Fake News Follies: Media Fall for Dumb Delta Arabic Stunt

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By William Hicks | 11:15 am, December 22, 2016

The media loves to wag its collective finger at the credulous American public and their willingness to believe and spread “fake news.” But what about the media themselves?

Yesterday, they proved how dopey and gullible these so-called professional reporters and news gatherers are. The mainstream media both believed and disseminated an obviously fake news story about two Muslim guys getting kicked off a Delta airline flight just for speaking Arabic.

Yes, they were kicked off a flight, but it was because they were shouting and causing a scene, according to Delta, which spoke with other passengers. 

But no one needed to wait for Delta’s statement, which came out much later in the evening. A three-second google search of Adam Saleh shows he’s a YouTube star with a history of faking events on video of both racial profiling and in airports and on airplanes. It is clear from watching many of the videos that he has been trying to instigate a racially charged incident on a plane for quite some time now.

Early in the afternoon on Wednesday, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien was tweeting out that she had a friend on the plane who disagreed with Saleh’s account. Obviously anyone close to the incident saw what Saleh and his friend were doing was an intentional provocation to get attention, like everything else the guy has done in his whole career on social media.

While, Heat Street called the story fake almost immediately, the so-called legacy media waited to get their facts straight.

The prestigious New York Times sent some bumbling ink-stained oaf to investigate. The story they published in today’s print edition is very sympathetic to Saleh and claims other passengers “corroborated” Saleh’s story. It does not say how close these passengers were to the ruckus caused by the notorious hoaxers.

And now the think pieces are already flowing. New York Daily News commentator Shaun King has already penned a strongly worded condemnation of white privilege on airplanes. Even going so far as to say the fact that they are sometimes known for “pulling pranks and hoaxes for laughs and giggles” is basically irrelevant to the issue of discrimination on a plane. BUT THIS IS THE ISSUE!

Now, thanks to the media’s credulity, there is a growing movement to boycott Delta. Thousands will go on thinking the airline is racist without bothering to follow up on the actual facts.

The most trustworthy description of what actually happened doesn’t come from large newspapers with well paid reporters, but some guy posting on Reddit who claims he was on the plane and posted his ticket as evidence.

Turns out Saleh and his friend were shouting random stuff in Arabic and filming people’s reactions. He was told to stop and did not do so, so he wound up getting kicked off a plane.

It is very disconcerting that this incident has already become a partisan issue, with right leaning outlets calling it an obvious hoax, while left-leaning pubs give the serial faker the benefit of the doubt.

So what does this mean for the future of journalism? What incredibly improbable stories will the media blindly transcribe next.

“Kleptomaniac frisked by mall security just for pecking her lesbian girlfriend on the cheek”

“Child molester kicked out of daycare just for quietly reading the Quran”

“Home invader kicked out of woman’s closet for simply speaking Arabic on a plane to his sick, dying mother”

Of course, a guy who habitually does pranks on planes is lying when he says he was unjustly booted from a plane. How do some of these reporters put one foot in front of the other without tripping, while being dumb enough to fall for this obvious hoax.

Follow me on Twitter @William__Hicks

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