Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Balloon Boy effect

The hoax fever is catching up eh? Last week it was the balloon boy. This week it's a liberal activist group called 'The Yes Men' who managed to stage a fraudulent press conference within the premises of the US Chamber of Commerce, with one of their members posing as a spokesperson of the Chamber of Commerce. According to Politico, the reason for the attempted hoax was to undermine the Chamber and fake the Chamber's support to the Cap and Trade Bill, coming up for vote in the Senate.

In the clip (below), the poser is taking questions from the press. Soon, the Chamber's actual spokesman and communications director Eric Wohlschlegel, interjects the proceeding and shuts down the show. When you watch the video (below), initially you are kind of confused as to who the poser is. But towards the end you will find the hoaxer admit to it. It is kind of ridiculous that some notable press corps fell for this including Reuters, New York Times, CNBC, FBN and Washington Post. They initially ran the story as "Breaking News" in their newscast / web sites. But then had to retract their stories.

Excerpt from Politico:
(begin excerpt)
In a story posted Monday morning, Reuters declared: “The Chamber of Commerce said on Monday it will no longer opposes climate change legislation, but wants the bill to include a carbon tax.” Reuters then updated the story to acknowledge the hoax, but it was too late. "Reuters has an obligation to its clients to publish news and information that could move financial markets, and this story had the potential to do that,” said a Thomson Reuters spokesperson. “Once we had confirmed the release was a hoax, we immediately issued a correction, and in keeping with Reuters policy, the story was subsequently withdrawn and an advisory sent to readers."
(end excerpt)

The Chamber of Commerce officially does not support the bill because their analysis of the bill shows that the essence of the bill have more to do with paying off corporations who have invested in areas that will fiscally benefit from the bill, rather than actually help in reducing green house gases or saving the environment.

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