Drudge Gets Pranked By Hurricane Sandy ‘Looters’: Are Trolls Good For The News?

Initially, I was positively frothing with delight at hearing that an online trolling group, the impressively-named Gay Nigger Association of America, had “pwned” the Drudge Report. The GNAA had published photos and blurbs on Twitter purporting to be of black individuals positively crowing over the amount of swag they’d stolen during Hurricane Sandy. One guy even boasted about stealing a cat(!). But now that the schadenfreude has worn off, I’m not so sure that I’m still delighted.

Of course, Drudge and others ran with the story, hook, line and sinker. The story, though false, hits on so many “truths” it is impossible to believe that it didn’t happen somewhere on the East Coast in some capacity. People looting is a common theme surrounding tragedies and scenes of widespread disaster, and in this modern era, people bragging about the stupid crimes they’ve committed is a common theme on social media. Also, it’s in regards to those oh-so-strange black people — and you know, the “crazy things” they do*. As far as juicy stories post-Hurricane Sandy go, this one is … catnip.

Now the GNAA (I’m only allowed to use their full name once or else this story gets an “R” rating) are claiming that they pushed the fake-looting story out there as a cautionary tale about fact-checking for the media. They wanted to punish the “report first and retract later” mentality of today’s hectic news cycle. But what should we do? Should we “de-evolve” to the old style of news reporting where some withering old man dryly gives us an impartial recounting of the day’s events, but only after the stories are over and the facts are in? I know I am going from one extreme to the other, but there is surprisingly little middle ground between those poles, and I would rather err on the side of quick.

I like the mad scramble for truth once a story breaks on TMZ or Drudge or Twitter. Sometimes we get a bunch of facts and have to sort out the logic; sometimes we don’t get enough facts, and our fantasy fills in the rest. It makes the news exciting when you hear details of a mad gunmen in a place that doesn’t affect you, and you get a dozen different news sources feeding you half-truths that you’ve got to piece together.

So some internet troll group thinks they’re doing something socially meaningful by posting pictures of people who appear to be looting? Several of the photos were actual looting photos, albeit from a different disaster. Maybe Drudge et al bought in so completely because it’s a scenario not so far off from the truth after all?

*I rarely annotate my stories and, believe me, I recognize there is a larger can of worms that I am traipsing around (if not dipping my little toe in), but here it is my intent to clarify that I am speaking from the plane of disconnect between ethnicities with regards to activities such as “krumping.” I sort of “get it,” but not really.      

 

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