Death Valley Plants
The Fake News
More info at amazon.com: The Fake News
More info at lulu.com: The Fake News
Quick Summary:

A group of boys wish to achieve internet fame by sharing videos on a popular online video sharing website. Do the potential dangers of such online activiy outweigh the potential benefits?

Back Cover Blurb:
     Nathan and Dustin are two boys who live in Las Vegas. They meet Sam and Harrison on the Internet. Since it is summer vacation and the boys all share a common interest in posting videos to a popular video sharing website, Sam and Harrison fly to Las Vegas to join forces with Nathan and Dustin so they can create some ass-kicking videos.

     The boys wish to emulate their hero Price Dansen, a popular, high-profile, sensational pseudo-journalist who is the star of their favorite show: "To Bust a Pervert". They dream of fame and strive to create exciting videos that attract the attention of the online audience. A relatively unknown serious journalist by the name of Riley Jaeger arrives in Las Vegas to cover a big news event involving a confrontation between pet enthusiasts and child safety advocates. When Riley hears that Price Dansen is in town he sets out to expose Price as a fraud.

     Could the boys' hero really be a fraud? Will the boys achieve online video fame while maintaining their integrity? Or will they devolve into Price Dansen clones eager to do anything to gain public attention?

(WARNING: Some content may be somewhat inappropriate for children under the age of fourteen.)

More Information:

     The Fake News chronicles the adventures of a group of boys who desire to achieve Internet viral video fame. Early in the story the boys seek to do this by emulating a popular fake news personality who's success is based on opportunistically reporting on sensational topics guaranteed to titilate the interests of the general public. So, the boys create a couple of outrageous videos that exploit the baser tendencies of potential viewers. In one of their early videos a fat kid is set up to do something embarrassing and is almost injured as a result. The boys are hugely rewarded for their efforts with an incredible number of video views. Eventually a series of events teach the boys about the importance of journalistic integrity and they begin to question whether or not the hero that inspired them is really worth emuating.

     While the story does not answer the question of why the public is so easily distracted by sensationalistic fake news stories, it does examine the practices of those who create such stories. In so doing, the story deals with two of the most notoriously sensationalistic of tabloid topics: Animal Cruelty and Child Safety. In fact, two advocacy groups wind up in a show down at the end of the story over these very issues. The two advocacy groups are shown to be involved in a symbiotic relationship with sensationalistic fake news reporters. That is, both groups manipulate the public in order to gain attention and the resulting financial benefits associated with increased exposure. The misinformation campaigns of the advocacy groups are very nicely enabled by the fake news reporters and the fabrications and paranoia snowball to the point of absurdity.

     The boys wind up crossing paths with a serious journalist and even provide him with some information that helps the serious journalist to expose the misinformation campaigns of the advocacy groups and to additionally expose a particular fake news personality as a fraud. The boys also become aware of a scandal that could potentially discredit the child safety advocacy group and are left to decide what to do with the information. Do they exploit the situation in order to increase their viral video fame, or do they carefully consider how to deal with the situation so as to avoid harming the innocent? Faced with this kind of an ethical dilemma the boys are challenged to weigh their own interests against the interests of others.

More info at amazon.com: The Fake News