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Fake News Story: Cambodian Midgets Fight Lion

Summary:
News story claims that 42 Cambodian Midgets were mutilated in a fight with an African lion while paying spectators looked on (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:
[Excerpt 1]

Headline:
Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight

An African Lion much like this is responsible for the death of 28 Cambodian Midgets. Spectators cheered as entire Cambodian Midget Fighting League squared off against African Lion

[Excerpt 2]

The fight was called in only 12 minutes, after which 28 fighters were declared dead, while the other 14 suffered severe injuries including broken bones and lost limbs, rendering them unable to fight back.

Read the entire story




Commentary:
A "news" story, supposedly released by the BBC, has been spreading rapidly around the Internet via blogs, forums and email. The story claims that 42 members of the Cambodian Midget Fighting League were killed or injured in a bloody battle with an African lion.

The story was originally posted on a web page that was constructed to resemble a genuine BBC News article. However, the story is a fake and the web page that it is displayed on has no association with the BBC. Apparently, the fake article was originally intended as a joke to be shared among a limited number of friends. However, links to the article "escaped" into cyberspace and spread rapidly as such stories often do. The perpetrator has now placed a disclaimer online to explain the details of the hoax. The disclaimer outlines the reason the fake article was created as follows:
It was created to 'settle' a dispute between a friend of mine in which he claimed that 40 weaponless midgets could defeat 1 lion in a hypothetical fight. Many of my other friends and I tried to convince him that the lion would definitely win, but he would not back down from his argument. After seeing another fake article posing as BBC about 'zombism' in Cambodia, I got the idea to make this fake news article to try and convince him for the final time.
It is not uncommon for fake news stories to circulate rapidly around the Internet. In this case, the spread of the story appears to be unintentional. More commonly, the fake stories originate from satirical websites such as The Onion. Fake news articles about the deaths of William Hung, Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson and others continue to circulate long after the stories were first released.


Write-up by Brett M.Christensen