As it seems like so many high-profile figures are keen to launch an all-out war on fake news at the moment for the good of everyone on Facebook, at Southend News Network we thought that it would be a great idea to point all of the well-known people and organisations that we have managed to fool in the past.
Top of the pile will always have to be Katie Hopkins. KHop was in the middle of a live LBC radio broadcast in August 2016 when she decided to report that the M25 motorway was going to be closed for ONE WHOLE WEEK. The only problem was that she was getting her information line-by-line from our story about the M25 being closed for, er, ONE WHOLE WEEK so that people would be able to have a fitness and endurance race around it. Relive that glorious moment here.
Anyone who has been reading our stuff for a while will know that we also love to try and ‘poke the balls’ of the far-right from time to time. Hot Cross Buns having their crosses removed to appease ‘mathematical fundamentalists,‘ bikinis being banned from Southend seafront, and the Essex villages of Good Easter and High Easter having the word ‘Easter’ removed from their names all managed to get a serious amount of shares on Facebook pages affiliated with Britain First, the English Defence League and a number of other groups who are passionate about ‘are cuntry.’ The Hot Cross Buns story in particular appeared on Tommy Robinson’s Twitter feed. Oops. A number of mainstream media outlets covered these incidents in detail – have a quick Google and look!
My biggest regret as Chief Reporter of Southend News Network was when I didn’t see how far I could take this next incident. When I wrote a story about a girl having her baby taken away because she called her ‘Heroin’ instead of ‘Hermione’ by accident, I promptly received an email from a news agency asking if they could cover the same story. This wasn’t just any old mush from any old news agency – it was the Acting Bureau Chief of the Associated Press in London! I should have seen how far I could have taken it, and if you don’t believe that this happened then check out the emails …
Jumping from the world of news to the world of entertainment, we published a story about a burlesque act being banned from Southend Carnival for being ‘too adult in nature.‘ ‘Ridiculous and obviously made-up!’ I hear you all cry. Unfortunately, a researcher on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent didn’t pick up on the subtle clues, and he was VERY keen to get my fictitious burlesque troop to go and take part in the Southend audition. I even called him up and put on a ridiculous girl’s voice to try and seal the deal – this included pointing out that I had to give up pole dancing because of a severe case of vertigo (that was the ‘sob story’ element). I gave up after that as I had no intention of wandering around Southend Town Centre in drag, but you can find out more about the whole sorry incident here.
The Pokémon Go craze really got social media buzzing, and we added fuel to the fire by saying that someone in Southend had driven into the sea while they were trying to play the game on their mobile phone. When it was mentioned by someone on BBC Radio 5 Live, there was a reason why her co-presenter had his head in his hands, so have a listen here.
There have been countless other examples of people sharing and mentioning Southend News Network stories without realising that they are utter bull, but these have to stand out above all others. If this whole ‘fake news crackdown’ bullshit ends up in our timely demise, at least we can say that it has all been a laff.