Mr. Komarnitsky gave radio interviews to stations as far away as Australia. Web sites from NYTimes.com to geek hangout Slashdot.org linked to his site. An Associated Press item about his site was picked up by newspapers from Los Angeles to Columbia, S.C. As of midday Monday, according to Mr. Komarnitsky, the “Web cam” was asked by online visitors to snap a new picture in the same spot 334,832 times. The lights had supposedly been changed 91,978 times. But instead of a live camera, komar.org is really showing off 32 high-resolution digital photographs, taken in four sets with different amounts of snow on the ground. A sophisticated computer program, which Mr. Komarnitsky wrote with input from a friend skilled in digital imaging, serves up a section of the appropriate photo, depending on actual weather conditions and what lights the online Web visitors expect to see. -Charles Forelle –High-Tech Holiday Light Display Draws Everyone But the Skeptics (WSJ Online)
But it was all fake.
Journalists are human beings, and they do sometimes make mistakes.