|Publisher||Jestin Coler AKA Allen Montgomery|
National Report is a fake news 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." The National Report describes itself as a "news and political satire web publication" and provides a disclaimer that "all news articles contained within National Report are fiction". The disclaimer, however, is not printed on the main page, which instead claims that the website is "America's #1 Independent News Source."
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. Paul Horner was the publication's lead writer; his employment began shortly after National Report went online. He said that he left National Report in 2014. Jestin Coler has written for the site under the pseudonym "Allen Montgomery".
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. Writing at the time, Craig Silverman of emergent.info saw National Report as one of several websites which were "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", with particularly widely spread hoax stories capable of earning thousands of dollars per day from on-site advertising.
The National Report carries a disclaimer identifying its content as satire and fake news, but there was no prominent link to this page until late December 2014. Numerous articles referring to National Report stories stated that National Report's disclaimer had been removed.
List of serious interpretations
Several hoax National Report stories have been mistakenly reported as fact by media outlets.
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.
One article, at the time of the closure of some US monuments including the World War II memorial in Washington, DC, during a budget dispute, fooled researchers at Fox News Channel into reporting that the President had announced his intention to spend his own money to keep a Muslim museum open during a government shutdown.
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.
- 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 10 September 2015.
- "Main Page". National Report. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- 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.
- Dewey, Caitlyn (22 October 2014). "This is not an interview with Banksy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- Caitlin Dewey (January 21, 2015). "Did Facebook just kill the Web’s burgeoning fake-news industry?". Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- "This is not an interview with Banksy". Washington Post. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Lince, Tim (September 15, 2015). "Notorious ‘cybersquatter’ advises brands: ‘know your target and adapt your approach’ - Blog - World Trademark Review".
- We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned
- Caitlin Dewey (August 19, 2014). "Facebook "satire" tag could wipe out the Internet’s terrible hoax-news industry". Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
- National Report at the Wayback Machine (archived December 24, 2014)
- National Report at the Wayback Machine (archived December 29, 2014)
- "Fox News mistakenly airs parody of Obama offering to personally fund Muslim museum". Yahoo News. 5 October 2013.
- "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
- 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.
- "Jay Leno Chides Fox For Running With "Totally Made Up Joke Story"". Media Matters for America. 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- Wilstein, Matt (2013-10-08). "Jimmy Kimmel Gives ‘Gullible’ Fox News a Shocking Tip About Obama". Mediaite. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- Wise, Jeff (2016-07-24). "National Report’s Allen Montgomery on What’s Wrong (and Right) With the Media". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- Hamilton, Keegan (2014-11-28). "Weaponized Islamic State Ebola, Obama's Marijuana Auctions, and the Art of Fake News". VICE News. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- McKay, Tom (2014-10-20). "Interview With "Allen Montgomery," Founder Of the Hoax Site, National Report". The Daily Banter. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
- Sydell, Laura (2016-11-23). "We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-04-04.