Journalists Reminisce About Balloon Boy on 10th Anniversary of Hoax


Today marks the 10th anniversary of the “Balloon Boy” fake news hoax of October 15 2009.

The story, about a young Colorado boy who had crawled into and been lifted away in a hot air balloon, dominated the American news cycle at the time, with updates on the situation splashed across every news network.

It turned out, however, that the incident was a hoax, and the boy was hiding in the attic of his home. His parents eventually pleaded guilty to charges related to the hoax, and the press wrote it off as a tough mistake in a burgeoning era of dubious news.

Watch local news network Denver7 reflect on the story above.

On Tuesday, Spectator USA columnist Caroline McCarthy recalled the balloon boy hoax as “an early example of a mainstream, internet-enabled fake news sensation.”

“It may seem crazy, but a lot of people had thought the internet would *prevent* this stuff,” she declared.

Other journalists from across the world also looked back at the fake news phenomenon through rose-tinted spectacles– reminiscing about where they were and what they were doing when all eyes were on a little boy supposedly trapped in a balloon.

The New Republic Senior Editor Jason Linkins reminisced with a 2009 article from Mediaite.

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