Reporters Keep Quoting Fake Van Halen Interview (Whoops)
Welp, It turns out that some reporters from notable publications are no better than your Grandma unironically sharing articles from The Onion on Facebook. On today's very meta episode of real news stories about real news stories that reference fake news stories, journalists from outlets, including Daily Express, Yahoo Sports, and allegedly People Magazine included a fabricated quote from a satirical news source in their coverage of Van Halen's passing. Oof.
The quote in question? A seemingly obviously faked anecdote from music news satire site, The Hard Times, about how the legendary musician's son, Wolf, mustered up the courage to come out to him as *gasp!* a bassist.
"Ya know, there were some signs early on," Van Halen definitely didn't tell the satirical music site when asked about his son's penchant for the bass guitar. "When he was about 9 months old I put a little guitar in front of him. Instead of using his thumb like a pick, he used his index and middle fingers to strum the strings one at a time. I almost cried seeing my boy touch his first guitar. He looked so lame."
Spoken like a true poet. Yet instead of doing their utmost due journalistic diligence, taking those agonizing 30 seconds to Google the source of the quote in question, the reporters followed their intuition, pressing publish, sharing the guitarist's erm, not words, with the world.
"As we mourn the passing of the legendary Eddie Van Halen, we would also like to thank @people for including our reporting in a story about him," the satirical publication said in an Instagram post, calling for their followers to click the link in their bio "for more exemplary journalism." The Hard Times -- the true breaking news source we need in 2020.
Even the author of The Hard Times' (not) Pulitizer-winning Van Halen retrospective, John Danek, joined in on the fun. "I get that news sites might mistakenly quote @REALpunknews as a real source, but how do they ALL keep quoting this particular line?" he mused on Twitter.
While all of the articles have since been deleted or edited since Danek's tweet (without issuing a proper correction notice, because what even are journalistic ethics?), their ghosts still linger in the form of screenshots...
And entries in the 'ol reliable Way Back Machine. To the journalists who wrote those articles -- to quote another rock icon almost as iconic as Van Halen, Miss Hannah Montana, "Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days" -- just maybe issue a proper correction next time.