Monday, October 29, 2007

Global Incident Map Fooled:

CNN Look-Alike Site Blames
CA Fires on Terrorist Group

The Global Incident Map over the weekend got faked out by a faux-CNN site. The site, made up to look like CNN, but calling itself "CNN Headlie News" caused the map to label the California fires as a terrorist act. More from GIM:
Previously we linked to a fake 'CNN' article claiming that the Hispanic group MEChA had taken responsibilty for the recent California arsons.

The story was False, and on a website made to look like an official CNN website, complete with a CNN logo and copyright reading "© 2007 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.". The web address used the domain, and does not clearly identify itself as a satire or parody news site.

The story was a fake, I was duped... apparently along with many other websites, forums, and mailing lists - many of whom do not yet appear to be aware the story is false. I apologize to my readers and to anyone negatively impacted by the inclusion of ths article. Personally I hope that CNN and the FBI track down the author of this hoax website and deliver justice.
DBKP's Little Baby Ginn had covered this and linked to several sources. Those link sources have since disappeared, but the original story, below, is still at this site.
ORANGE COUNTY, California (CNN) -- Radical Hispanic separatist organization MEChA ("Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan") is taking responsibility for setting the wildfires in California, confimed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

California officials received a letter earlier today containing photographs of individuals holding Molotov cocktails, then throwing them into dry brush. The faces of the individuals appeared to have been digitally distorted.

Also included was a rambling manifesto, stating that the reason for the act of arson was that "Aztlán belongs to indigenous people, the Chicanas and Chicanos of Aztlán. We are sovereign and not subject to a foreign culture.
The rest of the story is a pretty much a copy of an original CNN story about the fires. One exception is the fire chief, Kris Conception. The story is the only story on the site that can be accessed. The Sphere-related content is working on the page, including this from Patterico's Pontifications:
If I were a lawyer for CNN, I would send someone a sternly worded letter over this.
I’m all for satire, but there is absolutely nothing there to indicate that it’s satire, other than a single missing letter in the URL.
A later update on PP's site goes on:
UPDATE x3: Commenter Steve points out one line that does identify the piece as potential satire: “No suspects have been identified, though they are probably brown.” That line both provides a potential “satire” defense to the creator, and also clearly labels the phony site as the work of a leftist trying to rope in right-wingers.

UPDATE x4: Also, the registration for the site comes back to a company whose website has four different front pages. One says: “Not one cent to sweatshops,” with a further rant about clothes bearing the Gap label.

That pretty much sews it up. It’s a leftist who perpetrated this particular lie.
It isn't the first time CNN or the BBC's sites have been imitated and used to spoof others. It won't be the last.

One could question the timing of this whole episode, given the seriousness of the story (the California fires) in question. There's a world of difference between a story about current serious events and one detailing the exploits of a lion wiping out 42 midgets, the latter story supposedly by BBC.

by Mondoreb
& Little Baby Ginn


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