National Report is a website which posts fictional articles related to world events. It is described by Snopes.com as a fake news site, by FactCheck.org as a satirical site and by Caitlin Dewey of the Washington Post as part of a fake-news industry, making profits from "duping gullible Internet users with deceptively newsy headlines." It is self-described as a "news and political satire web publication" containing "presumably fake news."
Stories from the National Report have been taken seriously by third parties such as Fox News Channel, and the site drew criticism in October 2014 for running a series of fake stories about Ebola outbreaks in the United States, including the false report that the town of Purdon, Texas, has been quarantined after an outbreak. The story led to a traffic spike of two million unique visitors, and although the story was debunked by other websites, the original National Report story received six times as many "shares" on social media sites as the debunking stories did.
In February 2013, National Report was registered as a site.
In 2014, a Facebook interface experiment included the site on a list of those whose stories were flagged as "satire" when appearing on the social network. Craig Silverman of emergent.info sees National Report as one of several websites which are "not driven by trying to do comedy or satire, but by what kind of fake stuff can we spin up to get shares that earn us money".
List of serious interpretations
Hoax National Report stories reported as fact by media outlets include:
- A report that Arizona governor Jan Brewer intended to introduce mandatory gay-to-straight conversion courses into the state's public school system. A spokesman for the governor called the fake article 'vile' and said 'its authors should be ashamed.' Brewer has been a target of gay rights activists because of her efforts to strip same-sex partners of government benefits, and for her stance on making it harder for gay couples to adopt children.
- A report that fooled researchers at Fox News Channel, in which the President was purported to have announced his intention to spend his own money to keep a Muslim museum open during a government shutdown. The mistake was featured in a comedy sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
- A report that that a man in Hanna, Wyoming was the first recipient of a RFID chip which, the report claimed, was part of an Obamacare pilot program.
- A report published on November 2, 2013 claiming a fictitious Assam Rape Festival created a furor in Indian national and local media. Several newspapers and blogs reported the same. A police probe in India showed the story originated from Uganda.
- A report that an invasion of illegal immigrants forcibly took control of the small town of Sarita, Texas.
- A report published July 15, 2014 claiming that Canadian pop star Justin Bieber would feature on a song on British rock band Radiohead's next album.
- A report published July 19, 2014 claiming a secret service agent was ordered by Obama to spend $4,000 at a Denver, Colorado marijuana dispensary.
- A report published August 7, 2014 reporting that a New York City police officer accidentally killed a baby while arresting the nursing mother for breast feeding in public.
- A report published August 18, 2014 reported that Facebook has created a drug task force that will be working with DEA and local law enforcement to arrest those who discuss using or selling drugs while using the social network. A Facebook spokesperson called the article "spectacularly false," pointing out the Facebook Drug Task Force hotline number listed in the report connects to the extremist Westboro Baptist Church.
- A report published August 25, 2014 reported that Breaking Bad was coming out with a season 6.
- A report published August 30, 2014 reported that a 15 year old male had been sentenced to 25 years to life for swatting.
- A report published September 17, 2014 reported that Dennis Rodman is leaving the United States to talk with leaders of ISIS. Rodman's representative dismissed the claims, saying the retired basketball player is in Hong Kong for business meetings.
- A report publishing October 20, 2014 claiming that British graffiti artist Banksy was arrested and his identity revealed as National Report's trademark moniker Paul Horner.
- "Staff". National Report. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- Mendez, David (26 August 2013). ""National Report" Proves That Not Everyone On Internet Can Write Satire". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "November Surprise". Snopes. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Kindergarten Crock". Snopes. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- "Free Gas For Low-Income Americans?". FactCheck. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Dewey, Caitlin (21 January 2015). "Did Facebook just kill the Web’s burgeoning fake-news industry?". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- "Disclaimer". National Report. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Shafer, Jack (29 October 2014). "Our appetite for fake Ebola stories and other bunk". Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- "Fake news sites are using Facebook to spread Ebola panic". The Verge. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Texas Town Quarantined After Family of Five Test Positive for the Ebola Virus". Snopes. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
- National Report at the Wayback Machine (archived December 24, 2014)
- National Report at the Wayback Machine (archived December 29, 2014)
- Caitlin Dewey (October 11, 2014). "This is not an interview with Banksy". Washington Post. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
- Caitlin Dewey (August 19, 2014). "Facebook “satire” tag could wipe out the Internet’s terrible hoax-news industry". Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- "Gov. Jan Brewer slams satirical report that Arizona is launching gay conversion classes in all public schools". NY Daily News. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Arizona schools not implementing gay-conversion therapy". azcentral.com. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- No, Crazyland's Governor is Not Putting a Gay to Straight Curriculum in Arizona Schools, Tucson Weekly, August 22, 2013
- Fox News mistakenly airs parody of Obama offering to personally fund Muslim museum, Yahoo News, October 5, 2013
- "Jimmy Kimmel Gives ‘Gullible’ Fox News a Shocking Tip About Obama". mediaite.com. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- Gus. "Tea Party Leader Victoria Jackson Falls for Fake/Satire News Site, National Report". Little Green Footballs. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- US website takes satire too far, makes up Assam Rape Festival November 8, 2013
- Assam fumes at American website's 'rape festival' spoof November 8, 2013
- 'Assam Rape Fest' story in US media triggers row November 8, 2013
- "Police Probe Shows Fake ‘Assam Rape Festival’ Came From Uganda". Guardian Liberty Voice. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- ‘Illegal Immigrants Forcibly Occupy Small Texas Town’ is Fake; Sarita, Texas is Fine July 12, 2014
- Misterio: ¿Justin Bieber en el nuevo álbum de Radiohead? July 23, 2014
- Obama Spent $4k on Marijuana While Visiting Colorado July 19, 2014
- NYPD Officer Kills Baby Following Breastfeeding Argument, National Reporter, August 7, 2014
- Hudson Hongo. "Teen Stoners Freak Out Over Fake Facebook Drug Task Force". Antiviral. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Sorry, 'Breaking Bad' Season 6 Is Definitely Not Happening". Mashable. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Teenager Receiving Life In Prison For ‘SWATTING’ Gamer Is A Satirical Hoax Which Stirred Social Media". The Inquisitr News. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Dennis Rodman -- I'm NOT Meeting With ISIS". http://www.tmz.com. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Dennis Rodman denies plans to meet with Isis leaders after satirical report goes viral". The Independent. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Dennis Rodman is not going to the Middle East to meet ISIS leaders". Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Dennis Rodman: I'm NOT Meeting With ISIS". Yahoo Screen. 20 September 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "This is not an interview with Banksy". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Caitlin Dewey (January 21, 2015). "Did Facebook just kill the Web’s burgeoning fake-news industry?". Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2015.