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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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Comments

Monkey

Winnipeg

Gotta go to work, work all day, search for underpants eh? We're never gonna stop until we find underpants, yum tum, yummy tum day!

Posted August 20, 2008 02:26 PM

Nick

Markham

Phase One: Collect Underpants. Phase Two: ? Phase Three: Profit!

Posted August 21, 2008 08:55 AM

Matt

Winnipeg

What's phase two?

Posted August 21, 2008 10:04 AM

Claudio

Windsor

I think all the attention was mostly due to the "what if..." factor. What if this is the real deal? This didn't just appear to be another snippet in the local newspaper or the 11:00 news. I mean, there was even going to be a press conference announcing the findings. Then there was the revelation that there wasn't going to be a body available for inspection until someone forked over some cash. 'Ooookayyyy' was probably what came to mind for alot of people, but I bet the "what if" was still nagging for some of us. I know it was for me, I'm not ashamed in admitting it. Do I believe bigfoot exists? Nope. Would I find it fascinating that a cryptozoological creature could exist to this very day without having been found before? Heck ya.

Posted August 21, 2008 01:32 PM

Dave

Niagara

I STILL WANT MY UNDERPANTS BACK.. PLEASE AND THANKS

Posted August 21, 2008 02:19 PM

Mike Farner

I always suspected many of the powers that be in the CBC tend to decide what is news by looking to see what other news-organisations are reporting. They should be thinking about it for themselves.

I also wish journalists studied more science, and had better training in critical thinking and skepticism. Believe it or not, you are in a position of trust. You report to a public where many of us (or more accurately all of us -- just at different times and about different things) are rather gullible.

Posted August 29, 2008 10:14 PM

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