The Chaser Tricked A Bunch Of Murdoch News Sites Into Reporting That “Fairy Bread Is Cancelled”

"We never in our wildest dreams imagined that News Corp would be incompetent enough to run the story as their lead 8am headline across multiple news sites without fact-checking first."

Fairy Bread The Chaser Petition PRank

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A number of Murdoch news sites were left embarrassed over the weekend when The Chaser revealed that the publications had reported their fake petition as fact.

In a hilarious move by the iconic Aussie pranksters, Lachie, Gabbi and Caz from The Chaser Intern team decided to test just how little fact-checking goes on in the rush to stir up public outrage towards issues that don’t even exist.

Speaking to Junkee, Caz explained that the team’s main goal with the prank was to make people “realise that these confected outrages about stories that sound so ridiculous they can’t be true are just that”.

“The terms ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ haven’t been banned, Mr Potato Head didn’t go gender neutral, and nobody has stopped you from being able to read The Cat In The Hat,” Caz told Junkee.

“The only reason people believe these things is it confirms their existing world view that some left-wing boogeyman is out to destroy the things they love, when in reality all left-wing politics wants is for people to stop being dicks.”

The prank started about a week ago when The Chaser Interns team set up a fake petition to ‘Change the name of Fairy Bread’ because the word “fairy” was apparently “outdated and offensive, and has been used to belittle and oppress others”.

The petition appeared to be started by one Dr Alexis Chaise, who was “fed up for too long” and decided that Australia still using the word is “reprehensible”.

“The fact that Australians in 2021 are still using this word in the name of a children’s food is reprehensible,” the petition read. “Bigotry is un-Australian, and so is fairy bread.”

In reality, Alexis Chaise did not exist — and one quick Google search revealed she was actually just a $799 light grey couch from Lounge Lovers.

While The Chaser boys were at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Interns decided to create their outraged middle-aged woman by using This Person Does Not Exist, then set up her social media accounts, crafted the petition and sent out a press release in a single day assuming it would just be “an afternoon filler story on one news site” as it was “something so obviously fake it would only take a few seconds of research for any half-decent journalist to disprove”.

But somehow, even with 2GB’s Ben Fordham immediately outing the petition as a Chaser prank in a day, news sites still decided to report on the obviously fake petition when Chaser sent out a second press release on Thursday afternoon. The Chaser even noted how the top search result for fairy bread at the time was still Fordham calling the whole thing a sham.

“We thought it had fallen through when nothing went out that afternoon, but instead it turns out News had held it off for their lead 8am headline across all their digital mastheads the next morning,” Caz continued. “Not a single journalist from our press release the next week got in contact. News Corp just went and ran the story without even the most basic journalistic checks.”

“We never in our wildest dreams imagined that News Corp would be incompetent enough to run the story as their lead 8am headline across multiple news sites without fact-checking first.”

Sadly despite all these clear signs, sites like, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, LADBible and The Brag still published a range of articles about the petition to drum up outrage without checking sources.

Ironically sites like Pedestrian and Out in Perth were also fooled by a pretty convincing Lyle Shelton parody account, misreporting that the leader of Christian Democrats had been fooled and was angered by the fairy bread petition. For the sake of transparency, I also momentarily fell for the fake tweet but fact-checked with The Chaser before publishing this article.

Naturally once The Chaser revealed the petition was fake on Friday, these news sites quickly tried to scrub all evidence of the articles from the web. However, it was too late. The Chaser had already proved their point: Too many Australian publications, and News Corp in particular, run stories to create confected “cancel culture” outrage without doing any research first. 

Got em

Posted by The Chaser on Friday, 16 April 2021

But while the whole thing was just a harmless gag done to prove “just how easy it is to drum up fake outrage”, some people in the LGBTQI+ community have noted that the prank did stir up some homophobes which The Chaser apologise for.

“We’d never in our wildest imaginations thought the story would get to the scale it did (we thought at best it would be an afternoon filler story on one news site), and we’re going to drop a very large donation to an LGBTQI+ youth charity as a way of saying sorry,” Caz added. 

On the brighter side of things, The Chaser did share that two million people have interacted with their prank reveal on social media which will hopefully work towards prevent people blindly believing everything they read from News Corp.

“Our hope is that even if a fraction of those people now approach the next confected ‘cancel culture’ outrage with a bit more scepticism, it’ll be a public good,” Caz told Junkee.