As Monty Python would say, “And now for something completely different.” Since starting this newsletter earlier this year, I’ve brought you stories of media malpractice, bias, and unintentional hilarity. Now, at the end of the year, I wanted to switch it up a little and reminisce about the funniest fake news of 2017.
Man arrested for selling Chuck E. Cheese tokens as Bitcoin … As the Bitcoin craze heated up near the end of 2017, a story began making the rounds that was too good to be true. According to the viral internet account, a New York City man was arrested for selling altered Chuck E. Cheese tokens as Bitcoin to the unsuspecting masses. His haul? An apparent $1 million. If this had happened, he would have been a hero. Alas, the story was indeed too good to be true.
It’s electric … This one was a resurfacing of a 2015 bit of fake news. Many times, these fake news articles come from obvious satire sties. But many people don’t understand that they are satire. In this case, apparently the person with the most body piercings in the world went through an airport metal detector and was torn to shreds by the experience. Completely fabricated, completely made up, but funny in hindsight.
Klepto cats? … Who wouldn’t want an army of scores of cats to do their evil bidding? That’s what blatant fake news site World News Daily reported a woman from Columbus, Ohio, did back in November. The story went that Ruth Gregson (she doesn’t exist) trained 65 cats to steal from her neighbors and bring her the loot. The story was hilarious, but I liked the Disney take on the “Oliver Twist” tale with Billy Joel and dogs better.
I’ll freely admit I was fooled by the Bitcoin story, because I WANTED it to be true. That’s the thing with well-written fake news; it has the air of truth to it. That is true whether the person writing it is doing so for satire or works for a major news outlet trying to push an agenda.
Happy New Year! I’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday, January 2, 2017.
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Robert Eno is the editor of the WTF MSM!? newsletter and director of retention for Blaze Media.