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Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:31 PM Jul 2012
How This Guy Lied His Way Into MSNBC, ABC News, The New York Times and Morehttp://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2012/07/18/how-this-guy-lied-his-way-into-msnbc-abc-news-the-new-york-times-and-more/
7/18/2012 @ 10:28AM |71,551 views
How This Guy Lied His Way Into MSNBC, ABC News, The New York Times and More
Ryan Holiday could be called an expert. As head of marketing for American Apparel, an online strategist for Tucker Max, and self-styled media manipulator, he can talk social media and modern advertising with the best of them hes done so both online and in print on countless occasions. He is not an expert in barefoot running, investing, vinyl records, or insomnia. But he is a liar. With a little creative use of the internet, hes been quoted in news sources from small blogs to the most reputable outlets in the country talking about all of those things. Holiday, 25 years old and based in New Orleans, mostly wanted to see if it could be done. He had been getting blogs to write what he wanted for years, and had developed a sense of how stories were put together in the internet age. He thought he could push the envelope a bit further.
I knew that bloggers would print anything, so I thought, what if, as an experiment, I tried to prove that they will literally print anything? he says. Instead of trying to get press to benefit myself, I just wanted to get any press for any reason as a joke. He used Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a free service that puts sources in touch with reporters. Basically, a reporter sends a query, and a slew of people wanting to comment on the story email back. He decided to respond to each and every query he got, whether or not he knew anything about the topic. He didnt even do it himself he enlisted an assistant to use his name in order to field as many requests as humanly possible. He expected it to take a few months of meticulous navigation, but he found himself with more requests than he could handle in a matter of weeks. On Reuters, he became the poster child for Generation Yikes. On ABC News, he was one of a new breed of long-suffering insomniacs. At CBS, he made up an embarrassing office story, at MSNBC he pretended someone sneezed on him while working at Burger King. At Manitouboats.com, he offered helpful tips for winterizing your boat. The capstone came in the form of a New York Times piece on vinyl records naturally, Holiday doesnt collect vinyl records.
Lying to journalists is nothing new. People have swindled newspapers for free publicity long before tools like HARO even existed. Holiday is probing just how easy it can be in 2012. HARO Founder Peter Shankman notes that anyone abusing the system can be flagged and banned, and ultimately, the service is just a tool, and should be subject to all the same old rules of journalism. As a journalist, its always been your job to do your research and check the source, whether you find that source on the street, on Craigslist or on HARO, he says. If youre not doing that, youre not doing your job however you find the source.
Holiday does it for the attention, the opportunity to point out some of the excesses of the modern blogosphere, and the lulz. Empires will not fall because he claimed someone once sneezed on him. Still, it gives one reason to stop and think about what the quest for traffic and eyeballs does to news. Depending on how you look at it, stunts like this either erode the trust a reader has in a publication, or point out that it may have been misplaced to begin with. Its not a big leap to imagine somebody using those same tools for more nefarious purposes. A well made article and a poorly made article both do clicks the same way, says Holiday. Theres no incentive to do good work. We know that quotas make cops do sh***y things, or academic admissions offices do sh**ty things, and they make bloggers do sh***y things too.
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How This Guy Lied His Way Into MSNBC, ABC News, The New York Times and More (Original Post) SoCalDem Jul 2012 OP
Very interesting. Quantess Jul 2012 #1
hahahaa what a great idea.. there is probably a lot of this going on. Voice for Peace Jul 2012 #2
2. hahahaa what a great idea.. there is probably a lot of this going on.
Reply to SoCalDem (Original post)
Fri Jul 20, 2012, 01:29 AM
25 years old.. those were the days.