Remember that incredibly entertaining (if somewhat morbid) story about a woman who lost a best mistress contest and then drove her lover and his four other mistresses off a cliff? Well, apparently it might have been complete fiction! Damn it!
A Qingdao-based reader of the Peninsula Metropolis Daily complained to the paper, which prompted the editors to examine the story. Turns out that Yi Lei, the reporter, had fabricated the ordeal.
ESWN provided a translation of the Peninsula Metropolis Daily’s apology:
On February 15, our newspaper published an articled titled
on page A3. Afterwards, an investigation showed that our reporter Yi Lei had plagiarized the story in the February 2009 issue of Ziyin magazine. Our reporter had violated the relevant regulations for our editorial team, damaged the credibility of our newspaper and misled the mass of readers. Our newspaper’s editorial disciplinary committee has met and arrived at the decision to miss the reporter Yi Lei. Effective immediately today, Yi Lei shall not conduct any news gathering as a Peninsula Metropolis Daily reporter
Besides us, CNN, Shanghai Daily, Time’s The China Blog and like four dozen other publications picked up the story as truth. Can you blame us? It had all the juicy bits we crave: philandering rich guy, hysterical young woman, the recession, MURDER… but alas, no matter how gleefully we hoped it was real, it wasn’t. On behalf of all international media that took a Chinese newspaper at its word, we apologize.
On the upside, at least no one died or was hospitalized.