How I Duped The Sun

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Alright, one of the main things I’m doing with this blog is playing pranks/composing hoaxes and documenting them. It’s one of my last breaths of immaturity.

Lately on the internet, a lot has been going around with Google’s addition of The UK to Google Maps Street View. Also, if you’re a frequenter of any link aggregates like Reddit or Fark, you know that the British website The Sun seems like a glorified fake tabloid. They have a bunch of stories that are ridiculous and don’t have much of source. Anyways, I thought I’d capitalize on both of the mentioned facts.

I emailed The Sun, first with the email address sashaharris289@gmail.com. I shot them a “frantic” note:

Hey Sun,

I need your help. One of my mates caught her husband cheating by using Google Street View. He’s a pig. Also, this really shows how the addition of the Street View is hurting people. I think this is a good story for you.

Cheers,

Sasha

I picked the name Sasha Harris because Sasha sounds somewhat British and Sasha Harris is the prostitute that was involved with Sham-Wow Vince. Also, note how I used words like “mates” and “cheers”. This lulls the Brits into a false sense of security. Unfortunately, I couldn’t logically work the phrases ” ‘Ello Gov-na!” or “mind the gap” into the email.

Then, to back up the story, I emailed the sun from the email address Mr.Mark.Stephens77@gmail.com to add a source. I sent them a picture of the said offending street view. The email was boring so I’m not going to post it, but The Sun quickly responded. They thanked me for the information and asked me if I was Mark Stephens, the media lawyer. I shrugged (even though they couldn’t see me shrug) and basically responded “yeah, sure”.

Apparently I hit a streak of good luck. I got the name Mark Stephens from one of those internet random name generators and went with it. I guess Mark Stephens is a known media lawyer in Britain.

I also got lucky because The Sun is a bunch of fools. The picture I sent wasn’t even a street view. I don’t even know if the picture was of an apartment building. It could be a commercial building for all I know. I just zoomed into London (because that’s the biggest city I know) and picked Victoria Street (because Victoria Beckham is a little bit attractive). Then I looked for some parked cars. I guess The Sun didn’t include the Street View picture in their story because they knew it wasn’t a Street View Picture at all and they just wanted to write a fun juicy story.

Look out world. There’s more to come.

61 responses to “How I Duped The Sun

  1. Dear Mr Idiot Forever, or can I just call you Mr Idiot?

    Firstly, congratulations on your massive international media coup! Fooling the journalists at the Sun is one thing, but to make them believe you were British yourself, with your inspired use of the words ‘mates’ and ‘cheers’. Pure genius.

    I haven’t laughed so much since Princess Diana died and I bet Murdoch’s mob haven’t felt so thoroughly duped since they bought those fake Hitler diaries.

    A word of advice though, steady with the use of the word ‘somewhat’, over usage runs the risk of making you look more of a twat than your victims. If that’s possible!

    Once again, well done and keep up the good work.

    Pip pip.

    Donald

    • Donny,

      Feel free to call me “Mr. Idiot”, but if you’re looking to somewhat offend me, I think “Mr. Idiot Forever” is the way to go. Adding forever indicates that I will forever be somewhat of an idiot. Just calling me an idiot implies that I someday may not be an idiot.

      Also, I somewhat deleted 2 out of the 3 “somewhat”s from my article. I am now down to one. I hope you somewhat approve of this.

      Cheers mate,
      Matt

  2. That’s brilliant. I found this article by a guy Chris Matyszczyk on the cnet news website:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10207927-71.html

    You seem to have started a chain reaction.

  3. Sasha sounds english? Maybe if Moscow was in Sussex…

    • Mr. (or Mrs.) Anon,

      I believe that Sasha sounds British solely because of Sasha Baron Cohen. He is, however, a man.

      • A Different Matt

        Yeah, we don’t really have many Sashas over here. (The UK). Sasha Baron Cohen, if you didn’t notice, has a really weird name, it’s definitely far from the norm.

        Cheers,

        Matt

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  5. I would Like to point out the following:
    The SUN is a very real newspaper and part of News International, (Murdoch, Fox et al).

    Furthermore your use of English and choice of an alias make you come off more eastern European than British.

    Other than that, cracking wheeze, I expect you’ll be hearing from Mr. Murdoch’s lawyers soon…. ;)

    • I dunno. The name Matt doesn’t sound too eastern European.

      Also, the Sun is just as much a newspaper as the Enquirer is an example of investigative journalism.

  6. I still can’t believe people think Google Streetview is a realtime feed of what’s going on around the country, as though Google has put little cameras up along every street. I mean, the picture of my flat was taken last summer by the look of the trees.

  7. *applauds*

    As a brit we all know what a bunch of bull the Sun is. Indeed it only sells because of the Page 3 nudity!

  8. Good first attempt. Keep it up.

    Sorry if that sounds like damning with faint praise but it seems you and most commenters have little idea of what the Sun is really like.

    My brother worked for News International at Fortress Wapping (where they publish the Sun) for years. The problem with your little wheeze is that the Sun just doesn’t care whether stories are true or not. They are not an information service, they are about shifting as many newspapers as they can. The more sensational the story, the better for them.

    They very carefully write the stories so that they are literally true (“so-and-so CLAIMED they were abducted by aliens and had a green love child”). As long as so-and-so actually did SAY that, the story is true. It doesn’t mean the claim is true, just that someone really said it was.

    You played into their hands. Now they will probably print another story exposing the fraud. It all sells papers.

  9. The Sun is one of the biggest selling newspapers in country. Sure they don’t _really_ cover the news objectively, just take pictures of celebrities falling out of cars but none the less, it is enormous.

  10. Since when did ‘Sasha’ sound British? Its Russian you tool.

  11. Here’s another example of The S*n reporting things far from the truth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_disaster#The_Sun_newspaper_controversy

  12. I don’t get it. You got The Sun to print a story that isn’t true. And? They do this on a daily basis – this stunt hasn’t achieved anything.

    Had you chosen a paper with a little more credibility (although admittedly there aren’t many around), then maybe I would have understood the point.

    Oh well, at least you’ve generated some page hits for your blog if nothing else.

  13. The stupidity of people believing it’s a real time view is one thing, but the Sun posting a story without checking anything about it first is a disgrace.

    Great post, thanks.

  14. Pingback: Sun taken in by blogger « Social Networking Blog

  15. Haha, german news portal picked it up: http://www.golem.de/0903/66227.html

  16. Idiot forever – Mark Stephens is probably the most famous media lawyer in Britain. So that was a good guess. What’s astonishing is that not only did the Sun not check the story, they didn’t think to question that he had an email address of “Mr.Mark.Stephens77@gmail.com” – a pretty unlikely address for a top email lawyer.

    Just wondering what Mr Stephens will make of it.

  17. Sorry, make that a top media lawyer, not email lawyer!

  18. It is the biggest selling paper in the UK.

    The Telegraph (a proper newspaper; a broadsheet if you will) have also picked up the story:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/technology/google/5080965/Cheating-husband-spotted-at-mistress-home-on-Google-Street-View.html

  19. Contrary to what “A Brit” says, I doubt you’ll be hearing from Murdoch’s lawyers anytime soon.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure Finers Stephens Innocent will take too kindly to you pretending to be one of their senior partners in order to plant stories in the UK’s biggest-selling daily paper.

    So I hope you’ve got your anonymity sorted. I also hope that the Sun hack who thought Mark Stephens would use a Gmail address has got a new job lined up.

    And you think Victoria Beckham is attractive? Ew.

  20. Nice idea :)

    Shame you wont be able to pick up a copy when it’s published.

    I look forward to seeing more of your antics, the more outrageous the better!

    Sam

  21. Next target: New York Times.
    Not bloody likely.

  22. Bloody well done old boy!

    We here in Her Majesty’s British Media Office would like to forward our thanks. Your illumination of said newspaper’s short comings are both warranted and appreciated.

    Regards,

    Lomax.

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  24. No word of a lie: as I finished reading this post, I looked at my CSS feeds in my Google sidebar and saw this headline from FOXNews:

    “Straying Husband Caught by Google ‘Cheat’ View”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,511778,00.html

    LMAO!

  25. I approve of this message.

  26. Pingback: How to Screw the Media « Mike’s Space

  27. Nice work. Mark Stephens is a friend of mine and a good guy. He’s known to many journalists and checking this out would’ve taken seconds.

    I would say serves the Sun right if I thought for a minute that they cared. Rupert might though – I don’t think he likes being shown to be a fool. Good for you for showing how stupid, and supremely lazy, some journalists are.

  28. Television reporters are also easily fooled. Twice, many years ago, I was interviewed for fictitious businesses I was running that aired on the nightly news many years ago.

  29. Yup, those are all commercial buildings. The spot you’ve chosen is approximately the middle of a 1000ft completely non-residential stretch.

  30. Dear Mr Idiot Forever

    Your invitation to consider you an idiot not just for today, but for all time, is indeed a noble and warmly-received gift. For which I thank you. I feel we are almost friends already, although not in a huggy way.

    It does rather seem that you’ve picked at the scab on a nation’s heel with your scurrilous little prank. “I’ve duped a British Newspaper,” you cried triumphantly from your side of the Atlantic. “And fooled them into thinking me British too with a display of vernacular dexterity so impressive Professor Higgins himself would surely have slapped me heartily on the back and invited me to accompany him to a diplomatic ‘do’ at the Austrian Embassy in Berkley Square. Not as his wife of course, for that would be silly. But as his protégé perhaps, or, dare I say it, his ‘idiot’ muse.”

    “Ah, but it’s not a newspaper at all actually,” they responded from the other side of the pond. Not with chagrin I noticed, but almost with a hint of sorrow that it should fall to them, as they say in certain parts of their country, ‘to piss on your chips’. I believe you have a similar such adage involving parades?

    One such kindly respondent, ‘Ex’ I think he said his name was, even suggested that the ‘newspaper’ in question’s disregard for the truth might even be deliberate. “The Sun just doesn’t care whether stories are true or not… The more sensational the story, the better for them.”

    I think there is probably only one thing left for you to do, and that is to up the ante somewhat (excuse me for playing with your favourite word, I needed to know how it felt). By this I mean you must either ‘sell’ your story to a more worthy publication, such as the ‘Sporting Life’ or ‘Horse and Hound’; it matters not which just so long as you choose one with a more rigorous regard for the traditional tenets of journalistic good practice.

    Or, and I have a feeling this is the course you are most likely to take, sell the Sun something far more improbable than your titillating tale of hanky panky in the leafy suburbs of West Ruislip. I think you know the story I mean. It fooled The Sunday Times back in the 80s and I’m sure with a little more of your vernacular prowess, albeit of a Germanic intonation, you will be heralded a success by teatime. A few handy tips though before I leave you: the French were on our side for this one, Adolf is spelt with an ‘f’, and it all kicked off in 39 not 41.

    Chin, chin.

    Your friend until the end, Donald Wolfe

  31. Oh, aren’t you Americans jolly witty.

  32. Steven, Steven, Steven

    I sense hostility. Hug?

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  34. (because Victoria Beckham is attractive)

    See? He IS a liar!

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  36. I believe the correct spelling is “‘Allo Guv’na”

    Keep this in mind for future posts

  37. OMG!!

    I saw this on the Today Show!!!!

    I read this and started laughing!!!

  38. Un.be.lievable! I’ve heard on the Radio this morning! (Athens/Greece)! In full detail! About the lawyer, mistress, google view etc etc and I was wondering WTF??? Google has van running 24/7 in London???

    Well player sir!

  39. Bwahaha, I read this in the London Lite paper, then saw this website and couldn’t stop laughing. No website to link to unfortunately :( Can’t believe how far this spread!

    “A London woman is divorcing her husband after seeing his car outside another woman’s home on Google’s new Street View service. The unnamed wife is citing possible adultery after identifying the modified Range Rover.”

  40. Ha, they just printed the story in the main paper in Switzerland “20 min” called the editor told her she was a fool:) keep the good stuff coming idiot!!

  41. Dude this story was on yesterdays ‘The View’ being read out by Whoopi. Hilarious.

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  43. They ran the same story in MX (a free newspaper handed out to commuters in sydney and melbourne in australia). Having read this blog article before hand, i got some odd looks laughing on the train.

  44. Up here as well – Bravo! ;)

    How The British Media Works and the Reason they Got Duped

    http://joana-morais.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-british-media-works-and-reason-they.html

  45. Pingback: Spotted On The Web, April Fool Edition | Popehat

  46. Pingback: Hoaxes: Cheating Man Busted on Google Street View | Onelargeprawn

  47. Alan Abel would be proud. I support all good hoaxes, and you delivered just that. Congrats! You have earned the respect of the interwebs!

  48. Pingback: Google “Cheat View” Catches Unfaithful Husband | Business Pundit

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    • Yo! :)
      Nice to see that you added the link from my website here..even though mine is a romaninan blog.

      PS* This article is so viral it can cause diseases, man! :P keep it up!

  50. The Sun are idiots. Duping idiots isn’t that hard, but well done anyway. Inspirational. Lets see how many other ridiculous stories we can get them to swallow!

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