The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

January 24, 2010

ARLENE JOHNS | This hog tale had no substance

You might have heard about it, but if you didn’t, here’s the gist:

Bikers at Thunder in the Valley, more than a little offended at the actions of some animal rights activists, duct-taped the offenders to a Dumpster at a fast-food restaurant and (horrors!) force-fed them hamburgers!

A radio station in Minnesota heard about it and called The Tribune-Democrat last week to get comment.

It’s quite a tale. Here’s more:

The activists, believing bikers use far too much leather, headed to Johnstown with the express purpose of disrupting the otherwise-peaceful rally.

The protesters arrived at the rally from parts unknown in a vintage Volkswagen – probably their first mistake.

They pelted passersby with balloons filled with fake blood – calling the rally-goers murderers.

You might get by with that when your target is a blue-haired lady wearing fur, but it didn’t sit well with the bikers.

One offended cruiser forced a protester onto the back of his bike and insisted he remain there the entire day. Apparently, the biker’s girlfriend was out of town.

Police eventually were called to investigate the disappearance of three of the activists.

Pretty juicy story, eh?

One small problem.

Although widely circulated, the story is just not true.

Created on a Web site called The Spoof, the story appears just like a real news story.

It is even accompanied by a photo of bikers rumbling down a road.

But at the bottom of the story are these words: “The story is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.”

Not everybody reads the fine print, however, and so the story spread.

It popped up on many other Web sites, all of which obviously ran it without verification.

Our newsroom has received dozens of inquiries about the story.

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