Fake Al Sharpton Fools MSNBC

Newsgroper is a parody site full of fake celebrity blogs. To make sure that no one confuses its content with real news, it posts the warning "Fake Parody Blogs, Political Humor, Celebrity Satire, Funny Commentary" in the title bar of every page.

Apparently, this warning wasn't enough for MSNBC's Alex Johnson. In a piece about Michael Vick, he quoted from Newsgroper's fake Al Sharpton blog, presenting the following quotation as if it were something Sharpton really had said:
"If the police caught Brett Favre (a white quarterback for the Green Bay Packers) running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other, would they bust him? Of course not," Sharpton wrote Tuesday on his personal blog.

Caught in the blunder, MSNBC quickly removed the quotation from the article and posted this correction:


To me, the self-serving correction is worse than the original mistake. The fake Al Sharpton blog isn't a hoax. A hoax is a deliberate deception. Since the Al Sharpton blog announces right in the title bar that it's a parody blog, it hardly counts as a hoax.

MSNBC should retract their correction, and admit they're victims of sloppy reporting, not of a hoax. (Thanks to Cranky Media Guy for the link.)

Journalism Sports Websites

Posted on Mon Aug 27, 2007


Calling things that fool them "hoaxes" is one of the things that mainstream media organizations pull when they screw up. It allows them to act like, "Hey, these hoaxers worked really hard to fool us. How could we possibly know it wasn't real? I mean, it's not like we're journalists with access to research material or anything."

Similarly, every hoax I've ever been involved in with Alan Abel or on my own has resulted in the news outlets that got fooled putting in their "apology" to their audience something to the effect of "the perpetrators say they planned their hoax for years, using several people to pull it off" even when that was patently untrue. That lie, apparently, excuses sloppy reportage.

My advice to journalists (not that I think they'll care) is, if you want to have credibility with your audience, ACT LIKE JOURNALISTS and look into things before you put them in print or on the air. Sheesh.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Aug 27, 2007  at  03:16 AM
I mean, it's not like we're journalists with access to research material or anything."

Or even Google:)
Posted by outeast  on  Mon Aug 27, 2007  at  05:24 AM
"fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, can't get fooled again... a hehe heh". I have more journalistic integrity in my big toe than do most of the other so-called "journalists" out there. Their big toes have very little integrity, and they probably have two, but still they lose to my toe. They should just quit their jobs, change their names to Roy and live in Delaware. Actually, that's my fallback plan, but they need it more than me and my toe
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Aug 27, 2007  at  12:26 PM
Oh gee, once again professionally trained (and college educated) journalists prove that they can't do their job. Actually, I think that they think their job is to be PR flacs for whatever person/cause they are pushing. A real journalist should start from the position that the person they are reporting on is lying and go from there. At least, I think that should be their starting position. Maybe jouranlists should have to prove they can read and comprehend what they read also.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Mon Aug 27, 2007  at  06:22 PM
Sorry Hairy, Delaware's full. Pick on Rhode Island or something.
Posted by Sam  on  Tue Aug 28, 2007  at  10:22 AM
A satire is not a hoax.

A more honest "Correction" might have said, "MSNBC is run by a bunch of half-wits who can't tell something's a joke even when it has "JOKE" stamped across it in giant red letters. We check out all our news stories about as carefully as we checked this one."
Posted by Big Gary  on  Tue Aug 28, 2007  at  05:40 PM
Who does this kinda of thing, they are full of lies and mistrusting information.
Posted by Max  on  Wed Jul 08, 2009  at  01:53 PM
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