Fox reports parody about Muslims as real news

Last week in the town of Lewiston, Maine, a group of Somalian Muslim middle school students were the subject of a cruel prank when their peers placed a ham steak next to them in order to personally offend the students. School officials filed a report because the students considered the act to be a hate/bias crime. This actual story was then spoofed by a parody site called Associated Content, which made up quotes and details, such as the school’s intention to “create an anti-ham ‘response plan’.”

On Tuesday, Fox & Friends reported these parody quotes and details as actual news. Poking fun at the students, hosts asked whether ham was “a hate crime … or lunch?” and showed screen shots of ham sandwiches, starving Somalians, belching, animal noises, and mock “reenactments” of the incident. Ironically, the hosts assured viewers several times, “We’re not making this up!”

Think Progress, 27 April 2007

Update:  See “Fox sued for airing fake ‘ham sandwich’ story”, Think Progress, 2 July 2007

Update 2:  See “‘Gullible’ Fox & Friends escape lawsuit for repeating yet another false news story”, Media Matters, 6 June 2008