Nothing Is Real

You’re reading the New York Yankees Facebook page and there it is. “Derek Jeter to miss rest of season due to sexual reassignment surgery.” You can’t make this stuff up but someone did. Attack of the killer chipmunks, NYTimes op-ed supporting Wikileaks, and postings from mythical Free Syrian Army leader, Riad Al Assad. Just a small sampling of the fake stories that have been planted on Reuters, the New York Times, and The Guardian—all formerly venerable news outlets…papers of record…all the news that’s fit to print. All hacked all the time.

If you think any of these news outlets are being had think again. One of the most popular research repositories used by journalists today is the Web site (HARO). You can go signup, declare yourself an expert on Killer Chipmunks and get quoted in the NYTimes—as an expert on Killer Chipmunks. If you don’t believe that read Ryan Holiday’s bookTrust Me I’m Lying. He used HARO early and often to get quoted as an expert on things in which he knew nothing.

The Web is a gift from heaven—and the devil’s playground.


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