Its novel “join ‘em” method – auto-tweets that make fun of Fox News anchors and reporters – actually surpasses that network’s methods of false news generation, though. This one is hysterical. Damn entertaining. And (most unlike Fox News stories) some of its messages seem like they could be true, too.
Rob Dubbin, a staff writer with The Colbert Report, created a Twitter account with username of Real Human Praise. Using a unique algorithm to automatically compose messages every two minutes (a “twitterbot”), the account quotes the popular Rotten Tomatoes movie review site, but inserts the names of Fox News personalities.
For example, take the review of “Keep the Light On,” a 2011 drama about gay romance, replace the film’s title with the name of a FOX show host, and you get: “Huckabee is a mysterious, sexy journey deep into the love affair of two men that always manages to stay true to life.”
Another Fox face merges with an old Beau Bridges flick to become: “Hannity remains one of the funniest social comedies of the period, as well as the most human.”
A “#PraiseFOX” hashtag closes every tweet.
Let’s back up the story a bit. We all know that Fox News doesn’t tell actual, real news. We know that it defended its promotion of hoaxes in federal court by arguing it has no legal obligation to tell the truth, and can even knowingly distort news with deliberate intent to misinform (and we know that it won that case). And we’re still learning more and more about the juvenile methods that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire uses to acquire its tabloid-style scoops, too.
But now we’re learning something else that most progressive media and bloggers have suspected all along: Fox News paid staff to scour the internet, follow comments about its network and news stories, and blast those sites with defensive replies and attacks on those negative comments.
According to a new book, “Murdoch’s World” by David Folkenflik:
“Fox PR staffers were expected to counter not just negative and even neutral blog postings but the anti-Fox comments beneath them. One former staffer recalled using twenty different aliases to post pro-Fox rants. Another had one hundred. Several employees had to acquire a cell phone thumb drive to provide a wireless broadband connection that could not be traced back to a Fox News or News Corp account. Another used an AOL dial-up connection, even in the age of widespread broadband access, on the rationale it would be harder to pinpoint its origins. Old laptops were distributed for these cyber operations. Even blogs with minor followings were reviewed to ensure no claim went unchecked.”
Colbert’s response via Dubbin stems directly from Folkenflik’s revelations. The method takes trolling to a new realm, but at least this one’s funny.
See the segment of The Colbert Report’s November 4 broadcast below:
FAUX NEWS FROM FOX NEWS
THE MUPPETS (COUNTER) ATTACK FOX NEWS
FOX NEWS ANNOUNCES 'PRESIDENT OBAMA IS, IN FACT, DEAD'
VOTERS PICK COLBERT FOR SENATE IN RECENT POLLLATEST COLBERT AD: VOTE FOR ... CAIN?
COLBERT PAC RELEASES ANTI-COLBERT VIDEO
COLBERT'S REPUBLICAN RESOLUTION REJECTED (BUT HE'S ASKING DEMOCRATS FOR HELP)