Willie Herenton in cyberspace - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Willie Herenton in cyberspace

If it were true, it would be newsworthy in its own right. But it's not true. And it's not particularly nice and there's little he or anybody else can do to stop it.

"Don't bring me no mess...and there won't be no mess." When Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton uttered those famous words two years ago, he surely didn't know they would end up on MySpace.com.

The song is Papa Don't Take No Mess by James Brown. The site is a MySpace page, claiming to belong to Mayor Herenton.

But the site is a phony. Tagged with a slogan reading "I'm the King of Memphis now," it has a link to indicted state senator John Ford's fake my space page and a bio that reads, "I mainly spend my time p***ing off city council members (a.k.a. the nobodies), fathering illegitimate children, throwin' some dice with Joseph Lee, and avoiding the press."

"Honestly... My first opinion when I first read it, I thought it was the funniest thing I've ever seen. When I said it, of course I didn't think it was Willie Herenton... Some of the things I saw on there." Meet Justin Ford. The 22 year-old campaign manager for his brother Joe Ford, Jr, candidate for congress.

Justin Ford is a member of the MySpace Generation. His brother has set up a legitimate MySpace page for his campaign.

"It talks about key issues that we think fit the age demographic of 18-25," the younger Ford says.

But the problem - as demonstrated by these dummy sites - is that it can backfire. "When you have something that's free and it doesn't take but an email address and a password to set up one of those accounts," he says, "and all you have to do is get a picture of the person that you want to be and just type a profile."

Just ask Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

We tried. And there was no comment about this out of Mayor Herenton's office.

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