Out of Africa UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Out of Africa UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Nov 13, 2008 at 8:56 AM

That McCain adviser who said Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent? It was all a hoax. Funny story. Also a sobering commentary on shoddy reporting and the blogosphere. Sure, this blog linked to the story. If you can't trust Fox News on inside Republican stuff, who can you trust?

Hoaxes like this work not only because of sloppy reporting, of course, but also because of the degree of believability in the hoax. Anybody who's watched Palin's interviews wouldn't have cause to be instantly skeptical of an anecdote illustrating lack of intellectual depth.

UPDATE: Readers questioned whether the original report was a hoax, as my original post here indicated, or only the fictitious person claiming credit as the source. Good question. It would appear to be answered here, original reporting in which Fox stands by its story, as they say, that a REAL McCain adviser said Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent. The broader issue of blog repetition of slimly sourced stories remains on the table. And there is a prankster at work out there, as the NY Times story reported, but credit him only for taking credit for a story that someone else sourced. (That source remains anonymous, so I leave it to you to decide if you trust Fox's reporting on that.)

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