin. 2) Rosen contacted the editor of the Bulletin, Mike Ladyman, who pretty much blew him off. 3) Rosen did some more investigating and realized that Mark Williams had plagiarized almost…
Posted: Sun Aug 10, 2008.   Comments (8)

Fly Derrie-Air — Derrie-Air claims to be the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline. From its website: Welcome to Derrie-Air, the world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline, where you don't have to choose between living the high life and saving the planet. Nine out of ten scientists agree—we need to reduce our carbon emissions or perish from the face of the earth. Air travel is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions and global warming. Derrie-Air will be the only airline that plants trees…
Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008.   Comments (7)

Unwinding and Rewinding Toilet Paper — An article about "tornado oddities" on Yahoo! News leads off with this one: As residents in Hugo begin to move on from last week's tornado, some say they noticed a few bizarre things amid all the damage. Jason Akins said the twister unwound a roll of toilet paper in his bathroom — draped it across the countertop, then rewound it in the sink. The toilet paper didn't even rip. "All I could say was, 'You have got to be kidding me,'" Akins recalled. 'You've gotta be kidding me' is my…
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008.   Comments (10)

Punishing linkbaiters? — On May 9, money.co.uk published a story alleging that a 13-year-old kid in Texas had stolen his dad's credit card and used it to rent a motel room and some prostitutes. The cute/quirky part of the story was that the kids simply played Xbox with the "$1,000 a night girls." The story quickly spread throughout the media, appearing in The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, and Fox News, among others. But a few days later it was exposed as a hoax, since the police had no record of such an incident.…
Posted: Sat May 24, 2008.   Comments (16)

Hitler Doll — About two weeks ago a story started going around alleging that an Adolf Hitler doll, marketed to children, was being sold in the Ukraine. From the Daily Mail: One saleswoman said: "It is like Barbie. Kids can undress fuhrer, pin on medals and there's a spare head in the kit to give him a kinder expression on his face. "He has glasses that are round, in the manner of pacifist Jon Lennon". The doll will also come with accessories like a miniature Blondi, Hitler's faithful Alsatian who…
Posted: Mon May 05, 2008.   Comments (10)

Wrong Hillary — 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…
Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008.   Comments (8)

Is Blue the new Green? — In what is one of the most absurd articles I've read in a while, Chicago Tribune reporter Nara Schoenberg tries to argue that "blue" is the new "green". In other words, green (as a symbol of environmentalism) is old hat. So people are now starting to say "blue" instead of "green". Her main evidence is that Mercedes-Benz calls its new clean-diesel technology BLUETEC. And a few environmental websites have blue pages. I refer to this journalistic technique in Hippo Eats Dwarf as the…
Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008.   Comments (7)

Twins get married… or maybe not — Last week this story was EVERYWHERE. A pair of twins in Britain, who had been adopted into different families, met and fell in love... without realizing they were twins. They then got married, only to discover the terrible secret they shared. Their marriage was promptly annulled. When I first read about this, it sounded pretty fishy to me -- very much like an urban legend being reported as news -- but on a cursory reading of the story I also got the impression that there were officials…
Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2008.   Comments (15)

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