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Guy Clapperton on the evolving new media

Sun taken in by blogger

…but why? There’s an item on the Sun newspaper’s website today (and here’s a commentator blogging about it just to show how quickly these things spread) about how Google Street View caught someone being unfaithful to his wife. She recognised the car outside someone’s house when the husband in question said he was away on business.

And guess what – this blogger now claims it was him all the time, scamming the Sun and persuading them it was a genuine news item when it wasn’t.

Well, well done. Quite. But…why bother? I can see the fun element of it a bit I suppose, and as a jobbing journalist it’s good that we’re all being reminded of the imperative of checking our stories. But how this one could have been checked I don’t know; but yes, false stories should be uncovered.

But why bother placing it in the first place? I’m a little stumped at this one. Personal glory? Maybe. A laugh? Well, yes, but where do you take it from there? He says there will be more like this on the way, be still my beating heart. Maybe he’s trying to persuade us all to be a bit more cynical and critical about the stories that appear in the UK tabloid press. Funnily enough I don’t think we needed telling about that.

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March 31, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,


  1. Why? Because he could, presumably.

    Comment by Sean Fleming | March 31, 2009

  2. He’s only 19 and having a bit of fun I think – that’s what his website says anyway – who knows how true any of it is? – calling himself ‘idiot forever’ and all that.

    The story has also reached Australia and has been reported elswehere. So it’s not just the Sun not checking their facts.

    Comment by Linda | March 31, 2009

  3. I think that’s what concerns me most – the fact that it can go around the world so quickly with nobody checking anything. Presumably it just means the reporter quoted from the letter uncritically.

    Comment by guyclapperton | March 31, 2009

  4. According to the hoax is a hoax! On another note, reminds me of a time I was doing some PR and when I rang a Sunday broadsheet paper the only line they were interested in was whether the thing I was asking if they’d report on could be used to check up on errant partners – it could be so that’s what went in. Greeeat.

    Comment by Linda | March 31, 2009

  5. If Gawker is right then mea culpa in my original statements. I think I’ll go and claim I’ve fed some iffy films into the Home Secretary’s home…

    Comment by guyclapperton | March 31, 2009

  6. I don’t know if they are *completely* right. Personally I can’t see a 19-year-old from the US recounting what he does there having plucked it out the air.

    Comment by Linda | March 31, 2009

  7. Dear Mr Clapperton

    I say leave the little chap alone. He means no harm. He’s just having a ‘larf’.

    It’s surely just a classic case of the hoaxer hoaxing the hoaxed hoaxer. Or is it all just a hoax? Are you a hoax?

    And surely Gawker’s pooh-pooh is a little premature. Indeed I almost feel duty bound to pooh-pooh their pooh-pooh and then hope the world doesn’t ignore my pooh-pooh too. As General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett once said: “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being in the army, it’s to never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a major: got pooh-poohed; made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh – he pooh-poohed it. Fatal error, because it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers, who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment – morale totally destroyed …by pooh-pooh!”

    Unless of course pooh-pooh doesn’t have the same meaning over there?

    Yours, Donald Wolfe

    Comment by Donald Wolfe | March 31, 2009

  8. That’s enough pooh – ed.

    Comment by guyclapperton | March 31, 2009

  9. The Sun took the story from an article written by Mark Stephens in The Times. So either the blogger did try and hoax The Sun and, by coincidence, they published a similar but legitimate story, or he’s read the legitimate story and is then pretending to other people that he’s hoaxed them.

    I’ve left comments on this bloke’s blog pointing to The Times article, which he’s immediately taken down. This suggests to me the latter – that he’s pretending to have hoaxed The Sun.

    PS Haven’t read the Gawker story yet

    Comment by Kim | March 31, 2009

  10. Curiouser and curiouser. I’m almost sorry I mentioned it…

    Comment by guyclapperton | March 31, 2009

  11. The guy behind “Idiot Forever” is a liar. The story about the cheater uncovered by Google Street View was already published in The Times on 2009-03-26 and written by the REAL Mark Stephens:

    Comment by V | April 1, 2009

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