Today duped by ridiculous fake story
The Today Show was this morning duped by a fake story about a "fugitive Ed Sheeran lookalike" on the run in the US, with newsreader Tracy Vo reporting it as fact during the news headlines.
"A major manhunt underway in the US: The Ohio Fugitive Taskforce hunting a man who's been taking cash from churches, fooling them into thinking he's Ed Sheeran. This is his mugshot," Vo announced, as hosts Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon laughed at the unlikely side-by-side images of the fugitive and the star he was impersonating:
"That's not Ed Sheeran of course, it's Ronnie Williams Jr., who even went as far as performing Shape Of You in front of one of the congregations he was stealing money from.
When the pastor was asked why the real Ed Sheeran would've performed for $35 and a sandwich, he … just assumed he'd fallen on tough times. There you go; he's wanted for fraud," Vo continued.
"Other than the fact they both have red hair, there is nothing alike about them," said Langdon.
"Great story T-Vo," Stefanovic told the newsreader.
A great, fake, story - it originated as a February 25 post on "Portsmouth Ohio Official", a Facebook page with almost 40,000 followers that is clearly labelled as "Satire/Parody."
"Portsmouth Ohio official is a news and entertainment satire web publication. This page is for entertainment purposes only," runs a disclaimer on the page.
Later on in the show, the hosts returned to the story - but by this time, they'd been clued in about the fact it was a fake.
"It turns out it was a fake news story all along. We did fall for this one. It was from a satirical news site," they said. "Still a good laugh."