When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

13 November 2008

The fact-checker as endangered species

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.


[The hoaxsters] say the blame lies not with them but with shoddiness in the traditional news media and especially the blogosphere.

“With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find,” said Mr. Mirvish, 40.
A Senior Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence (New York Times, 13 Nov 2008)

Hat tip: Carrie (and special notice to enrevanche regular wtf, who managed to post this in the comments before I had a chance to blog it this morning!)

Related: The Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy

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