Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Media Punk'd by Poe

Edgar Allan Poe wrote a piece for the New York Sun about a "group of British adventurers who had built a propeller-driven balloon, had taken off to cross the English channel . . . and ended up being blown across the Atlantic to a beach in Virginia, thus effecting the first aerial transatlantic crossing. This was BIG news! The Sun's unnamed correspondent [Poe] was the first to . . . interview the intrepid airmen."

Soon other reporters were scrambling "down to Virginia and began cranking out their own exclusive interviews with the [ballooning] Brits. There was only one small problem: There was no balloon, no balloonists, and no transatlantic crossing." But the papers didn't care "they just wanted a hot story, even if they had to make it up" (Bloom Puppets).

Do you think today's newspaper journalists just make up stories? Do you ever embellish your essays to make them more interesting?