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Fox & MSNBC Not Properly Vetting Sources? Couldn't Be.

Damon's picture

So, MSM has been caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Quelle Surprise!

David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, had come forth and identified himself as the source of a Fox News Channel story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.

Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The Eisenstadt claim had mistakenly been delivered to Shuster by a producer and was used in a political discussion Monday afternoon, MSNBC said.

"The story was not properly vetted and should not have made air," said Jeremy Gaines, network spokesman. "We recognized the error almost immediately and ran a correction on air within minutes."

Gaines told the Times that someone in the network's newsroom had presumed the information solid because it was passed along in an e-mail from a colleague.

The hoax was limited to the identity of the source in the story about Palin — not the Fox News story itself. While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony.

Originally put out by Fox, David Shuster finds himself caught up in controversy, again. I just love how even though they realized the error in peddling what always amounted to little more than rumor, that they feel the need to say that only the source is really in question. It was poor journalism, regardless of whether the story was true or not.

BTW, I find it worse that Shuster decided to take his cue from Fox News, than the fact that Fox decided to run the story. It should have never been run in serious news circles, but beyond that, it should have never made it beyond Fox. But, then again, Shuster worked first for Fox and more recently for MSNBC.

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Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

of the rampant misogyny of our political discourse. When people on the right and left thought it was A-OK to talk about Sarah Palin as though she were not a candidate for the Vice Presidency, but rather a blow-up sex doll, "Caribou Barbie," or "Governor Gidget," then it's so easy--and fun!--to believe the most outrageous lies about her. After all, we all *know* that she's stupid, right! We all know that she's not to be taken seriously, because we just talk about her body, hair, glasses, uterus, sexual and reproductive history, breasts, and leaking amniotic fluid, instead of focusing on her policy positions and record as mayor and governor.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

This is funny. He's got nerve. Blogger William K Wolfrum, who blogs at Shakesville, has been onto this guy for months. He has several stories about him.

This guy is bold. He knows he's been found out, and still has the nerve to go to "journalists", and present himself as a legitimate source.

And it's sad because a 10 second Google search would have found Wolfrum's articles and prevented this mess.

i can haz hillary nao?

pie's picture
Submitted by pie on

Lovin' this:

Also, I have no ill will toward Gorlin and Mirvish. While I found their tactics somewhat annoying, by the end I had no choice but to give them credit. They easily fooled a gullible press, and ended up showcasing a fairly important point - that the 24-hour news cycle has left the mainstream media in shambles.

Pitiful bunch.

Kudos to Wolfrum.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Is that even if the source was deemed credible, the story was meant for no other purpose but to smear. Perhaps, I'd be less judgemental about this if the info was placed in a story as part of a story, but it was ran as a story of its own, and ran as a smear. It's "gotcha'" journalism at its best/worst. I'm getting tired of news stories starting with "anonymous campaign sources", "senior advisors", etc...It's tabloidy trash, it's what they did with Hillary with the whole Solis Doyle/Mark Penn crap.