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A 2015 Manchester Evening News (Credit: Facebook)

The UK Manchester Evening News fell for a hoax press release claiming there was going to be a “naked streak” in Manchester’s Gay Village to raise money, the Press Gazette reported.

While the story has been unpublished from the Manchester Evening News‘ website, it was re-published on MSN.com.

iMediaEthics compared the newspaper’s story with the original press release. It appears that the Evening News copied and pasted not just quotes but text from the press release, without noting the information all came from a (fake) press release. The article did not mention the press release or attribute any of the quotes or information to the press release. In other words, not only were they hoaxed, but they also apparently plagiarized from the fake press release.

The activist group FactsMCR, which is a critic of the Manchester Pride event, sent the fake press release to the Evening News, with its member Geoff Stafford complaining to the Press Gazette that the Evening News only prints positive news of the annual pride event. Stafford said the Evening News printed the story “within an hour or two” and the Evening News didn’t apparently try to fact check.

“This wasn’t done as a joke or for malicious purposes,” Stafford told iMediaEthics. “It was in itself a journalistic act. To expose low standards in the mainstream media. To show how newspapers have left themselves open to being a conduit for propaganda. Do they care?”

A copy of the Manchester Evening News’ article was published on MSN. iMediaEthics highlighted what was copied from the press release. Click to enlarge.

A copy of the Manchester Evening News‘ article was published on MSN. iMediaEthics highlighted what was copied from the press release. Click to enlarge.

A copy of the Manchester Evening News‘ article was published on MSN. iMediaEthics highlighted what was copied from the press release. Click to enlarge.

iMediaEthics has contacted the Evening News to ask about the copy-and-pasting from a press release without disclosure, attribution or quotes. The newspaper’s news desk directed us to its  corporate communications team, but we haven’t heard back.

The article and press release includes fake quotes that should have made the Evening News suspicious. Local councilor Pat Karney is quoted as saying,  “I always like a sausage at our world-beating Christmas market, but I’m not sure residents are ready to see mine.”  Manchester Pride’s Mark Fletcher is quoted as saying, “Buns are traditional at Easter. Mine are smooth and hot, but not crossed. Although my legs might be in this weather!”

iMediaEthics wrote to Karney to see if he had any comment about the fabricated quote attributed to him but hasn’t received a reply. We also contacted Manchester Pride, whose press representatives said the Evening News is their media partner and they have spoken with the newspaper about the hoax. They also said they would provide iMediaEthics a comment but haven’t done so as of publication.

 

The fake press release. Click to enlarge.

Stafford told iMediaEthics by e-mail that FactsMCR wants to “bring some change” to the Manchester Pride to roll back some of the changes to the pride event over the years, such as closing the Gay Village for ticket-only attendance during the event. FactsMCR, which is “mainly LGBT people but not entirely,” disputes some of the media coverage of the festival, such as its attendance records and lack of attention toward FactsMCR’s criticism of Manchester Pride.

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According to Stafford, FactsMCR used a free e-mail address manchesterpride@protonmail.com with Manchester Pride’s real e-mail and phone number, but a fake spokesperson’s name, to send the press release to the Evening News.

The Evening News‘ parent company, Trinity Mirror, told the Press Gazette it ran the story “in good faith” and unpublished “after less than five minutes.” Trinity Mirror stood by its reporting on previous pride events. FactsMCR disputed that the article was removed that quickly, writing in a tweet and an e-mail to iMediaEthics that the story was up for nearly a day.

 

 

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Gay Pride Mass Streaking? Manchester Evening News DUPED by Hoax Press Release

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4 Responses

  1. Alex says:

    Great news about Manchester Pride for everyone.
    For over 12 years people have been informed that they needed to pay to get into the gay village while the event was on.
    We know that this was untrue and people have been forced to pay when in fact no ticket has ever been needed as you have the right of access to enter the village and it a offence under the highways act section 137 to decline a persons right of access . The fact that no payment is need has been confirmed by Department For Transport, Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police and now Manchester Pride
    in a meeting with the police back in November 2002 they was told they could not charge.

    The above can be confirmed by contacting Manchester City Council

  2. RG says:

    The Manchester Evening News has had to publish a public apology following am untrue story about a mouse being found in a protein shake.

    http://www.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/apology-received-over-fake-news-story/#comment-429380

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