Readers of Slog, the popular blog at Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger, were greeted this morning by a series of posts ostensibly by Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, his staff and family.
That may have seemed too weird to be true, since The Stranger is an unabashed basher of McKenna, and a supporter of Democrat Jay Inslee. So could that really be McKenna posting about his love of imported strawberry jam, or saying that he is “a feminist” who would hand women “the broom to break through” the glass ceiling?
Nope, as readers should have figured out pretty quickly, it was all a joke.
Charles McCray, a McKenna campaign spokesman, said the fake posts were just “antics” from the paper. “There’s no truth to it. There rarely is in The Stranger,” he said.
The posts did apparently fool a bunch of Slog readers though, who reacted angrily in the comment threads to the faux-McKenna’s “broom” comment. It also tricked Seattlepi.com, which posted about McKenna’s supposed Slog guest appearance before sheepishly apologizing.
Readers may have been fooled in part by the straight-faced introduction to the “McKenna” posts by the paper’s news editor, Dominic Holden, who wrote that the Stranger was “impressed” when McKenna agreed to post on Slog for the day, and encouraged readers to engage with him “respectfully” in the comments.
Asked whether The Stranger has any journalistic qualms about hoaxing its readers, Holden replied in an email: “The Stranger has no ethical issues with satire. And unlike the Seattle Times, all of our satire is intentional.”