Did We Just Catch Fake News Being Made?

Did We Just Catch Fake News Being Made?

Did We Just Catch Fake News Being Made?

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On Saturday, an explosion that rocked Baghdad killed at least 10 and injured at least 34 more when a car bomb exploded, the Associated Press published in a news release citing Iraqi officials.

Though photos of charred car remains followed the news release by less than 24 hours, there’s speculation that this story may have been fabricated — complete with a staged bombing and actors.

According to the initial report from the AP, Iraqi officials said a car bomb exploded and killed at least eight. Later reports, also from the AP and distributed across media outlets, said the confirmed death rate was up to 10 with an additional 34 injured.

A video published to the LiveLeak Official Youtube channel, however, with a timestamp of 3:40 on Oct. 30 shows a car bomb detonating in an empty street.

In the moments after the explosion, an estimated 20 people rush to the scene — some of whom collapsed and lie motionless as they pretend to be injured or killed, while others played the part of emergency crews carrying the bodies from the street and stacking them into a van. No media appears to be on scene, and the footage looks as if it was pulled from a security camera on a nearby building.

The next day, the AP and the Daily Mail published photos of the supposed bomb site that included the remaining debris and ash and the explosion. The wall in the background of the photos is the same of that in the video.

The video depicting the staging of the scene, however, did not surface until today making it plausible that the AP and Daily Mail reporters were entirely unaware the scene was fake.

This is not the first time a news report has been called into question after a reporter chases fake news leads. The Washington Post, for example, published an article saying that former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin was hired by Al Jazeera America, and USA Today once mistook an April Fools’ joke as a news release and wrote a report about the “selfie shoe.”

For the time being, it’s unclear what group staged the bombing, who the actors are and what the motive behind the fake bombing was.

The video did serve as an important remind, though, to take everything published by media with a grain of salt, especially as voters prepare to cast their ballots in next week’s general election.