It happens to the best of journalists. Someone sends a tip that doesn’t turn out to be above board. In other words, a prankster with no real agenda in mind sees if he or she can fool the writer.
Such was the case in Politico‘s Mike Allen’s Playbook this weekend, when a prankster (who eventually copped to the crime) wrote Allen saying it was White House Deputy Press Secretary’s Josh Earnest’s birthday and that he had celebrated with cake, clapping and song at Carmine’s.
From Saturday’s Playbook:
BIRTHWEEK:… Josh Earnest, who celebrated at Carmine’s. The gang sang, and there was cake. Everyone in the restaurant clapped. …
Then on Sunday’s Playbook:
SORRY. Earnest’s b’day is Jan. 22. Word to the wise, who may be contemplating sending something to Playbook that’s not right: It’s only funny if we get the joke.
The Carmine’s dinner happened. The birthday, however, did not as Earnest’s birthday is four months away as corrected above. Earnest told FishbowlDC: “Worst thing that happened to me is I got nice emails from a handful of folks I don’t hear from regularly, some confused emails from people I do and a genuine apology from the prankster. I mostly felt bad for Mike who is such a prolific yet generous documenter of all things DC – and has a well-deserved reputation for ‘getting it right’. I wasn’t at all surprised that he found a graceful way to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Earnest would not out the prankster, but he assured that he or she does not work at the White House. Allen had nothing to add on the matter.