Thursday, November 13, 2008

It was all a hoax

From the NYT:

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.

So are we to believe that Sarah Palin actually knows that Africa is a continent?

Correction: I got a little ahead of myself. The hoax is the fake McCain advisor who claimed credit for the Palin comment. But this brings up an interesting point (that I, of all people, should take note) about fact checking. In an era of the 24 hour media cycle and news flying at mach 10, especially in a presidential campaign, there is fierce competition out there to be the first to report on salacious tidbits of information. Do we blame Eisensdadt for tricking the MSM and bloggers, or does the blame fall on journalists and bloggers who didn't do their homework? Or perhaps we, the consumers, are to blame. In such a competative environment, it's easy to flock to sources that back up the claims that you want to believe, filtering out the less supportive sources. There will always be hacks spewing false information so it is also up to us to vet the sources where our news comes from. If only we had a series of tubes which could help us do that.


Judah said...

as i read it, the thing about africa was an actual leak, the hoax was just this guy claiming to be its source. or am i confused?

congrats on the new blog, julia!

Julia said...

Thanks, Judah! My head is now spinning because of how confusing this mess is. I've posted a correction.

Ali said...

Love the blog name! Great choice.