Hip-hop Media training

Michael Jackson ‘Alive’ Video Viral ‘Experiment’

Hip-Hop Media Training

Did you see the video last week of a man resembling MichaelJackson stepping out of the back of a Coroner's van?

It was uploaded to a YouTube user page named michaeljacksonhoax?

You didn't think it was really Michael Jackson, right?

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Good. The Berlin, Germany branchof CNN revealed Monday that the video was staged by RTL, the country's topprivate broadcaster.

It seems irresponsible that a prominent media company wouldhost such a prank. But a spokesperson for the television station told CNN thatit was an experiment. Before distributing the video, they sent out a pressrelease explaining that it was a joke.

Still, the video quickly became a viral hit. It has beenplayed nearly 900,000 times, and has more than 3,800 comments.

Did it prove RTL's theory that it is easy to spread onlinerumors? Sure.

While the thought and talk of Michael Jackson actually beingalive and riding around in the back of a Coroner's van is funny, for the mostpart, I don't believe that the majority of the viewers actually thought it wasreal.

There is a more serious point to be made in the instanceswhere something defamatory is misreported by so many blogs that it is consideredtrue.

In July, Kanye West was the victim of a similar instance whenseveral blogs and radio stations reported a story about his rumored desire toinherit Michael Jackson's King of Pop throne.

Though the source of the story was the satirical ScrapeTV.com, many blogs published Kanye's fabricatedquotes as fact.

Eventually, Kanye spoke out, dismissing the outlandishreports.

All of this brings to mind the cliché Don't believeeverything you read [or see].

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