Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

"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.


Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at livestream.com

News Briefs

RSS Feed monday >

First POST: Clueless

Why boycotting Indiana isn't the greatest idea; but people and companies are still doing it anyway; "Flak for Slack chaps in yak app hack flap"; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Net Effects

Ballooning digital campaign teams; early registration deadlines kept millions of people from voting in 2012; love letters to Obamacare; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Data-Driven

Get to know Clinton's digital team even better; Ted Cruz election announcement-related fundraising offers peak into the coming data-driven campaign arms race; New York City launches online community engagement pilot program called IdeaScale; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Too Much Information

Will Facebook become the Walmart of News?; Hillary Clinton's digital team; how easy it is to get your hands on 4.6 million license plate scans; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Firsts

Political reporters use Yik Yak to pep up stories about Ted Cruz's campaign announcement; The New York Times, Buzzfeed and National Geographic may agree to let Facebook host their news on its servers; Google fiber users to soon get targeted television ads; and much, much more. GO

More