The Associated Press and the New York Daily News Were Fooled By A Parody Twitter Account

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 01:20 PM

A mysterious white flag flies above the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday morning (Peggy Willens/WNYC)

This morning, New Yorkers woke up to find that the two American flags atop of the Brooklyn Bridge had been mysteriously replaced with a white flags. 

So far, no one knows who did it, or why. Which is actually nice. I like that, for a few hours at least, New York City has an actual mystery. It makes today feel like a Donald Barthelme story, instead of just a Tuesday in July. Which isn't to say the flags haven't unnerved some people, ("If a person could change a flag on top of the bridge, well they could.. they could...") 

In the meantime, on Twitter, a parody account called @BicycleLobby made a joke about having put the flags up. 

 @BicycleLobby is a joke, and not even a particularly subtle one. It's devoted to the (fake) idea that there is a Freemason-style group of politically connected cycling advocates. @BicycleLobby's Twitter bio identifies it as a parody account, but even if it didn't, the larger context of its existing tweets certainly scream parody. And yet, the Daily News and the AP reported straightfacedly that cycling advocates are taking credit for the flag change. The Daily News story is bylined with three different reporters' names, none of which, apparently, are digital natives. 

Ugh. As someone who sits on the internet all day quickly writing blog posts, you never want to make fun of anyone too badly for falling for a hoax, because you know that your day will come too. But this one -- this one is very silly. 

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Comments [6]

JOSEPH P. WALL from Pelham Bay, Bronx

Somehow someway, I think that the white flags on the Brooklyn Bridge were connected to the killing of that man out in Statan Island. I think maybe that New York City and the New York City Police Department should in my opinion look into that suggestion too.

Jul. 23 2014 11:58 AM
Steve from New York

Even the profile picture, which shows a bicycle in a lobby, is a pretty big clue that this is a joke.

Jul. 22 2014 04:39 PM
dan

Barkley: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lv9hZXhFK9Q/UYuoxH4OkxI/AAAAAAAAGp8/bFZ_1RAx_to/s1600/barkley.jpg

Jul. 22 2014 03:43 PM
Eric Goebelbecker

Towelie.

Jul. 22 2014 02:38 PM
Jonny R

Barksy.

Jul. 22 2014 01:58 PM
Derek from Boston

Banksy?

Jul. 22 2014 01:37 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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