Whoops. This hoax will likely be an extinction-level event for whatever editor was asleep at the wheel over the long weekend.
The message is clear enough. It’s not a nice thing to contemplate the first day back at work after a three-day holiday weekend, but the good news is that it looks like the only impact story here is the fact that the cable news network has slammed the Earth with an enormous bolide of B.S.
The post is from iReports, which is apparently an experiment in citizen journalism. CNN lets random people with no qualifications post stories under the CNN banner. The asteroid scare illustrates the hazard of this approach.
Apparently ireporters don’t need to reveal their names. The asteroid report’s author has called himself, or herself, Marcus575. The story says the giant asteroid was spotted by a project called the Near-Earth Object Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), which really exists. The date for the lethal encounter is March 25, 35, 2041.
According to Seth Borenstein, who tipped off the Tracker, the alarming post was up for 22 hours. By that time, he noted, it had had more than 200000 visits and 22000 shares. Helping boost the hits were tags: gaming, stocks, science, cyrus, beiber, Obama. If you Google CNN and asteroid you will find dozens of people have already reposted the “news” with comments and some concern.