By on April 2, 2015

alexjack

If you thought yesterday’s article on Alex Roy’s latest “cross-country record” was fake, you were right on the money. As many of you suggested here and elsewhere, Alex and I came up with the idea during our cross-country drive in Matt Farah’s Million-Mile Lexus. Alex was frankly dismayed at the cottage industry of cross-country driving that had sprung up since the publication of The Driver and wanted to do something to demonstrate just how low the standards of participation, “competition”, and proof had become. When we found out that someone was trying to set up an “original Cannonball” to take place in the near future, Alex decided to strike. He “went dark” for 72 hours, as did I, and with the help of many of his friends and fellow drivers Alex created the idea of 26:28.

Now here’s the weirdest part: someone else did set a new cross-country record this past weekend. He says he doesn’t want publicity or media attention. So… Should we leave this piece as the final word on a pop-up culture of absurdity that honestly believes it’s “safe” to cross the country in under thirty high-speed hours? Over to you, Mr. Roy — JB

Sorry, Ed and Dave. You still hold the Cannonball record, to the best of my knowledge.

To quote the drummer from Spinal Tap: “I believe almost everything I read, and I read quite a lot.”

I’m constantly amazed by two things: 1) the wisdom of commenters on the major automotive sites, and 2) the decline of journalism.

Kudos to everyone who called out 26:28 as absurd. Two steering wheels? Spy Hunter mods? Thirty off-duty cops helping us? Apologies to anyone who felt taken. It was April 1st. This was never about pranking the car community. This was about how easy it is to place a story in major media, for whom fact-checking is seemingly irrelevant.

It’s a good thing April 1st is over, because, believe it or not, I wasn’t looking forward to carrying on the charade for the television interviews I just cancelled. I’m pretty sure if it hadn’t been April 1st, the 26:28 hoax would live on.

The genesis of 26:28 goes back to two incidents that changed my life: 1) the Sokal affair, and 2) the day Jalopnik’s Matt Hardigree called me to for comment on Ed Bolian’s 28:50 announcement.

Never heard of Sokal? In 1996 NYU professor Alan Sokal, fed up with what he felt was the nonsense published in academic journals, submitted an article filled with “grandiose quotations” and “outright nonsense” to Social Text. Published without peer review, Sokal’s experiment confirmed everything I suspected about post-modernism.

My memory of Sokal erupted the day Hardigree called for comment on Bolian’s pending announcement of 28:50. The only evidence Bolian had shared with Hardigree and contributing writer Doug DeMuro were stills and “GPS data.” I suggested that neither of them was qualified to judge whether they were faked.

Hardigree – the only real journalist to cover Bolian’s story – was convinced 28:50 was true. Not because of the Bolian’s purported “evidence”, but because of an anonymous source. To me this seemed weak, but in the spirit of good sportsmanship I kept my mouth shut.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

In 2006 I was quite sure 31:04 would not be believed unless all our evidence was made public on the day we announced, 366 days after our run, after the statutes of limitations had (mostly) expired, after it had been vetted by numerous outlets including Wired, The New York Times, and the legal departments at William Morris and Harper Collins.

In 2013, Bolian announced 28:50 and did so with seemingly limited evidence shared with but a single web site gambling that withholding evidence from the public for a year would protect him from prosecution. Bolian’s assumptions 1)that he was safe, and 2)that DeMuro’s Jalopnik article would go viral even with the evidentiary restriction would prove correct.

And not just correct. Overwhelmingly so.

By 2013, if one online outlet vetted a story, apparently that was good enough for pretty much everyone else. Whereas 31:04 went vertical, 28:50 went horizontal. Whereas 31:04 was everywhere in U.S. media, 28:50 went global.

reclaim

I eventually saw Bolian’s evidence. However, that wasn’t what convinced me. Stills can be faked. GPS data can be faked. Ed Bolian and David Black had something I don’t think can be faked: the demeanor and professionalism of those who’ve actually done this.

In the spirit of April Fool’s Day, successful hoaxes and testing the fact-checkers, it was essential the 26:28 announcement start believably and descend into madness only after the TL:DR crowd had reposted it. An 18,000 word draft became 12, then 9, then 6,690 words.

I’m pretty sure the majority of television bookers didn’t read past the headline.

Ironically, much of the April 1st story is true:

0. April Fools’ Day is a great day to announce and keep your plausible deniability.
1. I think Ed Bolian and David Black did 28:50. (I fucking don’t — JB)
2. 28:50 is beatable.
3. The Infiniti Q50 can accommodate two steering wheels.
4. The analysis of evidentiary standards.
5. My opinion on Rawlings.
6. The feasibility of the Spy Hunter options.
7. I wrote The Driver myself. Signed copies are available on my website for $19.95.
8. I was Chairman of The Moth.
9. I did win The Ultimate Playboy.
10. The Box has a midget celebrity impersonator sex show with an enema demonstration.
11. I do love Homeworld, Fields of the Nephilim and Yngwie Malmsteen.
12. I did carry Holy Book wheel chocks on the Gumball 3000.

What wasn’t true?

1. The drive itself.
2. My devotion to Wotan.
3. My belief in Matthew McConaughey. (There’s evidence to contra-indicate this — jb)

If you don’t want to be the drummer from Spinal Tap, and especially if you love cars, ask yourself:

1. When was the last time a major automotive publication ran a front-page story about the Toyota recall scandal?
2. What is the correlation between an auto manufacturer’s ad pages and winning Car of the Year?
3. How many reviewers disclose the luxurious junkets on which they are “educated” about the products they endorse?
4. When was the last time you read a distinctly negative review for anything other than a movie?

Media is a business. Blah, blah, blah. Publish first. Service the advertisers. Blah, blah, blah. Fact-checking? Transparency? Forget it. Not part of the media’s mission any more. Those are things that you, the media consumer, now have to do for yourself. It’s a hassle, and it’s hard work, but it’s worth doing.

Or, you know, you could just be the drummer from Spinal Tap.

* * *

Oh, one more thing.

If we were actually going to do this again, we certainly wouldn’t tell anyone.

Maybe ever.

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74 Comments on “If I Drove It: 26:28 And The End Of Automotive Journalism...”


  • avatar
    tresmonos

    God damn Loch Ness monster

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The only part I feel taken about is the false promise of seeing the dual steering wheeled GTR powered Q50. Dreams, shattered.

  • avatar
    vtnoah

    You guys had me hook line and sinker. I read the whole story and I figured that it was outrageous enough to be true. Kudos.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Congrats, that was a lot of work for our bemusement.

  • avatar

    Awesome prank. But the message about accuracy, fact checking, as well as the lack of credibility and transparency in the media is the true lesson here.

    • 0 avatar
      7402

      “the message about accuracy, fact checking, as well as the lack of credibility and transparency in the media is the true lesson”

      This has been true since forever, but the internet made it exponentially worse. It used to be a local paper could trust the AP/UPI feeds and their local pavement-pounding reporters. With the birth of the blog readers quickly forget that “blog” comes from “weB LOG” and is simply someone’s recitation of information found on the web and reflected as a log of their activities and discoveries. There is NO suggestion of original reporting, fact checking, or verification in a blog unless the blogger actually does it and reports it in the blog, and even then a reader has to trust the blogger to tell the truth.

      Now, of course, we have the complication that bloggers refer to themselves as “journalists” which somehow makes them sound like old-school reporters. They are not because reporters pound-pavement and do original research.

      TTAC occupies both spaces of journalism (the rental car reviews for sure, some of the number crunching about sales, the beautifully researched historical pieces, etc.) and blogs (noting what was reported elsewhere and commenting on it. Above all, TTAC is themed entertainment, which is the biggest compliment I can give in today’s internet-media world.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Most of the automotive media didn’t run with this story, which would suggest that the fact checking in the traditional media did its job.

      The one notable exception was Popular Mechanics, which has since provided an April Fool’s update. The rest of the dupes were blogs such as Jalopnik, which don’t generally verify stories before relaying them.

      • 0 avatar

        Not a single outlet contacted us regarding the story before running it.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          As far as I can tell, the only traditional magazine that talked about this was Popular Mechanics. The traditional enthusiast press (C/D, MT, R&T, Automobile) didn’t touch it, presumably because they didn’t believe it.

          It also ended up at Jalopnik, Hooniverse and Autoevolution, all of which are blogs (i.e. sources that don’t do much original reporting or factchecking.)

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Derek do you fact check every story here. It seems like a lot of re-posting of other stuff is pretty much the order of the day here as anywhere else. I realize why that is, just curious what makes TTAC different.

  • avatar
    six42

    “NY to LA. 26 Hours. 28 Minutes. With A GT-R-Powered, Dual-Control Infiniti Q50.
    By Jack Baruth on March 31, 2015”

    March 31, FFS.

  • avatar
    carr1on

    a-holes

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I know, right? How dare someone pull a prank on April Fool’s Day.

      • 0 avatar
        jrhmobile

        It’s one thing to do a prank on April Fools Day.

        It’s quite another to pull off a hoax, indict the entire automotive journalism community because you think you’re so frickin’ bright, and then discover that only a couple of blogs you’ve written for — who trusted YOU — were the only ones who bit on it.

        The only bright light shining here is on the writer’s self-importance. In the vernacular: Sister, Please …

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Ummm…okay.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    from r/showerthoughts: April Fool’s Day is the one day of the year when people critically evaluate news articles before accepting them as true.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I guess I’m becoming a very old curmudgeon, because I’ve learned to loathe April 1st over the past few years. Might as well just shut off the television, radio and computer for the day, because there’s going to be nothing but “humorous” garbage out there.

    As proof that I’m not totally lacking a sense of humor, the one April Fool’s prank that I enjoyed was the announcement by the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis that Justin Beiber would be playing there on 10 August, for the rally. (For those not in tune with Sturgis, the rally ends on 9 August.) I think part of my enjoyment is my fervent wish that it would be true – he’d never get out of town alive.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Truth. I despise it, and I just turned 30.

      At this point, the only good part are the bits of the internet that take the piss out of the other parts of the internet for being general idiots.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” Wot ~ she turned me into a _NEWT_ ! ” .

    (it got better ) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    boozysmurf

    You got me, you magnificent bastards.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Genesis Chapter 26, Verse 28 – We saw clearly the Lord was with you.

    (That popped into my head with your line “genesis of 26:28)

    Now returning you to your regular program.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Yesterday I said: “This is either the douchiest post or the best April Fool’s prank in TTAC history. If it’s real, there’s not a f*&$king public road in the United States where you’re not endangering innocent people by driving 188 mph, K? If it’s fake, hats off.”

    Hats off. Great, well-thought-out April Fool’s post. Alex, your quotes were sublime.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Which is why I didn’t comment on the original story and the resulting hand wringing. This was like the third best April Fool’s story I heard. March 31st isn’t April 1st, but its close enough if someone is trying to pull a fast one.

  • avatar
    anthromt

    Just a quick clarification here about the Sokal Affair, but I think an important one.

    Social Text WAS actually a peer reviewed journal, but the peer review board had no scientists on it. The editors failed to bother recruiting a scientist or mathematician to fact-check Sokal’s scientific claims. From the standpoint of a humanities/social science journal with a radical postmodern bent, the article looked just fine. Reportedly, they were thrilled an NYU physics scholar would actually publish something in their little journal.

    Once Sokal revealed his hoax in another journal, Lingua Franca, the editor of Social Text published a response essentially arguing that Sokal’s fake article only reinforced the postmodernist world view by demonstrating how reality could be so easily undermined by rhetoric and text. Everything is just words, people!

    As you can imagine, Social Text folded pretty quickly afterwords. I think what this points to is that even with peer review in place, it’s not a perfect system if ideologies intervene in the process.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I think the bigger problem there is that “peer review” applies to science; it’s part of the scientific method (as applied to publishing, simply as a filter for the worst sort of fakery or incompetence).

      Social Text was, despite aping the forms of a scientific journal, simply not doing science or anything really like it.

      (“Social science” isn’t actually science, and the humanities in general certainly aren’t.

      This is not meant as an attack on either, just a differentiation.

      If Social Text had not pretended to the mantle of “science” in the first place, they never would have been burned the same way; if they’d presented Sokal’s text as “an interesting text from a physicist that we don’t pretend we can really vet for correctness”, they would have been both honest, and un-harmed by the revelation it was nonsense.)

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Science has replaced the role traditionally held by religion in most cultures – the arbiter of “truth”.

        Most people are scientifically ignorant, thus permitting perversion of the scientific label to manipulate outcomes.

        The results are non-scientific practices and enterprises masquerading as theoretically consistent, empirically verified “truth” and dutifully reported as such. The public response to these results, predictably, falls into two fundamental categories: the credulous who uncritically accept such results and the incredulous who unequivocally renounce all science on the basis of the reported result.

        What is scientific truth? Currently, in general terms, it is the end of certainty and the rise of probability. All actions and thoughts are posits, no more no less.

      • 0 avatar
        anthromt

        Exactly.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Social Text WAS actually a peer reviewed journal, but the peer review board had no scientists on it.”

      It that’s true, then it wasn’t peer reviewed. Being reviewed by an editor and peer reviewed by a scientist who is qualified to conduct the review are two different things.

      • 0 avatar
        anthromt

        It was peer reviewed by a peer review board – which is common practice for academic journals in specialty fields. Unfortunately, none of the members of the peer review board for Social Text were physicists, when they should have clearly had at least one, at least in the case of Sokal’s article. Because it’s also common practice to bring on external reviewers when the topic at hand is beyond your board’s expertise. Would have saved them A LOT of embarrassment.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “Unfortunately, none of the members of the peer review board for Social Text were physicists”

          Then it wasn’t really peer reviewed, for no one was qualified to perform the review.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        While editors may or may not be qualified to conduct a peer review, scientists are not the only individuals quailified to conduct a peer review. For example, a procedure to change a timing chain on a vehicle without removing the engine from the frame might be peer reviewed by other mechanics.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I wondered about the article’s proximity to April 1 but it’s the kind of story that, if it’s not true, should be.

    It’s not hard to fool lazy, gullible media. Fifty years ago, the magazine Canada Track and Traffic published an article, complete with photographs of race cars and air-brushed skid marks, about a fictional road race that was supposed to have been run shortly after dawn on a Sunday morning in a public park near downtown Toronto. The Toronto newspapers swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    There is also the recurring hoax about the “dangerous” chemical dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). See the web site http://www.dhmo.org.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I have both the Track and Traffic April Fools article, and their explanation from the next month – 50 years removed, it’s kind of neat artifact (especially since I previously lived across the road from High Park, the site in question – you could make a neat little track out of it if you had the opportunity).

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    It’s not only the fault of a speed-addled, unconcerned media not caring/bothering to fact-check. It’s the ever more absurd consumption driven, fame seeking world we now live in. Amazon Dash? Burger King cologne? The Kardashians? Our BS meters no longer have any ability to remain calibrated.

    “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” – Lily Tomlin

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I can’t claim that I ‘knew’ it was all a prank, much for the reasons mentioned (april 1st is a great day to announce something like this), and much because I am a skeptic, so I don’t anything for granted , ever.
    But, like I wrote in my comment on the actual article, there were quite a few pointers towards it being fake, some have been mentioned up here, some were less clever. First of all, TTAC exclusive? Seriously… And Jacks remarks, and supposed negativity, throughout the article combined with this ‘exclusivity’ had alarms going off in my head. Other than that it was really really well written, and mostly plausible (but maybe too detailed), but I actually think adding the article describing the car itself, without as much as a fake photoshopped pic of the car ( I could have made that, easily) made it seem even more fake, as it added even more semi-technical details that weren’t needed.
    On the other hand, Civic Type-R, coming to the US ?, I really thought that was the ‘real’ April Fools prank ?

    Almost forgot the best part. The reasons why Doug didn’t get the exclusive this time were hilarious . XD

  • avatar
    Mr. Orange

    I didn’t read the story. Still haven’t. Just commenting on something I really don’t know or concerned with. I got the feeling it was being pushed on me considering the fact it stayed at the top of the page. It just didn’t seem like something interesting. Just fishy.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      There was nothing sinister there. They wanted the prank to have legs and there were a TON of posts yesterday due to all the NYC Show announcements. That flooded the feed. Had it not been pinned to the top for the day, it would have been third or fourth page news by last night.

      Pure speculation on my part – but I’m ASS-U-ME-“ing” that is why it was pinned.

  • avatar
    badcoffee

    I like the prank… But singling out another ttac contributor as “not a journalist” (and slightly worse) yesterday smacks of bad-old-days BS tttac.

    Unless he was in on it, in which case well done.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Interesting that this legitimate post has 78 “Facebook Recommendations” as I write this.

    IIRC, the sensationalist hoax had a couple of thousand recommendations by the time it had been up for a few hours, and has over 6k recommendations now. It seemed that for a while yesterday the fake story was picking up a couple of hundred recommendations every few minutes.

    I’m not sure if TTAC would be willing to share this, but it would be interesting to compare the popularity of the two stories, and how the popularity of both changes over time.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      When the dust settles, absolutely.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      Facebook recommendations don’t necessarily mean that people were believing it. I commented on the article early on saying that it was clearly fake – but also shared with several “car guys” as a funny April Fool’s Day article.

      That said, this TTAC self-righteous response article has no value in being shared — at least for me — and to be honest, it smacks of the reasons I went from reading TTAC daily to now checking in once a week or so.

      Let’s dry the tears: Journalism is dead and TTAC is just another blog, no better, no worse, than Jalopnik and the rest of them. The only real difference is that TTAC donates a lot of words to in-fighting and prophecy (e.g. “Tesla Deathwatch” is an oldie but a goodie), whereas Jalopnik skews towards comedy and… cars. Thus, Jalopnik typically earns my morning coffee click.

  • avatar

    My favorite April FOols prank was played by NPR in 1992: Nixon was so fed up with Bush that he had decided to run against him in the primaries. They had Harvard law profs arguing over whether Nixon could run after having served through roughly one and a half terms.

    And I loved Roy’s account of 31.04, in Wired. GREAT story. But I’m glad I did not bother to read yesterday’s story.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    When I was in the Navy, I lived in Norfolk, VA, and that’s a huge Navy town. Every bar, packed full of Navy dudes chasing the few ugly women. So when you went out, you lied and said you did something else, because you didn’t want to be another Navy guy. My one buddy always used to be “repair guy for bowling alley pin setters” and I used to go with “I’m a looper, you know, a caddy” (not one chick got the reference in 2 years of using it). My one buddy, who took himself real seriously, always had some elaborate story about being an internet entrepreneur in an e-marketing business, or whatever. Point is, he didn’t get the joke.

    And the joke is, how silly can you make something that still seems plausible, that people would believe, but then would feel silly for believing when they were let in on the secret.

    This “joke” is the internet e-marketing entrepreneur of April Fools jokes. It’s so complex and detailed, and when you find out it isn’t true, that guys known for making cross country racing records in elaborately disguised cars DIDN’T make a cross country racing record in an elaborately disguised car, you don’t laugh at yourself, you just say…oh…okay. It’s just..not funny.

    Had this been about 75% less detailed, and in a much less plausible car (I dunno, a Reliant Robin or a Citroen 2CV or a Honda Element with a toilet in the back and a hole cut in the floor) it would have been less believable, but much more amusing. I guess the joke here is how many people believed it? But if they believed it, while not caring, does it matter?

    • 0 avatar
      MrFixit1599

      When I was in the Navy, we had a guy on the boat that actually kept a full bull riding kit in the box on the back of his Dodge Dakota. Granted he was from New Jersey, and of course had never been close enough to a bull to ride one in his life, but he wore the clothes, and told the story, and showed all the girls his bull riding stuff, and went to all of the line dance bars. Of course all the girls believed it. The most ironic part is, he is now a pastor/preacher whatever.

  • avatar
    Zandr

    Funny thing is, the dual-control bit is perfectly believable. Of course, we race this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oItKS0nD-hU

  • avatar

    H.L. Mencken did such a thing with “A Neglected Anniversary.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_hoax The total fabrication even ended up being put into some history books. People are gullible.

  • avatar
    Acd

    God how I hate April Fools Day on the internet.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Am I right in assuming that if all other vehicles were removed from the roads, this would be an easily achieved time in an unmodifed Infinity Q50?

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I guess so. If the road was cleared to make it a ‘legal’ race, the times would most definitely be lower. ‘Easily’ achieved will still depend a lot on the driver(s) though.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      With the road cleared, you could do it in a Kia Forte.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        It’s interesting, I thought you couldn’t, but I guess you can.

        Distancesonline.com says Manhattan, NY to Redondo Beach, CA is 2817 miles. 2817/26.5 = 106mph

        So you need to average 106mph over the whole trip. I was thinking gas stops would really screw you over, but it doesn’t really change things as much as I thought.

        I made some big assumptions to make the math easy, but bear with me.

        I figure a car going 106mph would get pretty crappy mileage, like 20 mpg.

        2817/20 mpg = 141 gallons of gas

        141 gallons of gas divided by a decent sized gas tank (18 gal) is 7.8 fuel stops, rounded to 8.

        8 fuel stops at 2.5 min per is 20 minutes.

        So offset that, you really need to DRIVE in 26:08 instead of 26:28.

        2817 miles divided by 26:08 is only 108mph average, compared with 106.

        I honestly expected the difference to be much greater, but nearly any car can average 108mph on an empty road.

        Of course this ignores slowing down and speeding up and turning into the gas station and all that, but even then you probably only have to go up to 110mph average.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          If you had a VW Phaeton V10 diesel you could cut down the number of gas station stops by a lot too. It also has the torque to get back up to speed resonably quickly , and it’s built to be comfortable and quiet at way past those speeds. The 155mph limiter is easily removed.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Thank goodness. The thought of a clean and sober Alex Roy was just too much.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    I once took time to explain to Jack how to get a good tan. He’s still pale as a ghost.

  • avatar
    Philip Lane

    As I was reading the story, I found the “facts” as they were presented believable. I was convinced. Except for the tone.

    I decided it was a hoax because no one could be as big a bag of dicks as Alex Roy portrayed himself as, and still have friends. I just decided nobody could be that big a jerk and still have the friends he does in the automotive media.

  • avatar
    baconator

    I still *want* it to be true.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I was not amused by this article. And i don’t think it was in the best interest of TTAC and its’ readers.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Supposing THIS article is the hoax. And tomorrow we learn that the 26:28 record, was actually true.

    BOOM.

    And then the next day, TTAC says “Ha! – Got you again! The record isn’t true, we were just testing you. Of course it isn’t true, it’s a meta-meta AFD joke. get it?”

    And then the next day, TTAC, posts an article proclaiming that the internet dust has settled, and they can, in fact, confirm the 26:28 run. They post videos, and a full 3D video of the car. They even show the tires — the second set, of course, since they had to swap in some flyover state that they can’t name.

    And the next day they show how they faded all of the evidence.

    And then the next day they retract the story, and post an interview with one of the 30-helper cops; of course his face and voice are disguised.

    And so on.

    I think TTAC might just win the internet yet.

  • avatar
    George B

    Ed Bolain did a few innovative things for his transcontinental record. The main one was greatly increasing the quantity of fuel in the car combined with selecting a car with an active suspension to handle the change in weight as fuel is used. The hoax used less energy dense E-85 in a car without a suspension set up to handle the weight change. The other innovative thing that Ed Bolain did was to persuade truckers to let him through. Just a hunch, but I bet some affable guys from Atlanta have the right voice and demeanor on the CB to pull this off in a way that Alex Roy probably couldn’t or wouldn’t.

    Regarding proof, hiring an outside firm to track the position of the Ed Bolain car was good, but hiring two would have been better. I’d want some additional independent data, but the general idea was good. The hoax proposed putting lots of gear in the car that added more weight than value. Simply have multiple independent people document the hell out of when the car starts and ends the run.

  • avatar
    RonaldPottol

    Back 1980s and 1990s, England’s Car magazine had an editor whose column was about the junkets for car intros. He’d write about the food, the hotels, and how very nice they were, and how they compared to other press junkets. Then he’d mention that the new what ever had a nice back seat. It didn’t really occur to me at the time what he was really doing. Car of that era (not read many car magazines in years) would talk about which maker were not buying adds because of one or another nasty truth car had told about them (like the car having a tire come off the rim in the slalom). That, was journalism.

  • avatar
    wjfreemont

    You wrote a story bemoaning the current state of journalism and attack post modernism for not valuing hard data enough to encourage fact checking … then followed it up with this paragraph:

    “I eventually saw Bolian’s evidence. However, that wasn’t what convinced me. Stills can be faked. GPS data can be faked. Ed Bolian and David Black had something I don’t think can be faked: the demeanor and professionalism of those who’ve actually done this.”

    Their demeanor? Are you serious? This entire post is insufferable.


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