When the Fox News Channel interviewed the co-founder of HollywoodPulse.com on Paula Poundstone's very serious legal troubles, they were talking to a real joker.
HollywoodPulse.com is a news satire Web site — think of it as The Onion (a Web site that satires the news), only for celebrity news. A typical HollywoodPulse feature: "Britney Spears Found to be Animatronic Sex-bot."
So why would Fox ask Ray Richmond to comment on Poundstone on the March 1 edition of FOX Report with Shepard Smith? "It's a little scary," he says. "Everything on my Web site is fake." Fox: ‘He’s Written for Daily Variety’
Fox spokesman Rob Zimmerman points out that Richmond has a journalism career outside of his comedy writing. "He's written for Daily Variety. He's written for several entertainment trade publications," Zimmerman says.
But Richmond claims that Fox researchers didn't e-mail him directly, but contacted him through HollyWoodPulse.com and later credited him on screen as a member of that organization. "Clearly, they had no idea that the site is a joke," he says. "The fact that I have a journalism career is irrelevant. They really could have gotten anyone."
Zimmerman says he doesn't know how Richmond was initially contacted. For his part, Richmond believes he got on the Fox radar after his site ran a piece titled "Poundstone Granted 'Supervised' Child Abuse."
On the air, Richmond didn't talk about the parody article, nor did he point out that he's representing a humor organization. Rather, he made straightforward points in three sound bites.
"Celebrities are not treated as everyone else," he said.
"We don't know how it is in jail, but certainly in the courtroom there is always going to be a difference with celebrities."
"He said nothing satirical," Zimmerman said, adding, "It's a well-known fact that Ray Richmond is a media whore and this is him trying to extend his five minutes of fame."
Told of Zimmerman's derisive remark, Richmond added, "Well, if that is their opinion, I'm still left wondering how they can feel that way and put me on a show."
But why didn't Richmond just alert Fox that it might have been a mistake having him on the air? "It was just too interesting to see a news organization dupe itself," he says.