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Business Nets Fooled by Climate Change Hoax

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Both CNBC and Fox Business Network were the victim of hoax involving the Chamber of Commerce this morning. Reuters news service reported on a Chamber press release claiming that that they had switched their stance on climate change legislation going through the U.S. Senate, which was then reported on the networks. But it was fake. Politico’s Michael Calderone and Lisa Lerer report:

In a story posted Monday morning, Reuters declared: “The Chamber of Commerce said on Monday it will no longer opposes climate change legislation, but wants the bill to include a carbon tax.”

“Reuters has an obligation to its clients to publish news and information that could move financial markets, and this story had the potential to do that,” said a Thomson Reuters spokesperson. “Once we had confirmed the release was a hoax, we immediately issued a correction, and in keeping with Reuters policy, the story was subsequently withdrawn and an advisory sent to readers.”

The hoax was perpetrated by the Yes Men, an activist group known for performing similar stunts in the past. HuffPost’s Sam Stein reveals that the stunt would have succeeded flawlessly if a reporter hadn’t accidentally gone to the wrong location looking for the phony press conference

“She came here to the Chamber looking for a news conference,” explained Eric Wohlschlegel, a spokesman for the real Chamber. “She said she got it wrong that she was going to a Chamber press conference at the press club.”

“I said, what press conference are you talking about?” he added. “So I went with over her to check it out and immediately tried to break it up.”

At 11:15amET, CNBC’s Hampton Pearson delivered a breaking report with the press release and then returned shortly thereafter to reveal that the information was false. Fox Business anchor Brian Sullivan reported the news before announcing, mid-report, that the Chamber was denying the information.

That’s two TV news hoaxes in one week’s time. Videos after the jump.


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