Man punks journalists

Ryan Holiday pretended to be a credible source on a variety of subjects, just to see who would fall for it. Scalps include CBS, ABC, Today and The New York Times.

“I knew that bloggers would print anything, so I thought, what if, as an experiment, I tried to prove that they will literally print anything?” he says. “Instead of trying to get press to benefit myself, I just wanted to get any press for any reason as a joke.”

At Forbes, Holliday offers a rundown of how fake stories are generated and propagated even without intentional misdirection. He even has a book out on the subject, titled Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. [Forbes]


  1. ’cause I’m going to believe a book written about master manipulation by that manipulator.


    And this whole story will fall apart and shatter into A Million Little Pieces…

  2. Thankfully we don’t, y’know, have an entire industry of ‘PR’ operatives(more numerous than journalists at this point) for which this is a job rather than a stunt. 

    That might seriously impact the quality, accuracy, and integrity of the media, which would be bad. Good thing that this is just an isolated incident of internet pranksterism.

          1. I am rather surprised that BB continues to promote the book, given the prevalence of single-sentence, glowingly positive comments from (surely entirely honest, not at all sock-puppety) first-time posters, on the referenced thread…

  3. This is what the media gets for publishing “he said/she said” w/o verifying underlying facts or calling the speakers to account when they’re wrong.  But that would be the sort of prank Stewart and Colbert indulge in.

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