A couple of otherwise credible media outlets were duped Sunday into covering a story that turned out to have been nothing more than than the figment of two jerks’ imagination.
As reported by The Washington Post, which admittedly deserves brownie points for not falling prey to this hoax, the trouble began when Minneapolis blogger Jake Nyberg and his demented buddy David Dellanave posted tweets claiming that the Minnesota Vikings football team had decided to open their 66,000-seat indoor stadium to the city’s homeless.
Because the temperature in Minneapolis that Sunday was exceptionally low, Twitter users were touched by this alleged act of kindness.
As a result, Nyberg and Dellanave’s tweets subsequently went viral, quickly catching the attention of several prominent media outlets, including Yahoo Sports and CBS News. Take a look:
“Just spoke with a Vikings official,” he tweeted. “The USBS homeless shelter tweet … is FAKE. Nothing like this is happening.”
Official I spoke w/ loved idea, but said something like this couldn’t be organized on this short of notice. Also, fully MSFA jurisdiction.
— Seth Kaplan (@Seth_Kaplan) December 19, 2016
But by then it was already too late: As noted by Deadspin, Dellanave’s tweet alone had already accrued thousands of likes and re-tweets, as well as media coverage, obviously. Instead of apologizing after being busted, however, both Nyberg and Dellanave initially chose to act like even bigger jerks.
“And people paid to report news went with a tweet that said it was real without doing any research, but yes, I am the problem,” Nyberg sarcastically wrote on Twitter. His account has since been disabled.
Meanwhile, Dellanave expressed a similar sentiment:
You guys are actually more mad that someone MADE UP the idea that the stadium would be used to keep homeless warm, than the fact it’s NOT?
— David Dellanave (@ddn) December 19, 2016
By the following evening, however, their attitudes had sharply changed.
“In hindsight, I chose a stupid and shortsighted way to bring attention to what I believe is a worthwhile question — whether it might make sense for a large, warm, publicly funded building to be opened to those experiencing homelessness on a very cold night,” Nyberg told Minnesota Public Radio. “This obviously backfired. I regret it and sincerely apologize.”
“I’m sorry if this obviously misguided attempt at highlighting a social issue hurt anyone,” Dellanave added on Twitter.
While what these two utter dolts did Sunday was deplorable and inexcusable, there was a bit of a serendipitous side effect to their actions. In spreading a fake news story, they inadvertently exposed how the liberal mainstream media become sometimes complicit in the promulgation of fake news.
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