June 22, 2012 at 9:34 AM ET
Proving not only that people will believe anything a reporter says, but also that a lot of folks don’t pay much attention to current events, one fake journalist has fooled New Yorkers into buying some pretty fanciful stories.
“Kim Kardashian has announced her candidacy for the California State Senate, what do you think about that?” supposed reporter Mike Holland, played by comic Dan Hodapp, asks one man.
The man, surprisingly, retorts, “I’d vote for her if I was in California.”
Holland later informs another man that President Obama has “fired the U.S. Senate,” and asks for thoughts on the matter.
“Actually, I hadn’t even heard that, embarrassingly enough,” the guy responds.
The show, titled “Fake News Prank,” is part of a larger series known as “Prank News Network” on humor site Jest.com. According to editor-in-chief Jeff Rubin, his team came up with the idea to dupe uninformed New Yorkers when they saw how little people actually knew about the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"During one of our writing meetings, we were discussing how most people probably have a strong opinion on Occupy Wall Street, even if they've lost track of the story and no longer know what's actually going on,” Rubin told msnbc.com. “That seemed inherently funny to us. We talked it through for a while, and ultimately ended up with the idea of asking people for their opinions on stories that they couldn't possibly know anything about -- because they were fake -- and seeing how they responded."
Subjects on the show range from pop culture nonsense like the Vatican granting football quarterback Tim Tebow sainthood to faux breaking news that Germany invaded Poland. Rubin says a few people were initially skeptical, but became convinced by Holland’s straightforward demeanor.
As evidenced in the final cut, people fall for the fake news often. Some targets even pretended that they were previously up to speed on the invented situations.
“The Germany and Poland thing is still pretty fresh,” a young woman observes. “I guess we’re going to see how it rides out.”
Rubin says the show isn’t intended to be a criticism of the media, though he realizes people might interpret it that way. More so, it’s an aim to create original and imaginative online entertainment that relates to viewers and the issues being discussed in the social community. The videos provide a quick and witty spin on daily news, and are often produced in less than a day’s time.
“That's about how long you have before people have moved on from that story and onto something else,” Rubin added. "There are so many choices for online entertainment that it's not enough to just be funny, you also have to make sure that your content has a point of view that people relate to and will want to share with friends.”
Would you be fooled? Tell us on Facebook.
Other stories in Media: