The Today show was caught in an awkward blunder on Thursday morning when newsreader Tracey Vo reported a story about a fugitive Ed Sheeran lookalike wanted for fraud that was actually completely made up.
Taking viewers through the morning news headlines, Tracey said there was a ‘major manhunt underway in the US’.
“The Ohio Fugitive Taskforce [are] hunting a man who’s been taking cash from churches, fooling them into thinking he’s Ed Sheeran. This is his mugshot,” she announced, before sharing the image of the man alongside a photo of the actual star.
Hosts of the breakfast program Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon had a bit of a giggle about the images, given the ‘fugitive’ really looks nothing like the Shape of You singer.
“Other than the fact they both have red hair, there is nothing alike about them,” Ally said.
“Great story T-Vo,” was Karl’s response to the news.
However, it was then made clear the story had actually been entirely made up, originally coming from the Facebook page Portsmouth Ohio Official, which is described as a “a news and entertainment satire web publication”.
“This page is for entertainment purposes only,” the site tells its almost 40,000 followers.
The Today team eventually fessed up to the mistake, returning to the story later on in the show after being told it was actually fake.
“It turns out it was a fake news story all along,” they told viewers.
“We did fall for this one. It was from a satirical news site. Still a good laugh.”
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