Move over Jonah Lehrer, Gerald Posner, and Jayson Blair. There's a new plagiarist in town.
Last week, New Times revealed that a help-wanted ad on Craigslist from a nonprofit in Pensacola for a Bigfoot researcher was a well-crafted prank. We tracked down Tyler Reeves, the alleged brains behind the ad, and had a nice little chat about what it's like to be the Ashton Kutcher of Florida Craigslist ads.
-Bigfoot Researcher Ad Just a Prank
When asked about how he came up with such clever phrasing and job duties to include the ad, Reeves explained that he had watched a Bigfoot special earlier in the week on the History Channel and remembered the lingo dropped by various cryptozoologists. Adding in the fact that the position was grant-funded and would likely only last six months was a stroke of genius.
But the Internet has a way of revealing dirty little secrets, and one commenter was quick to point out that Reeves' ad wasn't all that original after all. And New Times wasn't the first news outlet to go bananas over the prospect.
As documented in this MSNBC article and this All Over Albany article, somebody hit an upstate New York Craigslist board with the same posting. As far as we can tell, neither of these outlets bothered contacting the poster to determine the veracity of the post.
"I took it from somebody else and added some stuff to it," Reeves said when contacted on Monday.
The original ad isn't up on the New York Craigslist site anymore, as far as we can tell, so it's tough to figure out whether Reeves did in fact tweak and modify the ad as needed. He did at least change the locations to mention a few rural areas near the panhandle.