Examiner.com is reporting what it’s calling a “national outrage” — that Michael Vick has gotten a dog.
” …the latest cosmic injustice in the up-and-down saga of Michael Vick takes the cake … Judge Herman Wilton, who presided over Vick’s 2007 trial, has rescinded his order that Vick never again be permitted to own a dog. Vick is now the proud owner of a Beagle named HutHut.”
“The judge’s reasoning, if it can be called that, is (1) that Vick has been thrilling football fans with his play, (2) that he has won over the hearts and minds of the people of Philadelphia, and (3) that his young daughters really wanted a dog.”
The source for the Examiner report? The Weekly World News. The same people, or at least the latest incarnation of the publication, that brought us Bat Boy, Elvis sightings and predictions of an apocalypse at least every month.
Apparently, the Weekly World News and its playful reputation are fading from public memory — at least enough that a blogger for Examiner.com saw this report and took it at face value.
Even with such clearly doctored photos as this one, many people bought it — judging from the comments both on the Weekly World News piece and the Examiner’s. (The Examiner piece has since been taken offline.)
This proves three things. One, there is no limit to how gullible some people are. Two, legitimate newspapers had their place (bring them back). Three, this Internet thing, all this cutting and pasting and regurgitating what other people have said — at least when the original source is not one to be trusted, when the facts are not checked – is giving truth a beating.
In its paper version, on the grocery store checkout line, it was always clear to most people that the Weekly World News was a purveyor of hoaxes, sometimes mean spirited, sometime delightful.
I once went to its Florida offices to do a story on the collection of characters that put it out, in a backroom of the National Enquirer. They were a fun and creative group — from the grizzled editor to the artist who came up with Bat Boy, and insisted of course, like a professional wrestler, that the monster was real.
On the Internet, though, which is the only place where a semblance of it still exists, the Weekly World News pops up in searches just like any other publication, with no indication that it’s dispatches are meant in fun — and a slogan that even reads “The World’s Only Reliable News.”
The Weekly World News report quotes William Tacatoo (no such person), president of the Humane Society of the Pennsylvania (no such organization), as saying he has been around Vick a good deal over the last two years and feels confident Vick would be a great pet owner: “He loves dogs, he really does.”
It quotes West Virginia Judge Herman Wilton (no such judge) as saying he lifted the order banning Vick from owning dogs in the interest of the quarterback’s daughters: ”Ah, come on, we can’t deny the girls a dog.”
It reports that, as soon as the judge announced his decision, “Vick immediately went out and bought a cute, little beagle.”
Vick, though he has expressed a desire to have a dog, doesn’t have one.
The world is not coming to an end next week.
Elvis is still dead.
Bat Boy, though? I’m still not sure he’s not real.
(Photos: Weekly World News)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bat boy, beagle, bloggers, dog, dogfighting, examiner.com, hoax, humane society, huthut, joke, judge, michael vick, new dog, news, philadelphia eagles, quarterback, report, tabloids, vick, weekly world news
Just when I proclaim this quite a week for wieners (dogs and franks), there’s more late breaking wiener news: The world’s oldest hot dog — possibly the world’s first hot dog — has been unearthed at Coney Island, CNN and others reported.
CNN posted a story about the “discovery” of a “140-year-old hot dog” after officials at the Coney Island History Project put an “ancient” frankfurter — bun and all — on display, saying it was unearthed during the demolition of Feltman’s Kitchen, said to be where the first hot dog was made.
“1st Hot Dog,” read a sign next to the display. To the embarassment of CNN and others who picked up the story — to be frank, they didn’t check the facts — it was all just a publicity stunt, aimed at creating interest in an exhibition this summer of real artifacts from the Feltman’s site, the New York Post says.
“The recent discovery by an amateur archaeologist of the ‘140 Year Old Feltman’s Hot Dog’ encased in ice along with a bun, [and] an original receipt from Feltman’s, … was a publicity stunt in the grand tradition of Coney Island ballyhoo,” said Tricia Vita, spokeswoman for the history project.
She said that the hoax was an example of Coney Island’s history of P.T. Barnum-type hype. Even though the ancient hot dog was said to be found “encased in ice” by archaelogists, the story was gobbled right up.
(It was Barnum, I believe, who said a sucker was born every minute. That rate has increased to about every millisecond, thanks to the Internet.)
“I was surprised in the beginning at how many people believed it was true,” Vita said. “But after reading all the buzz about it on Twitter and the Internet, I’m not really that surprised because people want to believe these types of things are true.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 140-year-old hot dog, ancient, antique, cnn, coney island, coney island history project, feltman's, fooled, frankfurter, hoax, hot dog, joke, journalism, media, new york, news, oldest, publicity stunt, report, reporting, sucker, wiener
An email making the rounds depicts cats decked out in bright and dazzling designs — paint jobs, supposedly, that have to be repeated every three months (due to hair growth) and for which owners pay $15,000 or more.
While it’s just the sort of thing pet owners who see their dog or cat as accessories might do, don’t break out the brushes (or dyes), and don’t forget that the true work of art is your dog or cat exactly as he or she naturally is. The email, and the paint jobs, are bogus.
Unfortunately, a lot more people will get the email than will read this (those sorts of emails have way more than nine lives), and the artistically-inclined, yet otherwise idiotic among them might even entertain thoughts of giving their feline a new look — say something in a day-glo plaid.
But just in case somebody actually needs this warning, I’ll say it again: Don’t paint your cat.
A far safer route (for you and the cat) would be to just enjoy the spoof.
It all started with “Why Cats Paint,” a fuzzy tongue-in-cheek volume about cats who became accomplished artists, written by Burton Silver and Heather Bush and published in 1994.
That was followed in 2002 with ”Why Paint Cats: (Ten Speed Press), a photo book of cats with brightly colored geometric designs on their faces and bodies, supposedly painted by 23 artists who use cats as their canvas.
Even more people fell for it than the first book.
According to snopes.com, author Silver won’t admit that the illustrations were achieved through computer imaging.
He told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, “We never comment on the techniques used to create our art, because that’s not the point of the work. We see our role as that of encouraging discussion amongst readers and provoking them to question their value systems.”
Silver, in addition to creating a beautiful book, and pulling off a darned good hoax, did indeed encourage discussion, as evidenced by the fact that, six years after the book was published, its contents are still clogging (1.6 MB) emailboxes boxes across the country.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: art, artists, book, burton silver, cats, heather busch, hoax, myth, paint, painted cats, painting, rumor, snopes, why cats paint, why paint cats