Once Again, Media Outlets Fall For Obviously Fake Viral Video

Alex Griswold Media Reporter
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You may have seen a recent viral video entitled “How Does A Homeless Man Spend $100?” in which a homeless man is secretly filmed after being given $100. The homeless man is seen entering a liquor store, but exits with a bag that is revealed to be filled with food to give to other homeless people.

The video became a feel-good hit, receiving nearly 30 million views on YouTube and significant media coverage. The video’s creator, Josh Paler Lin, set up an IndieGoGo page that has racked up $127,000 in donations to help the man in the video. But now, the video’s credibility is being called into question. (RELATED: CAIR, Huffington Post Fall For ‘Obvious Hoax’ Video)

Just like all the other times this has happened, there are pretty clear clues that something was amiss. Wasn’t it awfully convenient that the homeless man chose to go to a liquor store in order to buy large amounts of food? It certainly set the viewer up for a heartwarming twist, but it’s not like most liquor stores sell pies en masse.

Sure enough, an eyewitness has come forward claiming that the video was staged. “The whole thing is bullsh*t,” the eyewitness told Vocativ. “[The homeless man] knew he was being followed.” The witness, who claims he recognized Lin from his other YouTube prank videos, said that he saw him at the liquor store, stuck around, and watched him stage the entire thing. The eyewitness, a nursing student living in Anaheim, provided time-stamped texts corroborating his version of events.

In addition, a man featured in another of Lin’s videos created a YouTube video claiming Lin has staged his previous prank videos as well. “A large number of YouTube prank videos are staged,” he said. “I was involved in a Halloween-themed bloody eyeball scare prank by Josh Paler Lin.” (RELATED: Jimmy Kimmel tricks the Internet with yet another fake viral video)

Google News pulls up 165 separate online outlets that covered the viral video, including The Huffington Post (twice), Breitbart, The Toronto Star, The Blaze, New York Daily News, and The Mirror. On the air, NBC’s “Today”, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN all covered the video, with CNN doing three separate segments on the story. The Daily Caller never touched the saccharine story, but only because we were too busy covering Nikki Minaj’s nip slip.

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Alex Griswold