Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'll have a ham sandwich blow-up, please...

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]


Jack Zall said...

In all fairness, so much of Fox News reads like parody anyway, they can hardly be expected to recognize the difference. But thank you: that was exactly the laugh I needed today. :D

Michelle said...

Jack-- Happy to oblige. I'm just passing it on... *grin*

Hardy said...

I think all Americans should start wearing a pin or clasp the shape of a pig with some fresh ham or bacon in it. Let the muslims go back to where they came from. Why did they flee from their country then try to make ours just like what they left. Jews haven't complained about the rest of us eating pork!

Brambor said...

you fail to realize that muslims are americans too

Bret G. said...

To be fair, I believe that Fox News did pick up on the parody version of the story. They kind of treated it as a joke and parroted some of the same lines as the Associated Content Version.

With all that said the real version is a still frightening example of Political Correctness run amok. The Lewiston School system did report the incident to the police as a hate crime and there appears to have been an investigation.

Over what; a ham steak sandwich placed in front of some Somali Muslims.? Don’t any of you find that extreme?

The Sun Journal places the blame on fox for plagiarizing the parody content as\ they laughed amongst themselves for the negative reaction by the American Public.

It would have happened just same had they reported only what is in the Sun Journal about the incident. Which; by they way, leaves a lot of questions about what really happened.

Even if the student threw the bag on table while they were eating it was something that should been handled in a more mature way. Let’s say detention.

This is an incident where the adults in charge acted worse than the student.

William K. Wolfrum said...

To be fair, I believe that Fox News did pick up on the parody version of the story.

The talking Fox morning head said "I am not making this up" maybe 15 times.


Rich said...

Oh the TRAUMA the TRAUMA. Scarred for life. yeow!!!