Now, this must be a sign of the Apocalypse: The New York Times taking Fox News to task for wrongfully impugning the intellect of Gov. Sarah Palin. The “old gray lady” has declared that Martin Eisenstadt is a fraud and hoodwinked the main stream media. However, the New York Times seems to go a bit far in assuming that the original Fox story was therefore also a fraud.
As discussed on this blog, the Eisenstadt sources was immediately challenged when he came forward to self-identify himself as one of the sources of Fox News and Carl Cameron.
Fox (which is known to have excellent sources in the McCain camp) broke the story based on confidential sources. These sources allegedly claimed that, among other things, Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.
MSNBC then named Martin Eisenstadt as “a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks” after Eisenstadt released his Internet manifesto. The New York Times reports: “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.”
In addition to Fox and MSNBC, The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times were also snared.
When the creators of this character were asked, “why should anyone believe a word they say?” One of the two creators, Eitan Gorlin, responded “That’s a really good question” with a laugh.
The question still remains the Fox sources. The Africa and NAFTA stories were reported across the news spectrum and became the source of much joking, including on this blog. If this was the only source, Fox News should publicly withdraw the story. It has been referenced as based on “sources” in the plural, but the New York Times refers to it as based on a single source. The story has now moved from being a political to a journalistic story. It is not even clear that this man was one of Fox’s sources — leaving the basis of the story viable.
Fox News appears to be standing by the original story and noting that the original story is not be challenged. In a story today slamming MSNBC for falling for the hoax, Fox makes the following observation: “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.”
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