Hoaxes & Pranks

Philo_T

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#63
slightly repurposing this thread:

Reading this article gave me cause to wonder : "does the WWN have and agenda(s) that they are trying to advance". The reason I ask is that this, and several other stories I've run across recently, seem to resonate very well with society's current concerns about the future. (Here we have genetic engineering, safety of the food supply and those silly vegatarians.)

Then we had the time travelling daytrader that played upon the fears about the honesty and stability of the financial system.

Does the WWN now write its stories to make a point? Or do the just have some writers that are very observant of current events and human nature?
 

filcee

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#64
Re: Steak trees!

Originally posted by Philo T
[BAt least it's note quorn.
And slightly hijacking the thread; What's wrong with quorn?
(and no, I'm not a veggie!)
 

Philo_T

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#66
Filcee:
What's wrong with quorn?
Primarily a personal bias on my part, I'm not fond of mushrooms.
Heck, Quorn isn't even a proper mushroom! (There was a whole thread on Quorn about a year ago. There were some reports of people getting sick and blaming it on the Quorn. But I suppose we'd see that with the introduction of any new foodstuff.)

To summarize, fungus just creeps me out!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#67
It takes over your body...sending its little tendrils along your veins and your nerves until you're just a big, walking toadstool...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#68
I've always thought that the WWN is written as pure satire, playing upon the unbelievability and the tendency of other American tabloids to publish and report upon unsubstantiated rumors and sensationalism.

The WWN, at least around here, is viewed as a total joke, whereas there exists a certain market who will read other tabloid papers (like the Enquirer, Star, ect.) under the illusion of becoming more informed. I've never known the WWN to be taken at all seriously, but in its value as satire, it unabashedly does derive material from current social fears/issues.
 

Philo_T

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#69
not that I'm trying to excuse my getting hoodwinked by that story:

The WWN definitely has a *nudge*nudge*wink*wink* factor going for it these days. I suspect that at least partially, this is due to the rise of the internet. They seem to be saying, "yeah, we know you're smart enough to see that it's all crap, but it's amusing crap", whereas the traditional tabloids still shovel it out without any sort of irony.

I think somewhere during the batboy saga, batboy was embraced by net.weirdos, and the WWN noticed an untapped market niche.

In the article "FLYING CAR WILL CURE GRIDLOCK FOREVER! ", they make reference to Moeller skycar, a "real" product.

They may not be "The Onion", but it definitely appears that at least part of their material is intended as satire. It's almost like a bunch of extropian-discordians have infiltrated a "conventional" tabloid.

We're in an age of turmoil within the traditional newsmedia. We've got the NYT going through a credibility crisis, CNN is, well, CNN, people watch FOX NEWS for news, and the Onion has been cited as a source by "reputable" news media.

To summarize : we expect tabloids to be crap. Conversely, the WWN seems to very cogently picking subjects to spoof and satirizing the form. A wolf in sheep's clothing?
 

Jerry_B

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#70
This sounds like the famous 'spaghetti trees' hoax from 'Nationwide' back in the 1970s (?). And, for the record, I like Quorn. Never had any adverse effects on me.
 

littleblackduck

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#71
How to Write the Weekly World News

As a long time reader of the WWN and its sources (including the Fortean Times and http://www.ananova.com), I can pretty much tell you the formula:

1. collect real news oddities and sprinkle them liberally through the pages;
2. add a few longer articles based on real news of the Would-you-look-at-that variety and tart them up until nobody would ever believe they are based on an article on the BBC website or in the Science pages of the New York Times;
3. set up a few running gags (Batboy periodically disappears for a while and then comes back over a period of several weeks, starting out as a couple of allusions in another story--possibly real news--and then more obviously until he hits his usual two page spread;
4. make up stories on popular themes.

The made-up stuff--is it satire? Is there anything in the WWN that is not satire? The most deadpan serious and solidly factual story can be made satiric simply by juxtaposition or context. The WWN is read by uneducated working class and lower middle class people who are supposed to believe this rubbish is real but appreciate it just as much as the college-educated readers who treat it all with irony--but the made-up looking stories are so often real news stories that there is a third level of irony which can laugh at the college boys laughing at the masses laughing.

And, of course, the writers and editors have their little jokes.

The secret to writing a WWN article is to pick your time--let a real news story sink into the public consciousness for a while, wait for it to be put on the back burner and then bring it back, tarted up, so that even the few people who remember the facts are left wondering ....

The WWN is rather like a good stew--it is better for setting a while, so that the irony and the facts get all mixed up.

I expect you could count as many as half a dozen different layers of error, truth, deception and satire in the average WWN article.

Satire, by the way, comes from the name of a Greek mixed dish which may well have been like the modern macedoine or possibly more like a cassarole or stew.
 
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garrick92

Guest
#72
"Giant Black African Dildos" -- SABOTAGE!

Thought that would make you look ...

There is a serious reason for it. A local newspaper (the Luton Herald and Post) has just come out this week, after giving all its production staff the sack the week before. Alas and alack, certain members of production did not appreciate this redundancy, and sabotaged their work. Sloppy subbing let through a page 9 ad for an insurance company that included a box carrying the immortal words:



We provide:

Free consultations
Expert solicitors
Quick compensation settlement
Courtesy car (on request)

We recover:

Personal injury compensation
Loss of earnings
Out of pocket expenses
Giant black African dildos


I can't think of a better piece of sabotage. Except for the George W Bush "professional fascist" incident.

The subject of sabotage deserves its own thread, I thought ... and here it is.
 

marion

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#76
I read about loads of good stuff like this somewhere but can't for the life of me remember where (it wasn't here a very long time ago was it?) One was a biscuit tin whose lid had a scene painted on it,the artist was cheated out of his proper wages for the job and painted in allsorts of offensive stuff into the picture,it was recalled when this was discovered and the remaining unrecalled tins are collector's items. There was something about banknotes with hidden breasts and swear words in the design too.
 
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Anonymous

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#77
Sally might remeber this but a Vermeer (?) was "restored" and i think years latter someone pointed out up one side the folds of materiel actuly said Merde (shit) ... when this was revealed the museaum denied it but "re-restored" it so it didnt!
 

The late Pete Younger

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#78
unicycle said:
There was this local council who reorganised their parks and gardens section.
(Im not sure if I read this somewhere round here, so apologies if its old hat)

The council were very pleased to have shed staff with so little difficulty, until spring came.. and the daffodils planted around the town hall spelt out some very rude messages indeed.
That really did happen around here, some villains were doing community service planting bulbs in the towns flower beds with the same result in the Spring, the local paper had pictures.
 

OneWingedBird

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#79
FT covered that a few years ago, I distinctly recall the piccy of straggly daffs spelling out the word SHAG.

I also vaguely recall something I read in a tabloid in the 80's, I think the article was by way of apology for the actions of an employee who had diddled with the reporting of a friendly football match between I don't recall who and the local police, the score report contained the words Met Filth - 3

Marie
 
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Anonymous

Guest
#80
This reminded me of a book I own - "The PC Plus Personal Computer Handbook" by one Mike Hardaker, published in 1990 by Future Publishing (ISBN 1 872666 01 9).

Part of the cover art consists of a stylised PC monitor on which appears four lines of blurred text - which (if I squint at it) appears to read thus:

"Stick your computer
handbook up your arse
you spotty faced
little shit for brains"

A bit nice, I've always thought. Anyone else come across this fine publication and noticed the same?

Brown!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#82
Evilsprout said:
No, but I'd love to see a scan of it :D
With pleasure, Mr Sprout. Unfortunately we are limited to attachments not exceeding 51.2kB, so here is just the relevant detail at 150dpi.

Here's hoping that I am not the only one that can see this....

Brown
 

TheQuixote

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#84
Bin Laden hoax backfires in Lebanon

BBCi 26/1/04

Bin Laden hoax backfires in Lebanon

By Sebastian Usher
BBC News


A spoof newsflash by a TV station in Lebanon saying that Osama Bin Laden had been captured in the northern city of Tripoli was taken more seriously than the programme-makers had expected.


Arabic TV stations have aired several 'Bin Laden' tapes
Despite several clues onscreen that the bulletin was a joke, the LBC station was inundated with calls.

The rumour of Bin Laden's capture temporarily overshadowed a meeting between the Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, and the Greek President, Costas Stefanopoulos.

After the programme, Lebanon's media watchdog convened an urgent meeting to look into the incident.

'Lie TV'

Lebanese viewers watching LBC's weekly satirical show Bass Mat Watan on Thursday evening could have been be forgiven for choking on their snacks as the programme was interrupted by breaking news.

One of the station's most respected news presenters, Bassam Abou Zeid, solemnly informed viewers that a major security operation was under way in Tripoli.

He said there was an attempt in progress to arrest one of the Arab world's most important and wanted figures.

A few minutes later, he reappeared to report that Bin Laden had just been arrested in the house of a former prime minister.

The station received a number of worried calls and the report was suddenly the main topic amongst the guests at the dinner Mr Hariri was hosting for Mr Stephanopoulos.

All this despite the fact that LBC had given something of a clue to the true nature of the broadcast - with the word "Live" on screen being written "Lie".

But not everyone got the message - one viewer even called the station to correct their spelling.

Bad joke

At the end of the programme, Bassam Abou Zeid appeared one more time to say it was all a joke.

A bad one, according to many newspapers in Lebanon.

A paper owned by Mr Hariri - who also owns LBC's main competitor, Future TV - called the joke irresponsible.

A source at LBC said the programme on which the spoof occurred is likely to be suspended
 
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#85
Foam cup ban falls foul of web 'hoax'

Although mentioned in passing in this thread:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=12881

it was off topic so here is a new one for this ;)

I really can't believe anyone fell for this:

Calif. Officials Nearly Fall for H2O Hoax

The Associated Press
ALISO VIEJO, Calif.


City officials were so concerned about the potentially dangerous properties of dihydrogen monoxide that they considered banning foam cups after they learned the chemical was used in their production.

Then they learned, to their chagrin, that dihydrogen monoxide _ H2O for short _ is the scientific term for water.

"It's embarrassing," said City Manager David J. Norman. "We had a paralegal who did bad research."

The paralegal apparently fell victim to one of the many official looking Web sites that have been put up by pranksters to describe dihydrogen monoxide as "an odorless, tasteless chemical" that can be deadly if accidentally inhaled.

As a result, the City Council of this Orange County suburb had been scheduled to vote next week on a proposed law that would have banned the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events. Among the reasons given for the ban were that they were made with a substance that could "threaten human health and safety."

The measure has been pulled from the agenda, although Norman said the city may still eventually ban foam cups.

"If you get Styrofoam into the water and it breaks apart, it's virtually impossible to clean up," Norman said.
http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/apmethods/apstory?urlfeed=D81AQIU00.xml

To be honest this sound slike a UL in itself but..........

Emps
 

Kondoru

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#86
What they didnt mention was its one of the most caustic substances known! It can even dissolve pint glasses!
 
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#87
I'm going to hijack this thread fo general hoaxes, hoaxing, spoofs, pranks and prankery.

Woman charged with bizarre call


April 15, 2004, 8:39 AM EDT


WATERURY, Conn. -- A 56-year-old city woman has been charged with making a false report about poisoned toilet paper.

State police said Carol L. Hall was arrested Tuesday for allegedly calling Waterbury Superior Court to report that the building's toilet paper had been contaminated with poison.

The cell phone call was made in December and the call was taken seriously. Officials checked, but found no poison toilet paper.

Hall was arraigned Wednesday and charged with falsely reporting an incident.

State police did not say how they identified her or why she allegedly made the call.

Hall was released after posting bond.
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/w...pr15,0,5414446.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire
 

lopaka

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#88
Assassination hoaxes

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/americas/06/04/mexico.governor.reut/index.html


Official: Attempt on Mexico governor's life a hoax

Friday, June 4, 2004 Posted: 5:38 PM EDT (2138 GMT)

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Reuters) -- A reported assassination attempt in March that left a Mexican state governor in the hospital was a hoax, and the governor is accused of hiding the facts, the attorney general's office said on Friday.

Records show that a policeman died from bullet wounds as a result of the incident and most of the bullets came from the gun of the governor's bodyguard, the prosecutor's office said.

Oaxaca Gov. Jose Murat, who said he came under fire on March 18 as he drove to a breakfast meeting in the state capital, may have covered up the facts, deputy prosecutor Gilberto Higuera said.

"There is no information to indicate that this vehicle was the object of an attack, as was originally said," Higuera told a news conference.

At the time, a state government spokesman said unidentified gunmen opened fire on Murat's car. A policeman died in hospital of bullet injuries sustained during the incident and the governor was briefly hospitalized with minor injuries.

The attorney general's office said an initial inquiry by the local prosecutor in Oaxaca was plagued with irregularities and contradictions.

Reports of an assassination attempt on Murat, a member of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, sent jitters through financial markets and President Vicente Fox called it an attack on Mexican democracy.

Higuera said that three holes in the windshield of Murat's car had been made by bullets fired from inside the car, apparently from the gun of Murat's head bodyguard.

"We are not asking for Murat's immunity from prosecution to be lifted at the moment. We are deepening our investigation," he said. "We presume, of course, an agreement (by the governor) to hide the truth and he is the object of the investigation."

Higuera said more than 30 shell casings had been found lying around the governor's car from bullets that had also been shot from his head bodyguard's gun. He said he was seeking to arrest the bodyguards for giving false information and investigating the governor.

Oaxaca is one of Mexico's poorest states, and political tensions have risen sharply ahead of gubernatorial elections in August which will determine whether or not Murat is re-elected.

Murat said at the time of the alleged attack that he and his family had received at least 15 death threats since he took office in 1998.

Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved.

Which brought to my mind the alleged attempt made on General Pinochet in Chile in 1986, which was widely rumored (though I'm not sure if ever definitively shown) to be a fiction. Any other examples? -lopaka
 
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#90
Its been around for a bit and is a hoax I'm afraid:

http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/weblog/comments/497/

I'd certainly be interested in doing a real one when I die (possibly see if I can't find a way to sneak occasional pictures of me holding up signs saying "get me out!!") although I'd have to abandon plans to have myself cooked and eaten my friends and family so......
 
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