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Thread: Palin-Africa Story News - Fake Blogger Claims to be Source

  1. #1
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    Palin-Africa Story News - Fake Blogger Claims to be Source

    And, might I add, all of the bloodthirsty liberals fell for...

    From the NY Times:
    [QUOTE]November 13, 2008
    A Senior Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence

    By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEŃA
    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.

    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.

    Now a pair of obscure filmmakers say they created Martin Eisenstadt to help them pitch a TV show based on the character. But under the circumstances, why should anyone believe a word they say?

    “That’s a really good question,” one of the two, Eitan Gorlin, said with a laugh.

    (For what it’s worth, another reporter for The New York Times is an acquaintance of Mr. Gorlin and vouches for his identity, and Mr. Gorlin is indeed “Mr. Eisenstadt” in those videos. He and his partner in deception, Dan Mirvish, have entries on the Internet Movie Database, imdb.com. But still. ...)

    They 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.

    Mr. Gorlin, 39, argued that Eisenstadt was no more of a joke than half the bloggers or political commentators on the Internet or television.

    An MSNBC spokesman, Jeremy Gaines, explained the network’s misstep by saying someone in the newsroom received the Palin item in an e-mail message from a colleague and assumed it had been checked out. “It had not been vetted,” he said. “It should not have made air.”

    But 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. And they fell for the fake material despite ample warnings online about Eisenstadt, including the work of one blogger who spent months chasing the illusion around cyberspace, trying to debunk it.

    The hoax began a year ago with short videos of a parking valet character, who Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish said was the original idea for a TV series.

    Soon 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.

    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.

    It didn’t hurt that a man named Michael Eisenstadt is a real expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and is quoted in the mainstream media. The real Mr. Eisenstadt said in an interview that he was only dimly aware of the fake one, and that his main concern was that people understood that “I had nothing to do with this.”

    Before long Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish had produced a short documentary on Martin Eisenstadt, supposedly for the BBC, posted in several parts on YouTube.

    In June they produced what appeared to be an interview with Eisenstadt on Iraqi television promoting construction of a casino in the Green Zone in Baghdad. Then they sent out a news release in which he apologized. Outraged Iraqi bloggers protested the casino idea.

    Among the Americans who took that bait was Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. A few hours later Mr. Stein put up a post on the magazine’s political blog, with the title “Hoax Alert: Bizarre ‘McCain Adviser’ Too Good to Be True,” and explained how he had been fooled.

    In July, after the McCain campaign compared Senator Barack Obama to Paris Hilton, the Eisenstadt blog said “the phone was burning off the hook” at McCain headquarters, with angry calls from Ms. Hilton’s grandfather and others. A Los Angeles Times political blog, among others, retold the story, citing Eisenstadt by name and linking to his blog.

    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.

    Among those taken in by Monday’s confession about the Palin Africa report was The New Republic’s political blog. Later the magazine posted this atop the entry: “Oy — this would appear to be a hoax. Apologies.”

    But the truth was out for all to see long before the big-name take-downs. For months sourcewatch.org has identified Martin Eisenstadt as a hoax. When Mr. Stein was the victim, he blogged that “there was enough info on the Web that I should have sussed this thing out.”

    And then there is William K. Wolfrum, a blogger who has played Javert to Eisenstadt’s Valjean, tracking the hoaxster across cyberspace and repeatedly debunking his claims. Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish praised his tenacity, adding that the news media could learn something from him.

    “As if there isn’t enough misinformation on this election, it was shocking to see so much time wasted on things that didn’t exist,” Mr. Wolfrum said in an interview.

    And how can we know that Mr. Wolfrum is real and not part of the hoax?

    Long pause. “Yeah, that’s a tough one.”[/QUOTE]

    How 'bout that?

  2. #2
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    Paulie,

    How do you blame a Fox News story attributed to people within the McCain campaign on "bloodthristy liberals"?

    It is very obvious that the latest round of Palin bashing is being driven entirely by Republicans loyal to her potential 2012 rivals for the nomination.

    Not that libs like me don't get a kick out of it, but, really...

  3. #3
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    The media is just used to being stenographers for Republican spokespeople. They still haven't figured out how to check if people are lying to them.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857208]And, might I add, all of the bloodthirsty liberals fell for...

    From the NY Times:


    [B]How 'bout that?[/B][/QUOTE]

    I think it speaks more to the candidates weakness that people found it feasible. Any good hoax has to has to be rooted in truth to be believable.

    If this had come out about Mitt Romney, would people have bought it?

    Well played by the bloggers though :D

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2857228]Paulie,

    How do you blame a Fox News story attributed to people within the McCain campaign on "bloodthristy liberals"?

    It is very obvious that the latest round of Palin bashing is being driven entirely by Republicans loyal to her potential 2012 rivals for the nomination.

    Not that libs like me don't get a kick out of it, but, really...[/QUOTE]

    And the libs like you are reveling in it... "Dahhh she doesn't think Africa is a continent!! What a moron har har har!"

    As the article states, the media fell for it (of which Fox falls into that classification), and you just admitted that your colleagues are getting a kick out of it. How is what I said wrong?

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=CTM;2857239]I think it speaks more to the candidates weakness that people found it feasible. Any good hoax has to has to be rooted in truth to be believable..

    Well played by the bloggers though :D[/QUOTE]

    I think it speaks more to horrible fact-checking on the part of these major news outlets.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857245]I think it speaks more to horrible fact-checking on the part of these major news outlets.[/QUOTE]

    Sure for the news outlets, but you also derided the people who believed it.

    As someone who believed it I can say that I only did because it seemed so plausible considering she was completely clueless on just about any topic asked of her...

    I edited my post above, but if this has come out about Mitt Romney, no way I would've fallen for it..

  8. #8
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    Ya like apples?

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857240]And the libs like you are reveling in it... "Dahhh she doesn't think Africa is a continent!! What a moron har har har!"

    As the article states, the media fell for it (of which Fox falls into that classification), and you just admitted that your colleagues are getting a kick out of it. How is what I said wrong?[/QUOTE]

    Fox didn't "fall into the category." It broke the story, exclusively.

    All the other media did was talk about what Fox reported. Do you expect news outlets not to talk about Republican operatives saying their veep pick didn't know Africa was a continent or what countries were in NAFTA?

    Yeah, I get a kick out of it, because I think she's a know-nothing McCarthyite who exemplifies everything wrong with politics today, and I am pleased at any development that reduces the chances of her getting anywhere near the Oval Office. But this story is 100% Republican infighting. Liberals are just the (amused) bystanders.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=CTM;2857251]Sure for the news outlets, but you also derided the people who believed it.

    As someone who believed it I can say that I only did because it seemed so plausible considering she was completely clueless on just about any topic asked of her...

    I edited my post above, but if this has come out about Mitt Romney, no way I would've fallen for it..[/QUOTE]

    Honestly? Who thinks Africa isn't a continent?

    No, she's not very well-versed on international issues... or at all... but c'mon. If nothing else, she's got a kid in grade school. I'm sure the "Seven Continents Song" must have come up in the course of helping little Piper with her homework.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2857258]Fox didn't "fall into the category." It broke the story, exclusively.

    All the other media did was talk about what Fox reported. Do you expect news outlets not to talk about Republican operatives saying their veep pick didn't know Africa was a continent or what countries were in NAFTA?

    Yeah, I get a kick out of it, because I think she's a know-nothing McCarthyite who exemplifies everything wrong with politics today, and I am pleased at any development that reduces the chances of her getting anywhere near the Oval Office. But this story is 100% Republican infighting. Liberals are just the (amused) bystanders.[/QUOTE]

    Are you telling me you didn't believe the story?

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857269]Are you telling me you didn't believe the story?[/QUOTE]

    Go look at the original thread about it. I said I had serious doubts about it.

    [url]http://jetsinsider.net/forums/showthread.php?t=182001&page=2[/url]

    [QUOTE]I'm skeptical about this. She's a know-nothing, but that's first-grade level info.

    I suspect these reports are coming from Romney or Huckabee people who worked for McCain and are trying to get a leg up for their guy in 2012.[/QUOTE]

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2857276]Go look at the original thread about it. I said I had serious doubts about it.

    [url]http://jetsinsider.net/forums/showthread.php?t=182001&page=2[/url][/QUOTE]

    Alright, props to you then. You're one of the lesser fang-bearing knee-jerk libs anyway. ;)

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857280]Alright, props to you then. You're one of the lesser fang-bearing knee-jerk libs anyway. ;)[/QUOTE]

    I'll take that as a compliment. I think.

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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857265]Honestly? Who thinks Africa isn't a continent?

    No, she's not very well-versed on international issues... or at all... but c'mon. If nothing else, she's got a kid in grade school. I'm sure the "Seven Continents Song" must have come up in the course of helping little Piper with her homework.[/QUOTE]

    Hold on, my take was that she didn't know until someone reminded her. That it sounded worse then it actually was..

    I asked my wife that same day, I said "Is Africa a country" she paused thought for a bit and said yes and then thought for a second more and said it was continent also. I corrected her, she laughed and that was the end of it. My wife knew the deal but answered incorrectly till I reminded her. SO I could exaggerate and say "She didn't know Africa was a continent"

    And as far as what Palin is well versed on, I don't know. The question she butchered the worst was the economic one.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2857276]Go look at the original thread about it. I said I had serious doubts about it.

    [url]http://jetsinsider.net/forums/showthread.php?t=182001&page=2[/url][/QUOTE]

    Yes, I remembered your immediate skepticism. I admired your thinking at the time, and you have been proven correct.

    As for "Intelligent"Jetsfan, CR726, and Tan"genius", well.........

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2857294]I'll take that as a compliment. I think.[/QUOTE]

    :D

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=CTM;2857304]Hold on, my take was that she didn't know until someone reminded her. That it sounded worse then it actually was..

    I asked my wife that same day, I said "Is Africa a country" she paused thought for a bit and said yes and then thought for a second more and said it was continent also. I corrected her, she laughed and that was the end of it. My wife knew the deal but answered incorrectly till I reminded her. SO I could exaggerate and say "She didn't know Africa was a continent"

    [/QUOTE]

    Oh, ok, like a momentary mental lapse. I gotcha. That makes the story even dumber though, doesn't it?

  19. #19
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    So what's the point here?

    The media, namely Fox News, sucks and people are sheep.

    Yep, I agree.

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2857265][B]Honestly? Who thinks Africa isn't a continent?[/B]
    No, she's not very well-versed on international issues... or at all... but c'mon. If nothing else, she's got a kid in grade school. I'm sure the "Seven Continents Song" must have come up in the course of helping little Piper with her homework.[/QUOTE]



    "We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a [B]nation[/B] that suffers from incredible disease."

    George W. Bush in Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001

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