Just today, I’ve seen three reports of staged scenarios disrupting the mainstream’s credibility…
First, the biggest story comes in the form of war time photography from the Middle East. Michelle Malkin alerts us to what she terms as “Fauxtography“, where photojournalists working for various news agencies produced reports riddled with discrepancies (i.e. engineered fakes). Among the newspapers with reporters playing foul: New York Times, US News, Time magazine as well as Reuters. Watch as Michelle deconstructs these photographs to show you how things aren’t what they seem. For more, she points to an ongoing list of fauxtographies.
Second, from the public relations industry comes a term new to me: Astroturfing. Apparently PR firm Pierce Mattie got in hot water for posing as customers of their clients’ products and leaving phony comments on several beauty blogs. Jackie Danicki (who runs a beauty blog called Jack & Hill) tracked the IP addresses to the firm and alerts other bloggers to block that address from adding comments. Steve Rubel notes that this marks a disturbing trend for the entire PR industry and urges the PR community to join in the anti-astrosurfing effort via TheNewPRWiki.
Lastly, Wired News had to remove three articles from its website after an internal investigation failed to confirm the authenticity of a source used in the stories. Freelance space reporter Philip Chien came under investigation after the agency discovered discrepancies in his report. They started by tracing the name and Hotmail account provided as a source to a Usenet posting praising Chien’s work. Wired News then discovered that the IP address of the poster, the hotmail account and Chien’s computer shared the same IP address. Chien later admitted he created the Ted Collins Hotmail account and used it in an attempt to mislead editors. Interestingly, he had worked for online, print and television news outlets, and recently authored a book on the Columbia space shuttle disaster.