Animal lovers might recall watching footage late last summer of a pig
swimming to the rescue of a baby goat whose hoof had become stuck at the
bottom of a petting zoo pond.
The hero pig nudged the goat free
and it swam ashore. The YouTube clip (posted below) was beyond cute and
went viral after being shared on social media platforms and featured by
most major morning shows and national news networks.
But what many may not know is that the clip was completely staged.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the video was a contrived scene for a new Comedy Central documentary-style series, "Nathan for You," which premieres Thursday and stars Nathan Fielder.
crew of 20, including animal trainers, scuba divers and humane
officers, helped produce the scene, which entailed placing the pig on an
underwater track to ensure that it bumped into the goat.
many media outlets reported this event as real, in hindsight, seems to
leave them with egg on their faces. (The Times mentions most of the
networks, and the list is long.)
Said Kelly McBride, the senior
faculty for ethics, reporting and writing at the Poynter Institute: "It
really is embarrassing for the journalists who stumbled upon this and
decided to promote it or share it with their audience. It's almost a
form of malpractice."
Fielder described the vast media display as
unexpected and said it was not the intention of those involved in the
making of the video to attain such a lofty level of deceit. (The video
was uploaded under a pseudonym with the simple description: "Pig saves
goat whose foot was stuck underwater at petting zoo. Simply amazing.")
said, "If we were trying to pull an elaborate hoax on the news, I think
we could have pushed further. But we weren't. We found it interesting
that people were sharing it without us saying anything."
this wasn't intended to be a Comedy Central hoax played on the media,
crewmembers had signed nondisclosure agreements before the video was
After it went viral, Fielder gave permission to at
least two producers to air the footage, without explaining that the
event was staged. But perhaps there should have been more asking if the
networks were doing their jobs and reporting with the type of skepticism
that is the essence of basic reporting.
McBride said any
obligation by Comedy Central to come clean about the authenticity of the
footage "pales in comparison to the obligation of journalists who vet
information, because the journalists have made a promise to their
audience that they will tell the truth."
In "Nathan for You,"
Fielder, 29, devises extravagant marketing stunts for small businesses.
For the second episode, he visited a California petting zoo and decided
to transform one of its animals into a star. That, of course, is a pig
that swam erratically until a track was devised to direct it toward the
goat, which turned out to really like the water, so much so that its
agonized cries had to be dubbed in.
That, in hindsight, seems way more believable than a pig swimming to the rescue of a stranded goat.
In: Other News
Tags: pig, goat, comedy, central, news, hoax, fake, set, up, babe, fat, ass, pig
Location: New York, New York, United States (load item map)
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