• Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

Meatballs don’t have body parts at southern Illinois kitchen: Sheriff

ByRandall B. Phelps

Aug 4, 2022

Relax, the meatballs in Carterville are safe. They certainly do not contain human body parts, according to the Williamson County Sheriff.

After a viral satirical article falsely claimed a morgue attendant used male meat to win a spaghetti contest in Carterville, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Bennie Vick said “fake news “.

Readers wouldn’t have to search too hard to find the lie themselves, the sheriff’s office noted.

“The fake news was on a fake news website,” Vick’s office said in a press release Wednesday. “The title of this fake news website says, ‘News you can count on to get you down.’ “

Hopefully, readers could have discerned the deception even if they hadn’t spotted the site’s confession banner.

The imaginative piece claims that a woman from Carterville has never been able to do better than second place in a cooking competition. To recover from the hump and win the top prize, the morgue worker collected testicles from dead men and used them in her meatball dish, according to the fake article.

Its secret ingredient was discovered when a judge, who returned for a third helping, bit a prosthesis, the fake article is suing.

The utterly fake article appeared in late July on KVTA4, a website that describes itself as a “fabricated satirical newspaper and humorous website”, but is also designed to look like a news website. Facebook users have reacted to, commented on or shared the fake post more than 300,000 times, according to CrowdTangle, an interaction analysis tool on the social network.

Some Facebook users didn’t seem to notice that the article was fake.

“This may be the most disgusting thing I have ever read,” one user wrote.

“What’s really going on with people,” wrote another use in all caps.

“The world has gone mad. More to come,” said another.

The article has been rewritten and posted on other malicious or satirical websites that share fabricated stories but pose as genuine media. Fact-checker Snopes called the article satire.

Afternoon briefing

Afternoon briefing

Daily

The best stories from the editors of the Chicago Tribune, delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

The fake article displayed a photo of an apparently arrested woman, who the site claimed was the audacious leader.

“These kind of morgue satirical articles usually reuse real mugshots for their fictionalized stories,” wrote Snopes reporter Jordan Liles.

The sheriff’s office used the spread of the hoax article to provide advice on detecting misinformation.

Readers can identify “fake news” by researching the sources, paying close attention to a suspicious site’s contact page, “about” page or article URL, wrote the sheriff’s office. They can also check to see if other sites are reporting the story and should be wary of sloppy writing, the sheriff’s office said.

While readers can identify the misinformation, they won’t be able to identify who has the best spaghetti in the small southern Illinois town: The fake article doesn’t say who won the contest.

jsheridan@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @jakesheridan_