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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Journalism
The Indian Rope Trick — A new book by Peter Lamont chronicles the history of the Indian rope trick. According to him the trick is a hoax, not just in the sense that it's an illusion. Rather, in the sense that the trick never existed. It was never performed. In fact, it began its life in 1890 as the fictional creation of a Chicago reporter. The book is reviewed by The Guardian.
Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2004.   Comments (1)

Stu Magazine — Bob Pagani (aka the cranky media guy) gave me a heads up about a recent Canadian media hoax. It was the launch of Stu, a new 'lad' magazine in the style of Maxim. Stu was the magazine 'for the adequate man.' Articles included advice on how to score with hot-girl's less-than-hot friends, as well as how to find great free merchandise by dumpster diving. The new magazine managed to get quite a bit of press coverage, even though, as it turned out, there was no Stu magazine. Only a press kit.
Posted: Tue Sep 30, 2003.   Comments (0)

Mickey Mouse Goes to University — A British reporter filled out a university application with info for Mickey Mouse, and Mickey was accepted. But to be fair to the university, instead of using the name 'Mickey Mouse,' which would have been a giveaway, he wrote Michael Mouse. That sounds like it really could be someone's name.
Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2003.   Comments (0)

Of Foxes, Turtles, and Ham — A Japanese newspaper scooped its rivals by revealing a serious environmental problem—that foxes were eating the eggs of the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. It even had pictures of the foxes eating the eggs. Until it turned out that the only reason the foxes were standing there by the eggs was because the cameramen had lured them there with ham.
Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2003.   Comments (0)


Jayson Blair Redux — So Esquire has commissioned Jayson Blair to write a movie review of Shattered Glass, an upcoming movie about Stephen Glass (another media hoaxer from five years ago). I'm sure his review will, in turn, become one of the most heavily reviewed reviews ever.
Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2003.   Comments (0)

Missing Stories at New York Times — Last week everyone was linking to this spoof about the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. It even managed to become the first item displayed if you typed in 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' on Google (though Google has since changed that). In the same spirit, here's a spoof page about Jayson Blair and the New York Times.
Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2003.   Comments (0)

Would you hire this man? — A British reporter manages to get a job guarding Serena Williams even though he submitted a fake CV with his application. No one bothered to check his references.
Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2003.   Comments (0)

Great Wall of China Hoax — This day in hoax history. June 25, 1899: The Great Wall of China Hoax.
Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2003.   Comments (0)

Journalistic Integrity — Slate has an interesting piece about some journalists from the first half of the twentieth century who took serious liberties with the truth: H.L. Mencken, A.J. Liebling, and Joseph Mitchell.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2003.   Comments (0)

Beckham Kidnap Plot — The Observer details how the News of the World came to believe a far-fetched yarn about a plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham, even though their source was a serial liar.
Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2003.   Comments (0)

Epidemic of Lying — The San Francisco Chronicle argues that America is suffering from an epidemic of lying, as a consequence of which we're no longer shocked by scandals such as the Jayson Blair Affair. We just expect that everyone is lying.
Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2003.   Comments (0)

Reviewing Stephen Glass — Book critics are stressing out over how to respond to the release of Stephen Glass's first novel. Should they review it and trash it, or just ignore it? Stephen Glass, if you don't remember, got fired from the New Republic five years ago for inventing news.
Posted: Sat May 31, 2003.   Comments (0)


US News & World Report and the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 — US News & World Report has a special double issue this week on "The Art of the Hoax". Check out the lead article, "Strange but true: This is the golden age of hoaxes." Yours truly was interviewed for it and gets mentioned twice! Very exciting. But also check out their short piece on the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. As it turns out, they fell for a tall-tale about this hoax. In the first paragraph they claim that because of this newspaper hoax:"Daily sales of the Sun skyrocketed from 4,000…
Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2002.   Comments (1)

The Hitler Diaries — New evidence indicates that Gerd Heidemann, the journalist largely behind the Hitler Diaries hoax, was an East German double agent working for the Stasi. This breathes new life into the old theory that the hoax was actually a communist plot.
Posted: Tue Jul 30, 2002.   Comments (0)

USA Today Hacked — Hackers broke into USA Today's web site and replaced the real news with fake stories. One of the hoax stories was that the Vatican had declared the Bible to be an April Fool's joke.
Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2002.   Comments (0)

Stephen Glass — They're making a movie about the fraudulent career of Stephen Glass of the New Republic. It'll star Darth Vader as Stephen Glass.
Posted: Fri Jul 12, 2002.   Comments (4)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.