Whether it's due to really good satire or really gullible people, satirical online newspaper The Daily Currant's parody articles keep popping up across the web -- as fact.
The latest joke-turned-viral article started gaining traction on Sunday as social media sites buzzed with the latest comments from embattled conservative Senatorial candidate Todd Akin , of "legitimate rape" fame.
"Todd Akin Claims Breastmilk Cures Homosexuality," reads the Daily Currant's headline, attached to a full-length piece detailing comments the congressman made to "a reporter for Cape Giradeau's KBSI 23 News that 'female breast milk - when fed directly to an adult homosexual male daily for at least four weeks - has a 94% chance of permanently curing homosexual perversions.'"
Now, to be very clear, this is not true. Although KBSI 23 News does in fact exist, Akin was never on the program, nor has he ever made statements linking breastmilk to a cure for homosexuality.
The fake Akin goes on to claim that the National Institutes of Health knew of the "cure" but was part of a conspiracy that aimed to keep the knowledge a secret.
"We now know how to purge men of sin and put them on a path towards god. Why can't every gay man in America have that knowledge? Just 4 weeks of live breastfeeding can cure them of their terrible suffering. Why aren't we talking about this?" Akin is quoted as saying.
By Tuesday morning, the transition from "news" to news was complete. A quick search of "todd akin claims breast milk cures homosexuality" turned up pages of blogs reposting the story as fact, including this blog on Celebrity Cafe that did not realize the hoax until Tuesday afternoon. (Note: There is now an update clarifying the story is satire.)
The Twitterverse's reaction has been mixed, with many users now posting that the story is fake:
— Kyle MacDonald (@kymacdonald) August 28, 2012
@jhrx4fun The site that this is from (The Daily Currant) is a satirical site. So, alas, it's not real.
While many others have yet to catch on:
Todd Akin Claims Breastmilk Cures Homosexuality | The Daily Currant dailycurrant.com/2012/08/26/tod… It would be more impressive if it cured homophobia.— mdtoorder (@mdtoorder) August 28, 2012
In early July, a post by the site enjoyed similar success after reporting that Rick Santorum thought Grindr, a gay dating app, was used to find coffee shops.
Reporting on the hoax, Mashable contacted founder and editor Daniel Barkeley, who told the site, “We’re surprised and gratified to see the article’s success." But, Barkeley continued, “We certainly don’t try to fool people into thinking our articles are real, but good satire often requires skating as close to the truth as possible while still being ridiculous.”
While the Daily Currant makes its intentions perfectly clear, Internet hoaxes are relatively easy to concoct on purpose, as Bill Cosby and Bill Nye both found out this weeks after being "killed" on Twitter. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with false reports of the stars' demise before the truth finally started to trend on Monday.
Also on HuffPost:
Famous Loch Ness Monster Photograph
The most famous picture of the Loch Ness Monster, a grainy black-and-white photograph showing a long head and neck emerging from the lake, was eventually revealed to be a hoax. As the <em>New York Times </em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/20/weekinreview/loch-ness-fiction-is-stranger-than-truth.html" target="_hplink">reported</a>, the "monster" in the photograph was a bogus 12-inch-high model made from plastic, wood and a toy submarine purchased for two shillings, six pence in Woolworth's in a London suburb, David Martin and Alastair Boyd, of the Loch Ness and Morar Project said. (Photo: AP)
Adolf Hitler's $6 Million Diary
In 1983, German newsweekly<em> Stern</em> claimed to be the new owners of what would have been the most explosive diaries in history: the collected thoughts of Adolf Hitler, <em>Time</em> <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1931133_1931132_1931123,00.html" target="_hplink">reports</a>. Though the magazine paid a cool $6 million for the documents, the diaries were later exposed as "grotesquely superficial fakes" made on modern paper using 1980s-era ink and riddled with historical inaccuracies. The prank cost editors at <em>Stern</em>, the <em>Sunday Times</em> and <em>Newsweek</em> their jobs. (Photo: AP)
War Of The Worlds
The 1938 broadcast of a <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_warworlds.html" target="_hplink">radio adaptation</a> of HG Wells' <em>The War of the Worlds</em> frightened many listeners into believing an actual alien invasion was in progress. Narrated by Orson Wells, the adaptation had been written and performed to sound like an actual news broadcast about an invasion from wars. Believing they were under attack by Martians, listeners flooded newspaper offices and radio and police stations with calls, asking how to flee their city. (Photo: AP File)
Georgia Invasion Hoax
As <em>Time</em> <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1931133_1931132,00.html" target="_hplink">reports</a>, Georgians were in for the shock of their lives in when the pro-government Imedi station announced that the country's pro-western leader Mikheil Saakashvili had been murdered and Russian tanks were yet again invading their land, barely 18 months on from the short-lived war of 2008. Panic understandably ensued as people piled onto the streets, and the cell phone network collapsed. Apparently the broadcast was introduced as a simulation of possible events but this warning was clearly lost on many Georgians: people were taken to hospital suffering from stress and it's been reported that one woman, whose son was in the army, had a heart attack and died. (Photo: Getty)
In 1912, British scientists believed they had finally found definitive proof of mankind's evolution: the missing link between man and ape. As<em> Time</em><a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1931133_1931132_1931125,00.html" target="_hplink"> reports</a>, the parts of a skull and jawbone, collected from a gravel pit in the village of Piltdown, had many experts convinced they were the fossilised remains of an unknown form of early man. But 41 years later, Piltdown man was finally exposed as a composite forgery: a human skull from medieval times, the 500-year-old lower jaw of a Sarawak orangutan and chimpanzee fossil teeth. (Photo: Wikicommons)
On 15 October 2009, Richard and Mayumi Heene in Fort Collins, Colorado, allowed a gas balloon filled with helium to float away into the atmosphere and then claimed that their six-year-old son Falcon was inside it. As CNN <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2009-10-16/us/colorado.balloon.boy_1_richard-heene-mayumi-heene-alderden?_s=PM:US" target="_hplink">reports</a>, when the balloon finally landed, Falcon was not on board. Later, he came out from hiding in an attic over the home's garage.
As the Science Channel reports, London-based video entrepreneur Ray Santilli claimed to own footage of an alien autopsy performed after the 1947 Roswell Incident, which aired in 1995 to an audience of millions. He later fessed up to the hoax, noting that all the alien innards in the film were actually sheep brains, raspberry jam and chicken entrails. (Photo: AP)
Microsoft Buys The Catholic Church
In 1994 a press release bearing a Vatican City dateline, began circulating around the Web claiming that Microsoft had <a href="http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/msft.html" target="_hplink">bought</a> the Catholic church. The release even quoted Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates as saying, "The combined resources of Microsoft and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people." Microsoft finally issued a formal denial of the release on 16 December, 1994. (Photo: AP)