The Museum of Hoaxes
hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive hoax archive
   
Hoaxes Throughout History
Middle AgesEarly Modern1700s1800-1840s1850-1890s
1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s21st Century2014
Fake Quotes in Newspaper
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 people who do not live in Reidsville and did not speak the words attributed to them... One of the people quoted in "Two Cents Worth" was Emma Burgin, a Greensboro resident and senior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Her name and photo appeared with a quote naming the Dave Matthews Band as her favorite musical group. Burgin said she was shocked to learn recently of her appearance in the paper, given that she has never visited Reidsville or been interviewed by a reporter from the paper. "I honestly never heard of the Reidsville paper before," Burgin said Wednesday during a telephone interview from Washington.
Journalism
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 31, 2005


I couldn't get to the article (didn't wanna register)...but how did she find out??
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  07:04 AM
This reminds me of The Onion (http://www.theonion.com) and their What Do You Think? insert. Except that its intentionally fake.
Posted by DaveO  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  09:31 AM
I found a like to the story on Google which does not require registration:

http://www.mediainfo.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000999813
Posted by Ima Fish  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  10:57 AM
yeah good point...
if she had never heard of the Reidsville paper, howd she find out about it?
Posted by RAMONESxMANIA  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  11:33 AM
"Burgin did say, however, that two of her former coworkers at the Daily Tar Heel, the UNC-Chapel Hill student newspaper, had apologized to her for using her name and photo in the "Two Cents Worth" feature. Her photo was reportedly taken from a popular social networking Web site, thefacebook.com. Burgin declined to name the co-workers in question."

Okay, so it's not like some random face and quote was pulled from thin air - It's possible the info was submitted by someone connected to her and the Reidsville paper. (I still wanna know how she found out.) She also didn't deny that Dave Matthews is her favorite band. One of her dinky newspaper friends probably said, "Hey, Emma loves Dave Matthews - let's submit her photo & quote for that piece!"
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Aug 01, 2005  at  02:32 PM
Back in eight grade journalism, we used to just quote "someone who wished to remain anonymous."
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Tue Aug 02, 2005  at  03:21 AM
hey, whatever works
Posted by RAMONESxMANIA  on  Tue Aug 02, 2005  at  10:03 AM
What I like best about the Onion's "What Do You Think?" is that it uses the exact same photographs week after week after week, with different names and occupations.
Posted by Big Gary C in Dallas  in  Dallas, Texas, USA  on  Tue Aug 02, 2005  at  06:52 PM
The joke's on you. The Onion makes those six people legally change their name each week. Otherwise they couldn't legally post them. I have a friend who works there who told me. GOTCHA!
Posted by booch  on  Fri Aug 05, 2005  at  03:02 AM
What was the name of that guy who made up stories for the NEW YORK TIMES? And that woman (I think) who made up the junkie stories for some Washington paper and got a Puletzer (sp?) for her fake articles? It would seem that journalists are no more honest than the normal run of people. I did get in one of those "People on the Street" blurbs and the paper quoted me right so not all journalists are liars.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Tue Aug 09, 2005  at  11:44 PM
Heh, I've got a scaaary looking picture of me up on facebook. Maybe I was quoted in some newspaper somewhere!
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Aug 23, 2005  at  02:57 AM
If they got her pic off facebook they wouldn't need a friend of hers to tell them that Dave Matthew's Band is her favorite band. Most likely it is already written on her profile. As I am not a student at UNR I can't access her profile without permission from her first. I've sent her a "friend" invitation, and I will see what she does. If she adds me I'll check out her profile and give you guys an update.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Aug 23, 2005  at  03:00 AM
Chinese people always use mafia style to kill people and nature without any responsibility as for only their benefits. I pray for miracle things which can help that people to realize for their sins.

http://www.siamamulet.net/phpboard/qb.php?Qid=4050
Posted by http://www.siamamulet.net/phpboard/qb.php?Qid=4050  in  http://www.siamamulet.net/phpboard/qb.php?Qid=4050  on  Thu Jun 08, 2006  at  08:40 AM
these are all tricky games played by the repoters
Posted by prashi  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  04:19 AM
I've known people who gave their friend's name and got a really stupid quote in the paper attributed to the friend.
Posted by James  in  vermont  on  Fri Sep 11, 2009  at  10:27 AM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.