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Story of rich banker tipping a niggardly 1% turns out to be hoax (Update)

posted at 12:19 pm on February 28, 2012 by

How greedy are members of the so-called 1%? A “news item” reported last Friday by the Huffington Post and CNN seemed to answer that question.

Leaked initially by the blog Future Ex-Banker (since defunct), the story detailed the unseemly habits of one wealthy Newport Beach, California, banker who was so put off by references to the 99% that he had begun routinely leaving a 1% tip whenever restaurant service was not up to his preternaturally high standards. Wrote the anonymous blogger:

I work in the corporate office of a major bank for a boss who represents everything wrong with the financial industry: blatant disregard and outright contempt for everyone and everything he deems beneath him. On top of that, he’s a complete and utter tool. At the same time, I’m still cashing paychecks, an admittedly willing—albeit reluctant—cog in the wheel of this increasingly ugly industry, so I’ve created this blog as a confessional of sorts. It won’t entirely clear my conscience, but hopefully it’ll help. I’m sure I’ll get fired eventually. Until then, enjoy.

The centerpiece of the blog post and subsequent news reports was a photo of a receipt from a recent meal in which the boss had run up a bill of $133.54 and left a tip of $1.33. To add insult to injury, the cheap S.O.B. had gone so far as to draw a circle around the word Tip on the receipt and added the advice “Get a real job.”

There’s just one problem with the story: It never happened. HuffPo issued a retraction, but not before the story “set off a hailstorm of online comments that touched on the 1% vs. 99% class warfare embodied by the Occupy movement,” reports CBS2/KCAL9.

The restaurant told the news station they have confirmed that the photo of the receipt was photoshopped. They are in possession of the original receipt, which shows a bottom line charge of just over $30 and a tip of 20%. There was no message left for the waitress.

Sadly, this is not the only report of the left-leaning media falling for a hoax in recent days. Tim Graham of Newsbusters notes that the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, “wrote up a story based on a on a prank anti-Paul Ryan press release”:

In this fictional scenario, Ryan and other Wisconsin Republicans supposedly were pressuring the Smithsonian to remove posters from last year’s anti-Scott Walker protests at the state Capitol from its archives.

In the release and Capital Times story, Ryan was quoted as saying, ‘Look, you can’t be displaying and archiving art that celebrates protests that were heavily aimed at Republicans, and then expect that Republicans are going to smile nicely and sit down and try and work with the Smithsonian.’ The prankster was a local radical, ‘labor cartoonist’ Mike Konopacki….

So is this where the left’s fractious ideological positions have taken it? If they can’t find a story that supports their views, they invent one?

UPDATE: Reader scarchin (see comments) points out this video of CNN’s holier-than-thou coverage of the story. It is definitely worth watching, if for no other reason than to revel in host Soledad O’Brien’s self-righteous indignation over a story that turned out to be bogus.

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