MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.
Somehow the layers of fact checkers that were said to distinguish the “respectable MSM” from the guys in pajamas blogging from their basements were taken in by a couple of hoaxers who, using the Internet created a fake person – “Martin Eisenstadt” – and a fake think tank – “The Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy” – and proceeded to put out fake stories.
The fact that no one in the press had actually met “Martin Eisenstadt” or visited the “Harding Institute” did not deter the MSM, and the bloggers on the Left from spreading the tales. Why? Well, one reason could have been that the target of these lies were Republicans.
From the NY Times story that discussed the hoax we find that
… there were videos showing him driving a car while spouting offensive, opinionated nonsense in praise of Rudolph W. Giuliani. Those videos attracted tens of thousands of Internet hits and a bit of news media attention.
Given the MSM’s position as a thundering herd of Liberals, this fit their template of Republicans and no more actual proof of the existence of these people on a corporeal plane was needed, or – frankly – wanted. If checking out such a good story should reveal it to be a hoax, don’t check it out.
Then (via the Times)
The hoaxers pushed all the MSM’s buttons: Jewish warmongering neocons, Republican scandals, disgruntled insiders. What better way of smearing a person than to appear to be a friend who can't take the lies any more?
When Mr. Giuliani dropped out of the presidential race, the character morphed into Eisenstadt, a parody of a blowhard cable news commentator.
Mr. Gorlin said they chose the name because “all the neocons in the Bush administration had Jewish last names and Christian first names.”
Eisenstadt became an adviser to Senator John McCain and got a blog, updated occasionally with comments claiming insider knowledge, and other bloggers began quoting and linking to it. It mixed weird-but-true items with false ones that were plausible, if just barely.
The inventors fabricated the Harding Institute, named for one of the most scorned presidents, and made Eisenstadt a senior fellow.
Oh, and that story that claimed Joe the Plumber was related to Charles Keating (disgraced S&L executive who bribed the “Keating Five”) …
Last month Eisenstadt blogged that Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber, was closely related to Charles Keating, the disgraced former savings and loan chief. It wasn’t true, but other bloggers ran with it.So THAT's where that story came from!
The NY Times printed a picture of Dan Mirvish, one of the hoaxers. It looks like he perpetrated the hoax from …