Jason DeRusha got himself into hot water during our subzero snap, suggesting viewers duplicate a certain Stupid Human Trick. Then the media guy didn’t handle the media very well.

DeRusha tweeted Jan. 5 about tossing hot water into frigid air and watching it instantly turn into snow, which was a popular sight gag all over TV.

On latimes.com Matt Pearce picked up on it: “ ‘Threw a pot of boiling water in the air. Kids thought it was awesome,’ Jason DeRusha, a WCCO-TV anchor in Minneapolis, tweeted to his followers on Sunday. ‘Do it, people.’

“And boy, did people do it,” wrote Pearce. “Over Monday and Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times counted at least 50 people on social media who reported burning themselves or their friends after trying to turn boiling water into snow. There were also several reports of people going to the hospital to receive treatment for burns.”

When DeRusha was asked for comment, he hid behind his boss’ skirt or pants.

“He couldn’t comment without proper permission from his supervisors due to company policies on speaking with the media,” wrote the L.A. Times. “But on Twitter he said to a follower … ‘Sorry that anyone got hurt! I look forward to the post on all the Minnesotans who did this safely!’ On Tuesday morning, he added, ‘None of those people are from MN or followers of mine.’ ”

That sounded a tad cavalier, I told DeRusha via Twitter on Friday. He responded. “Not my intent, certainly. But I don’t think my tweet influenced people in Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland to toss boiling water.”

As Pearce of the L.A. Times wrote: “Maybe you really shouldn’t try this at home.”

I know DeRusha intended no harm. But next time he gets an unflattering call from the media, I hope he can find those big-boy pants, the way he would were it good news.


She fell for Bachmann hoax

The wife of a Minnesota prosecutor took some flak on Facebook after being fooled by Newslo.com’s Jan. 7 fake story about Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., being arrested for DWI in Colorado.

“Let’s see her wiggle out of this one,” wrote the wife of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Kate McCarthy Freeman on Facebook. And regarding a phony detail that I will not repeat, she averred, “… amongst bachmann’s bible-banging crowd, this is far more damaging than drinking (she said gleefully)”

Upon finding out the story was a fabrication, McCarthy Freeman wrote, “what? (she said despondently).”

I am not a fan of Facebook and not one of McCarthy Freeman’s facebookies, but a mutual friend supplied me Kate’s posts.

One Facebooker named Jay told McCarthy Freeman: “I’m disappointed in you. You have gleefully posted a defamatory lie and then, after confirming that it is a lie, kept it posted four hours so far.” McCarthy Freeman told Jay she was disappointed in him “for being insufferably patronizing.” She also explained that she hadn’t looked at Facebook in 12 hours and didn’t know how to delete posts.

McCarthy Freeman told me Monday she was embarrassed she fell for the hoax.

“I was gullible. I was not caffeinated. It was early. And then I went on about my day. I need to go back to my journalistic roots and check stuff. Stupid of me not to think, ‘Wait a minute. Let’s check the veracity of this.’ ”

Newslo, indeed, website.


Take it easy, Big E

“Yeah, I’m going to be OK,” a weak-sounding Big E told me Monday.

The chef otherwise known as Eric Austin told me he had a stroke a few days ago. His wife, Melanie Kell, posted something on Facebook: “Tomorrow we go INTO the mind of a chef. MRI, that is. He is healing up so fast that superpowers are suspected!”

Big E said he suspected the stroke was “high blood pressure”-related. Get well.


C.J. can be reached at cj@startribune.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.