They Just Can’t Help Themselves


Yeah, I’m stupid, but I’m notthat stupid.

It turns out, as I had suspected, that the “Sarah Palin doesn’t know that Africa is a continent” story wasn’t accurate. However, it’s untrue in a way I didn’t suspect. Instead of it being made up by McCain aides to discredit and heap blame on Palin, it turns outthe whole thing is a hoax.

But here’s what stood out to me in the NY Times article: A stupid dig at bloggers. 

[M]ost 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.

Uh, NY Times? All the blog attention I saw on this subject was due to its appearance on FOX News–you know, a member of your club. So piss off. Eisenstadt’s victims were FOX News, MSNBC, and any other news outlets that aired/ran the story. Most of the time, bloggers don’t break stories–we comment on things that show up in the media. We rely on them to be accurate. If they get taken, that’s not a failure on our part. 

A, do you have anything to add? Or are you too busy killing print journalism?

10 thoughts on “They Just Can’t Help Themselves

  1. I saw that yesterday. And nobody paid any attention to what Eisenwhatsit said until Fox news was all flustery over it.
    Schmucks. That’s what I have to add. Schmucks.
    A.

  2. [M]ost of Judith Miller’s victims have been NY Times editors and publishers, a reflection of the sloppy speed at which any tidbit, no matter how specious, can bounce around the MSM.

  3. Actually, Jude, you missed an important part of the story:

    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.

    What the people behind “Eisenstadt” did was claim credit as being the source for the story about Africa, and the mistake of Schuster and others was to claim that the source had now been revealed. They took advantage of the fact that the actual source has remained anonymous and that the networks were desperate to put a name to the story.
    The Africa anecdote may, indeed, have been overblown or made up, but it wasn’t by “Eisenstadt,” although now, of course, the wingnuts will be able to claim that it was all a hoax and Palin’s rep will be saved.

  4. It seems to be a variation on the ruse Rove used to discredit the Rathergate story. I think Eisenstadt is a red herring. The underlying story could be true, and probably is IMHO, given the gurgling response to the issue by Mooselini herself.

  5. Interesting point by darrelplant. Hadn’t read it that way, but that means this thing might still be true and hanging out there… Who knows?
    I think the bigger point that I picked up out of the debacle was this:
    (SNIP)
    “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.
    (SNIP)
    They rush… That keeps sitting in my head. I can recall working in the newsroom during the time period in which we were trying to figure out what to do with the Web. People freaked out by the fact that we couldn’t verify stuff fast enough to get it out there and be right. I took a hiatus and came back once the Web was established as a key news-dealing venue and found those fears were largely being ignored. It became like a quote after a fashion: “Look, the guy at the Dipshit University says the moon’s made of green cheese! We just quote him and we’re covered!”
    I often thing that stuff moves too fast and that journalists (of any platform, and yes that includes us) need to figure out the veracity of our sources before we pipe out whatever rolls across our desk. If it ain’t right, we don’t write.

  6. Just to underline what others have said:
    Carl Cameron broke the story about Palin’s Africa/country gaffe (among other tidbits), sourced to one or more members of McCain’s campaign team.
    Palin says her remarks were taken “out of context”.
    “Eisenstadt” then claims to be the source in the McCain campaign, and is debunked.
    So the only hoax debunked by this is the ‘Eisenstadt as source’ claim.
    Whether or not Palin is as stupid in private as she seems on camera remains to be seen.
    .

  7. What MFA said.
    That “Eisenstadt” and “the Harding Institute” were phony was not new information. Shakesville was all over this several months ago, and the simplest possible check — the top result right now if you Google “Eisenstadt” and “Harding” is the Shakesville story exposing the hoax — would have brought this into the savvy of the newsies who ran with the story.
    So … did these fine Professional Journalists™ not care? did they not have five seconds to check? or had they never heard of Google?
    Or two of the above? or all three?

  8. Doc,
    check out the whole story at Shakesville.
    Palin saying Africa was a country really happened.
    The “Eisenstadt said it” thing was the hoax part.

  9. MFA sez: Palin says her remarks were taken “out of context”.
    Eggzackly!
    the video is available for anyone to see of palin being asked about it. it’s pretty clear she is embarrassed and shaken. she doesn’t deny it but tries to justify her confusion.
    but let’s not remember to give credit where credit is due: JOHN McCAIN.

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