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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Politics
GOP URL Shortener put to unintended use — Yesterday the GOP debuted its own URL shortener. Wired.com describes the results: Almost immediately after it launched yesterday, pranksters began using the service to link to controversial or ironically-intended websites such as the official site of the American Communist Party, a bondage website and a webpage advertising a sex toy in the likeness of Barack Obama. GOP.am started blocking such links apparently at some point Tuesday morning, and the GOP.am homepage is now offline.
Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009.   Comments (1)

Where was Sarkozy on November 9, 1989? — He claims he was at the Berlin Wall, helping to knock it down. He even posted a picture of himself there on his Facebook page. But skeptics are saying he couldn't have been there at that time. It may be a case of political "false memory syndrome," like Reagan swearing he was present at the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps, even though he never was sent to Europe during the war. From the Daily Mail: In 1989, Sarkozy was 34 and a top official in France's conservative RPR party.
Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009.   Comments (5)

Fake Wilson Campaign Ad — This sounds like it might be a case of "black propaganda": Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) on Thursday condemned a fake campaign ad circulating under his name that implies President Barack Obama is a communist... The 30-second ad begins with a clip of President Barack Obama's speech to students on the first day of school this year. Red-colored text scrolls across the screen that says "Community Activist," a message that morphs into "Communist Activity." The image then changes from Obama to…
Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2009.   Comments (1)

Stalin, black orchids, and Eva Peron — Lorena writes to ask: You seem to know a lot about hoaxes so....I am doing some research, and I was asked if the story about Stalin sending black orchids to Eva Peron's funeral are a hoax. Problem is, I can't even find stories about it at all. Have you ever heard this? I'm flattered Lorena thinks I might be knowledgeable enough to have the answer to this, but unfortunately I've never heard the story before and can't find any references to it. In a July 28, 1952 Associated Press…
Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2009.   Comments (8)


Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate — The Birther movement has progressed from claiming that other people are involved in an elaborate hoax, to promoting a hoax of its own. The leader of the Birthers, Orly Taitz, has produced what she claims is a birth certificate proving that Obama was born in Kenya. Debunking of the document has already begun. For instance, skeptics note that "Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months." Also, the name of the…
Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009.   Comments (31)

Astrologer arrested for making prediction — The Sri Lankan government recently arrested the astrologer Chandrasiri Bandara. Unfortunately, it wasn't because he was peddling pseudoscience, but because his predictions had political implications they didn't like. He had foreseen that a planetary change on October 8 would be inauspicious for the government, and that it wouldn't be able to contain rising living costs. [BBC]
Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2009.   Comments (4)

More news from Iran — Catching up on all the stuff coming out of Iran in the wake of the election: The Minister's Secret Letter Photocopies of a letter allegedly from the Iranian minister of interior to Iran's Supreme Leader have been circulating throughout Iran. The letter discusses "your orders for Mr Ahmadinejad to be elected president," and states "for your information only, I am telling you the actual results." Supposedly, the actual results show that Ahmadinejad lost badly, getting only 5,698,417…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (2)

Suspicious Number Counts in Iran’s Election — Cognitive psychologists have found that people have trouble inventing truly random numbers. Invariably their numbers will have more of some digits than others. Armed with this observation, a couple of political scientists examined the numbers from Iran's election and found that they aren't random. They found too many 7s and not enough 5s in the last digit. Also, people have a tendency to prefer adjacent digits when creating strings of numbers (i.e. they prefer 123 to 926). Sure enough,…
Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009.   Comments (0)

Lil’ Kim for Mayor — Someone circulated a bogus press release claiming that rap star Lil' Kim was running for mayor of Hoboken. Local media in New York duly reported it as fact. But in a world where Ronald Reagan became president and Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California, I can understand why they took it seriously. [NY Daily News]
Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2009.   Comments (0)

No NASCAR — Car and Driver's April Fool's Day hoax claiming that President Obama had ordered that Chevrolet and Dodge withdraw from NASCAR seems to have been one of the few AF hoaxes this year that actually fooled a significant number of people. [USA Today]
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009.   Comments (1)

Missing Women — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the rest of his new government posed for an official photo in Jerusalem on April 1. But when the photo appeared in the ultra-orthodox newspaper Yated Neeman, all the women had been digitally removed from the photo. Apparently ultra-orthodox Jews don't like the idea of women in politics and seem to believe that if they can't see them, then they don't exist. [Suomen Kuvalehti]
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009.   Comments (4)

Bush and the Turkey — I received the following email about the photo in the Hoax Photo Database of Pres. Bush holding a "Trophy Turkey" during his 2003 Thanksgiving trip to Iraq: you claim that the turkey George Bush is holding is plastic. This urban myth has been debunked a thousand times and yet still keeps resurfacing. Even the New York Times was forced to print a retraction of this myth back in 2004... If you want to maintain a reputation for accuracy I suggest you amend the caption accordingly. The…
Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2009.   Comments (31)

Berlusconi’s Cuckoo Prank — I swear this is a real news story. It's not from The Onion: Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant Italian Prime Minister, played a practical joke on the German Chancellor today by jumping out at her from behind a lamppost when they met for an Italo-German summit in Trieste. Slipping away from the welcoming committee, the Italian leader hid behind the lamppost and emerged with a cry of "Cucu!" when Angela Merkel stepped out of her official car to enter the regional council headquarters…
Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2008.   Comments (7)

Fictitious McCain Adviser Exposed — Martin Eisenstadt, who describes himself as a former campaign adviser to John McCain and a Senior Fellow of the Harding Institute, has been in the news a lot lately. First it was for outing himself as the guy who leaked the story about Palin not knowing Africa was a continent. Now it's for being non-existent. The NY Times has the details. Turns out that Eisenstadt is a fictitious character created by two filmmakers, Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish. Media outlets fooled: MSNBC, The New…
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008.   Comments (8)

Ahmadinejad’s Wife — This photograph, which supposedly shows Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his wife, has been circulating online for a few months. It's often linked to with teasing, tongue-in-cheek phrases such as "Ahmadinejad's wife is a hottie!" or "Ahmadinejad's wife is hotter than Palin!" But is the image real? Is that really his wife? If so, why and when did Ahmadinejad pose for the photo? It hasn't been easy to find any answers to these questions. One source claims the image came from…
Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2008.   Comments (17)

Kim Jong-Il’s Shadow — A recently released photograph of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was supposed to prove that he's alive and well. Instead, it's raising even more suspicions about his health because the photo seems to be doctored. As the Times Online notes: While the legs of his soldiers cast a shadow at a sharp angle, the shadow of the “Dear Leader” is dead straight. In addition, there is a black line running horizontally behind the soldiers’ legs, but it mysteriously disappears behind Mr Kim. The…
Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2008.   Comments (19)

Satirical Candidates — 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.
Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2008.   Comments (19)

Piper Palin gives one-finger salute — 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.
Posted: Mon Oct 06, 2008.   Comments (84)

Iranian Interior Minister Admits Fake Degree — 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,…
Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2008.   Comments (9)

McCain wins debate that hasn’t happened yet — 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
Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2008.   Comments (6)

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