Fake news has metastasized into one of the day’s greatest scourges. Web sites perpetuating false information have destabilized the public’s trust in what is monolithically referred to as “the media,” and what’s worse, elected officials can now use the cry of “fake news!” to discredit any factual reports that they’re not pleased with. Truth has grown into a sadly scarce quantity these days, and just about everyone agrees that the last thing we need is even more misinformation spread around just for the sake of promoting a movie, even if that movie happens to be a visually sumptuous dive into insanity.

A Cure for Wellness, which opens this Friday, has taken an unorthodox approach to getting the word out about the film. The Super Bowl spot that began as an anti-depressant commercial before veering off into horror was clever and innocent enough, but recent efforts have blurred the line between ad and article to the point of irresponsibility. Buzzfeed first reported that presiding studio 20th Century Fox has made use of five “fake news” sites (the studio confirmed their collaboration with fake news creators) to post articles about, for instance, Lady Gaga including a tribute to Muslims at her Super Bowl performance. (The websites, probably not worth linking to in the first place, now redirect back to the film’s official website.) Some articles were pure B.S., but some slyly incorporated references to the Swiss “wellness center” at which the film is set, such as one article claiming that President Donald Trump and Russia‘s Vladimir Putin were seen together enjoying some leisure there.

It’s the sort of boneheaded PR move that confounds reason, but at least now it’s been all attended to. Who knows how much harm has already been done, though. Surely, someone’s aunt has now repeated that she read about Trump and Putin enjoying a nice sauna together in the Alps.

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