People are certainly taking the fake news trend to an extreme these days. Yesterday was all about the fake New York Times and today comes word that Martin Eisenstadt, the “McCain adviser” who was apparently behind the rumor (a commenter points out we should clarify: the pranksters falsely claimed to be behind it “they have no reason to cast doubt on the original story. For its part, Fox News Channel continues to stand behind its story.”) that Sarah Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent (a attribution picked up and spread by David Shuster, among others) does not even exist! Nor does his fake Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. He and it are all just figments of the Internets! The (real) NYT is on the case. Turns out the people behind Eisenstadt et al are “a pair of obscure filmmakers” — nevertheless they fooled a whole lot of people:
And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.
But wait! The Times and the obscure filmmakers save their harshest criticism for the blogosphere:
They say the blame lies not with them but with shoddiness in the traditional news media and especially the blogosphere…Most of Eisenstadt’s victims have been bloggers, a reflection of the sloppy speed at which any tidbit, no matter how specious, can bounce around the Internet.
Oh really? Not all the bloggers, that’s for sure!
Earlier this month (our good friend) HuffPo’s Rachel Sklar cast a very wary eye on Eisenstadt’s behind-the-scenes version of the McCain visit to SNL, advising her readers to take his version with a grain of salt after independently debunking his claims. The next day Gawker’s Alex Pareene also called bullshit on Eisenstadt. Also? Seems to us that on more than one occasion the blogosphere has done the mainstreams dirty work (U.S attorney scandal anyone?). Just saying.