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Bigfoot and the underpants gnomes

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The latest Bigfoot hoax raises several interesting questions. As a few readers have pointed out, this latest scam received quite a bit of mainstream media attention, whereas a few years ago it would have been fodder for tabloids such as the National Enquirer. The question, then, is why? Why did the mainstream media, ourselves included, give this story the time of day?

We first mentioned the "story" here in this blog, which is a place where we tend to let our hair down and sometimes mention tidbits that are outside the mainstream news flow. We figured we'd draw attention to it because it was one of those silly, offbeat stories that some people would get a kick out of. Mostly, it was an excuse to link to the underpants gnomes and Mitch Hedberg (that clip has apparently stopped working and we can't find another one, so click on this link and look for the Bigfoot joke instead. It's funny, trust us).

We judged that a follow-up story reporting on the scam was necessary, given how much attention the whole thing had received. So again, why did it receive so much attention? A few theories:

1. Slow news day. When this happens, even the smallest and oddest stories can get blown out of proportion.
2. Too much news. On the other hand, with the proliferation of bloggers and news sites, there is just too much competition between people looking to attract reader traffic. That could mean some sites are running crazier and crazier stories.
3. The X-Files defence. Like Mulder, perhaps we truly want to believe. Over decades of exposure to conspiracy theories, there are many people out there who really, really want to see evidence of Bigfoot or aliens or that Elvis is still alive and running the Tilt-a-Whirl at the CNE.
4. Speaking of which... maybe the whole thing was a very clever marketing ploy to get people talking about the X-Files again. The new movie hasn't been doing so hot at the box office, after all.

Any other theories?

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