The Elan/Diane Hoax: Assuming the Worst About Strangers Wins the Internet!

Via: Tuned In

Maybe you heard about it through the Buzzfeed post that said “This Epic Note-Passing War on a Delayed Flight Won Thanksgiving”: Elan Gale, a producer on The Bachelor, claimed to live-tweet a woman’s meltdown at harried airline staff, then his own scolding and shaming of her on board the flight. Maybe you heard about it through the subsequent commentaries that, no, Gale did not win Thanksgiving: that his public humiliation of “Diane” (including passing her the note, “Eat my dick”) was nasty and sexist. Maybe you heard the further twist from an online poster claiming that Diane was her cousin, and had terminal cancer. Maybe you heard it all in the “Note War Goes Viral” stories picked up in the mainstream media. Either way, it turns out it was all fake. Last night, on the same Twitter account that launched the meme, Gale posted a picture of “Diane”: an empty chair. Gale didn’t explain his motives–assuming you can trust someone who just pulled a massive hoax to be forthcoming about his inner thoughts–but the “how” of the story is more interesting than the “why,” anyway. Certainly the incident exposed the ecology of the media today: a button-pushing story gets tweeted. There’s a million-clicks reward for being the first to pick up on it. And hundreds of follow-up, aggregations, commentaries, and counter-commentaries get posted before anyone gets around to seeing if the flight data added up. (Which, apparently, some folks were doing before Gale gave himself up.) But there’s another factor here: many, many people–and I’m including myself here–were just ready to believe it. There are cons that work by taking advantage of people’s best nature: their charitable instincts, their hope, their sympathy. And then there are cons that take advantage of people’s suspicion, their judgment, their belief that the world is full of jerks. This was the latter kind. Because, come on: we’ve seen Diane and Elan before, right? We’ve seen that self-centered, pushy person using a power imbalance to berate service people who can’t fight back, who believes his

Read full story at: Tuned In

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