Did you get caught up in Friday’s Twitter flutter about Jeff Goldblum faux-dying? Right in the middle of us dealing with the loss of Michael and Farrah within hours of each other?

I saw a handful of tweets about Jeff’s demise – I even RT’d one – but the real icing on the cake was Richard Wilkins paying homage to Mr Goldblum’s outstanding career on Friday morning’s Today show. Complete with video montage. You can watch how it all unfolded on YouTube – Part 1 and Part 2.

The website claiming to have the scoop on Mr Goldblum is one of those sites that generates content based on the URL. The http://jeff.goldblum.media…. was what initially gave it away to me. Looking more closely I realised the site didn’t even have a date or timestamp.

But the real give away was the quote at the bottom of the page:

“this story was dynamically generated using a generic ‘template’ and is not factual. Any reference to specific individuals has been 100% fabricated by web site visitors who have created fake stories by entering a name into a blank ‘non-specific’ template for the purpose of entertainment.

So in the end Dickie Wilkins had that other bloke from the Today show make the apology. Can you say “cringe-worthy”?

It’s one thing for mongs like me to initially believe the fake web site, but there’s a very big lesson in this for real* journalists: DON’T TRUST TEH UNKNOWN INTERWEBS FOR NEWS SCOOPS.

*Yes, I realise some wouldn’t classify Mr Wilkins as a “real” journalist, but he’s more of a journalist than I am.

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