Fake News Intentionally Created by 20th Century Fox to Promote Movie

Below is an article that tells us how fake news happens. Note that this was not some hacker, some criminally minded person, or some random person out to play a practical joke. It was 20th Century Fox creating these fake news websites to get attention for their movie. Maybe they thought it was a clever joke, but the problem is we weren’t in on the joke. And we don’t think it’s funny, now that we know of their deception. I have highlighted segments in grey. Grey (Italics) are my comments.

When fake news and marketing don’t mix: 20th Century Fox apologizes for movie’s ad campaign

It may have worked in Blair Witch era, but experts say today’s media environment isn’t right for hoax sites

By Solomon Israel, CBC News Posted: Feb 18, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 18, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Experts say the backlash to an ad campaign by film studio 20th Century Fox offers an important lesson in modern marketing: advertising and fake news don’t mix in today’s media environment.

A marketing campaign for A Cure For Wellness, director Gore Verbinski’s new thriller about a mysterious Swiss health spa, created a small constellation of fake local news websites with headlines like “Psychological thriller screening leaves Texas man in catatonic state.”

Other fake headlines had only tenuous thematic connections to the film, such as “Trump orders CDC to remove all vaccination-related information from website,” or “BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin spotted at Swiss resort prior to election.”

Photo & Caption

A Cure for Wellness fake news

An archived version of the website for The Sacramento Dispatch — which is not a real news media outlet — shows fake news headlines meant to promote the 20th Century Fox film. (Archive.org)

According to a report from Buzzfeed News, various stories from the fake news websites were shared across social media by readers who may not have known they were hoaxes. (That was the whole intent, wasn’t it?) The websites were taken down following Buzzfeed’s report, and now redirect visitors to the official website for A Cure for Wellness.

20th Century Fox issued an apology for the campaign after the story was picked up by other major media outlets. (But by that time it had achieved the desired affect. More attention from media backlash might have been part of the plan too.)

Branding problem for Fox Entertainment

On top of the ethical issue of deceiving people with fake news, 20th Century Fox may have really upset the people who were misled, according to Peter Darke, a marketing professor who studies consumer trust at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“We know that consumers who are manipulated in this way respond negatively when they realize that the whole purpose of this tactic was simply to grab their attention,” said Darke.

‘Because of the current journalistic climate that we’re in, there’s just no appetite for this whatsoever.’

– Vincent Georgie, professor of film marketing

That breach of trust is especially egregious, said Darke, because the parent company of 20th Century Fox, Fox Entertainment Group, also owns Fox News.

“Consumers can easily make the link between a Fox movie and Fox News,” he said.

Ken Wong, with the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, is less certain that moviegoers will make that connection. Still, he said the ad campaign was a bad idea.

“I think it is typical of marketing in its most amateur form, where the only attempt at appreciation is to try and be cute or to garner attention without any due regard for the longer-term consequences of how you’re garnering that attention,” Wong said.

Bad timing

20th Century Fox deserves some credit for its creative campaign, said Vincent Georgie, who studies film marketing as an assistant professor at the University of Windsor. But the studio went too far by failing to explicitly signal to readers that the fake news websites were part of a promotional campaign.

“Conceptually, it’s kind of interesting,” said Georgie. “But it was executed in a way that you don’t know it’s a joke. And that’s the problem with it. If the audience is not in on the joke at all, it’s not perceived as a joke — it’s actually perceived very negatively and very seriously.

“Because of the current journalistic climate that we’re in, there’s just no appetite for this whatsoever.”

The rest of the article makes a brief reference to the influence of fake news on the U.S. election and discusses how fake news was used to promote the independent, low budget movie The Blair Witch Project.

Here are some examples of what 20th Century Fox admitted doing as taken from the Buzzfeed News article, A Hollywood Film is Using Fake News to Get Publicity .

BuzzFeed News contacted Regency Enterprises, one of the film’s producers with the information connecting the sites to the film. A spokesperson confirmed they are working with the fake sites and provided a statement.

“A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,” it said. “As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site healthandwellness.co was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news.”

Note that at least five sites were created and allowed to run fake stories.

The five sites pumping out fake news and promotion for the film are Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post, and Indianapolis Gazette. They use similar designs, and also all have the same Google analytics ID embedded in their source code. Many of the sites’ domain names were registered on the same day: The Sacramento and Salt Lake City sites were registered on Jan. 14, and the Indianapolis and Houston sites were both registered back on Sept. 27.

The sites also run many of the same fake stories. For example, a false story, “‘Trump Depression Disorder’ Classified As A Disease By The American Medical Association” appears on all of the sites. Notably, the story ends with a call to action for the public “to tweet #cureforwellness to raise awareness of the growing epidemic.” That’s the hashtag for the film.

Here is more.

The sites are also willing to capitalize on potentially deadly natural disasters and political polarization to generate traffic and engagement. A story from today falsely claimed Trump denied California federal funds to help with the situation in Oroville, where over 180,000 people have been evacuated due to the potential breach of the Oroville Dam. The story has already generated over 20,000 Facebook engagements and is generating a lot of anger towards Trump from people on Facebook.

I think Vincent Georgie has said it very clearly, that there is no public appetite for this kind of manipulation.

Resolving Conflict in Marriage

This week my husband, Sheldon, and I are faced with making some decisions about a short vacation we plan to take in the summer. It turns out that we have different preferences. This is not surprising. We are different people, after all.

Sheldon wants to book a particular place to stay while I prefer another. Both are nice, but one offers a few more options for me and costs a bit more. These options are not what Sheldon envisioned as a “holiday.”

I posted our little dilemma on Facebook and received the suggestion that we do two vacations, or split our vacation so we each get to do what we want.

We might be able to do that. We have waited six years since our last vacation together, so that is a long time for one person to wait for their dream. But we could divide up our time.

Coming to an agreeable solution always takes a bit of hard work. I tend to shy away from these negotiations. Sheldon’s personality is so strong I find him overbearing. His voice is louder. He speaks with more intensity. Sometimes he says things that I find a bit demeaning. But, although I am more soft spoken, he confesses that he finds me extremely threatening.

What a lot of wives don’t get is how badly their spouse wants to please them. When a man thinks it is impossible to please his wife, it arouses a great deal of anxiety in him. In some men it can come across as anger. Others might withdraw or simply give in.

I don’t want Sheldon to simply give in. And the truth is he doesn’t want me to just give in either.

Anger, withdrawal from the other person, or giving in just to keep the peace are not the best for the marriage.

I was the one who came up with an alternative plan that Sheldon didn’t like. Immediately when I saw his response, I had to decide how important it was for me to do the thing I wanted. If I could give it up without feeling like I was giving up a significant part of my person then that would be fine. But if not, then it might be something I need to fight for.

When you are having these kinds of discussions it is absolutely necessary to keep inflammatory remarks out of the equation. I have a little “sensor” in my brain or in my heart somewhere that warns me when I am thinking of saying something that could potentially hurt Sheldon. There is no need to derail the discussion by causing insult or injury.

As I said, I don’t really want Sheldon to give up his dream. I just want us to find a way to include mine. Can we do that?

The question is how much each of us will have to give in. There is no point in giving in and resenting our decision. When we make a decision we have to be convinced that, for whatever reason, it is the right thing and the best thing for us personally, and for our spouse and our relationship.

I always find that it is helpful to dig deeper and try to figure out exactly what the other person wants and doesn’t want. Tell me more about why this is so important to you. What are you afraid of? What do you envision? What exactly is it that you don’t like about my idea?

It is not about who wins in the end. This is about how we can come to a conclusion that will make both of us happy. If we truly can’t do that, then it might be better to give up the vacation altogether.

We have to remain objective about problem solving. Think of the problem as a puzzle. Put the problem on the table. Take turns trying to fit different pieces. The end goal is to finish the puzzle the way it was intended.

Too often we give up before we are done. Or we think the pieces will never fit. This is where faith comes in. Faith that together, by the grace of God, we can do this.

I have numerous stories of when the pieces fit together so perfectly we were completely amazed. In fact, it has happened so often that I am confident it will happen again. And when it does, we will understand each other a bit better and be drawn a little closer.

The Easiest Way to Keep Your Sidewalks Clear and Safe in Vancouver Winters

We have had a weekly deluge of snow for the past month in British Columbia, leaving a lot of people stranded in their driveways as inclines make it impossible to get out. Clearing a long driveway is a task for the brave, or, preferably a snow plow. However, sidewalks can be handled without too much difficulty by residents and business owners by giving attention to timing.

I walked outside as the first snow fell. There was about a four inch cover on the ground. Coming from the prairies and being a resident manager for years, I’ve had to manage snow, lots of it.

If I would have had my way, I would immediately have gone outside once the snow stopped, or even in the middle of the snowfall, and began clearing the sidewalks. The trick is to get at the snow while it’s soft and pretty and white. Once it is hard and trampled on, you are basically dealing with chipping rock. But before it gets to that stage it’s actually fun to play in the fluffy snow and swoosh it off your sidewalk.

Regrettably, I didn’t do that. Because we now live in a condo I don’t even own a shovel.

Speaking of shovels, if you are buying, get the firmest, sturdiest shovel you can find. It should be able to chip ice if you need to.

Just as I feared, it happened that the sidewalks around the perimeter of our building were not cleared in a timely manner and turned into lumpy ice. I’m not sure which is worse, lumpy ice or smooth ice. I generally try to avoid walking on the totally unpredictable lumpy ice and gingerly step on the snow beside it so that I at least have some traction. I want to avoid falling at all costs. But the other day I had to walk across the Superstore parking lot and it was completely cleared but was treacherous with large patches of black ice.

At the best of times it’s difficult to control the ice in these conditions. But once the snow is cleared away, and you have bare sidewalk, that is the best time to put down a little bit of salt.

With the frosting that happens overnight, never mind the freezing drizzle, you need to check for slipperiness and probably apply a bit of salt almost every morning. Early morning is the time to apply salt. 

A very small amount of salt will go a very long way. Try to see how little salt you can get away with. I don’t like to see salt crusted next to the side of buildings. Apply it only where people will walk.

You just need a bit of salt on a clear sidewalk, and probably not even every day. But once there is packed snow and ice you almost need a wheelbarrow of salt…well, not quite, but a lot more, so you don’t want to wait and let that happens. Remember, an ounce of prevention….

If it starts to snow again, follow the same process. Every time the snow falls, think of it as an invitation to play outside with your shovel. Keep a walking path cleared. Then you won’t end up chipping at ice later.

There is also a trick for chipping ice. Here in the lower mainland we can count on above freezing temperatures on most days. If you have let your snow harden into ice, you may want to wait until midday when the temperatures rise and the ice and snow starts to turn a little slushy. At this point it is much easier to break it up and scoop it off the sidewalk than when it is frozen solid. And remember, you don’t have to chop the sidewalk, just the ice. There is a trick to hitting the ice at a certain angle so that it breaks into pieces which you can then scrape into your shovel and toss into a heap beside the path. It’s actually fun once you get the hang of it.

Dealing with the kind of snow we have had this year is not something we are accustomed to in Vancouver. Like me, many people who read this probably don’t even own a shovel, particularly if you live in a condo. Next year I’m going to get on top of the snow right away. If I don’t see someone out there clearing the sidewalks I will personally ask to use the property shovels and get out there myself rather than having to spend a month avoiding a slippery, bumpy path. Thankfully someone cleared the front entrance but they neglected the path that leads to the road where most of us are headed. This problem could have easily been solved with half an hour of shoveling after each snowfall.


Georghe and Rodica Grigore at 6369 165A St., Cloverdale, kept their sidewalks clear for people who came to view their 50,000+ lights.

Are You Listening?


The ear is a very delicate instrument. Hearing loss can happen after long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels. The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes for noise induced hearing loss (NICL) to happen. Below 75 decibels is generally considered a safe sound level.

I have hearing loss in one ear and occasionally find it frustrating when I miss the end of a phrase or have to follow someone’s lips to try and make out the words. It’s the softer or higher frequency sounds that are muffled. I frequently have to move nearer to the person speaking in order to hear.

I cringe when I overhear the younger generation talk about how their ears are still ringing the next day after attending a concert. My husband is a music instructor and he carefully guards his ears from excessive volumes of noise because he knows how important it is nothonouring the elderly 2 only for his teaching, but for his musicianship and personal enjoyment to be able to hear.

This week I had a senior woman approach me in church and express her concern about the volume of the music and the possibility that babies and young children could be suffering hearing loss by being subjected to the worship music. I had never really thought about this before. I know that I have been in worship services where the decibel level of the music would require safety gear in an industrial environment.

Although I have a concern about the babies, I am actually more concerned at the moment about this dear woman. She was clearly distressed about this matter and had not known to whom she should turn. Here is a “mother in Israel” speaking from her heart, yet no one is listening.

On an occasion when I spoke to a pastor about the volume of the music his response was simply, “The young people like it loud.”lift-hands-to-worship

One Sunday I commented to an usher that the music was loud this Sunday. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a packet of earplugs and handed them to me. This is how we are to cope with our discomfort in worship services.

I have brought my own earplugs, but find it awkward when I have to remove them to greet people or take them out during prayer and then have to put them back in again. It’s something I don’t really want people to notice me doing.

There is a difference between preferring it loud, and finding the volume physically distressing to the point of needing to use ear plugs to get relief. On more than one occasion I have had to leave the service because the beat of the bass caused my heart to lose it’s natural rhythm and I feared I might end up in Emergency. Thankfully my heartbeat returned to normal shortly after I left the sanctuary.

Some attendees solve this problem of uncomfortably loud music by coming to church after the singing. A woman told me that her husband, who is an usher, has seen many people walk out because of the volume of the music, even newcomers to the church. The sad thing is that some never come back.

Blessed to be Married

Roses from my husband

My husband had roses waiting for me in the car when he picked me up at the airport, after I returned from visiting my family in Manitoba. He said they were for me because he was glad to have me home, because I was special, and because he knew how much I liked them.

I can never get over the beauty of roses. They speak to me with their delicate, layered petals, their sweet fragrance, their cool, smooth softness, their perfection.

October 17, 2012

There were no roses waiting for me when my husband once again picked me up at the airport yesterday. I went to Arizona to spend a few days with my sisters. While I was there I visited a mall where a woman who ran a small kiosk commented that she didn’t need a man in her life. She had tried that. Now she was free to go to bed when she wanted, get up when she wanted, eat when she wanted, etc. Nobody was telling her what to do.

Well, I listened, quietly, and thought to myself, yes, those would be the advantages of being alone. But, I had someone to pick me up at the airport, kiss me, help me with my luggage. I had someone to tell my stories to as we drove home, someone who told me about his week. Later we planned a little get together with our son and his wife for his birthday.

As we cuddled on the couch that evening I was content that I had someone in my life, and I was willing to make a few adjustments.

Yes, I fully agree that marriage requires that we adjust our lives to the preferences and needs of another person. When we sign up for marriage, we had better be willing to do so.

There is this thing called reciprocity in marriage. Another way of saying it is that there is a lot of “give and take.” When one partner thinks they are making an unfair contribution in relation to the other, resentment can set in and this will begin to poison the marriage.

I make certain contributions, and my husband makes certain contributions. Our marriage is very different from the standard with which I grew up. In our home we both cook meals, we both clean and usually we are both contributing to the family income.

In my home, as a child, the woman did the housework and the man brought in the money. When my mother decided to train for a career and go to work outside the home, my dad considered it an insult to his manhood. Instead of appreciating what she was doing, he resented it. That was unfortunate, especially when his health eventually failed and prevented him from continuing to work.

During my time with my sisters we talked about what makes a marriage work and why marriages fail. I know there are many reasons. Relationships are complicated. But I think there are some basic principles that could make virtually every marriage successful. If we love each other, trust one another, are able to communicate and understand each other’s reasoning, are willing to negotiate and give in sometimes, and practice kindness and thoughtfulness in our attitude and actions on a daily basis, I think we have a very high probability of a successful marriage.

A marriage, by my understanding, is a relationship from which we ought to derive some benefit. We cannot be petty, selfish, self-centred, inattentive and oblivious to the other’s needs and desires and then expect to have a good marriage. This is not the right formula for a thriving marriage.

As I said earlier, there ought to be a feeling of balance, that each one is contributing their fair share, though it may be different. When two people have a shared picture of the marriage they want then they will be more inclined to put in the effort needed to reach this goal. A couple ought to talk about the ideals they have for their relationship. Some may be unrealistic. Some may be easily achieved.

The romance will not always be at its peak, but there can still be warmth and affection. This is a reasonable expectation and I can say this with confidence after being blessed with nearly thirty years of marriage.

Why Pornography is Hurting Your Marriage

You might not think it is making any difference in your marriage relationship if you frequently look at that magazine or view a particular site on the internet. Or you may think it doesn’t matter if you click daily on certain images or articles that feature attractive women or men. After all, it’s what everyone does, right? It’s how we’re wired, you could be telling yourself.

I suggest that there are at least four reasons why pornography could be hurting your marriage.


Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/ FreeDigitalPhotos.ne

1. Shame

When I was a teen a girlfriend loaned me a novel that happened to have some rather explicit sexual content. As I was reading it I remember thinking, What if my mom walked in and asked me what I was reading? You know how people flip books upside down when someone approaches them? Instinctively we hide what might cause us to be embarrassed.

A young boy was exposed to pornography by his playmates and when the feelings of guilt and shame became too much he approached his mother in tears and asked her to spank him for the bad thing he had done. In her wisdom she comforted him and told him he didn’t need to be spanked, that being sorry was enough. He so badly wanted to be restored to his former innocence.

A man was engaging in viewing some questionable material, maybe not exactly a porn site, but very suggestive. He seemed to think this was excusable. I asked him if he would be alright with his children looking over his shoulder when he was clicking these articles. He told me that my question was helpful because it gave him a new standard for the future.

Shame is an ugly burden to carry around. It erodes confidence. It makes it difficult to look people in the eye. It causes a person to have to cover up, pretend, and even deceive. This is not a pleasant way to live.

When a person lives with shame it will make them less open, less honest, and ultimately, less desirable.

A spouse can sense when the other is hiding something and most are particularly sensitive to feelings of shame. Intimacy in marriage is based on transparency and honesty. When we have to hide something we are ashamed to have exposed then we become distant.

2. Unfaithfulness

You may not think you have been unfaithful to your spouse because you only looked, you did not act out your fantasies. I actually heard this in a Christian context: It is OK to look as long as you don’t touch. Well, if you read your Bible, you will find that is pretty far from what it teaches. My Bible reads that if your eye causes you to sin, you should pluck it out and cast it away. How can our eyes cause us to sin? By looking at something that is not ours and desiring to have it.

I do not deny or minimize the struggle. I think Jesus recognized the intensity of the temptation too, judging by his extreme remedy. He did not mean for his words to be taken literally, but he was communicating a strong message and that was the absolute necessity of dealing with the problem

Your spouse is the only one who has the privilege and honour of satisfying you sexually.

When another person or image displaces your spouse in your fantasies then you are being unfaithful. Let’s be honest.

3. Lack of Control

Losing control over our body or our thoughts is humiliating. We want to have a sense of personal autonomy, the confidence that we can make choices and commitments and abide by them. If an attractive image can absorb my thoughts, even against my will, then my sense of power over myself is diminished.

This of course can lead to feelings of shame too. It can begin a downward spiral of thinking we are inadequate, unreliable, powerless. It can even turn us against the world, against those “fundamentals” who preach sexual purity, against constricting marriage vows, against women, etc. But the real issue resides within us.

We all admire people who have risen to statures of personal success in business, politics, or society. We believe that they have qualities like intelligence and discipline and emotional IQ that have enabled them to succeed. We all want to be successful. And when we are faced with repeated failure in an area of our lives, it can become very discouraging.

A sense of control over self is confidence building.

Eroded confidence will communicate itself in different ways in marriage. It will often manifest itself in discontent with others, accusations, and defensiveness. If I am bad, then you are bad too. It may sound childish but it happens. Especially in marriage.

4. Desire for Something More

A pornographic habit may not mean that a person wants out of their marriage. It may not even mean that they have found something or someone better. But it does indicate a desire for something more.

We all love the stories where a couple finds profound satisfaction in each other, to the exclusion of all others. This is the image of first love. But it can also be that of enduring love. However, it has to be cultivated. That means that we have to delete from our lives those things that do not contribute to marital happiness and add those things that do.

A pornographic habit absorbs a lot of time and energy and thought that ought to be given to our family. Think of it. You are living in an imaginary world when you could be interacting in the real one.

Your partner deserves to be able to relax and be at ease instead of fighting for your attention.

Each of us want to be the one and only, the most desired person. Marriage gives us this exclusive status. But pornography displaces your spouse. It is gravely affecting your marriage.

So, what is a person to do?

The first step is acknowledgement and if you have read this far then you may already be there.

Secondly, steps of prevention must be taken. Set up a standard, like the man I mentioned earlier. Maybe you will not view anything that you would not look at with your children or your spouse present.

My third suggestion is to revolutionize your view of the opposite gender. Never think of a person simply in terms of their body. Discipline yourself to think of the whole person. Think of their childhood, their dreams, their needs, their role in their family. One pastor suggested praying for them.

If you are buying into pornography, you are buying into the deception that this is what people want.

If a man or woman appears to be enjoy being objectified, I will tell you, from numerous observations, that this is only a very temporary, fleeting state.

Every person wants to be loved, not just for their body, but for their whole person, for who they really are.

Yes, some personality types are very self-absorbed, but underneath is the fear of rejection and the longing to be loved with an unconditional, committed and exclusive kind of love, the kind that a marriage should offer.

So, shake off those things you are ashamed of. Pray for forgiveness and grace. Become the person you want to be. One of the best gifts you can give your partner is to make him or her the object of all your sexual fantasies, exclusively.

Good Morning Prime Ministers!

Good Morning Prime Ministers,

Prime Minister Harper, out-going…Trudeau, in-coming Prime Minister.

Congratulations Prime Minister Trudeau on your victory! Your focus on the people paid off richly. You listened and that’s what Canadians wanted. They felt heard so they voted for you.

Prime Minister Harper, thank you for your hard work and dedication to the welfare of Canadians. In hindsight we will see your legacy more clearly. Canadians owe you a debt of gratitude.

As I listened to your speeches this evening, I heard the same thing. Both of you spoke of your love for Canada, your love for the people, your commitment to the welfare of Canada. But I heard you speak in different languages. Some listeners understood Harper. Others understood Trudeau. I think few understood both.

Prime Minister Trudeau, you have been a personal witness in your home of what it means to be Prime Minister of this great country. You have observed and you have analyzed, not only your father, but succeeding Prime Ministers.

The people love you, Justin Trudeau. They love the man. But will they love the leader? You must be asking yourself this question. You are only too aware of how easily public opinion can be swayed.

Leadership requires decision making, and decisions, by their nature, please some and disappoint others, include some and alienate others.

Canadians, and especially this generation, value a relational and inclusive approach. Prime Minister Harper, you were not afraid to alienate people when you thought it was for the good of the country. Yes, you were listening, but you could only please so many people.

Canadians will be watching you, Prime Minister Trudeau, and waiting to see who you will please. In a few years they will have another opportunity to cast their vote.