"Interesting If True" Rule Proven Yet Again in #Amina Syrian Blog Hoax
BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, June 13 2011
Back in April, I remember reading this amazing blog post that was forwarded around on Twitter about how a gay woman in Syria had nearly been arrested in the middle of the night, but somehow her father bravely confronted the secret police thugs who came to their door and convinced them to walk away. "Wow, that's almost too good to be true," I thought to myself, and wondered how it could be possible that "My Father, the hero" hadn't been summarily arrested or executed, given the realities of the Syrian regime. I didn't blog or tweet the story, but plenty of well-meaning people did, sending the blog into orbit and nearly a million page views. Well, as NPR's Andy Carvin and others have now demonstrated conclusively, the entire "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog was a complete hoax, written by an American living in Turkey named Tom McMaster who claims it was a fictional writing project that "got way out of hand."
Moral: Listen to Dan Gillmor, who has been making this point for ages. Stories like "Gay Girl in Damascus" belong in the "interesting if true" category.