American politics has devolved from monkeys.
Some legitimately fake news brought some serious amusement to the internet on Thursday night, when a phony advance excerpt from the blockbuster book about Trump's presidency maintained that the president watches "the Gorilla Channel" up to 17 hours a day.
Advance coverage of Michael Wolff's behind-the-scenes exposé "Fire & Fury" monopolized news coverage yesterday, and a cease-and-desist order from the White House caused the publisher to move its sale up from next Tuesday to today. Among the book's allegations: That no one in the Trump campaign expected to actually win the election, including Trump himself; that Trump eats McDonald's because he fears being poisoned; that the president's closest advisers question his intelligence and mental fitness for office; and that he has the attention span and emotional stability of a child.
On Thursday, after a pre-publication excerpt in New York magazine went viral, another excerpt began making the rounds around 9pm. The passage described how the president's staff kept him calm: By building a "hastily constructed transmission tower" to broadcast a "gorilla channel" which Trump watched for hours at a time.
“To appease Trump, White House staff compiled a number of gorilla documentaries into a makeshift gorilla channel, broadcast into Trump’s bedroom from a hastily-constructed transmission tower on the South Lawn," the excerpt read. "However, Trump was unhappy with the channel they had created, moaning that it was ‘boring’ because ‘the gorillas aren’t fighting.'"
"Staff edited out the parts of the documentaries where gorillas weren't hitting each other, and at last the president was satisfied," it continued.
Wow, this extract from Wolff’s book is a shocking insight into Trump’s mind: pic.twitter.com/1ZecclggSa— the gorilla channel thing is a joke (@pixelatedboat) January 5, 2018
There is and was no Gorilla Channel, but that didn't stop the "excerpt" from ricocheting around the internet, accompanied by escalating incredulity. The prank was the creation of Twitter user @pixelatedboat, who later changed his Twitter name to "the gorilla channel thing is a joke." Mr. @boat had previously published a parody of Hillary Clinton's memoir "What Happened."
By Friday afternoon, Gorilla Channel was trending worldwide. Even Animal Planet weighed in.
What makes for a Gorilla Channel? A lot of eating, sleeping, and, of course, playtime! pic.twitter.com/cnXOSSY07z— AnimalPlanet (@AnimalPlanet) January 5, 2018