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I always enjoy “The Week in Pictures” from Power Line. The site usually includes a series of silly headlines from the previous week. Being the news junkie that I am, I follow up and look at some of the stories behind the headlines. Yesterday, I saw this:
That piqued my interest, so I asked Mr. Google for the rest of the story. It came from a Jan. 7 report on the website of WKRC-TV in Cincinnati. Here is the report, verbatim:
CINCINNATI (WKRC) – A woman claims that she pressed charges against her roommate after she switched her typical food out with vegan alternatives, leading to disastrous consequences.
The story was posted on Reddit, and the author says she was looking for a replacement roommate after one of hers moved out.
She says she met a girl named Erin, who said she was a vegetarian, but that it wasn’t a problem if her roommates weren’t.
A day after she moved in, Erin apparently said she wanted to do something nice, and cooked pancakes, bacon strips, and hash browns.
The woman says she has some severe allergies but didn’t mention them when she asked what was in the food.
“She told me it was regular bacon. Not that it was fake bacon or that it had soy,” the post reads.
After she says she took a few bites and something tasted off, Erin apparently revealed the switch.
“At this point, she does a ‘Ta-da,’ and smugly told us ‘I bet it tastes exactly like meat,'” she wrote.
The author says she then began panicking because she is highly allergic to soy.
She says Erin began apologizing, but that she was already going into anaphylactic shock.
“Throat closing up, dizziness, the works,” the post reads. “My best friend freaks out and calls an ambulance. I had to stay in the hospital for two days.
It continues on to say that the cost of her stay was expensive and that she filed a complaint with the police because food tampering is a felony.
Food tampering laws vary from state to state. However, according to the Department of Justice, to be convicted of food tampering, it must be done “with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury.”
The woman says that her friend had luckily filmed the incident, and Erin had to plead guilty to a low degree felony, receiving community service instead of jail time.
She adds that she also ended up suing Erin for compensation for her hospital fees, and won that case as well, leading Erin to have her college scholarship canceled and to go into debt.
In the comments, she specified that she initially asked her directly to pay her hospital bill, but Erin apparently refused.
“I know she is the a****** for lying about food. I wanna know whether I am the a****** for everything I did after,” the story concludes. “Because bottom line is, I basically screwed a person’s life because they put wrong ingredients on breakfast that they made only ‘to do something nice.'”
Some among you should see immediate problems. To start with, there are no full names, just “woman,” “friend,” and “Erin.” There’s no mention as to where or when it happened. Right there, you’re missing three of the six W’s that every reporter should be asking. I looked at the byline and — surprise! — it’s “WKRC Staff.” I followed the link in the story. This took me to a Reddit post on the AITA thread. I’ll let you guess what AITA means. Hint: Look at the last paragraph of the story. The writer, someone with the handle “throw_onceuponatime,” posted this tale a year ago. If you read through that, there are even more problems with the narrative.
Still, a professional journalist at a supposed news station decided to take this year-old piece of fabulist nonsense, rewrite it, and submit it as a news story. This staff member even added the definition of food tampering to the story but did not do any of the work to confirm any of the related events were true. And someone in charge of this so-called journalist let that be published as a legitimate news story.
Where it was found by Power Line. I don’t blame the site so much, as the headline was from a “legitimate source.” Still, I would hope its staff at least glances at the stories under the headlines to ensure that they are not complete garbage.
I have reached out to
WKRP WKRC in Cincinnati for comment but have not received a reply. I’m not holding my breath.