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MTV Hacker Saga Gets Worse 187

weld writes "Now Shamrock, one of the MTV hackers portrayed as involved in some sort of criminal behavior, has posted a letter saying he made it all up. He now wants to come clean. He made it all up to dupe MTV because he knew all they wanted was criminal hacking stories. The journalistic integrity of this "special" is under serious question now. HNN has posted Shamrock's letter to the hacking community. " Check out our original story on this to get the full details.
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MTV Hacker Saga Gets Worse

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  • I think that /. and the rest of the online geek community should just move on from caring about what MTV thinks. As this sort of lifestyle moves farther into the limelight, this sort of thing is just going to get worse. We don't post enquirer articles that say computer programs predict the future, why should we post this junk? But maybe if the Enquirer was online....

    -- Moondog
  • They're always trying to steal 'me lucky charms.

  • There is nothing here....database problems?
  • Maybe not in the big scheme of things, but it will affect all those MTV drones. I was chatting in on an IRC channel when MTV was playing a rerun of it. And the people in there thought that guy was so cool, and what he was doing was real. They truly believed that's how real "hackers" acted and did there stuff. I had to help set them straight of course. But people belive this crap, that's what's scary.
  • Anyone else get left out? :)

    The Anti-hacker: "See? The battle over the name 'hacker' is dead! Get over it!"

    The Poll-dweller: "Rob sux!"

    The Moderator wannabe: "Rob rulez!"

    The Third-world country starving kid might have an insightful comment, but his underprivileged background forces him to remain in silence.
  • ...`//|-|3|\| 14/v\0|~5p33|< `//i11 fi|\|411y |~3p14<3 3|\|91i5|-| ?
  • PBS? NPR? Too left wing. They were taken over by the communist conspiracy with transferrable power from the network ten turns ago. . .

    And Slashdot? Run and censored by a secret cabal of "Meta Moderators". . .

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • Summary of the first metacomment of this thread:

    - The metacomment: concise, and somewhat critical of pretty much the entire thread, without actually stating that "this does not belong on slashdot" because it arguably has to do with a topic some nerds may be interested in.

    "The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
  • by tekan ( 12825 )
    It's an extension of the old programmer stereotype about programmers being very poor about documenting the software they write, such as source comments, docs, etc.

    In the end you could probably write it off as either laziness (doesn't care) or ignorance (really doesn't care or ESL).

  • He really didn't say anything useful except that "MTV is bullshit" in more ways than I can count. I guess the critical issue is this: he never really gave me a clear indication of what he thinks a hacker is. Maybe there's something I'm just not drawing a conclusion from based on the fact that I didn't watch the MTV thing and don't really consider HNN to be a hacker resource by any means (mainly because aside from looking at cracked pages and trivial things like this link, there's nothing tangile I ever see on there that I don't see on Slashdot first.. and how is cracking a hacker thing? maybe I just haven't stared at HNN long enough to get it.. but then, my time is already monopolized by "other" things). I think he'd get more credibility points if a) he defined what he thinks a hacker is and b) he spelled better/used proper English (sorry, low blow I know, but hey..).

  • The journalistic integrity of this "special" is under serious question now.

    "Now"? Is there ANYONE, in or out of the hacker community, who takes ANYTHING MTV says seriously?
  • So, after making sure MTV really only wanted some sordid story about a massive criminal underground, this guy gave it to them, and now is pointing the journalistic integrity finger at MTV. I don't know who's worse.

    I also doubt this will make everyone believe the media conspiracy of convenience this guy espouses. No doubt it exists, as he just proved, but I'm not sure if the form of the proof is all that helpful to the general public. I doubt anyone outside the cracker and hacker communities will ever hear about the tale this guy spun, and they'll end up believing what they see on MTV.

    Oh, well.

  • Shamrock got a lot of flak on HNN if i remember correctly.. I wonder if he saw that, or if his friends started giving him trouble for it, as well. There's no one the underground community dislikes more than a bragging cracker.

  • I could only manage to read a few paragraphs of this before I had to stop. The spelling was terrible, the grammar was terrible. In short, it looked as if he didn't bother to read what he had wrote before submitting this.

    I know I am off topic with this, but this is just one example of low standards of grammar and spelling endemic throughout this community. At the very least, can't people run spell checkers? Why are geeks so bad at this?

    By the way, loose != lose. I left a couple of errors in this post, because everyone knows the rules of spelling and grammar flames, but the question still remains. How can people be so good with code, where the smallest errors can make the biggest difference, and still write so poorly?
  • by On Lawn ( 1073 )
    Since when has MTV been accused of being serious journalism?
    ^~~^~^^~~^~^~^~^^~^^~^~^~~^^^~^^~~^~~ ~^~~^~
  • "We can't beat 'em, we may as well play with them."

    That's possibly the worst attitude towards journalism I've ever seen. Are you serious?

    So what about after you've played with them? What then? I'll tell you - then everyone who reads or sees this media that you've faked is lead to believe that it's true. This MTV special wasn't meant to be a joke for hackers, it was meant to be a story to give outsiders insight into what the life of a hacker is like. I don't have any pity for MTV for bungling it, but for you to place all of the blame on them is ridiculous. This kid lied. You can't blame the victim for being a victim.

    It's the same argument over and over again: Who's fault is it when a cracker breaks into your system? Your's for leaving it insecure? Or his for breaking the law and trespassing in a private network? Only now it's "Who's fault is it when a crappy broadcast goes over? The networks for believing the people they interview? Or the interviewees for lying through their teeth and making a mockery of the whole issue?"

    The entire thing makes me sick.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • I have not seen the MTV show, sorry to say, although after this they'll probably just pull it out of embarassment. But I have seen several episodes of ParseTV, those surrounding DefCon. These guys seemed not to know much about actual tech details, but were really really into the 'culture'. They made a mistake in allowing phone in callers asking technical questions. I'm in NO way saying the show doesn't have value, it does, as like, and Entertainment Tonight of the scene. I thought it was sort of alright, just overlooked the technical mistakes. They all did seem to drop right out of Hackers (r)(tm) though. Actually, maybe if they did RTM it would be a more valuable show.
  • http://www.antionline.com/cgi-bin/News?type=antion line&date=10-18-1999&story=mtv.news
  • ROTFL..

    Was there ever a doubt that this 'kid' was making it up? You could TELL he really, REALLY wasn't the real thing.. I just wrote it off as me steroetyping the kid, but apperently my first guess was right..
  • Apple's slogan was "Think Different" instead of "Think Differently" on purpose. I can't remember the reasoning, but they were aware that this was not the conventially correct grammar.
  • LOL.. If I had watched it, this would have prolly
    been obvious too, but...

    Heh, serves the morons right.

    MTV is NOT a news station anyways - they're entertainment (tho the same could be said about most 'news' stations too.. hah) !

    So... thats what you get when you don't check your sources ;)
  • No, no legal recourse can be taken, I think. Unless they signed a legal document or something promising they were telling the truth. You're allowed to lie to MTV in this country. :)
  • what the hell does that mean.
  • In the first sentence, he apologises. For the rest of the paragraph he blames MTV. Wow.
    This reads like one huge, badly-spelt, ass-covering exercise. However true it (or most, or some of) it is, it does no credit to hackers or crackers. Script kiddies, maybe.
    MTV were to blame in the manner he suggests; they're just interested in sensationalist crap. For our hacking chum to pretend he wasn't aware of this is, let's say, interesting.
  • How should we take this. Is he a real hacker that was just taking MTV 'for a ride' or is he just really a script kiddie who is now up to his neck in flames say "oh no! I was only a JOKE!!!!!" I dunno.

    Maybe I jsut won't watch TV anymore...

  • Well how about this: when you watch TV - THINK a little bit. It's not that hard.

    Do not take this dangerous piece of advice seriously.

    Many people will tell you to think when you watch television. These people will also tell you to eat while you're swimming and run the hair dryer in the shower. This stuff just doesn't mix, people.

    Do you wonder why people think The King of Queens is funny? Do you ask yourself what engineering know-how Lincoln brings to the design of sport-utility vehicles? Was your favorite new show cancelled after two episodes? These are all warning signs.

    High-level thought while watching television is the number one cause of TV tuneout today. Don't become a statistic -- stay on the couch, where it's safe.

    This message brought to you by the National Association of Broadcasters, the Ad Council, and the guys who make those little green drool cups.


  • This reminds me a little of the anecdote about Time magazine when the "grunge" thing was just starting to become a fad.

    They wanted a big story on it, and interviewed a few bands, who fed them all sorts of crap they made up off the top of their heads. Of course the article had nothing to do with reality. That was hilarious.

    We can't beat 'em, we may as well play with them.

    If they interviewed me, I would have them take pictures of me using an ancient DOS AT-286, talking about how many banks I'd hacked and how I regularly break into government computers.
  • A few thoughts on hackers and spelling:
    Like most people who are reading this I never thought spelling mattered at all. I have never had any trouble getting any jobs that I wanted due to my lake of English know how. I remember overhearing the hr people at my company talking about the atrocious spelling on some of the resumes that we get. This has never stopped us from hiring anyone and I agree that it shouldn't.

    However, as of late I have been increasingly aware of the terrible spelling from most of the posts I read on ./ and newsgroups and such. Why is it that proper spelling is considered of such low importance that we can't even run our stuff through ispell? Maybe I am just getting older (late 20's) but no matter what the content, the apparent childishness of a writing seems to be linear with the amount of misspellings.

    Do you understand the difference between "your" and "you're"? How about "smiths", "smith's", and "smiths'"? Do you know when to use "to" and when to use "too"?
    Is it "responsible" or "responsable"?

    Yes, it is cool that we work in a field where your logic ability is all that really counts, but maybe we should begin to take some pride in our written communication skills for their own sake?

    my 00000010 cents.
  • His random spelling of any polysyllabic word must have assured them he had street cred.

    Do we have any reason to believe this retraction?
  • *sarcasm*MTV's journalistic integrity is in question? Noooo. This can't be.*/sarcasm*

    It shouldn't be surprising that MTV is not interested in the true story of hackers, which is usually only interesting to other hackers. They can get much better ratings from the Hollywood-inspired bull. I honestly wonder if our response to this should be to simply ignore it.


  • Is this telling us anything we didn't already know? I mean c'mon, getting a disk before the Police? Hacking in windoze? Ping -f 60110?!? Maybe were the gullable ones.

    Anyway, I guess it was nice of him to come clean. Actually, I think it would have been cool if their `prank' had actually worked. How many people get to write their own script and have it put on MTV?

    However, I think it would have been really cool if I had actually seen a `[root@nasa.gov /]#' somewhere in the thing. Or maybe a Perl script being edited in Emacs (instead of Notepad). Or.................maybe..............they could have printed up little skulls (like in Independence Day) on NASA's computers and showed a flash of light falling to earth that was the Space Shuttle. Then again....

    That's my $(2^4*3+1/7%3*2/100)
  • IANALNDIPOOTV, but I have a feeling MTV could sue these people for "misrepresentation" or something like that. If this story gets beyond slashdot and out into popular media, I don't think MTV is going to be able to ignore the issue. I see two possible responses from MTV:

    1) Ignore the problem, shrug it off

    2) Sue.
  • by anticypher ( 48312 ) <anticypher&gmail,com> on Monday October 18, 1999 @08:13AM (#1604859) Homepage
    Do you think Shamrock really has worse spelling and grammar than Hemos, or did he Hemosize his article to get Hemos to post it?

    So, the guy hacks MTV, pulls one over on them, and now is trying to explain himself to the hacking community. Something is fishy.

    Shamrock and his coworkers need to get together and present every fact of their side of the story. Dates, places, names of MTV flacks, what got said, what got rejected. If they do that, then I will have more confidence this was a real media hack, and not some snotty wannabe script-kiddie who pulled a fast one and found himself in shit.

    But given the shallowness of MTV, it is not surprising some illiterate kid could take them for a ride. Didn't see the show myself, but from descriptions here on /. it sounded exactly like entertainment, not a documentary. When was the last time someone turned to MTV for their journalistic capabilities?

    I expect a lot of "told you so" here on /. but the server isn't serving up the other replies for the moment. The best thing slashdotters could do is ignore this, or at least name and shame MTV.

    the AC
  • He's now trying to save face after his ego trip blew up in it.
  • ... except on a popular culture outlet rather than on academia.

    (For those who don't know, Alan Sokal [nyu.edu] is the professor who managed to get an article arguing that gravity is an arbitrary social construct accepted to a peer-reviewed journal, and promptly revealed that he had written it to see if they really would publish such a piece of obvious nonsense. The Editors Were Not Amused.)

    "Television is the first truly democratic culture -- the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want."
    -- Clive Barnes
  • Okay, that is it. I need to get away from computers and technology for a while. I managed to read your whole post straight through. Which wouldn't be odd, except for that acronym, which I didn't even think about.
  • what the hell does that mean.

    13u7 `//|-|47 `//i11 u__ d0...
    B_ut w__h__at w__ill you do...
    ...`//|-|3|\| 14/v\0|~5p33|< `//i11 fi|\|411y |~3p14<3 3|\|91i5|-| ?
    ...w__h__en__ lam__er_speak_ w__ill fin__ally r_eplace En__glish__ ?

  • They wanted a big story on it, and interviewed a few bands, who fed them all sorts of crap they made up off the top of their heads. Of course the article had nothing to do with reality. That was hilarious.

    We can't beat 'em, we may as well play with them.

    But what I'm intrigued by is the effect that this lying, this proliferation of falsehood just to get attention, has on the large floundering-around-pathetically part of society. Just think of all the people who'll read this kind of stuff and believe it. And not only that, they'll quote it to others and remember key phrases in the backs of their minds, mulling over it intensely periodically for brief periods of time, spout some jibberish out, and continue with their thoughtless lives. Fish! They're all fish!


    Let the flames begin....
  • Perhaps there's a relative lack of reading? It's easier to develop -- and use, on a daily basis, without conscious effort -- better language skills if reading literature happens to be a primary diversion, or if academic training has included such as a major component. Quasi-formal writing, such as a high school-level paper on the historical encroachment of the Roman Catholic Church into matters temporal during the Middle Ages, usually explicitly demands good writing, while reading authors who strive for quality rather than mass-market appeal provide interesting examples.

    Alternately, one can spend time in front of an N64 developing twitch skills.

    It also does not help if high schools feel compelled to reduce the difficulty of coursework in a bizarre attempt to raise students' self-esteem.

    Of course, many of us -- including yours truly -- arguably should not complain about lax standards, likely not being able ourselves to pass the exams of, say, a century ago...
  • And, of course, you've been moderated up as `Insightful'.

    I have to agree with what I hope is the moderator's intent. It's obvoius that you have brought to light a point that I (for one) missed: This article is not worth moderating. Why the moderators are not using points on this article is another thing, however.

    Some thoughts...

    -- There is a shortage of moderators (unlikely)
    -- There is a shortage of moderator points (again, unlikely)
    -- Most moderators hate MTV, and will therefore not bother to read the artice (one can hope)
    -- The /. community at large feels that this is a colossal waste of time and energy, and therefore do not bother to use brainpower to moderate or post (probable. note that I'm not replying to the actual article myself)


    Let's not all suck at the same time please

  • by bmo ( 77928 )
    Here I am, in my apartment, with my TV next to the computer. It's a nice TV, really it is. It's a Sony 25 inch with MTS stereo, the whole nine yards. It's a really nice TV to watch music videos with, especially back when MTV used to actually play music videos. Remember those?

    The power switch has been broken on it for 8 months, because I haven't been motivated enough to spend _20_ minutes to actually open the beast up and resolder the switch.

    500 channels and nothing on.

    *Shrug*, in the next 10 years, the TV networks will be nonexistent as you know them today, simply because it can't compete with the *content* of the 'Net, as the rest of us out here already know.

    For sale, cheap, one Sony 25 inch Trinitron.

  • ..that I shouldn't watch the upcoming VH-1 special on Phreaks? I hear it's going to feature an interview with the illustrious Toucan Sam...
  • Surely you mean "he spelt better" *smiles*

  • Badly *spelled*, even.
    Spell \Spell\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Spelledor Spelt; p. pr. & vb. n. Spelling.] -- Websters
  • Hahahah. I hate the morons at MTV. It is great that they were fooled by this bullshit. I watched about ten minutes of it. The part about his buddy getting arrested and then them actually able to go to his apartment and take something from it. Yeah right. No cop is that stupid. HAHAHHA
  • We waited for months to see if they would be realistic and after it was obvious that they wouldn't we figured the only option would be to discredit them with as much fiction as possible).

    This is the most immature thing I have ever heard about journalism. If MTV's getting it wrong, then why couldn't Shamrock et al. help them out? Or if you see that the show is going to be bad, and there is no way they're going to get it right, then the mature thing to do is get out of the show, and let MTV do their stupid thing without you involved. It's just plain dumb to be part of a badly-executed project and then apologize for it. Why be involved with it in the first place?

    The only reason I can see Shamrock stayed with it is to be on MTV. Sure, I want to be on MTV too, but I'm not gonna spread misinformation to gullible preteens to get there.
  • Wait, now...he said he pointed MTV to some legit hacker sources, and MTV came back saying they wanted more--and that they clearly wanted sensationalism.

    In that case I'd've given them some carefully crafted sensationalism, hanging on to proof that it was all fake... if they didn't get it from me they'd get it from somebody else. So if I could prove that that was what they were after AND I could discredit what they were going to do anyway, that's what I'd do, in that case.

    I agree that the guy who was in this position and just wrote his retraction could have handled it much better. Still, if they were _clearly_ looking for something faked and sensational-looking, I think the best approach was the one he took.
  • by Tasty ( 93488 )
    as a viewer of ParseTV and a semi-friend of Shamrock and Mantis, I know how he views the hacker/cracker thing, and the stuff he said in the
    "special" go against stuff I've heard him say before, so I'm sure he made all the stuff up to give MTV what they wanted. Until the whole world
    becomes geeks like us, any non geek will view a hacker/cracker as the way this special, and others portray them... you need to be a nerd to realize
    what's true and what's not.

  • Actually MTV News, if you can call it that, is the largest of its type. It is international. They are still a bunch of idiots.
  • Somehow, I don't think ZD would be the best either.. heh heh heh..
  • by Trelane ( 16124 )
    I humbly submit to you the book 23 [amazon.de]. It is about the life of Karl Koch, about whom rumours have been flying since the beginning of time. It also discusses the media's influence in his untimely death. I thought it ran somewhat parallel to this.

    It is very much a research book. Basically, the book is the summary of the authors' research in this subject and is at times kind of dry. I have also not found this book in English, so you'll have to get it in German or find a transation or traslator.

  • shamrock wrote:

    Do you really think that we are some kind of "information security resource"? or "hacker culture outlet"? No. We're entertainment. We use the web as a form of free speech to do whatever the hell we want in an effort to entertain the people that watch us.

    Golly! Substitute the word "television" where the above sentence has "the web", and that's pretty much what MTV does. Not reporting the news, not presenting facts, just entertaining the gullible masses. If the truth about hackers isn't flashy enough (it isn't), we'll make something up. Or find someone who at least looks like the youthful telegenic hacker image we want to present.

    Only MTV gets pilloried for their efforts, while shamrock expects... I don't know what shamrock expects. Sympathy? Kudos? Yeah, I suppose he pulled a prank on MTV. But MTV pulled a prank on him (and all the boring code-crunching not-so-telegenic hackers out there) first. MTV wanted something flashier than 2600 and HNN had to offer. So what does shamrock do? Shows them what they want to see, even though it's a hoax.

    Would it have been more responsible to tell them "Sorry, that's as flashy as it gets. If you don't like it well... it's a hacker thing. You wouldn't understand."? Probably. Would it have been as much fun as hoaxing them? No.
  • Interesting how moderators haven't wasted any positive points on any posts to this article (at the 64 post point). All I see is one typical -1 to the anonymous first post. Even the geeks who post by default at 2 don't have anything really interesting to say.

    Should this tip us off that this isn't worth front page on Slashdot? Most of the posts are about how stupid MTV or this "hacker" is. Hemos, take Foogle's advice [slashdot.org] and move on to "more serious news". (Resist the temptation to moderate this up :)

  • by Absynthe ( 34189 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @08:37AM (#1604897)
    This is a hack in the most classic sence of the word. If I had thought of this and thought I could get MTV to produce my own production I'd have jumped on it in a heartbeat, the only thing I'm angry about it that I didn't think of it first. Obviously his vision didn't come across and that's probably why the tone is so apologetic, it was something of a failure but I love the concept, reality hacking is the best :)
    I produce video and it's frustrating, any independent film maker will tell you that starting out, you lie, cheat and steal to get the actors, props, editing equipment, you'll spend hours playing rope a dope with police sending them back and forth between people who "have the permit" and try and get your shot in one take before they kick you out. This was almost slick :)
  • This man should be commended and held up for the world to see! He pulled a media hack that got a whole cable network show devoted to it. Only Joey Skaggs [joeyskaggs.com] has done better at this than I know of, and that is because Joey has been pulling these media hacks for years!

    941415926518293950285123123568785948184839358193 948913958495
    80124569890476636201512012315668018651125564087489 7980465063
  • This MTV special wasn't meant to be a joke for hackers, it was meant to be a story to give outsiders insight into what the life of a hacker is like.
    Nope, it wasn't, that's the problem.
    They pointed MTV to the real sources, he explicitly states this. MTV had their chance, but it was clear they didn't want to give any insight, they wanted a story.
    He gave them the story.
    The only difference is that he didn't let mtv blow a big bubble for themselves but he "helped" them without their knowledge.
  • How can people be so good with code, where the smallest errors can make the biggest difference, and still write so poorly?

    Compilers. When you're used to having a constant spell/grammar checker, it's easy to let your writing get sloppy.

  • so the fact that he typed in monosylabic words and substituted alphanumeric symbols into his words gives him creed as a hacker? hehe, I like that.

    so to be l33t, you have to spell porn as pr0n and use all the funky IRC channel abbreviations and type things such as "stfu" and "lol" and all that other jazz... and be sure to throw in some :-) or :P~ (he's drooling) and then the non-techy middle-aged businessmen that are trying to make a movie out of this all will just not be able to relate so they'll assume you're a cyber punk, and if you throw in some blue or green hair, a few piercings, say you don't like politics, worship linux, damn M$, and look like any of the characters out of "Hackers (the movie)" and then you'll get an interview.

    I love what the world is becoming... a society based on stereotypical nothings.
  • Except that Sokal's hoax was much more elaborate and thought out.

    I had the chance to read the article before it was exposed as a hoax (gotta love Philosophy Ph.D. friends) and we were in stitches. We knew there was something phony about it, and the conclusions were wrong; but the argument was strong and flawless. Of course, you had to know the authors that were (mis)quoted to realise what amount of B$ he was pushing.

    It's worth a read, even though it's purposefully cryptic. It's as strong an argument against post-modernism, deconstructionism and feminist revisionism I have ever seen, doing so by using their own tools.

    Sokal also argued that Quantum mechanics was a chauvinistic contruct that didn't withstand a feminist argument.

    Pure beauty. :)

    Sokal pulled a great one with this hoax, whereas Shamrock only fed a guillible media to begin with. Sokal had skill, wits and intelligence, and Shamrock just took an easy opportunity and milked them for all its worth. The first one is tricky and thoughtful, but the MTV hoax is much more far-reaching. It is an easier target, however.

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • Well if MTV was a little bit more intellegent then none of this would of happened nuff said
  • Not that jr. here is brilliant or anything.
    (And this is offtopic so I won't be offended if it's mod'ted down). But discover did an article in '89 or '90 on why so called brilliant people (Einstien, Heminway, Fitzgerald, Poe, etc.) couldn't spell or follow basic grammar rules....

    They claimed that it was a very minor case of dyslexia that was so slight that it went undiagnosed.

    Personally my first computer (a commodore 64) was purchased for me because I was A+'ing everything but spelling in elementary school. To this day I still can't spell worth a hill of beans.... ALL PRAISE SPELL/GRAMMAR checkers!
  • Out of curiosity, did any of you actually think this was real? If so, what kind of smoke are you cracking?

  • You're saying that it was okay for him to deceive MTV because they asked for it?? You really believe that, just because his "cover-my-ass" letter said so? There's no justication for this sort of lying. It didn't serve any purpose but to give him and his script-kid buddies something to laugh about. Well he got what he wanted and then people started flaming him for it, so now he's trying to cover it up by saying, "Oh, we meant for it to be stupid".

    Reality time: Shamrock was trying to look cool. He knew he was going to be on one of the most popular networks in America and he took advantage of that fact. Don't believe for a second that this was all crafted out from the beginning. Well actualy it was, but not with the intention of making MTV look bad - it was meant to make him look "3l33t".


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • by meersan ( 26609 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @08:41AM (#1604908) Homepage
    Summary of first 50 comments of this thread:
    • The statement: This is not a surprise.
    • The variation: No surprises here.
    • The minimalist: No big surprise.
    • The advice-giver: Do not be surprised.
    • The sarcastic: Surprise!
    • The Seinfeld: Why am I not surprised?
    • The Homer: Doh!
    • The erudite: To be expected...
    • The insightful: MTV Sucks
    • The +2 insightful: Journalists Suck

    All code and no slashdot makes meersan a dull gal, you know.
  • I watched the MTV special with a critical eye. I had some questions about who was taking themselves seriously.

    I've read the follow up letter.

    I still have no idea which parts I'm supposed to believe and which I'm supposed to disbelieve.

    The statements from the L0pht guys and JP were very short. I'm a fan of the L0pht, and would have liked to have seen more. I'm no fan of JP, but honestly he wasn't on long enough to make himself look bad.

    I was suspicious about the "disk thing" having seen Hackers, the movie. I expected that the guys were putting Serena on to some degree, as most hackers (at least the ones who would appear on MTV) love attention. They will put on a show if you give them a chance. Don't forget that at least 2 of the guys allready went to the trouble of getting their own TV show of sorts.

    What I want to know is how much was Serena acting and sensationalizing? Was she really shocked that someone knew that she had 2 VM boxes? Was her e-mail really hacked, or did she just screw up her password, or was it all staged?
  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )
    Hey. Now that's kind of elitist isn't it?

    I enjoy an afternoon of American Football and the ESPN recap, and I also love the A&E/History Channel/Sci-FI.

    Try not to stereotype people that enjoy televised sports as being dunderheads that won't watch "educational" programing. One can always get around channels you don't want to watch by programing the TV to by-pass them.

    If you are getting channels you don't want, contact your cable provider. I know that here in Portland OR it took alot to get some of the channels we wanted (Sci-Fi) so fight to get things taken off the cable.
  • Bah, I always knew those guys on MTV never had the 31337 LAN kickbanning sk1llZ that I had. :P

    Real quote from the show: "I'm gonna kickban your LAN because I can."

  • I believe IANALNDIPOOTV means:
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.
  • I know. It hurt to read it. My inner spellmeister was apoplectic. However...
    His head was obviously exceeding his pinkys' ability to follow. The thought was cogent, even if his delivery was wanting.
    He's obviously young, and his response to an intensely bogus situation is what he thought was appropriate. Counter bogosity with even more bogosity. Burst the balloon. Show some truth by blowing the gaskets of the facade machine.
    He didn't, however count on the truly astounding stupidity of those who run MTV. (Jesse Camp? HUH? *Real World??* HHUUHH!! WTF!)
    He got burned, like so many who venture into the mtv universe. It's all about bucks, sensationalism, perpetuating idiocy in every way possible. Stupid people piss their money away at a faster rate than smart people do.
    They're gaining, man.

  • I have an affliction that causes me to spell perfectly at all times. I'd rather be dyslexic, if that would obviate some of the stress...
  • I think we should start calling our cable operators and complain about the lack of quality programming on MTV, and demand that they remove MTV from the standard package so we don't have to pay for that crap. I don't want your MTV!
  • I disagree.
    There is no way for the "hacking community" to regain any sort of status in the eyes of the media. Playing the cypherpunk/technogeek thing up is the only way to make any use of the situation. Personally, I'd love the chance to go on MTV yelling "hack the planet!" and fingering accounts with image files renamed as .plan. :-)
    Chris Dunham
  • by PharCyDE ( 101385 )
    ok..cause of this MTV's jounrnalistic integrity is being questioned...wait a minute WHAT INTEGRITY..from the peeps that brought you the "real world" (7 dumbasses getting free rent who fyte all the time)...and who contuniously play backstreet fags and britny ("make my boobies one more size") spears...what did you expect.?
  • Wow. That ranks up with TEOTWAWKI as one of my favorite acronyms. Thank you.
  • Not MTV's fault for reporting what they thought was real

    Reporters and editors should make a serious effort to check their sources. If they don't, then they are either sensationalist or too lazy to be taken seriously. One can then wonder about all the other news they report...
  • But - we he really isn't a clueless script kid trying to become famous or something (hey - it gets more press coverage that defacing web sites) then he would have known the difference between a hacker and a cracker and would have used the terms correctly in his article.
  • This is an important, perhaps even landmark event. We all know that the mainstream media doesn't "get it" but now I think it's pretty clear that they simply have no interest in the world as we experience it.

    Usually, when these things happen, we just whine about how alternative and non-mainstream our culture is. But I think it's time to seriously consider whether or not the mainstream is actually worth interacting with.

    If so, then I think we need to organize a concerted campaign to combat the kind of superficial and distorting content that MTV is pushing.

    If not, then we need to seriously think about ways that we can insulate ourselves from the negative impact of things like this MTV "special." Is it time to defend ourselves and our "culture?"

    I don't claim to know the answer to this question, but I think it's something important to discuss and consider carefully.

  • I'd love for that to happen, but their target demographic is only interested in cute boys and watching drunken co-eds **paaaaarrttyyyy** on spring break. They aren't interested in such difficult pursuits as listening to good music or thinking.
  • ..you'd avoid the word "spelt" at all costs. Now I have a bad taste in my mouth.. Ugh..

  • Unfortunately, with the way cable systems are set up, this is next to impossible. There is no picking and choosing of channels (except the premium ones anyway). I am really paying for stuff like ESPN*, MTV*, and PAX, when I never had any interest in their programming. However, I'm required to have those channels to get the ones that I am interested in seeing.

    This means that a good portion of my cable bill is spent going to pay for channels I don't want (Golf channel? c'mon!).

    All that aside, I'm sure someone spending the enitre day watching ESPN* would say the same thing about A&E, TLC, and SCI-FI.
  • I had the misfortune to catch the Hacker show on MTV in a vain attempt at finding some music videos. I could not believe what I saw. I didn't think that there would be anyone, labeling themselves as a hacker, dumb enough to blurt out on national TV that they committed 'computer fraud'. I thought, man this has to be like those Faces of Death flicks. 80% fake and 20% real.

    After I read Shamrock's letter I realized that I wasn't far off the mark. Except the 20% real part. This whole special was a farce. It's slander. If this is their idea of journalism how many other stories covering important issues were skewed for the sake of sensationalism?

    BTW, I almost busted a gut during the end credits. They showed Sarena Alshults(sp?) being the apparent victim of evil hackers and she stated how violated she felt. Hmm, from what I saw it looked as though she just didn't type in her password correctly, due to the fact she seemed to finally get on her account after repeated attempts. Obviously it's those nosey hacker kids. Damn them.

  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @08:50AM (#1604931) Homepage Journal

    Shamrock simply asserts without corroborative evidence that, "We faked it."

    If you were a lame-brained criminal and realized you had been caught on camera, isn't it possible that one of your alibis might be, "Hey, I was just foolin' ya, to make y'all look stupid."

    Personally, I would like to believe Shamrock's story. Any organization that would retain someone like Jesse -- a person so amazingly annoying that he can cause nose bleeds at 300 yards -- is, without question, in serious need of reality adjustment (not to mention attitude adjustment). But until I see some corroborative evidence (such as a detailed timeline or affidavits from the police officers), I'm going to take this story with a grain of salt.


  • Well, last time, HNN got /.'d and i couldn't view thier comments for days. so, just in case, find a mirror of chipmonks (shamrocks, whatever) comments here [msstate.edu]

    have fun

  • Woah now little buffalo, you give MTV WAAAAHAY to much credit here. Even the Enquirer checks facts on occasion, and as for hip...I think Husker Du was still together the last time you could call MTV hip.... (possibly even Joy Division). MTV seriously has been a joke since 1984ish, I mean look at the "stars" they have built-up to the point of a frenzy and then tore apart... (Vinilla Ice, Snow, Debbie Gibson, Tiffiny, Milli Vanilli, etc.). It's definately not cool to shove these people down our throats and then turn around and make them into a joke. [I'm not a fan of any of the above, but I do feel sorry for them because of the way they were butt-raped by the music industry.]
  • Serena was on the radio here in Atlanta before the special aired last week. I personally have alot of respect for her after the interview. She want's MTV to do serious news as it relates to modern youth culture (MTV's target audience). We can't fault her for not knowing wether she was being put on or not. Admitedly some peer review was probably in order but if something like this were peer reviewable they wouldn't need to do a special on it. She talked of high hopes for the special and that it opened her eyes to alot of issues. She could not have known better. If someone DID know better the special probably would have been yanked. Not a Serena Auchult fan by any stretch but no need in people blasting her when she was just the person they had do the special. Did anyone catch the true life special she did last year on heroin use? THAT ,IMHO, was an excellent piece.
    "We hope you find fun and laughter in the new millenium" - Top half of fastfood gamepiece
  • "Shamrock" makes a good point in his letter: How much of what presented as fact in the media is actually totally fabricated? How much of the daily news is fiction? We really have no way of knowing unless we are really at the scene and know everyone involved.

    Mass-media is produced for the 90% of the world's consumers: spoon-fed to these room-temperature IQs who have never had an original thought in their entire lives. It is truly freightening how much of an impact modern media has on public opinion.

    He's right though. Well-researched journalism and factual reporting doesn't sell soft drinks.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @09:19AM (#1604936) Homepage Journal
    This is the most immature thing I have ever heard about journalism. If MTV's getting it wrong, then why couldn't Shamrock et al. help them out?

    You misunderstand. If we are to take Shamrock's message as true, MTV showed an almost aggressive disinterest in their desire to actually educate them about the hacking/cracking scene. Had Shamrock et al. persisted in trying to get their story right, MTV would simply have moved on to another group of people who were willing to give them what they wanted.

    In other words, MTV had already written the kind of story they wanted to broadcast, and were simply shopping for willing bodies to put in front of the camera. This practice is exceedingly common, and has a long history. CBS News did a very similar hatchet job over ten years ago on a gathering of highly respected computer luminaries, including RMS, Donald Knuth, Lee Felsenstein, John Gilmore, and others.

    These days, the media calls this "journalism." We know it better as Infotainment.


  • ) You're saying that it was okay for him to deceive MTV because they asked for it??
    ) You really believe that, just because his "cover-my-ass" letter said so?

    Heh, actually, no. I just said that in the situation he presents (which has no baring on whether it's actually accurate or if he's making it up to cover his ass), what he did is what I'd do.

    Just 'cause I'd do it, or I think it would be the right thing to do in such a situation, doesn't mean I think it's entirely okay. :)
  • This person, Shamrock, doesn't know their ass from a hole in the ground (yeah I know I am lacking originality but hey - it works). He is covering his ass because he realized he made a mistake. Look at the damn facts:

    1. Knucklehead never brought up programming
    2. never mentioned open source at all
    3. focused on criminal activities

    Shamrock doesn't even know what a hacker is, all of the references made allude towards crackers not hackers. Why was there no effort made to inform MTV from the start that they were actually looking for crackers?

    This idiot tried to be someone he was not and as a result managed to f'k up an already badly damaged image, hell, most crackers have somewhat good intentions as well - to share exploits and learn how to stop them. Without crackers how would we know if there is a hole to be breached?

    It all boils down to the fact that Shamrock never gives any correct definitions and vaguely states what really happened the same way I blind my boss with bullshit after accidentally nuking a user process I didn't mean to (okay - I probably meant to) with some crap like the ipcs table spilled over into vacuum space.

    The guy is covering his ass because he is an idiot and realized he made a mistake - period.

  • You forgot the Offtopic: "w00h00 f1rst p0st" and the Troll: "MTV can suck Mae Ling's giant petrified dick."

    Anyone else get left out? :)
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.

  • this was a GREAT mindfuck!
  • that *real* people in various walks of life are not portayed accurately in any media - this goes not only for computer professionals of various degrees but doctors, lawyers, policemen, cooks, etc. I'm sure most police officers go thru each day dealing with at lease one person with TV/Movie inspired misconceptions and takes it in stride. It's gets DRAMATIZED for your entertainment enjoyment, exaggerated, caricaturized beyond recognition. In return I like to imagine all Hollywood producers as something like a Mel Brooks but not as clever. :))

    I Think the cliche' media types are trying to promote w/ 'hackerz' is something like an updated plain ol' espianoge spy thriller, cloak and dagger intrigue stuff, smuggling messages thru enemy lines, etc, etc, etc.

  • Gee, somebody faked hacking for MTV's fake special on hacking so that people with a fake understanding of technology could fake comprehension of the hacker culture. I'm sensing a trend.

    kill -9 mtv
  • I applaud Shamrock's actions, just like I applaud the guys who call into news shows with phoney stories. The "media" is so obsessed with sensationalism that they fail to verify anything. They deserve to be taken advantage of. I have basically lost all respect for most "journalists", of course MTV is far from being a serious source of news and information, however, they are behaving in exactly the same way as shows like 60 minutes, 20/20, and virtually all newspapers and news magazines. They take themselves far too seriously. I'm glad that Shamrock did what he did... maybe it will teach MTV (and the rest of the "media") a lesson... but I doubt if it will.
  • Just to clarify, I also don't think we should glorify him for what he has done. But I can't say I would damn him. I don't have any ethical opinions watching this whole thing. It was a deal between him and MTV. He cheated, MTV lost, but they lost more or less conscious. MTV had every chance to avoid this, it would have been so easy to uncover the truth. This outcome is better IMO than a 14 year old boy ruining his live by breaking into bank computer in front of a running camera.

    I believe the media just want to make sure (more or less) that they cannot found guilty for lying. If he had told them the truth, they later wouldn't have been able to present themselves unknowing. If you don't explicitly tell it, they're save.
    I don't know whether you have heard about the scandal with the false Hitler's diaries and the german newspaper "Stern", but this story illustrates perfectly what I think about mass media.
  • by Victor Ng ( 18609 ) on Monday October 18, 1999 @07:42AM (#1604956) Homepage
    C'mon folks. We're criticizing MTV for having low journalistic standards. Is this for real? IT'S MUSIC TELEVISION for crying out loud. I don't care how "polished" the programs are, nobody in their right mind should take anything on TV (much less MTV) at face value. People keep complaining about how the media "brainwashes" people or frames the range of discussion along safe lines or whatever Chomsky'esque criticism happens to be in vogue these days. Well how about this: when you watch TV - THINK a little bit. It's not that hard. But I'm preaching to the converted. Victor "silence - I'm watching television" Ng
  • Yes, MTV was definitely looking for something sensational. They didn't want to run a show that would bore their audience. So does that make it okay for Shamrock to give them false sensationalism? If had said to them "everything I'm telling you is a big fat lie" they would've said "See you later kid". They weren't asking for this. They just thought they'd found someone who had a worthy story to tell.

    The bottom line is that Shamrock intentionally misrepresented himself in order to get on national TV. That's so utterly pathetic, that I can't even believe anyone would go to bat for him. I'm no fan of MTV - not at all - I just think that this script-kiddie is trash and shouldn't be treated as if he had some sort of lofty goal in doing all of this.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Did we really need Shamrock to write a letter to know that he's a punk? Come on now, I think he's more of a punk now than I did before. At least then I thought he was an honest punk. Everyone on the MTV hacker-thing was a serious script-kiddy and we all knew it - let's move on to serious news.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan