Manipulating Your Perception of Reality: The Scourge of Fake News & Media Hoaxes

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“My father was a writer…he used to say that artists use lies to tell the truth while politicians use them to cover the truth up.”

Evey Hammond


fake army document, red stamp


Corporate media is dying. Gallup found that 60% of Americans possess scant trust in the mainstream media to report news in 2012, and this trend has continued through 2015. Pew Research Center found last year that 65% of respondents viewed the news media negatively, and this was only superseded in terms of negativity vis-à-vis the federal government and Congress at 67% and 75%, respectively. Interestingly enough, this same Pew study also found that percentages of respondents who thought the national news media had a positive effect dropped from 31% to 25% from 2010 – 2015.

Why is the mainstream media losing its credibility? I think it is due to a variety of factors, not the least of which are sensationalism and the 24-hour news cycle. These elements directly enable other facets, such as trial by press, victim playing, and the deviancy amplification spiral. Whether it be due to fake moral panics and their concomitant media circuses, or the promulgation of false narratives, the fact of the matter is that the American press are a bunch of clowns who regurgitate whatever is handed to them on a silver platter with hardly any investigative journalism done whatsoever.

Media pranks serve as a form of scolding against yellow journalism. By exposing the ulterior motives of disingenuous sensationalists who use the prima facie story tactic, culture jammers free the audience from the tyranny of illusions, not unlike leading people away from the dancing shadows within Plato’s cave. Disillusionment against professional pundits and “opinion makers” by way of making them appear foolish for believing in something not at all true really strikes at the core of placing faith in “authority” itself.

Over the years, I have mentioned various aspects of mainstream corporate “news,” as well as why I consciously try to limit my exposure to it. I think you ought to avoid the news because it encourages conspicuous consumption, promotes fake grievances, and lowers your incredulity. By acquiring and maintaining a humorous disposition, you could easily demonstrate the false narratives of news anchors and journalists by pranking them, which is a cause I expect Simon Jester might just get behind.

So, what are some examples of media hoaxes? Orson Welles’ 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast and the 2009 “balloon boy” story could be thought of as unintentional pranks, given that Welles wasn’t trying to expose anything about the media and the Heene family were themselves exposed as wannabe reality television “stars.” Intentional hoaxes would be more like staging a mock levitation of the Pentagon back in 1967, or the infamous Joey Skaggs convincing the UPI and WNBC-TV that mutant cockroach hormones were a cure for arthritis and radiation poisoning.

Better examples, I think, both occurred during 1992. Dateline NBC ran a story entitled Waiting to Explode!, which alleged that pickup truck gas tank explosions were a result of a manufacturer’s defect by General Motors, and the British Independent Television News claimed that the Bosnian Serbs were running concentration camps. The fact of the matter is that NBC deliberately fabricated the demonstrated explosions through the use of pyrotechnics, and ITN filmed and photographed the refugees from inside a fenced off area surrounding a transformer so as to manipulate the public into supporting military adventurism into the Balkans.

During more recent years, a handful of homosexuals chose to perpetrate false flags in the attempt to elicit sympathy for same-sex marriage mostly before the United States Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision. Some of these documented cases include the following:

  • ABC News reported in May of 2012 that Aimee Whitchurch and Christel Conklin faked a hate crime outside their home, and police charged them both with criminal mischief and false reporting.
  • Two months later, reported that Alexandra Pennell faked a series of threatening homophobic letters sprinkled across Central Connecticut State University’s campus; Pennell was expelled and charged with a variety of felony counts of fabricating evidence, lying to the police, filing a false police report, and making a false statement to police.
  • The following month in July, The Missoulian reported that Joseph Baken faked a hate crime outside a bar; Baken was charged with making a false report to law enforcement.
  • During the next month of August, USA Today reported that Charlie Rogers faked a hate crime inside her home; not only did police charge her with making a false report, but Rogers herself confessed to buying nearly all the evidence she had initially claimed was used to torture her, which was left at the scene.
  • In December of 2013, The New York Post reported that waitress Dayna Morales faked an incident of bigotry by claiming there was no tip followed by a prejudicial sentence written onto the receipt; once the accused diners came forward with their dinner receipt showing an $18 tip and no sentence of any kind, Morales was fired.
  • The New York Times reported in May of 2016 that pastor Jordan Brown faked an incident of bigotry by claiming a wedding cake had the word, “fag,” added to it; Pastor Brown has since rescinded his lawsuit against Whole Foods.

Whether it be phony hate crimes, fraudulent homophobic letters, or non-existent incidents of bigotry, these are the types of unethical media hoaxes that plague the news cycle. Thankfully, the mainstream media in these examples reported on them as such eventually, but such is not always the case, especially when the individuals within the narrative have demographic characteristics that are politically correct in some manner.

Although it is obvious to see that unintentional or unethical media pranks can veer off into the realm of being misunderstood or even criminal, it does beg the question of is there such a thing as an ethical prank? When you understand that magicians (aka, illusionists) maintain a code of ethics, then you can comprehend what makes them fundamentally different from confidence artists and garden-variety scammers. Illusionists are duty bound by their craft to tell you that what they are doing is an illusion, either before or after the fact. If anything, culture jammers might be considered a type of illusionist who exposes the con men of mainstream journalism and popular culture, arguably similar to James Randi’s legacy.

In the spirit of this tradition, I myself participated in a media hoax yesterday, which I am willingly revealing here for the very first time, right now. A few days ago, a picture surfaced on Facistbook by Diane Holthaus alleging that the U.S. Army was preparing for martial law (this has been subsequently mirrored by Daniel Jackson yet rebutted by Cope Reynolds). Given the martial law hoax of Jade Helm last year, I decided to artificially craft a document similar to Holthaus’ one, which is what I released yesterday. The whole point of that demonstration, as well as this very article’s own picture being a remake of that same fake document with the red “FAKE” stamp added onto it, is to encourage the patriot community to become more skeptical than they have been in the past, as I have done before when Gary Hunt and I recorded the five-part Patriot Mythology series.

Culture jammers are much like artists, whereas news-anchors and lamestream journalists are more similar to politicians; the former uses lies to tell the truth as opposed to the latter who use lies to cover the truth up. The fact of the matter is that fake news inevitably leads to information overload, and eventually, outrage fatigue. When you consider the truth that the intellectual presstitutes of the corporate whore media are willing to outright lie about such serious things as defectively exploding gas tanks and the suffering of concentration camp victims, then you have to wonder, what else are they lying about?

One thought on “Manipulating Your Perception of Reality: The Scourge of Fake News & Media Hoaxes

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