agentotter: (end of the world)
OMG. Okay. This is Internet Asshattery taken to some stunning to level. I have to share this one, for the lulz.

So you guys have probably heard of Improv Everywhere, which does sometimes awesome and sometimes just plain bizarre public improv. If you haven't heard of them... now you have.

Alright. So Improv Everywhere, for April Fool's Day, posts a video on YouTube of themselves crashing a funeral in order to make it "the most awesome funeral ever!" They post it to YouTube and garner comments from random irate internet users -- which is all the comment function on YouTube is for, as far as I can see. And then, THEN, their local news station CW 11, apparently suffering a slow news day and figuring that they'll find a clip of a farting panda to run on the nightly news or something, somehow happens across the Improv Everywhere video and reports -- on the NEWS! -- that this horrible improv group has SIMPLY GONE TOO FAR, and the newscasters are suitably OUTRAGED and whatever. You can watch that newscast here, but basically it amounts to, "OMG, the Internetz iz in ur cemitareys lulin' at ur sahrows!"

Here's the rub: it isn't real. The "bereaved family" in the video, and the funeral itself, are all staged... everyone involved is part of Improv Everywhere. It's an April Fools joke. Which CW 11 reported as fact, on April 1st, without bothering to find out whether the events in question ever really happened. Apparently they got "news" and "YouTube" confused. Which is understandable, because what isn't newsworthy about farting pandas?

I know, you're enthralled by this, and it gets better! Well, stupider, anyway. In the CW segment, CW 11 aired the video from YouTube with the only attribution being "YouTube." (That's sort of like airing the Watchmen trailer and attributing it to "apple.com" and completely skipping over the fact that it's a film produced by a film studio.) But when Improv Everywhere posted the clip of CW 11 falling for the prank on their YouTube channel, the newcaster's parent company, Tribune, had the video pulled for copyright infringement.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE! Jim Watkins, one of the newscasters in the piece, responded ever so eloquently in his blog by essentially saying... well, you know, I won't even paraphrase. He sounds stupid enough in his own actual words.

Burying an April Fool’s joke within an April Fool’s joke is controversial, and quite possibly illegal in New York State. But once it’s been done, what’s to keep the alleged punk-ee from going for triple or nothing? What if I told you that some of us at PIX News didn’t think this whole funeral thing passed the smell test? And that, suspecting we were being played, decided to report the story as if we believed it, to see if Improv Everywhere would fall for it, and think they’d actually fooled one of the local TV stations, and put us all over their website, with links sending people back to OUR website? Remember, it was April Fool’s Day for us, too.


No, that argument didn't work for me when I was five, either. I expect it didn't work for you. Apparently it worked for Jim Watkins, because decades later he's still delivering it with a straight face.

I know we don't exactly expect a high calibre of news reporting from the CW -- they exist only to deliver my Supernatural unto me, as far as I'm concerned -- but this is just ridiculous. I've seen more talented journalists at junior high school newspapers. FAIL, CW 11.

Somewhere across the country, Jon Stewart is cradling his head in his hands and weeping like a little girl.

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agentotter

December 2010

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