Think Progress has become the latest victim of a juvenile faux news hoax. Think Progress ran a story about how Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann proposed “Americanization” labor camps for Central American unaccompanied children. It quickly spread from Think Progress to other liberal sites, precisely what the “source” KCTV 7 had hoped. KCTV 7 is one of a number of fake news sites run by adolescent tricksters who relish spreading false stories. I have previously written about these sites and the type of low-grade “gotcha” pranks that motivate such people. It hardly takes a genius to set up a site that looks like a real news outfit and run stories to trick anyone who stumbles by on the Internet. I don’t find these pranks funny or impressive. I cannot understand how companies like WordPress give them a platform for such hoaxes or why the creators have not faced personal liability over their false stories.
The story quoted Bachmann as saying “I’m calling on all of us, Obama and Congress and everyone, to chip in and build special new facilities . . . ‘Americanization facilities,’ if you will. And we’d send these kids to these facilities, in Arizona and Texas and wherever else. And we’d get private sector business leaders to locate to those facilities and give these children low-risk jobs to do. And they’d learn about the American way of life, earn their keep, and everyone wins in the end.”
Raw Story reported that “However, it turns out that interview, often sourced to KCTV7, was plagiarized from an openly satirical site, The National Report. The KCTV7 report lifted large passages of the Bachmann “interview” and accompanying text from The National Report website verbatim.” National Report is the fake news site that I previously criticized. I honestly do not understand why these people find such pranks to be funny or worth so much effort. They degrade both media and Internet users. It is the equivalent to graffiti on the Internet.
The news site KCTV7 News is a parody. Rep. Bachmann (R-MN) never made the statement. We sincerely regret the error.
The editors of the site relish these juvenile pranks. The site states “KCTV7 is a Kansas City news site that reports local and world news, as well as American politics.”
I am astonished that WordPress tolerates such fraudulent sites or that these people have not been sued for false light or defamation. If a site tricks people into buying false items or harming themselves, WordPress would presumably terminate the site. Yet, here is a group of people who work hard to spread false stories to embarrass people — often attributing harmful stories to people like Bachmann. I am less judgmental toward Think Progress as I am toward these juveniles and, by extension, WordPress that gives them access to victims.