'Onion' spoof on Zimmerman winning lottery fools news, social media
Fake Onion news headline picked up by news outlets.
By Rich Maloof
The headline was literally unbelievable: "George Zimmerman Wins Florida State Lottery." Before any quick-clicking news mongers verified the source, this spoof from The Onion had been picked up by freelance outlet The Examiner and was rapidly making the rounds on social media yesterday.
The Onion is well-known to people — but apparently not enough people — as a satirical site. Their Zimmerman story runs online alongside other eye-catchers such as "Gummi Bear Emerges From Digestive Tract Unharmed" and "Impatient Nation Demands Supreme Court Just Get To The Gay Stuff."
MSN Living: Zimmerman juror shares shocking insights
Nothing takes the funny out of satire like an explanation, but clearly the Onion was comparing Zimmerman's longshot chance of being exonerated to a $37 million state lottery windfall. Perhaps the readers who bought it were still so steeped in disbelief at the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case that they lost touch with reality in the same way they feel Florida's justice system has.
MSN News: Odds of winning the lottery?
The Examiner pulled down the story, but not before the Tampa Star had posted a link to their report. Bloggers and social media users on Facebook and Twitter, where every piece of Web chum gets gobbled up, also swallowed the story whole. Some users were appalled by the news; others were appalled by the rampant gullibility.
It's not the first time and won't be the last that Onion articles have been picked up as real news by legit media outlets. The Zimmerman spoof marks at least the 18th time it's happened.
For crying out loud — check a source, people. They even call it The Onion. Doesn't something smell funny?
Photo: George Zimmerman / Pool/Getty Images
inspire: live a better life
Summer traditions can be great, but if you’re on year six of packing the same people into the same car to go on the same vacation, it’s time to switch things up. Surfing in Portugal, perhaps – or cycling through Northern Ireland. We've put together a list of 15 places well off the beaten path that you should go to when you're ready to try something new.
Grab a sleeping bag and head out to one of these amazing campsites.
A dozen adventures that are well worth the trip.
Paper downplays the significance of practice over raw talent.
Survey says American teens aren't great at complex or basic financial tasks.
Fear of Moving Away: How to conquer the latest cultural anxiety and embrace the unknown.
Adulthood has no eureka moment.
Just like your body, your brain needs a regular workout too.
Being a winner is a good feeling to have — especially in life. Winning doesn't solely relate to competitions or Charlie Sheen's coining of the term back in 2011. From achieving success to maintaining a work-life balance, find out what characteristics mean your life is going the way it should be. You may just even find an inspiration or two that you'll want to incorporate into your daily routine!
Sometimes it seems like you need a vacation from your vacation.
That'll get you and your 2 kids a house, SUV, and more, per a 'USA Today' analysis.
While most of us associate the Fourth of July with fireworks and barbecue (and taking a long weekend off from work), it's also an important day to give thanks to the people who help keep us safe.