What a Tangled Web

A newspaper’s publicity stunt — or was it propaganda? — backfires:

CARBONDALE, Ill. – For two years, Carbondale residents have been riveted by the writing of a little girl imploring her father in Iraq: “Don’t die, OK?”

Only now are they learning there was never any danger of that.

The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University’s student-run newspaper, today will admit to its readers that the saga – of a little girl’s published letters to her father serving in Iraq – was apparently an elaborate hoax perpetrated by a woman who claimed to be the girl’s aunt.

Kodee Kennings

“Kodee Kennings”

In fact, the newspaper will report today, the man identified as the girl’s father was never in Iraq, and it was the woman who apparently wrote the letters and regular columns that were published under the little girl’s name – and even impersonated the girl in telephone interviews.

On being notified that his hoax had been discovered, reporter Michael Brenner expressed fear that this fraud would affect his career as a journalist.

Nah. The kid will probably get a book deal with a movie option.

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