A group of German idiots seeking publicity for their movie staged a fake suicide bombing in a fake California town yesterday and tricked the German media into running with it. Kind of like the Coast Guard did with CNN today.
Wired's Threat Report has the story: Everyone in Germany thought that a non-existent town called Bluewater, Calif., was struck by an attempted suicide-bombing yesterday after a group of German filmmakers staged an elaborate hoax, involving fake web sites and Skype numbers, that fooled the German equivalent of the AP.
The filmmakers, who were trying to drum up publicity for a movie called Short Cut to Hollywood, set up a fake web site for a town called Bluewater (it's a real place in rural California, but there's no actual town there) as well as a web site and wikipedia page (since taken down) for a fake TV station there. Then they called the German wire service DPA claiming to be a reporter from the fake TV station and reporting that a rap group called the "Berlin Boys" had attempted to blow up a restaurant. The fake reporter directed the real reporter to the fake web sites, which had fake video of the aftermath of the attempted attack and Skype phone numbers that led to the pranksters. So when German reporters called local officials in California to confirm, sure enough they got (German-accented?) confirmation.
Reporting from Frankfurt, Threat Level's Moises Mendoza writes:
The hoax has transfixed this country. It prompted a 1,000-word tome on the website of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany's most respected newspaper, and even a press conference denouncing the incident by the DPA – the German wire service responsible for first disseminating the news about the "attack."
The hoax's effect was felt thousands of miles away, as a flood of concerned phone calls from Germany jammed the switchboards at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's office, which has jurisdiction over the supposed bombing site in California.
The story was recalled thirty minutes after it went over the DPA's wire. Bizarrely, in the weird and annoying meta twist, the fake video about the fake suicide bombing on the fake web site is revealed itself to be a hoax, within the narrative of the hoax. In other words, these German idiots ended their prank by making a fake video showing a fake reporter saying, "The suicide bombing was a hoax!"
Did we mention today is the eighth anniversary of a rather large suicide attack?