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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Journalism
Quick Links: Chicken Born With Duck Feet, etc.
Posted by Boo on Sun Feb 11, 2007
Chicken Born With Duck Feet A chicken in Columbia has surprised everyone by being born with webbed feet and legs like a duck. Vetinary experts say that the chicken is not a result of cross-species breeding, and is just a genetic mishap. (Thanks, Adam.) Divine Or Delusional? wcbstv.com has a gallery of images showing items on which religious icons have allegedly been found. We've covered a few of them here, but some of the images were new to me. I found I could generally make out the figure or face…
Quick Links: Square Watermelon, etc.
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 07, 2006
Flora and I have decided on a more efficient way to post links that really don't need (or don't deserve) an entire post of their own. We'll just dump them together in a "quick links" post whenever we accumulate a bunch of them. Should mean more stuff gets posted. Here's the first such set of links: Square Watermelon Soon to be on sale in Britain. Really. "Boxes are placed around the growing fuit which naturally swells to fill the shape." Buy two and get a bonsai kitten free! (Thanks, Lou) Reuters admits altering…
Journalist Fakes Bill Gates Interview
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 04, 2006
Status: News Microsoft has accused a Norwegian journalist of fabricating, out of thin air, an interview with Bill Gates. Bjoern Benkow, the journalist in question, claimed that he interviewed Gates while onboard a commercial flight. Gates apparently didn't share any interesting secrets with the guy, only that "rival search engine giant Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) has "been smart," that he never carries more than a "dime" in his pocket and that he occasionally places $1 bets with his wife, Melinda." Still, Microsoft insists the whole thing is bogus. Which makes one wonder how the journalist thought he could get away with this. Maybe he figured that Bill Gates would never…
Categories: Journalism Comments (4)
Naked Skydiving
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 12, 2006
Status: Hoax Here's an amusing article that deserves mention on Regret the Error (the weblog about newspaper corrections), if it isn't already there.Tabloid Aftonbladet has been forced to withdraw an article about naked Swedish skydivers, after it turned out that the paper had been the victim of a hoax. The article, headed "It's wonderful - but cold", described how Stockholm Skydiving Club had celebrated spring by jumping from a height of 4,000 metres in their birthday suits. The paper quoted Johan Persson, a supposed member of the club, who described the naked jump over the…
Categories: Journalism, Sports Comments (7)
Fake News On Your TV
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 06, 2006
Status: advertising disguised as news In Hippo Eats Dwarf I discuss Video News Releases (VNRs) and how their use means that a lot of the news we see on TV is either advertising or propaganda in disguise. (VNRs are video segments created by corporations or the government, that are then aired on TV news, often without their true source ever being revealed). RAW STORY reports that "over a ten month span, 77 television stations from all across the nation aired video news releases without informing their viewers even once that the reports were actually sponsored content." The article cites a…
Categories: Advertising, Journalism Comments (2)
CNet April Fools Article
Posted by The Curator on Sat Apr 01, 2006
Status: Journalistic errors CNet has an article about April Fool's Day hoaxes on the internet. It has some interesting info in it, but surprisingly it makes two rather large errors. First of all, it describes the Microsoft iLoo (an internet-enabled portable toilet) from 2003 as an April Fool's Day hoax. Microsoft announced the iLoo on April 30, making it a real stretch to describe it as an April Fool's Day hoax. But more importantly, although Microsoft did initially say the iLoo was a hoax, it later changed its mind and admitted that it was a real project. And that was the final word from them about it. The article…
Google Hires 15-Year Old
Posted by The Curator on Tue Mar 14, 2006
Status: Hoax 15-year old Tom Vandetta found a neat trick described on the internet: how to upload a fake press release to a free wire service, and get Google News to pick it up and disseminate it, thereby making it look like real news. Of course, he couldn't resist trying this trick out, so he decided to write a release from Google itself announcing that they were hiring him: (I-Newswire) - 15 year old student, Tom Vendetta has been hired by search engine giant Google Inc. The student will receive a lowered salary, which will be placed into a bank account for future education, said Google CEO Larry Page. When asked what role Vendetta will play…
Categories: Journalism Comments (18)
The Disappearing Blonde Gene
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 28, 2006
Status: Hoax reported as news Peter Frost has an article in the current issue of Evolution and Human Behavior in which he argues that the trait for blonde hair evolved 10,000 years ago in northern Europe because men found blonde women to be attractive--and because there were more women than men, the women had to compete for the men. (I'm simplifying his argument a lot.) But I'm not bringing this up to make a point about Frost's article. Instead, I'm bringing it up because the London Times discusses his article and concludes with this observation: Film star blondes such as Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Sharon Stone and Scarlett Johansson are held up…
Categories: Journalism, Science Comments (32)
Woman Clings To Ice With Her Teeth
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 08, 2006
Status: Undetermined Ananova, All Headline News, the Mumbai Mirror, and a couple of other highly reputable news sources are reporting a story about a Hungarian woman who fell through the ice while ice skating, and stopped herself from drowning by gripping the edge of the ice with her teeth: The 29-year-old woman was practicing on Lake Velence when the ice cracked and she fell in. With frostbite setting in and her hands unable to move, the only thing left was to grip the edge with her teeth. After being rescued doctors say her quick thinking saved her life. This boggles my mind. If it was so cold…
Categories: Journalism Comments (19)
Elephant Loose in St. Petersburg
Posted by The Curator on Mon Dec 19, 2005
Status: Hoax Ananova reports that an elephant is on the loose in St. Petersburg: The animal, which was being transported through Russia by an unnamed Finnish company, escaped from its container by smashing through its walls. There have been a number of sightings around the city but no one has tried to catch the elephant yet. But it appears that Ananova has done its usual thorough job of fact-checking, because the Moscow Times reports that the elephant was probably a hoax: St. Petersburg police were looking for a mystery phone caller on Thursday after spending much of the night looking for an…
Categories: Animals, Journalism Comments (5)
The Bear on the California Flag Should Have Been a Pear
Posted by The Curator on Sun Nov 13, 2005
Status: Hoax A reporter for Inside Bay Area (I don't know his name... it's not given with the article) recently recounted how his granddaughter told him that the bear on the California flag was originally supposed to be a pear. Back in 1846, Capt. Jedediah Bartlett, leader of a band of rebels fighting against the Mexican authorities in California, supposedly drew up a flag for the future state. He thought a pear, as a symbol of the region's agriculture, would be a fitting symbol. But his instructions were misread and the flagmaker inserted a bear on the flag instead of a pear. The error…
Categories: History, Journalism Comments (15)
Planet-Dissolving Dust Cloud Headed Toward Earth
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 20, 2005
Status: Fake; an example of the Weekly World News Effect. I've received a couple of emails about this article on Yahoo! News detailing a cosmic "chaos cloud" that will obliterate the earth in 2014: CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Scared-stiff astronomers have detected a mysterious mass they've dubbed a "chaos cloud" that dissolves everything in its path, including comets, asteroids, planets and entire stars -- and it's headed directly toward Earth! Discovered April 6 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the swirling, 10 million-mile- wide cosmic dust cloud has been likened to an "acid nebula" and is hurtling toward us at close to the speed of light -- making its estimated time…
Categories: Journalism Comments (18)
Fake Quotes in Newspaper
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 31, 2005
Whenever I see the opinion of a 'man on the street' quoted in a newspaper, I always wonder if the quote is for real since it would be so easy for a reporter to simply make something up without interviewing anyone. Now here's a case, at the Reidsville Review, where that actually happened. The reporters invented quotations, but, strangely enough, attributed the quotations to real people. They should have just gone ahead and put the phony quotes in the mouths of phony people: The newspaper's "Two Cents Worth" feature includes a small picture of a person, along with their name and response to a question. But on several days in May the item apparently featured…
Categories: Journalism Comments (15)
Phony Seal Hunt
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 18, 2005
The latest nugget of fake news from the world of journalism concerns a seal hunt that never took place. A Boston Globe writer, Barbara Stewart, described the slaughter of baby seals off the coast of Newfoundland in great detail. What she didn't know was that the hunt had been delayed, and so hadn't begun yet. Oops.
Categories: Journalism Comments (12)
Fake Sports Reporter
Posted by The Curator on Sun Apr 17, 2005
As a representative of Westchester Cable Services, Mark Sabia has been allowed into press boxes at sports games for years. The one problem is that Westchester Cable Services doesn't exist. The teams finally figured out he didn't belong there (but it was a good scam while it lasted): Sabia, who lives in Ossining, was arrested Monday when he showed up to cover Opening Day at Shea and was charged with scamming season passes for almost all of New York's professional teams, as well as for several World Series and League Championship Series dating to 1998. He was charged with five felony counts of falsifying business records and 16 misdemeanor counts ranging from petit larceny…
Categories: Journalism, Sports Comments (5)
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