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August 28, 2009

Guardian and Independent fall for Baltimore Mayor prank

By conrad

The Guardian and Independent newspapers today published stories quoting Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, apparently responding to Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling’s statement that parts of Britain were reminiscent of the television series, The Wire.

The stories related to a quote on what appeared to be the website of the Baltimore Mayor, stating that The Wire was “merely entertaining fiction”, and including a link to a YouTube video that claimed that the British TV show Midsomer Murders had depicted more murders than The Wire.

The website was so convincing that the story appeared on page four and seven of The Guardian and Independent’s respective newspaper editions. The story even made its way to the Baltimore Sun.

Unfortunately for all of the publications mentioned, the website and the quotes were all part of an elaborate hoax cooked up by Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Alex Hilton, also known as a prolific political blogger who posts under the moniker of Recess Monkey.

A quick glance at the site’s source code features a message from Hilton, which says “I’m just having a bit of fun at Chris Grayling’s expense.”

Both the Guardian and Independent have since issued a retraction.

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