Troll Tricks CNN Into Reporting That A Killer Asteroid Is Headed Our Way To Kill Us All

We have discussed, again and again, why CNN is perhaps no longer a news organization you should entirely trust. And the implosion of their journalistic credibility continues, with a troll on their iReport system clowning both the entire network and millions of people.

For those unfamiliar, iReport is essentially the CNN’s version of HuffPo: You provide them news, which they exploit, and in return you get a pat on the head while they generate ad revenue. And since only 8% of the reports get verified, it’s pretty easy to slip something through, as the Examiner noted:

Spooling out a very dubious tale, the iReporter, Marcus575, states matter of factly that NASA scientists have recently discovered an asteroid the “size of Manhattan” which had been nudged out of its orbit when passing Mars, putting the giant space rock “on a high speed collision course with our fragile planet.”

Pegging the date as “March 35, 2041” should have been the first tip off that either the poster was kidding or, at the very least, is a poor typist.

Also, if that “scientific report” sounds familiar, that’s because it’s more or less what happens in Armageddon. Imagine how much shame could have been saved by thousands if they’d just suffered through that terrible Michael Bay movie sixteen years ago.

In some ways, this was masterful trolling: It was posted on Memorial Day, making it less likely to be noticed by CNN’s team and more likely to go viral as bored people scrolled through their phones during parades. It sounds just realistic enough to fool the layman, although the odds of an “apocalypse asteroid” are still actually pretty low.

The good news is that eventually, NASA ended the hijinks and the report was pulled. [Ed.- The cached version can be viewed here.] But it’s a pretty valuable reminder of an important truth: You really shouldn’t trust a network that gets kicked to the curb by Bill Nye.