Trump opponents were fooled by a fake anecdote about Trump watching a ‘gorilla channel.’
One of the most entertaining “excerpts” circulated from Michael Wolff’s explosive tell-all was a passage describing President Trump supposedly watching a “gorilla channel” for hours on end.
The excerpt, of course, was a parody and wasn’t actually from the “Fire and Fury” book.
But it managed to fool plenty of Trump critics anyway, with an MSNBC contributor and others initially appearing to treat the passage as legit.
The “Fire and Fury” fake-out clearly exploited an environment where journalists were hastily tweeting excerpts as they devoured the salacious book filled with alleged anecdotes of aides trashing the president and Trump himself munching through cheeseburgers in his bedroom while glued to multiple TVs.
Amid the firestorm, Twitter user @pixelatedboat sent out the spoof excerpt Thursday.
The wild tale involves White House staff appeasing Trump’s demands for a “gorilla channel” by compiling footage of the combative apes, only for them to have to edit it further as Trump complained that they weren’t fighting enough.
The story finished with a Wolff-style quote from an “insider.”
“‘On some days he’ll watch the gorilla channel for 17 hours straight,’ an insider told me. ‘He kneels in front of the TV, with his face about four inches from the screen, and says encouraging things to the gorillas, like ‘the way you hit that other gorilla was good.’ I think he thinks the gorillas can hear him.’”
Yet the tall tale was picked up by some credulous Trump trashers. MSNBC contributor Scott Dworkin circulated the ancedote, mocking Trump. He later deleted it, but it was preserved here. He later said he wasn’t fooled at all.
Eric Garland, who came up with the now infamous phrase, “Guys it’s time for some game theory” admitted that he got “totally punked” by the tweet.
“…[B]ut when you’ve already gotten to “eating KFC in bed,” I mean, we’re through the looking glass,” he qualified, before changing his profile to “CEO of the Gorilla Channel” in an apparent act of self-mockery.
Dammit guys, I got totally punked on the Gorilla Channel thing – but when you’ve already gotten to “eating KFC in bed,” I mean, we’re through the looking glass.
Thanks to all who called me out. We keep it clean and Deza-free at Game Theory HQ. 😀
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) January 5, 2018
New York Times journalist Farhad Manjoo was unimpressed by the spoof, after initially asking whether or not it was real. He said such jokes are “making things worse.”
Don’t tweet screenshots of fake text (of book excerpts, court transcripts, etc) even as a joke.
You’re making things worse.
The jokes just don’t work in a partisan-echo-chamber-feed world where everything is divorced from context and authorship.
Also they’re not funny
— Farhad Manjoo (feat. Drake) (@fmanjoo) January 5, 2018
The gaffes quickly led other commentators to enjoy the moment and meme it up a little.
Haha you guys, I totally fell for the tweet about Trump eating babies from the “Funny fake tweets” account, but what do you expect? Everything sounds plausible now. Anyway back to my totally sane thread about the chip Putin planted in Trump’s head. /142
— neontaster 🚟 (@neontaster) January 5, 2018
By Friday afternoon, @pixelatedboat had changed his Twitter name to “the gorilla channel thing is a joke” just in case.