Patterico's Pontifications

10/28/2007

Spoof Webpage Attempts to Pin Blame for Wildfires on MEChA

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:47 am

If I were a lawyer for CNN, I would send someone a sternly worded letter over this.

I’m all for satire, but there is absolutely nothing there to indicate that it’s satire, other than a single missing letter in the URL.

I’m not sure what the motivation here is. Is it an attempt by dishonest nativists to spread a rumor that MEChA is behind some of the wildfires? Or is it an attempt by dishonest leftists to snooker gullible nativists into believing that?

I have no idea — but if I were a CNN lawyer, I wouldn’t care.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg debunked this on Friday.

UPDATE x2: I see Instapundit picked up Jonah’s warning. I guess everyone knows by now, then. That’s good. (I’m sure I saw the post and just forgot about it, since I read Instapundit every day.)

But it does raise an interesting question: what should happen to someone who creates a site like that? I have absolutely no problem with CNN taking legal action against them. How about you?

UPDATE x3: Commenter Steve points out one line that does identify the piece as potential satire: “No suspects have been identified, though they are probably brown.” That line both provides a potential “satire” defense to the creator, and also clearly labels the phony site as the work of a leftist trying to rope in right-wingers.

UPDATE x4: Also, the registration for the site comes back to a company whose website has four different front pages. One says: “Not one cent to sweatshops,” with a further rant about clothes bearing the Gap label.

That pretty much sews it up. It’s a leftist who perpetrated this particular lie.

UPDATE x5: More here.

33 Responses to “Spoof Webpage Attempts to Pin Blame for Wildfires on MEChA”

  1. someone went to a lot of trouble to fool people into making it look like a real CNN page … live rollovers with corresponding urls (you don’t realize unless you click thru they go nowhere)

    this is not The Onion, this is more like those phishing emails that look almost exactly like paypal or ebay

    I don’t care about the motivation … even if its a “response” to the “Blackwater / Bush crime family” started the fires derangements –

    CNN should nail ’em, publicly.

    Darleen (187edc)

  2. I suspect it was very little trouble.

    Right click, view source, select all, copy, paste.

    Patterico (441b97)

  3. One incident and it was debunked. But if you multiply this by a 1000, 10000, or more, it would seriously degrade the already tenuous nature of the internet, not to mention what it does to CNN. I agree with you and Darleen that CNN should take legal action.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  4. Not just CNN, but Mecha.

    See Dubya (d4aa96)

  5. When I first saw the URL, I thought someone nailed CNN with a truth in advertising suit.

    Jacknut (0d8410)

  6. That’s true, See Dubya.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  7. I knew this was a fake almost as soon as I went to it. I have NoScript added to my Firefox, and it complains about places I’ve not marked as acceptable. Well, for browsing purposes I marked CNN as acceptable long ago.

    But my browser complained, and I looked carefully at what it was complaining about.

    Law of unintended consequences here, but I’m not going to object.

    Dr. Ellen (c7e655)

  8. A whois search on the url gives this contact information:

    Bleachboy Heavy Manufacturing
    701 Arbor Creek Way
    Nashville, TN 37217-5053
    (615) 260-4931

    MeCha, CNN, have at ’em.

    Here’s the search. http://www.whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=cnnheadlienews&tld=com

    Rashad (f458e1)

  9. Mecha certainly has a cause of action, but suing would only attract attention to its existence and its odious policies. It would be be in its best interest to ignore this libel and stay under its rock.

    Milhouse (f10fb3)

  10. Tbogg had this interesting youtube link:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48mWHzBZjoQ

    Is there anything the right hasn’t tried to blame for the fires now?

    alphie (99bc18)

  11. Gosh, I thought everyone in the circle jerk had agreed that global warming was to blame! You mean we have to think up another talking point?!!

    alfie (86309a)

  12. Other than a few broken links, the page seems genuine. HeadlineNews is an affiliate of CNN with a budget dwarfed by its parent.

    Goldberg and Reynolds have little on which to base their assertion.

    “The problem: It’s a fake. The URL says “cnnheadliennews.”” does not qualify as a…………debunking.

    Semanticleo (f46d18)

  13. Semanticleo,

    Do you think this was a real CNN article?

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  14. DRJ;

    I am not ready to proclaim; “De-Bunked”.

    Semanticleo (f46d18)

  15. Semanticleo:

    Are you joking??

    Patterico (f9ba27)

  16. Patterico;

    Was there a link I missed?

    Semanticleo (f46d18)

  17. Semanticleo:

    Put it this way. Does the story have even a shred of credibility in your eyes?

    Is there any reason to believe it?

    If you answer yes, I am seriously worried for you.

    Patterico (7e306e)

  18. I’m glad this got debunked early. If you want to have fun with co-workers you can save a web page to your local computer, close your browser, click on the saved file, and then view source and change the wording to your desired change. Save and close, reopen the link and print. Presto you have an authentic looking article claiming whatever you wrote.
    The only tipoff is that the footer at the bottome will appear as C:\desktop (or something similar).

    voiceofreason (5a208d)

  19. “I have absolutely no problem with CNN taking legal action against them. How about you?”

    Of course. In this case, personally, i think it is CNN’s obligation to find out and reveal who it was that did it. I doubt they will, though.

    Dusty (e28a9f)

  20. Comment by Darleen — 10/28/2007

    Actually Darleen, it is really easy to do. All you need is to copy a real CNN page, make a few changes and you are done. It wasn’t a perfect job because the person doing it, whether intending to or not, didn’t account for a change affecting the top row of links.

    Dusty (dd1df5)

  21. #16 Semanticleo

    Open the page again, and click on the on the home button. That might clear up any of your lingering doubts.

    stoo (c5480d)

  22. HeadlineNews is an affiliate of CNN

    Look more closely at the URL. It’s not “headline news”, it’s “head lie news”.

    marybeth (b694ca)

  23. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Semanticleo back on this thread.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  24. MSU’s YAF is parrotin this BS.

    Then again, they think LGF is a bunch of lefties, so take it for what it’s worth…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  25. Is there anything the right hasn’t tried to blame for the fires now?

    Only “blame” I saw was the total of three illegals suspected of setting at least one of the blazes…

    One of which was shot and killed during the attempted arrest.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  26. This site was set up by a lefty. The same guy has another site attacking sweatshop labor.

    James (eff34a)

  27. James,

    If you have proof of that, please e-mail me.

    patterico AT gmail DOT com

    Patterico (bad89b)

  28. And what about all those illegal aleins and the idiotic practices of the eco-wackos or the wildlife agents preventing those home owners from clearing the brush away becuase of some rat is living in the area LETS PUT THE ECO-WACKOS ON THESE FIRES

    krazy kagu (614414)

  29. This site was set up by a lefty.

    Absolutely.

    The one and only element of satire in the fake news item is: “No suspects have been identified, though they are probably brown.” Nobody uses “brown” like that unless they’re caricaturing a conservative point of view. The story is bait for gullible nativists.

    Steve (8e6996)

  30. Prankster sh*ts on CNN.
    Prankster sh*ts on MEChA.
    Prankster jerks ignorant nativists’ chain.

    Looks like a triple win to me.

    Bruce H. (e68c3f)

  31. Steve,

    You’re absolutely right.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  32. James,

    So are you.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  33. So does this mean that we all revert to the fires being the work of Blackwater ?

    Neo (cba5df)


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