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'PR Guru' Confesses as Mastermind Behind Fake Fox News Study
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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ICYMI: If you watch Fox News, you're a raving idiot who should get a Tupperware party going with Snooki, the Kardashians, and those dimwits who drive 45 mph in the fast lane with the blinker on. At least, that is what this study says. In fact, the study extolled, "Fox News viewers have an IQ that is 20 points lower than the U.S. National average." Only one problem: the study was fake. Shocking, right? 

The diabolical mastermind behind it all wasn't MSNBC, NPR, or even Keith Olbermann, America's former favorite seething ball of hate. (Glenn Beck trumped him recently.) 

Meet P. Nichols. 

According to a HuffPo exclusive, this is the dolt behind all the ballyhoo. 

The PR guru behind the hoax — our term, not his — said he was surprised by how quickly and broadly the item spread but not by how easily its claims went unquestioned. "Facts are obsolete," said P. Nichols, the contact given for the press release who claimed Nichols was his last name but refused to confirm his entire name, the name of the Republican PAC he says backed the "study" or any of the people behind the actual report he insisted did truly exist. And no, he wouldn't send us a copy of it.

Yes, yes, Mr. P. Well played. You have a crappy press release that gets picked up everywhere throwing many good-minded American folk into a tizzy. You won't release your own name. You give yourself a title of 'PR Guru'. And, for ess' and giggles, you refuse to send HuffPo a copy of this report. I'd say your credibility is right up there with the OB-GYN TMZ quoted about the hypothesized gender of the royal bun in the oven. And for those who would enjoy the continuing pimp-slapping of this beloved industry thanks to schmucks like you, I give you this quote from the Washington Post

When discussing that topic by phone moments ago with the Erik Wemple Blogger, he noted, “We did not submit it for peer review with the APA.” "What’s the “APA?” I asked. “I think it’s the American Psychiatric or Psychological Association,” he said. Pressed further about what sort of association would peer-review such a study, Nichols came up empty. “Off the top of my head right now, I don’t know,” he said.

Reading all of this, I have one statement for the real national media out there: Find some damn sources, people! I tell lovely interns I work with to find a source verified three times (outside of Wikipedia) before we put it in front of a client. And that's just me. I don't work a national paper or an uber TV network. Yet, this dolt gets by with a PR stunt of a lifetime because people are too lazy to verify a source? Is the plight for survival by being fastest to break the story going to be the downfall of our profession? Instead of going all MMA for ratings, let's get back to facts, okee doke?

Ah, facts. Like the great Ronald Reagan once said, "Facts are stupid things." Granted, he flubbed when quoting John Adams who said, "Facts are stubborn things." However, when it comes to this "study" and the subsequent "reports," same difference, right?

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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