Meet Richard West, the “#1 Breaking News Reporter in South Knoxville and Vice President of the Southeastern Sports Foundation.”
Only one small problem: Richard West isn’t real.
Well, he’s real probably, but he’s not the #1 breaking news reporter in South Knoxville…he’s a dummy account that tweets out fake news, like this classic:
The problem is “West” disguises a lot of his timeline with pretty real, pretty believable stuff – there are way more tweets like the one below than ones like the Brady one above:
He almost got me a few months ago, when I wrote 85% of my blog about West Virginia taking the wrong airplane before figuring out the troll.
And that was me, a Barstool blogger, who took the 2 extra minutes to check some other sources and figure out it was fake. NOBODY expects a Barstool blogger to do “research” or “check sources.” You would expect major media outlets like CBS to do that though – but they ran with the story about Jordan Burns getting left at the airport (they’ve all been deleted, but here’s a scraped version from “The Boston Informer”):
(CBS New York/CBS Local) — Colgate sophomore guard Jordan Burns made it to the the airport for the team’s charter flight to its first-round NCAA Tournament game. But he didn’t make it onto the plane. And the team didn’t notice until they landed.
So now the sophomore guard is taking an Uber from Hamilton, New York to Columbus, Ohio, where his 15th-seeded Raiders will take on the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. The 512-mile trip, under normal driving conditions, should take about eight hours. The game is scheduled for Friday, March 22 at 2:45 ET.
Burns is a key part of a Colgate team hoping for an upset and a little more March madness. He’s averaging 15.8 points and 5.8 assists per game this season. Colgate won the Patriot League tournament, securing their place in the South Region of…
The original tweet got over 14,000 Likes on it, and obviously after seeing “reputable” news outlets posting the story, Burns’ own mother called him to check if he was okay.
Colgate guard Jordan Burns was in Ohio on Wednesday just as he was supposed to be.
Then his mom called.
“She was like, ‘Wow, I know if you would have missed this flight I know you would have picked up the phone and called me, right?’ ” Burns said Thursday. “I was, like, ‘Yeah, Mom, I’m in the hotel and things like that.’ “
Burns soon found out the reasoning. A fake tweet circulated rapidly on Twitter late Wednesday saying the Raiders guard missed the team flight and had to take an Uber to Columbus to join his team.
In reality, there was no funny business for Burns or the Raiders’ travel from Hamilton, N.Y., to Ohio.
“I had a lot of little messages like, ‘Did you not make it?’ Like, ‘Wow, they left you? Really? Like, that’s crazy. After everything you’ve done,’ ” Burns said. “People are telling me all this stuff. It’s funny. But it’s just a fake tweet. It’s really hysterical.” [KNOX NEWS]
Poor mom. Moms stand no chance against the internet.
Good news overall for Colgate fans though – Jordan Burns and his 16 points and 6 dimes a game will be there today, well rested and not sore from a 550 mile Uber ride, for a 2:45 tip against #2 Tennessee.