Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fox News Punked On Palin Leak

Some of these Sarah Palin leaks were bound to be bullshit.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

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.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

It is time for Carl Cameron to explain who in the McCain campaign he has been talking to.

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At November 13, 2008 11:54 PM , Blogger tas said...

Was Fox punked? Because there's a disconnect here... This guy, Martin Eisenstadt or whoever that doesn't actually exist, claims to be the source for the story after it was released. Why? Somebody saying they are the source for a story, then found to be a liar (or, in this case, somebody that doesn't exist) doesn't prove the original story wrong.

Additionally, the Fox reporter said that this came from multiple sources and it's been off-the-record until after the election.

And let's face it, some parts of the Fox story don't sound far-fetched... Palin didn't know the basic structure of government? She already showed that with her interpretation of the first amendment, and her claiming that the vice president has some presidential powers over the Senate beyond being the tie-breaking vote. And let's not forget her abject failure to identify what the Bush Doctrine is.

So what's far fetched at this point? The Africa and diva claims. It doesn't mean the story isn't valid, though. Now let me also add that this is a Fox News story, which should automatically make it suspect... But this was an actual reporter (experienced; 15 years in the industry, watching McCain, even) with the story; who traveled with the McCain campaign, making contacts and sources. This is not a story from a news/talk host/blowhard who never does any actual firsthand journalism.

Should he reveal his sources? Should he have to reveal his sources after somebody unknown plays a hoax? Because unless the Fox reporter is lying, there was more than just one person on the McCain campaign making these claims about Palin.

At November 15, 2008 4:27 PM , Blogger Michael Hussey said...

Carl Cameron posted a bogus story about John Kerry. The McCain people are leaking to the media. Cameron should publicly state who gave him the Africa story. That would clear a lot of things up.

At November 16, 2008 1:05 AM , Blogger tas said...

But the disconnect still exists. Essentially, the "Martin Eisenstadt" entity has nothing to do with the actual story. Eisenstadt is a hoax personality that proves how gullible some journalists can be, but the yoke is on MSNBC's face in this case for reporting as factual that a guy who doesn't exist was the source in the McCain campaign for a leak to Carl Cameron about Sarah Palin. As far as the Cameron story itself goes, the Eisenstadt affair is disconnected becuase Cameron never talked with whoever purported himself to be the "Eisenstadt" hoax. So it's unfair to demand that Cameron reveal his sources just because some prankster, representing somebody who isn't even a person, tricked MSNBC -- a network Cameron doesn't even work for.

It's also worth noting Palin never denied that McCain campaign staffers said these things. In reply to Cameron's story, she called the staffers "jerks" and implicated them as dishonest, but she never denied the story itself. Palin never insisted that nobody would ever say these things about her. Now this could be indicative of tension between Palin and the McCain staffers -- the Africa rumors, et al., could indeed be false. But working to Cameron's benefit, there is empirical evidence proving that half of what he reported is true (Palin not knowing what the Bsh doctrine is; Palin not knowing how the first amendment works; Palin applying way too much power to the veep position, etc.) Could the rest of Cameron's story be false? Possibly -- it's upto the new consumer to decide for themselves at this point. But let it be noted that Cameron claims that "sources" in the McCain campaign gave him this story, and Palin hasn't denied that sources within the McCain campaign would tell Cameron this (instead she attacked them). Whoever or whatever Eisenstadt is, and his business with MSNBC, is completely disconnected with all of this.


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