In Lewiston news, online pranksters ran amuck and posted a parody of the recent ham incident at Lewiston Middle School. And FOX NEWS (who else) actually picked it up as REAL NEWS and ran the story, provoking a landslide of outraged comment from the public.
Read about the actual incident here, on the Lewiston Sun Journal's website, and then read on to see what happened once it got blown out of proportion and further skewed!
Yeah... definitely one of the weirder turn-of-news-events I've heard of lately.
Ham report stirs 'mess'
By Judith Meyer , Managing Editor
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
LEWISTON - An obscure online parody of the recent hate incident at the Lewiston Middle School - a parody reported as news on a national Fox broadcast Tuesday - launched an immediate avalanche of angry phone calls and ugly e-mails to the school system.
In the parody, the ham steak became a ham sandwich. Fake quotes were attributed to Superintendent Leon Levesque, Stephen Wessler of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, and one of the Somali students targeted in the incident.
The post then appeared to legitimize the information by attributing The Associated Press as its source.
Larry Laughlin, chief of bureau for AP in Northern New England, said the parody was "clearly improper use of The Associated Press brand."
"You can't," Laughlin said, "fancifully make up comments and add them to an Associated Press story."
Lawyers for the AP are reviewing the parody post and will take action as appropriate, Laughlin said.
The parody, posted by Nicholas Plagman of Atlanta, Ga., and published Monday on an Associated Press look-alike site called Associated Content, and the resulting comments and posts on that and dozens of other online sites, created tension at the middle school and among parents of students.
Following the Fox broadcast, Levesque's office received dozens of angry phone calls and profanity-laced e-mails, made and sent by people all over the country, who charge the school district overreacted to what they believed from news reports to be a ham sandwich tossed at a Somali student.
According to Lachapelle, a student brought a honey-baked ham to school to share with his friends. While they were in the cafeteria, one or more students dared another student (not the one who brought the ham to school) to put the ham on a table in front of five Somali boys. That student took up the dare, and followed through even though his friends immediately tried to talk him out of it. The student "knew it was wrong," Levesque said, while he was doing it.
In the parody, Levesque was quoted as saying "These children have got to learn that ham is not a toy, and that there are consequences for being nonchalant about where you put your sandwich."
Wessler was quoted as saying his agency was working with the school to create an "anti-ham 'response plan.'"
Neither man said those things.
Levesque never made any reference to a need to make students feel safe from attacks from any ham product.
[Read full story here: Source]