Bennett Madison, a successful author for young adults, developed a hobby in which he would pen hilarious narratives asking for advice from “Dear Prudence”: the long running advice column in Slate. Some of his headlines includes: Help! My Sister Is Convinced She’s an Unrecognized Genius, and It’s Tearing My Family Apart!, and My Mother Is Trying To Convince the Guests At My Gay Wedding To Come Dressed As Disney Characters. While extremely funny, these submissions largely stayed local within Brooklyn, and went mostly unnoticed. Most people probably thought that although wacky, that they were actually written by a real person.
However, when Madison wrote the infamous piece entitled Help! My Husband Won’t Remove His Mask, Even For Sex!, it started gaining traction on Twitter. So much so, that Fox host Tucker Carlson shared the story on his show as if it was genuine. Carlson either legitimately believed it was real, which as a journalist makes him disturbingly naive, or simply cherry picked the most outrageous and questionable story on purpose, which makes him a propogandist.
Either way, it serves as an fascinating look into how misinformation no matter how outlandish can seep it’s way into mainstream media and infect discourse.