MSNBC’s Alex Johnson (with the assistance of two NBC/MSNBC reporters) recently posted a story addressing whether the prosecution of Michael Vick was racist. Roughly a fourth of the MSNBC story was based on a quote from Al Sharpton’s Blog. Or as Koshlan Mayer-Blackwell explains:
The quote was actually from our Newsgroper site’s fake Al Sharpton Blog.
They thought Al really said this:
“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.
They finally figured it out and made a correction, but instead of apologizing to their readers for reporting parody as fact, they called it a hoax. I wonder what finally tipped off their crack investigative journalism unit:
1. The words “fake parody blogs” in the titlebar of every page of our site;
2. Our logo;
3. Al Sharpton blogging on the same site as Lindsay Lohan, George Bush, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad;
4. Our about page; or
5. Al Sharpton referring to himself in his bio as a “Emancipation Proclamation enthusiast.”
Gawker said it best:
“The next time someone trots out the adage about bloggers not being reporters, we’re going to note that reporters aren’t exactly reporters these days either.”