I attended The Yes Men documentary viewing for no particular reason, other than that I thought the topic sounded interesting. Basically, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno are two guys who seek to tell the truth and expose lies about organizations or people they don’t like and to bring attention to social issues.
They began by creating near-identical copies of websites such as the one for the World Trade Organization. People accidentally go to these fake sites, not realizing that they aren’t the real deal. This leads to Andy and Mike being invited to speak at conferences and on TV shows.
I thought it was kind of funny what they were doing, but I don’t think it’s right. They’re being deceptive, and they’re impersonating people. I know it’s not illegal, but I think there’s a difference between Mike and Andy going on TV and pretending to be business executives from certain companies and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler dressing up as Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on SNL. With SNL, you at least know that it’s an impersonation. In Mike and Andy’s case, the audience assumes they’re the real people, and so they have a real power to influence the audience’s opinion over the person or company they’re imitating.
One important lesson learned from the movies is that that people can easily make a fake website in order to deceive others, which is probably something with which we should be concerned. So I guess what I took away from the movie was that it’s always important to double-check the legitimacy of websites.