A friend in DC posted about a story from The Baltimore Sun on Facebook today.
Ian Duncan, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, filed a story at 10:44 p.m. Wednesday night about the visit of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to the Eastern Shore yesterday.
From the story:
Jack Mehoff, 19, praised Trump as a “hardworking, smart individual that wants the best for all people in this country that are allowed to be here.”
Here’s the screenshot from Duncan’s story if you don’t believe it (and for when they eventually change it – likely without an editor’s note):
Mr. Mehoff – whatever his real name is – is identified as 19 years old in the story. It appears Duncan and his editors were fooled by a grade school prank worthy of Bart Simpson.
The Jack Mehoff name is all over Google and even has an Urban Dictionary entry. Black Sheep, a movie featuring the late great Chris Farley, even used this prank:
Bart Simpson made a habit of making prank calls to Moe’s Tavern on The Simpsons. Here are a few of his best examples:
The Baltimore Sun is not alone
There’s a Wikipedia entry on gag names that includes one of the most famous media pranks I remember. James Scott of the Charleston Post & Courier quoted a protester at the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta named “Heywood Jablome.” The protester was there counter-protesting Martha Burke’s protests over Augusta National’s lack of women members at the time. There are other examples in the Wikipedia entry.
Additionally, in 2013, KTVU and USA Today were both pranked by someone calling himself “Jack Mehoff.”
It’s one thing if a reporter falls for it, but it’s even more embarassing if it survives being edited. Despite the lateness of the hour this story did make the print edition today.