Monday, October 19, 2009

Ha Ha Ha: Reuters Duped by Hoax Press Release (Update: Hoax Group tied to SEIU and

Uh, what happened to those layers upon layers of editors and fact checkers?
The devil does not change overnight. Someone or some organization sent out a hoax press release "from the US Chamber of Commerce" stating that the chamber no longer opposed the Waxman-Markey bill. As most hoaxes go, it needed a victim to fall for it.

The venerable news agency Reuters fell for the hoax and published a story that went instantly into the Google News feed.

The press release linked to a fake chamber webpage which featured links to official Chamber sites. The spoof page features a short National Press Club speech, purportedly by Chamber President "Tom Donahue".

Of course this stunned me as I just did a brief article on the chamber's regressive position on climate change. When I saw the the name of "Donahue", I saw something strange because the name is misspelled. The chamber CEO's name is Thomas J. Donohue --- That's when I knew it was a prank.

US Chamber of Commerce officials immediately issued a press release announcing the change in policy position is a hoax.

Reuters took the bait and announced in a news article: "The Chamber of Commerce said on Monday it will no longer opposes climate change legislation, but wants the bill to include a carbon tax."
File this one under: They want to believe it, so it must be true.

CNBC also ran with the story.

Of course, in their jihad against Fox News, the White House claims what Fox reports isn't real news.

Yet I don't see anywhere that Fox fell for this fake news.

Update: Hmm, in a curious coincidence, the White House has recently added the Chamber of Commerce to the ever-growing enemies list. I wonder if those who accuse others of peddling fake news have anything to do with fake press releases?

Update: Politico says some group called was behind it.
Climate legislation supporters say AVAAZ Action Factory is responsible for the release.

The group, known for its activist media stunts, has not returned calls for comment. But a post on the group’s Web site says has plans to “make this the worst Monday ever for the anti-climate PR machine at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “
Curiously, a George Soros-funded group with close ties to the White House is closely linked with AVAAZ? As well as very close pals of Barack Obama.

Would you like to guess who? was co-founded by Res Publica, a global civic advocacy group, and, an online community that has pioneered internet advocacy in the United States. Our co-founding team was also composed of a group of global social entrepreneurs from 6 countries, including our Executive Director Ricken Patel, Tom Perriello, Tom Pravda, Eli Pariser, Andrea Woodhouse, Jeremy Heimans, and David Madden. Avaaz is lucky to have the founding partnership and support of leading activist organizations from around the world, including the Service Employees International Union, a founding partner of Avaaz,, and many others.
One name there should be familiar:
The MoveOn Peace campaign was founded independently by Eli Pariser, a Maine native and recent graduate of Simon's Rock College of Bard. In the days following September 11th, 2001, he launched an online petition calling for a restrained and multi-lateral response to the attacks, which was quickly signed by more than half a million people. Eli joined forces with MoveOn soon afterward, and is now Political Action’s Executive Director.
So here we have groups with intimate ties to the Democratic Party and the White House peddling fake news.

But we're told it's Fox News that's making things up.

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