Unethical Website Of The Month: News 4 KTLA

NOT breaking news; web hoaxes like this are the scourge of the web...

NOT breaking news: Web hoaxes like this are the scourge of the web…

Yet another despicable news hoax site—they are all despicable—News 4 KTLA crossed into especially vile territory with this headline yesterday:

Massive Bumble Bee Recall After 2 Employees Admit Cooking A Man And Mixing Him With A Batch Of Tuna

First, the headline even doesn’t match the story under it, which mentions nothing about  “mixing” human remains with tuna, or a recall. The story, a little checking reveals, is based on an genuine tragedy, company employee José Melena’s accidental death in October 2012. His remains were not “mixed with a batch of tuna,” however, and has absolutely nothing to do with the Bumble Bee tuna recall announced this month.

So let’s see…these lying, irresponsible low-life pranksters,

  • … think its hilarious to turn a man’s tragic death into a hoax for their own juvenile amusement,
  • …risk doing gratuitous and malicious tangible financial and reputation damage to a food company, endangering investments and jobs, and
  • …induce gullible, trusting social media users to spread these “humorous” lies and become unwitting accessories to the hoaxers’ irresponsible act of misinformation and web pollution.

I’ve searched: News 4 KTLA has no disclaimers to warn readers that it’s a fake news site, and even includes real stories to make sure as many people are deceived as possible. Snopes was on this one lightning fast—bravo.

Every time I flag one of these miserable websites, someone writes in that I have no sense of humor and it was obviously just a harmless joke that only gullible fools fell for, and they had it coming. New policy: I’m going to just ban those commenters from now on. They are responsible for encouraging scum like the jerks behind The News Nerd, this site and the rest. They don’t belong on an ethics site, and are not welcome here.

19 thoughts on “Unethical Website Of The Month: News 4 KTLA

  1. As far as I can find, if you ask for “News 4 KTLA” you are directed to news online for “KTLA5,” not four, which appears to be legitimate tv — legitimate in that it is merely exploitative. Couldn’t the erstwhile legitimate station do something about the ripoff?

  2. I see red every time I see one of these articles. Good satire, like The Onion, is immediately understood as such when you read it. Invariably, in the comments sections of these sites, despite no indication at all that it’s fake news, are comments ridiculing the ‘fools’ who were taken in. The ‘r’ word makes a frequent appearance. I usually comment that satire that needs extensive additional explanation to get across the fact that it *is* satire is a major failure. I hate these sites with a passion!

  3. These ‘click bait’ sites are terrible. They just want to create traffic on their site and are not actual satire, news, or information site. Just a scam to get clicks. The trouble is even some more legitimate sites are now engaging in ‘click bait’ headlines, which are generally alarmists or salacious style.

  4. “They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.”

    I’ve thought more than once that the idiot portrayed in that commercial is a lot closer to the truth about sooooooooooo many people than we want to openly admit. I’ve seen real life idiots just like that in person, and I’m absolutely sure that many of you have too. The dumbing down of our society is increasing as we speak.

  5. My peripheral vision is slightly better, thank you, Jack. But only because the image is not quite so primaryly colored.

    Wait a minute, what did I say? Was that Bad?

  6. What is truly frightening is the number of people online who either cannot discern an obvious hoax, will not cross check a dubious story with a known, trusted source or will post such stories online with the intent to deceive.

    • I have many FB Friends that fall for all of the crap. I try to ‘teach’ them…point them to Snopes, inform them of ‘click-bait’…..but it doesn’t work. Oh well, I try.

  7. I feel these sites are funny and alot of people do as well. If you see something online you don’t like, look away. If every site that someone doesn’t like was taken down there would be no sites to complain about. You can hate a certain type of site all you want, but, there will always be someone there that disagrees. But instead you just ban all those people who disagree instead of let them voice there own opinion? Oh yah get rid of the sites you don’t like AND the people, ok I see now…

    • Dumb comment. Just plain dumb. Not liking it is not the issue at all. I don’t go to those sites, but I do have to spend time correcting people misled by them. The problem is the people who are fooled, and who then mislead others. It is so easy to make a satire site safe, funny, and while losing nothing: include a prominent disclaimer. That’s all. There is no justification not to have it, unless the intent is to spread misinformation. That intent is wrong. It’s not a matter of liking or not liking: it’s unequivocally WRONG. Got that? Clear? If you like fake news satire, then tell the damn sites to just say what they are. How’s that?

      Dumb, dumb comment.
      Do better next time.

  8. These people also put out an incredibly bad article about a bottled water recall, claiming that they are tainted with a clear parasite, and the article features a picture of an eel larva. I found that garbage on my FB timeline today.

  9. I contacted the real KTLA management about this. The clickbait site is fraudulently misappropriating their call letters (and using the next nearest possible station number) to lend credibility to their garbage. It should most definitely be actionable, and, since they are fraudulently using the real stations name to help enhance their revenue, it’s potentially criminal too.

    I’ll report back if I get a response from the management. If others contact them as well, they will be more likely to take action.

  10. It’s deplorable and should be illegal to represent yourself as a news website and post disturbing articles such as this:
    “9 Year Old Murders Parents After They Turn Off WIFI For Punishment”
    http://news4ktla.com/9-year-old-murders-parents-turn-off-wifi-punishment/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork
    The image appears to be taken from an actual news report on TV. You need a very critical eye to realize it’s not real because the piece is missing the ‘when’ and any reputable news article will include all 5Ws. Without a date, I knew to go looking for an explanation and that’s how I came upon this fine page helping people weed out the fraudsters!

  11. Well played, sir. Trolling may be an art, but there is a line. When it is crossed, the ‘art’ disappears. Sometimes it can still be pretty humorous, depending upon things like the current collective standard in morality of whatever the target area of the bovine scatology is, and the ethical/ moral standards of the target, itself [because poetic justice]…. but when it starts feeding upon people that don’t want, enjoy, or deserve this kind of humor in any realistic, conceivable way- then malice outweighs the humor value.
    I support this site. Thank you for helping keep the standards of subtlety in humor high, and good day to you all.

  12. Call it satire if you want to, stuff like this isn’t funny! not in THIS day and age when you have grade schoolers taking guns to elementary school and/or shooting their playmates. Remember the litle boy who shot his 8 year old neighbor with a shotgun because she wouldn’t let him play with her puppy?

  13. People who think of themselves as upright and moral can’t see the disconnect between their online and offline actions. They can’t seem to connect the dots that spreading inflammatory and false stories without a second thought is just as harmful as spreading lies and gossip about an individual in their offline world, which most would claim they never do. It’s all reprehensible and when it can harm a business’ or an individuall’s reputation, it’s totally wrong. This is not harmless, it isn’t “a joke” when it can cause damage as these stories invariably do.

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