Earlier this weekend, Yahoo's front-page for their entertainment section featured the headline: "Sharon Stone Named Suspected in Cannes Jewel Heist." Below the headline, the credit goes to Variety. As an insanely juicy twist on the Cannes jewels heist, the news item was understandably given high billing in Yahoo's newsfeed scroll.
While Yahoo gave serious treatment to the story, the article is actually from the satirical Hollywood-based Onion-type site Hollywood & Swine. Variety picked up the article with the tag: "Humor." While Yahoo should have verified the source, it is out of character for Variety to republish this sort of news-item satire.
The Variety version of the story included this sentence: "Satire: This content was not produced by Variety, but we find it very funny." Its humor source is clearer on the back page of the weekly print edition
than it is online, especially on Twitter, when a headline is easy to
take at face value. (The story is now clearly marked with the words Humor and Satire.)
While Yahoo's news-scanning skills are clearly faulty, Variety's should have foreseen these issues. The venerable 100-year-old trade usually originates stories via its own reporting. This
humorless piece seems out of character and it's not surprising that
people got confused. The article isn't particularly amusing or smart. It digs on Stone for not starring in movies for the past decade and uses evidence that she "steals scenes" to corroborate the robbery.
Besides highlighting something marked by facile, rude, and dated jokes,
the failure to properly and initially note that the story was satire could be
considered slanderous. Corrections have been made by Yahoo,
which includes the tag "Humor" before the headline.
The full text of the Hollywood & Swine article is below.