Gawker falls for BirthOrNot abortion hoax by its own trollish commenter, Zeeboid [UPDATED]
|Nick Denton bought the birthornot.com hoax hook, line and sinker on Gawker.|
We even sent a reporter to the Arnold house in Apple Valley, where we were rebuffed on video, but not before we snapped a picture of a car with the vanity plate "Zeeboid" parked out front.
Gawker, the outlet that first thrust birthornot.com into the national spotlight yesterday morning should have been familiar with the word. It was the same name Arnold uses as a commenter on their sister website Jalopnik.
|Zeeboid isn't just his vanity license plate, its also his Gawker commenter name.|
Being offended is like getting presents. You are lucky when you get either from meOne wonders now if Gawker should have been more incredulous of the story when Zeeboid pitched it to them. Sure, at the end of the post, Adrian Chen suggests that it could be fake--but not before a lede that buys into the hoax's premise hook, line, and sinker:
This may be a classic example of a story "too good to check." In a company where bloggers are paid by the pageview, it almost doesn't matter if something is true or not.
The Arnolds are having a baby. Unless the public votes to have the child aborted. Meet the couple behind Birthornot.com, where "you can vote and choose whether we abort or keep our unborn child."
Gawker runs a fake story spawned by one of its own commenters.
Pete and Alisha Arnold, both 30, both tech professionals, live in the Minneapolis suburb of Apple Valley and have been married for 10 years. Since September, they've blogged about their expected child at birthornot.com, posting health updates about the mother and the fetus (which will be 17 weeks-old tomorrow), and ultrasound pictures and video. But at the top of the blog is a poll hosted by PollDaddy.com. The question: "Should We Give Birth or Have an Abortion?" "Give Birth" has 46 percent of the vote at the moment, with "Have an Abortion" at 54 percent. The poll closes on December 7th.
|288 news outlets reported the BirthOrNot abortion poll story, according to Google News.|
UPDATE: Sadly, it looks like the old adage will prove true that a lie is halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on: Just 19 minutes ago, CNN International told a worldwide audience that a woman in Apple Valley is holding a poll to determine whether she gets an abortion.
The Birthornot Files:
- Pete and Alisha Arnold want you to vote on their abortion
- Birthornot.com: Is it a hoax or not?
- Birthornot.com owners: It's not a hoax
- Birthornot.com owners won't talk on video
- Zeeboid license plate: The smoking gun in the Birthornot hoax
- Gawker falls for BirthOrNot abortion hoax by its own trollish commenter
- BirthOrNot.com: Anatomy of an Internet Hoax
- John Kalal admits Pete Arnold is Zeeboid the Internet Troll
- John Kalal's mugshot: Meet the wholesome spokesman for BirthOrNot.com