Filed under: Publicity Stunts
Editor’s note: Media literacy alert!
Really Cute, but Totally Faked
by Dave Itzkoff
New York Times
February 26, 2013
It seemed too adorable to be fake, but it was too good to be true.
On Sept. 19 a 30-second video appeared on YouTube, depicting a baby goat that had become stuck in the pond of a petting zoo and that was heroically rescued with a helpful nudge from a pig that swam out to it.
Within hours the video had been posted around the Web; it had been shared with the Twitter followers of Time magazine and Ellen DeGeneres; and it had been broadcast on NBC’s “Today” show and its “Nightly News” program, ABC’s “Good Morning America” and Fox News, where the “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade said of it, “You couldn’t do this at Warner Brothers as a cartoon and make it seem more realistic.”
But the video was thoroughly staged. It was created for a new Comedy Central series, “Nathan for You,” with the help of some 20 crew members, including animal trainers, scuba divers and humane officers, and required the fabrication of a plastic track to guide the pig to the goat (which was never in jeopardy).
Video by jebdogrpm
That a faked video had been so rapidly disseminated by unskeptical news outlets was both surprising and dispiritingly familiar to professional experts on the news media. (more…)