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Media Bites On ‘Made Up’ Story About Vikings Opening Stadium To Homeless

Going viral does not require verification, even if you have a verified Twitter account.

That, of course, constitutes an unnecessarily complicated way of saying that anyone can say anything on Twitter and have it plastered all over the internet, whether true or not.

On Sunday, a gym owner in Minnesota tweeted out a “BREAKING” news tweet that contained no real news at all:

ddn tweet

The temperature dropped well below zero on Sunday in Minnesota. So, bringing people indoors in those types of conditions would certainly seem like a nice thing to do. However, the story contained in the tweet, which had already received thousands of retweets, fell apart under scrutiny:

A short time and viral circulation later, Dellanave recanted his made-up story:

Then, after a multitude of angry people and reporters laid into him for deliberately spreading a false story, Dellanave got snippy:

Dellanave traded shots with the media as well:

Dellanave should never have done this and should feel really bad about it. However, you have to admit he has a point here: stories based on this tweet ran in several major publications within a very short time period, yet few media outlets did their homework on Dellanave, or considered taking a pause before running this story.

Merely clicking on Dellanave’s Twitter description would have revealed him as a, “man, entrepreneur, angel investor, fitness scientist, deadlift whisperer, and owner of the most innovative gym in the world.”

Nothing wrong with any of that, though where in there does it say that Dellanave has a news background, or have the kind of job where he would likely get access to that kind of information? It doesn’t, meaning the story should have merited much closer scrutiny.

Why didn’t it? Because the media loved the story. The media loves any story that involves the weather, the underprivileged, and large, cavernous, multi-use sports facilities. The story probably reminded many in the media of the Superdome in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Except, with a frozen Midwestern twist.

Ironically, this story comes about while the media, including social media, bemoan the rise in “fake news.” At least this case reveals an antidote to much of the plague of fake news, it’s called doing your homework.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn

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