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Jan 092012
 
Darth Vader burger - from Quick press release

Darth Vader burger - from Quick press release - look, no mintinbox.net watermark

The black-bunned Darth Vader burger, being offered by French fast food chain Quick, is for real, but you wouldn't know it from reading the story on internet news outlets. When examining the story on several major sites (CNN, ABC News, Fox News, Huffington Post, CNET, to name a few), I noticed that almost all of them are using an image with a mintinbox.net watermark. Mintinbox.net is in French, but appears to be a Star Wars fan site. I'm not a reporter, but I don't think I would rely on a fan site for news without proper fact checking.

Yet, all of these major news outlets apparently based their story on the mininbox.net post. Amazingly, this thing is for real, I think a more accurate story could be obtained from Quick's own press release (in French, but I've added a very rough English translation, via Google translate). I don't read French, but it is pretty clear from the release, and the image above, that the promotion for the Darth Vader burger lasts from March 2nd until March 5th, even though most of the news stories cite March 1st as the end date. CNN, at least quotes a French news site as its source, but looking at that page also reveals that site culled the image from mintinbox.net, and the story from a French geek blog.

It appears this story originated with the mininbox.net post, but didn't the reporters covering this "story" think to dig a little deeper than a fan site - it really wasn't very hard to find the official press release, and I don't even speak French - you would think that CNN employs at least 1 person that could read French. None of the articles/posts I've read seem to go deeper than this mininbox.net post. Let's just regurgitate something we found on the interwebs and call it sourced. Welcome to news in the 21st century.

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