The Wire hoax highlights perils of churnalism…

WHEN shadow home secretary Chris Grayling compared lawless parts of Britain to the violent, drug-soaked Baltimore of hit TV show The Wire, it drew an outraged response from the Mayor of Baltimore (see pic).

But perhaps alarm bells should have started ringing when the Mayor stated that the comparison was “as pointless as boasting that Baltimore has a per capita homicide rate a fraction of that in popular UK television show Midsomer Murders.” Her juicy soundbites ended up in the Independent, Guardian and BBC among others… but the whole thing was a hoax perpetuated by Alex Hilton (‘Recess Monkey’).

In a delicious twist of post-modern irony, the current series of The Wire features a fictionalised Baltimore Sun, where under-pressure journalists carry reports from a hoaxster. The Hilton hoax was also published by the real Baltimore Sun, and the sucker was the journalist who succeeded The Wire creator, David Simon, as police reporter on the Baltimore Sun!

Although the hoax is now offline, if you visit the fake website where it appeared and ‘view source’ in your page menu, you can see how it might have been spotted. Sadly for Alex, the Mayor is now considering legal action and an predictable online fight is under way.

  • Only.Asking.

    Saw it yesterday on dale.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Yeah, it’s been on a few blogs now. Still worth a mention here for those who missed it, as I doubt if the MSM will cover it in detail.

  • Only Asking.

    Yeah true, I think if you haven’t seen the wire, the significance of it could be lost on ppl too. Great show. I was in hmv yesterday in Belfast, and they said they’ll be getting ‘generation kill’ next month at reduced prices as well as the corner if you are a David Simon fan like me.

    Some people have no sense of humour. Threatening legal action over a spoof, even maggie thatcher welfare snatcher didn’t do that when Hilton put out the spoof she was dead.

  • Only Asking.

    ps also agree with the comments in the baltimore sun, that city does look like britain after the germans bombed it, if you google street view you can see for yourself. Carcetti (in the wire) was right, it is a broke ass city. Perhaps this hoax wasn’t so funny.

  • michael

    Apparently, Dave C is also fan of the Artic Monkeys.
    Thats right kids, we’ve still got it, vote for us!

  • Clay Davis

    Also worth mentioning that the Mayor of Baltimore — who previously criticised ‘The Wire’ for its negative portrayal of the city — is currently under indictment:

  • Only asking

    Clay Davis….

    shhhheeeeeetttttttt thanks for the link.


    stringer bell

  • willis

    “The Wire is basically about what happens to a country when it embraces untrammelled free market economics.”