Sunday, February 2, 2014

Man Marries Dog? How a Nigerian Website Helped Perpetuate Hoax Story About Human-Animal Wedlock

February 2, 2014 - Did a man marry a dog in California? No, but there are a lot of people who are busy re-tweeting, "liking," and copying-and-pasting a fake news story about it. The story is a hoax, but a lot of gullible sheeple actually believe the story, even though it's painfully obvious that it's a not real.

It's damned depressing to know that so many people are so damned ignorant that they are not able to distinguish parody from reality.

I came across the fake story via a timeline photo on Facebook today. It was reposted (shared) by "J," who apparently swallowed the story as truth. She even prefaced her repost of the photo, originally posted by "Scannews," with this comment: "And the left has destroyed the definition of marriage. And here we go!!!!"  

Nigeria's best news source?
Sure, here we go. Another gullible fool breathlessly spreading bad information. With four exclamation marks, no less. What's really happened is that morons have destroyed the definition of "well informed."

"J" was so eager to believe the man-married-dog story that she didn't do 60 seconds of research to confirm whether it was true -- or not. She is probably unaware that the photo and fake story she shared were posted by a Nigerian news organization called Scannews.com.

Actually, Scannews shamelessly copied and pasted an old item from a parody website called National Report, where all of the "news" stories are fake.

But NR doesn't intend to fool anybody. They're just having fun, in the same way that The Onion produces fake news with a smirk and a wink. In 2002, a major Beijing newspaper republished a fake story about the U.S. Congress demanding a new Capitol building with a retractable dome. Ridiculous, yes, but the Beijing Evening News "translated portions of the Onion's tall tale word-for-word in the international news page," reported Wired.com. In exactly the same way, Scannews was suckered by the National Report man-animal marriage spoof story.

The "Scannews" page on Facebook represents Scannews.com, an online Nigerian news service. The "About Us" page at their main website is sadly amusing. It says this:

"Scan News Nigeria is established fundamentally to create a platform for the dissemination of well researched credible news stories and features aimed at setting the agenda for development of our nation," it says. "Our Mission is To develop a news medium that would use true news stories and analyses to engender development in Nigeria and enhance international peace and cooperation."

Scannews ran the story on February 1, 2014. They copied and pasted all but the last line of a December 3, 2013 article from National Report. Amazingly, though, they included lines that should have given away the fact that the article was intended as parody humor. For example: "In attendance was Horner’s entire family who flew in from Hawaii to witness the event. Mac had her puppies on hand and making a special celebrity appearance was Alex from Stroh’s and Spuds Mckenzie."

The Nigerians at Scannews might be forgiven for not getting the pop culture references there. But what about "J" and the dummies who who believed her postDid any of them even read the article? If so, why would they not have been laughing about "Spuds Mckenzie?"

Note to Nigeria: Spuds MacKenzie
is not a real person
Neither the Nigerians nor "J" get a pass for not knowing that the story source, National Report, is a popular website of satire and parody and fake news stories. It even says so on National Report's Disclaimer page"National Report is a news and political satire web publication which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways.  All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news.  Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental."

Of course, nothing becomes viral on the Internet unless there are a lot of people spreading it around. The only reason that the fake man-marries-dog story is trending is that a lot of sheeple are unthinkingly passing it along. Their sheeple friends believe it, and pass on to more sheeple, many of whom post mind numbingly ignorant comments. This happens all too often and is the result of a lack of critical thinking skills.

Also See:

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