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Some of the Greatest Media Hoaxes [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2008-4-28 16:46:22 |Display all floors
How about a thread with some of the Greatest Media Hoaxes? Seems topical since they are certainly continuing in what is so laughingly termed the "western media."

Here's the first one:

On January 16, 1926, millions of British people heard what they thought was a political speech from Edinburgh. In actuality, it was part of a fictional radio play about an anarchic public uprising.

I started with:

"We interrupt this program for a special bulletin. The Houses of Parliament are being demolished by an angry mod equipped with mortars. The clock tower - 320 feet in height - has just fallen to the ground, together with the famous clock, Big Ben.

One moment please. Fresh reports announce that the crowd has secured a Minister Witherspoon, the Minister of Traffic, who was trying to escape in disguise.

He has now been hanged from a lamp post in Vauxhall. That noise you heard just now was the Savoy Hotel being blown up by the crowd."

One way or another, everyone listening to the bbbb-see broadcast was affected.


"It is reported that the unemployed are rioting in Trafalgar Square, led by a Mister Poppelbury, Secretary of the National Movement for Abolishing Theater Queues."

The police and newspaper offices were swamped with frightened people while others tried to contact the bbbbb-see directly.

Panic gripped the populace and many tried to flee the city while others fought to get in to rescue relatives. None of them seemed to notice that Big Ben was still standing. Even the British Admiralty was fooled by the panic.

Eventually, the bbbb-see responded:

"We are suspending our special program which, as was announced at the beginning, was intended as a burlesque, not a description of real events."

The following day, at a govt. press conference:

"Rest assured the bbbb-see will not be permitted to put on such parodies in the future."

In the U.S. the media had a field day over the gullibility of the British public.

This happened 12 years before America's own panic of gullible Americans caused by Orson Welles's "War of the Worlds."

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Post time 2008-4-28 17:16:14 |Display all floors

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Post time 2008-4-28 19:00:19 |Display all floors
This one is an ad that was placed in the Lacon, Illinois paper:


"If you are willing to make a whole lot of friends with the state's largest nursery colony of rats, make the call!

We are starting a cat ranch in Lacon with 100,000 cats. Each cat will average 12 kittens a year. The cat skins will sell for 30 cents each.

One hundred men can skin 5,000 cats a day.

Now, what shall we fee the cats? We will start a rat ranch next door with 1,000,000 rats. The rats will breed 12 times faster that the cats. So we will have four rats to feed each cat, each day.

Now, what will we feed the rats? We will feed the rats the carcasses of the cats after the cats have been skinned.

Now get this! We feed the rats to the cats and the cats to the rats and get the cats skinned for nothing!"
The "AD" had been placed by the paper's editor - Willis B. Powell, who had grown so tired of reading fraudulent "Get-Rich-Quick" scheme ads, that he'd decided to parody them with one of his own.

But the story was picked up by the Associated Press and ran in newspapers coast-to-coast, attracting hundreds of would-be investors to Lacon and making Powell vow to never try to be funny again.

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Post time 2008-4-28 19:02:53 |Display all floors

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Post time 2008-4-28 19:07:19 |Display all floors
Originally posted by oneweare at 2008-4-28 19:00
This one is an ad that was placed in the Lacon, Illinois paper:


"If you are willing to make a whole lot of friends with the state's largest nurser ...

No, that's a lie - cats can manage only a couple of litters a year if they are lucky. Typically they have just 4 kittens a year and the more litters they have then the higher mortality rate.
(mostly harmless)

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Post time 2008-4-28 19:34:50 |Display all floors
Here's some of the many hoaxes played out in Benjamin Franklins "Poor Richard's Almanac."

Ben Franklin was a scientist, political leader, and philosopher, but probably more than any other he enjoyed playing hoaxes.

In his Poor Richard's Almanac for 1736 he predicted:
"In 1736 many of America's cities will be under water."
"A power with which the country is not even at war will carry off great numbers of fully laden vessels, out of our seaports."
"An "Army of Musketeers" will land in this country to harass the inhabitants."

Ben's devoted readers found out how "right" he was in the 1737 edition.

He wrote:
"Did heavy rains not 'put cities under water'?"

And the "power were not at war with" Franklin explained was the wind that drove many vessels out to sea.

And, Franklin said the "Musketeers" were mosquitoes who harassed people with their sharp bite.

Franklin gave himself a 100% score for accurate information.

Ben most relished hoaxing his publishing competitors. Rival Titan Leeds was heavy on Astrological nonsense and his publication was named "Leeds Almanac."

Franklin published a prophesy of the day and hour of Leed's "death" that year.

When the day arrived, Leeds stated "I'm not dead yet, Ben."

Franklin was not perturbed however, when his "prediction" didn't come true.

In the following year, Franklin published "In Memoriam - Notable Deaths of the Year Passed" - and Titan Leeds was named as one who had died the previous year. Franklin just insisted that his rival had actually died.

Leeds was livid of course, and he had cause to be upset. With the report of his death, sales of his almanac declined while those of Poor Richard's, soared.

Year after year, Franklin repeatedly declared that Leeds was no more. More and more readers decided that the Leeds Almanac continued publication was a fraud.

After 8 years, Leeds finally did die. Poor Richard's praised Leed's friends for "finally" admitting to the fact that Leeds was dead.

Later, during the Revolutionary War, Franklin used his con-artist talents to undermine British use of the German mercenaries known as Hessians.

Franklin published a spurious letter about a made-up Hessian officer named "Schaumbergh." The letter described how the Hessians were to be compensated for any of their men who were killed in battle. Schaumbergh was described as "throwing fits" because the British weren't paying up. It also said that he was encouraging the British battlefield doctors to let the injured Hessians die. "You're robbing me by keeping them alive," Franklin reported him as saying.

Hessian officers were harassed by English soldiers who were enraged by Shaumbergh's alleged money-grubbing. Hessian soldiers deserted in large numbers, a result that exceeded Franklin's fondest hopes.

One of Franklin's most influential cons was the case of "Polly Baker," who was reportedly arrested 5 times for mothering 5 bast.ard children.

Franklin published an account of Polly's fifth trial, including her impassioned speech in her own defense: "I could do a better job of supporting my children if you'd stop fining me every time I have one. And the men themselves have never been prosecuted even though they were as responsible and made me false promises."

but there was no "Polly." Franklin simply made her up to protest the treatment of women by the legal system.

Polly's speech was reprinted around the world - and supposedly still is - and often called the first American attempt to advocate for women's rights.

Ben was always capable of making a con work to his advantage.

One tale goes that one day he went to a tavern while on a short journey by horse. When he entered the tavern he was told there was no room left. Franklin is reported to have said: "'Tis a shame, but you serve my horse a dozen oysters?" Other patrons of the tavern heard this and, in disbelief, just had to go see the horse eating oysters. Enough people went outside for Franklin to sneak in and get a seat.

Soon, the proprietor returned and told Franklin that his horse would not eat any of the oysters, to which Franklin replied: "In that case, feed them to me and feed that fussy lout some oats."

Ben Franklin definitely knew how people would act and react, and he knew how to use that to get his way.

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Post time 2008-4-28 20:22:57 |Display all floors
Panorama spaghetti hoax?


1957: BBC fools the nation

The BBC has received a mixed reaction to a spoof documentary broadcast this evening about spaghetti crops in Switzerland.

The hoax Panorama programme, narrated by distinguished broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest.

It showed women carefully plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.
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