I didn't think local news could surprise me any more with its incompetence but it has... and I'm thrilled.
WJZ, Baltimore's CBS affiliate, reported on Monday that Michael Richards showed up in blackface at a celebrity roast for Whoopi Goldberg. Boy does that guy have problems with racial sensitivity.
Their source? A little website called Dateline Hollywood. Yes, the satirical site I have been running for the past 3 years with my writing partner Gil. They mistook an insanely obvious piece of parody for real news and had their anchor read it... TWICE ... before apologizing on-air in the 11 o'clock news ("coming up at 11... what we got wrong at 5 and 6.")
Why am I so thrilled? Well, the publicity of course.
I'm quoted in the Reliable Sources column (second item) in today's Washington Post talking about the craziness (the Post reporter was the first person to tell me about it, so she actually quotes me yelling "get out!"). There was also a Baltimore Sun article (the #1 most e-mailed and #4 most viewed on the site) yesterday, a post in LA media blog LAOBserved.com, and hopefully more publicity to come.
God bless you, WJZ. I can only hope America's media will continue to hire obtuse, non-fact-checking reporters and producers in the future. They're the fuel that keeps satirical publications like Dateline Hollywood going.