If you’re a loyal reader of websites like 16 WMPO or News Daily 12, you could be forgiven for thinking that there’s been a pandemic of celebrity car breakdowns across small and mid-sized towns in the U.S. and Canada.
In recent weeks, several stories have popped up on these and other websites that follow the same narrative: a celebrity gives an interview to an unidentified radio outlet in which he praises locals of a particular town for helping him out after he experiences car trouble.
But these widely shared stories are false, not backed up by local media reports and appear to be designed to drive traffic to the websites and help boost their advertising revenue.
16 WMPO recently published a story titled “Adam Sandler Had This to Say About Sudbury, Ontario Residents.” In the article, Sandler supposedly talks about his rental car breaking down, and a local Good Samaritan lending a helping hand.
“I’m telling you, these people in Sudbury are the real deal. I’m gonna move there after I retire,” Sandler is quoted as saying.
News Daily 12, whose appearance is near-identical to that of 16 WMPO, features the same stories albeit with different protagonists including Matthew McConaughey, Will Ferrell and Kevin Costner — with the Waterworld actor reportedly praising both the residents and the quality of burgers on offer in Spruce Grove, Alberta.
Both 16 WMPO and News Daily 12 have disclaimers stating that the websites are “composed mostly of articles containing satire,” and that none of the stories should be considered true.
Each website also features a ‘satirical disclaimer’ claiming that it has been certified genuine “by the Morality Police of the Internet (MOPOTI)”.
“After the Russians propagated fake news across the internet to hand the evil tyrant Donald Trump the US Presidency during the 2016 election, a group of some of the smartest people in the world came together to form the MOPOTI,” the satirical disclaimers state.