Newsweek editors are doing some serious soul searching this morning after being taken in by a fake Osama Bin-Laden Mel Gibson videotape. The faked up video shows the terrorist mastermind hilariously giving Mel Gibson anger management tips.
“I can’t believe they were taken in by this.” Says comedy writer Kevin Finkmeyer, writer for the web comedy series Buffalo Joe. “I mean terrorist mastermind gives Hollywood whack job career advice? Right! I’m thinking the guys at Newsweek have been sniffing a little too much of something from the newsroom supply closet.”
The story of the tape first appeared as a ‘web exclusive’ last night on Newsweek and was then picked up by news aggregators such as Google News. By the time Newsweek upper management realized they had had a problem the story had gone out to millions.
“This is a pretty serious blow to Newsweek.” Says media analyst Brooke Gladstone of NPR’s On The Media. “Being taken in by such an obvious hoax such as this better cause some serious introspection. I think this illustrates one of the perils of our new faster news cycle. When you get a story right, soon everybody has it anyway, but when you get it wrong baby, its’ all your and everybody knows it.”
Newsweek staffers are standing by the report at this time, but have said off the record that they are review their sources for the story.