An inside look at the “Johann Bach” hoax is here. Very nicely done.
The fake “press release” that conned almost the entire Indian media is linked there, and I can’t believe anyone fell for it. Leaving aside the amateurish logo, the suspicious names, the bumpy language and so on, here’s a minor detail on the top right of the letterhead: the address of the police, which they say is “a slight variation of the official address of Berlin police”:
Town Berlin Polize
Berlin VT 05602
Yes, that’s a slight variation — of the address of the police at Berlin, Vermont. (Says so right there, if you’re familiar with US state abbreviations.)
Via Abi, here’s Siddharth Varadarajan’s take on the affair. He notes that “Even if the journalists did not know there was no concentration camp with the name ‘Marsha Tikash Whanaab,’ a quick search on the Internet might have at least triggered a warning light”, and sanctimoniously lists the several media organisations that failed to perform such a check; but he omits the story from his own newspaper, who, though it (to its credit) displays some skepticism, does not seem to have benefited from the quick Internet search he suggests.