Tracing a fake news story, from parody site to FoxNews.com

How does a clearly fake story about a Russian warplane and a United States Navy destroyer end up as a FoxNews.com story? The NY Times traces it, from its origin on a parody website, to Facebook, to Russian TV, to The Sun (British tabloid), to FoxNews.com.

The Sun at least hinted at problems with the story, calling it a “bizarre propaganda report” and quoting the Pentagon denying that General Gorenc had commented. Another tabloid, The Daily Express, later posted an article suggesting World War III might be at hand.

FoxNews.com soon picked up The Sun’s version of the story. Refet Kaplan, the managing editor of FoxNews.com, said the story was considered “not as a serious report on Russia’s military capability, but as another example of Russian media hyperbole.” That was not set out in the headline or the article, other than an oblique reference to the original as “propaganda.”

After The New York Times asked about the article, it was deleted from the FoxNews.com website (archive.org copy).

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