A spoof BBC Scotland News site has been causing a mixture of hilarity and anger this week, as some readers have mistaken it for the real BBC site.
The site, called BBC Scotlandshire, was launched on Wednesday 12th September with a single story entitled “Andy Murray must now become English, says Cameron”.
The article, written in the style of a BBC Scotland item, claimed that David Cameron was offering a new Honour to Andy Murray, but only if he agreed to a set of preconditions which included him representing England in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
A second article, posted on Friday 14th, suggested that MPs would take over Holyrood while Westminster was being refurbished, displacing MSPs to the nearby Dynamic Earth. This article, entitled, “Cameron gives green light for MPs to relocate to Holyrood”, has even caused confusion among the Twitterati.
The launch was publicised through Facebook and resulted in more than 8000 people seeing the page on its first day. However, a number of visitors mistook it for a genuine BBC Scotland story, despite the many clues on the site that it was a spoof, and some left angry comments on Facebook.
The team behind the new site say they created it to highlight the continuous bias of BBC Scotland reporting in favour of Unionism and the Status Quo. They aim to publish several stories per week on topical subjects. Although partly fictional, each article is written in such a way as to parody real BBC Scotland reports by taking the normal BBC bias just a little further and by making the stories just a touch more preposterous than the genuine articles.
The trouble with the first couple of articles”, said one of the authors, “is that we got the style so close to reality that many people didn’t spot it was a spoof. Some got quite angry and one visitor even posted an image of an MP on twitter, along with the text of a ficticious quote from the site. Someone else tweeted about the image: ‘im quite aware its not a genuine flyer! Wasnt born yesterday. The quote is real as far as I know’”.
He added, “The most worrying aspect of the reactions so far is: if some people are unable to tell that these exaggerated spoof stories are fictional, how much are those individuals also taken in by all the real propaganda and bias in the Scottish press and media, which is normally a little more subtle. That is truly frightening.
“But with BBC Scotland covering stories about losing the pandas and bombing our airports, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.
“Our aim is that new readers should get about half way down the article before they work out it’s a spoof – anyone returning to the site should not be fooled a second time, but will hopefully find the articles amusing and perhaps enlightening.”
The site has a disclaimer on every page which declares, “This site contains news items which are often ridiculous, generally ficticious, entirely ill-informed and simultaneously biased in favour of the status quo and against the Scottish National Party, the Scottish Government and Scottish Independence in particular. Any similarity with other national broadcasters is entirely unfortunate.”
If that doesn’t give the game away, well perhaps you should avoid the internet altogether.