Quadrant latest magazine to be hoaxed

The right-leaning magazine Quadrant has fallen victim to a hoaxer who persuaded it to publish an article on, ironically enough, the poor quality of science journalism.

News of the hoax was broken by Crikey, where the hoaxer’s blog can also be viewed. Angry editor Keith Windschuttle has suggested that Crikey’s Margaret Simons, who broke the story was the hoaxer, which she vigorously denies.  

The ease with which the press can be hoaxed was also demonstrated last year by PR Phil Tripp who persuaded newspapers including the Daily Telegraph that John Farnham’s manager Glenn Wheatley was to be the subject of a reality TV show following his release from prison for tax evasion.

And last year creatives from DraftFCB New Zealand hoaxed trade titles that they’d stormed out of the agency in what turned out to be a PR stunt for the launch of the TV series Mad Men.

Update 1: The decision by Crikey to hold off from publishing the story when Margaret Simons first found out about it, off-the-record, three weeks ago, seems to contradict the position previously taken by its editor, Jonathan Green. Last year, he criticised the US publication Newsweek  for agreeing to a similar arrangement which gave it access to the Sarah Palin vice presidential campaign in return for keeping matters off-the-record until after the election.

Update 2: Margaret Simons has addressed that point on her blog. She says:

“It’s not up there with the US election, and I do think that is a relevant factor. Also, my holding off did not change the outcome of the hoax. Windschuttle had already accepted the article and Quadrant was on its way to the printers when I found out about it. The only thing my decision affected was how and when the fact of the hoax was publicised. Had my holding off been likely to affect the course of events, the ethical issues would have been diffferent and I think my decision would have been different. The hoaxer wanted me to hold off until Quadrant was out. I agreed to receive the information on that basis – but with the understanding that we would publish as soon as possible after that. And all this was my decision, not Jonathan’s, although I don’t think he disagrees with my reasoning. He is well able to speak for himself.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.