Today ABC News sent a camerateam around to my house to interview me about the hoax execution of Benjamin Vanderford
. Vanderford used special-effects to stage his own execution by Islamic militants, then uploaded footage of the scene onto file-sharing networks, and waited for the media to bite. It took three months, but the media finally did bite, reporting it as an actual execution yesterday. At which point, Vanderford confessed to the hoax. I got a call from ABC this morning asking if I'd be willing to do an interview. I had only just read about Vanderford's hoax a few minutes before they called, but I said sure, why not. About an hour later the camerateam was there. I haven't seen the news segment yet, but from what I hear they use a soundbite from me saying something about how digital technology makes video and photo hoaxes much easier to perpetrate. It's always frustrating to be soundbited, because there's so much more one could say about these types of events: how Vanderford's hoax is representative of the 'moral crusader' genre of hoax in which people justify their hoaxes by claiming they serve a moral, educational purpose; how the media will always, always fall for sensational hoaxes because of the 'if-it-bleeds-it-leads' news model; how the case of Vanderford demonstrates that access to the media (and thus the phenomenon of hoaxing itself) has become democratized by the internet (in the old days hoaxes were mostly perpetrated by people with insider connections to the media). Oh well. At least I got my face on the news. So I can't complain.
Robert Martin, the producer of Vanderford's hoax video, has placed a 'press release'
online, explaining their side of the story.