26 Pointers For Constructing A Fake News Story In Which Your Child’s Life Is Endangered

by anna on October 19, 2009

I hate it when I tell a story and find out somebody has taped it.

I hate it when I tell a story and find out somebody has taped it.

  1. With all guerrilla marketing stunts, it is crucial that you have a plan.
  2. Putting your child on a homemade weather balloon is not a plan.
  3. Putting your child on a homemade weather balloon, without any kind of product placement, is not a plan either.
  4. Pretending to put your child on a homemade weather balloon, without a product placement, but actually having him hide in the garage? Still not a plan.
  5. Pretending to put your child on a homemade weather balloon, without a product placement, but actually having him hide in the garage, in an effort to promote a still-unnamed TV show? You are getting colder with the finding of a plan.
  6. Making up a story about how the TSA took your child away is not a plan, either.
  7. Making up a story about how the TSA took your child away, in order to increase your website traffic for a few days before everyone figures out that you lied, might be a plan in the strictest sense. But it’s not a good plan.
  8. But let’s say that your plan is, for better or worse, to make up a story about the TSA taking away your child, and that you’re doing it just to get more people to come to your website for a few days until everyone figures out you’re lying, you should probably confirm first that there is no security video footage that refutes your claim.
  9. Because you think the TSA is low-tech and low on public involvement, but the fact is you have to allow for the federal government to surprise you, especially when you least expect it.
  10. Putting your child’s life in danger — whether for real or just simulated — for money is not cool.
  11. The only thing lamer than putting your child’s life in danger for money, is lying about putting your child’s life in danger, and also not getting any money in exchange.
  12. Remind yourself that people are not given money just for being on TV.
  13. You actually have to be selling something or have something of value to offer somebody, in exchange for money, in order to make money from being on TV.
  14. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what the “something of value” is that people are adding for the money they get for being on TV. Still, making your child vomit by lying on national TV is not “something of value.”
  15. No, not even in the post-Paris Hilton popular cultural landscape.
  16. Spawning the fastest-growing internet meme View definition in a new window? Also no money involved in that, directly speaking.
  17. Though, admittedly, this might make some money for other people.
  18. You know the only thing people hate more than the TSA security check at airports? Being forced to watch a tape of a TSA security check at an airport on the internet.
  19. You are pretty much toast when even Jessica Gottleib doesn’t want to lambast you.
  20. People are naturally distrustful and suspicious. Keep that in mind when you decide to call the cable news outlet before you call 911.
  21. People are naturally distrustful and suspicious, particularly when you have appeared on Wife Swap.
  22. People are naturally distrustful and suspicious, particularly when you have appeared on Wife Swap more than once.
  23. Kids are unpredictable. Sometimes when you make them lie, they will throw up on TV.
  24. The time is not right to launch a new website called “Monetizing the Balloon Boy.”
  25. The time is probably not right for your new website, “Monetizing the TSA Security Footage,” either.
  26. You need to set up relationships with sponsors before you do something obnoxious and self-serving in the public-eye. Please cf. The Broad Summit View definition in a new window for their groundbreaking work in giving sponsors the least takeaway value for their dollar for use in your next endeavor.

Got a list to share? Here’s what to do:

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  3. Either comment or email me at anna at abdpbt View definition in a new window dot com to let me know you’re participating, and I’ll link you up below.

Check out these list lovers:

  1. 5 Halloween Costumes That Raise More Questions Than They Answer | ABDPBT Commodity Fetishism
  2. How To Make Your Photograph Into A Comic Strip in 6 Steps | ABDPBT Tech
  3. 5 Ways Nostalgia Threatens Your Financial Security | ABDPBT Personal Finance
  4. Tim at Safer By Choice
  5. Kerry at Clue Wagon
  6. Mme. Perpetua
  7. Ginger at Ramble Ramble

{ 21 comments }

Tim G October 19, 2009 at 5:09 am

I was in an airport while they were tracking the story on CNN. When they were standing around an empty balloon on the ground I started thinking about all the other places the story was really taking place. Their house, the neighborhood. I figured the kid was playing ball somewhere, never thought is was a hoax, just weird.
When someone has a legitimate my-kid-is-lost-and-my-balloon-is-missing problem, no one will take them seriously.

My list is up.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:45 am

LOL I know, what about all the REAL kids lost in balloons?!

Kerry October 19, 2009 at 6:02 am

Really, on the one hand it’s amusing…but that dude with the balloon kid…wow. What sort of person puts their kids in that position? I can’t even laugh about it (well, I thought I couldn’t, but then I got to #26 and laughed).

My list is up.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:44 am

The kind of guy who signs up for Wife Swap more than once, I guess.

beth aka confusedhomemaker October 19, 2009 at 6:44 am

I feel really bad for the “balloon boy” & his brothers. What he went through on national TV is humiliating & a form of abuse. The father seems to be the “master mind”, using that term VERY loosely. Because really it lacked intelligence on so many levels as your list points out. Plotting about missing children or children in danger is sick, especially when kids go missing & are in very dangerous situations for real on a daily basis.

I also didn’t know about the whole TSA situation, saw bits & pieces on my twitter stream. Wow.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:44 am

Yeah, I cannot even imagine. I’m glad that I didn’t know about the balloon boy thing until it was reported that he wasn’t on the balloon, because I would have been FREAKING OUT. By the time I heard about it, they had already “found” the kid in the attic.

weezy October 19, 2009 at 7:55 am

You’ve had some stellar ones, but I think this is your best list yet.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:42 am

Thanks, weezy!

Alias Mother October 19, 2009 at 8:35 am

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole list, but I’m going to give you an extra slow clap for #26. Well done. Well done, indeed.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:43 am

Another fan of the Narrow Broad Summit, I see. :)

Perpetua October 19, 2009 at 8:35 am

Ha! Yet one could argue that in naming the child Falcon, balloon dad had this plan in the works for at least six years. :)

I was list-less for awhile, but not today.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:42 am

That’s true, but aren’t falcons supposed to come back, even when you take off that little hat thingy?

surcey October 19, 2009 at 9:35 am

You’ll have to tell us more about your POV re: Broad Summit.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:41 am

Oh, Surcey, there’s so much muck to rake in the mommyblogging world these days I fear I’m not up to the task!

class factotum October 19, 2009 at 10:20 am

People are naturally distrustful and suspicious, particularly when you have appeared on Wife Swap.

A few years ago, I got an email from one of the Wife Swap producers. She had gotten my name from my college’s alumni club website. She wanted me to alert everyone in my alumni group in Memphis (where I was living) that Wife Swap would be in town to audition people for the show.

I didn’t forward her email because 1) I didn’t have the distribution list, 2) even if I had had it, it was not supposed to be used for commercial purposes,and 3) even if it were OK to use the list for commercial purposes, I wanted nothing to do with the endeavor.

I did, however, tell some of my college friends about it. My roommate wrote back that she had not put all that work into raising decent kids to have her efforts undone by some tramp.

anna October 19, 2009 at 10:41 am

HAH! That’s classic. And kind of true, actually.

Ginger October 19, 2009 at 12:07 pm

The whole thing is just too weird for words…although, I think the fact that they’ve been on Wife Swap twice was a big clue to how these folks might think.

My list is up.

anna October 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

You’re all linked up, Ginger (finally). Sorry I’m so late today.

Juliet Grossman October 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm

It’s totally like when Bart Simpson pretended to be Timmy stuck down a well (when he got the microphone from Homer as a bday gift that flopped.)

I just read that authorities have tried unsuccessfully to get the wife to a “safe house.” Oy vey. Crazy stuff.

Don’t take any leftovers stored in Tupperware from Mayumi’s fridge. Why did she happen to be holding a Tupperware on the Today Show? My husband once gave one of the kids a large mixing bowl to throw up in and I had to toss it. (Was there any choice.?)

The whole thing really just defies any kind of anything – hate to even call logic. Maybe it defies reality itself. In about 15 years I would LOVE to read the Augusten Burroughs-style autobiography of Balloon Boy growing up with psycho dad.

anna October 19, 2009 at 8:37 pm

Is the wife abused? Geez.

Avoiceofmyown October 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Brilliant! Once again you’ve captured what we’re all thinking and written it beautifully, making me laugh along the way. Thank-you.

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