Once again, a fake news site has caused an uproar in the real world. The National Report ran a fake story earlier this week that the killer of famed Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez would be released from prison early.
The idea that Selena’s killer might be free to walk sparked some serious outrage, especially in South Texas, where Selena is still very much remembered and loved.
The National Report story announced:
“Yolanda Saldivar, the woman who murdered beloved Tejano star, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, could be released from prison as early as January 1st, 2015.”
Saldivar is imprisoned in Gatesville, Texas. When she was sent away in 1995, she was given the longest sentence allowed under Texas law — life without parole eligibility for 30 years. Her earliest parole eligibility is in 2025.
The bogus news site sounded very convincing, saying that there seemed to be legitimate reasons for Selena’s killer to be released.
“[D]ue to her failing health and recent legal modifications which allows ailing prisoners to petition for early release, she could be released as soon as January of 2015… The current health coordinator for inmates at the Gatesville, prison described her deteriorating condition. ‘We no longer consider Ms. Saldivar to be a threat to society. Taking into consideration the long term prognosis of this disease being highly unlikely, we would like to assist her in her petition for early release.’”
The site even went so far as to link to what appears to be an equally bogus Change.org petition that purports to protest Saldivar’s release. The odd thing is that the petition was directed at “México” and the “Mexican Justice System,” even though Saldivar is jailed in Texas.
The petition started on December 8, by someone claiming to be a “Beatriz Garcia” of Mexico City, Mexico. It sought 7,500 signatures. As of this writing, it has 6,115.
Best believe I signed the fuck out of the petition to keep Yolanda Saldivar behind bars.
— viridiana of lion (@amazingvidi) December 9, 2014
The National Report has stirred up other trouble lately, when it ran a believable-sounding, although farfetched, story just before Thanksgiving about frozen turkeys being tainted with bird flu. It claimed that the virus could even survive prolonged oven temperatures. The article quoted “CDC officials” and even provided a 24-hour “hotline” number for anyone with questions.
But the “hotline” number rang to the Westboro Baptist Church, which jammed that groups phone lines for hours around the holiday. The article was shared over half a million times on Facebook.