By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Hoax doesn’t affect Palin story

A number of observers seem to misunderstand the meaning of the revelation that a man who claimed to be Carl Cameron’s source for some of his Sarah Palin dish has turned out to be a fraud.

Citing unnamed sources, Cameron reported on Fox News last week that Palin, among other things, didn’t know that Africa was a continent and couldn’t name the countries in NAFTA — or, for that matter, in North America.

Now I’m hearing that the exposure of the fake Martin Eisenstadt shows that Palin really isn’t that stupid. Except that this AP story, posted on the Fox News Web site, reports that Eisenstadt — or “Eisenstadt” — was not Cameron’s source, and that Fox is standing by Cameron’s story.

For what it’s worth, I never believed Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent. But if you want to believe it, there’s no reason to stop now.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Serving coffee with Google Maps


Really, folks, the campaign’s over


  1. Joel Monka

    Actually, both the original story and the hoax attribution are part of the same pattern: if you believe that all Republicans are stupid, evil, or both, then you won’t bother to vet any story that fits the matrix; you’ll just run it as is. There are a lot of editors and bloggers like that.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Joel — Don’t forget that this story came from GOP-TV, not the so-called liberal media.

  3. Joel Monka

    Note that I said “a lot of editors”, not the liberal media. No outlet is uniformly anything, not Fox, not MSNBC.

  4. Ani

    Well, Greater Boston had someone on last night who actually seems to have relatively direct knowledge of Palin’s ability to climb a learning curve, and I think her words for how she thought Palin might do as a presidential candidate were “crash and burn.” If I understood her correctly, it sounded as if Palin needed to stick closely to talking points she is coached in (this was on pipeline issues) and did not internalize the ideas and make them her own.

  5. Robin Edgar

    But Joel. . . Don’t you think it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that FOX News aka FAUX News aka GOP-TV “believe that all Republicans are stupid, evil, or both”? Interestingly enough the word verification code for this comment is – grand 😉

  6. Mike from Norwell

    Dan, if you read further on in the NY Times story:”Last month Eisenstadt blogged that Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, Joe the Plumber, was closely related to Charles Keating, the disgraced former savings and loan chief. It wasn’t true, but other bloggers ran with it.” maybe I’d be a little bitter about bloggers too if I was Palin…

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: She’s got every right to be bitter about bloggers. But when she said the mainstream media picked up on the worst of it, such as who is Trig’s real mother, she was making it up.

  8. Peter Porcupine

    DK – your contempt for him aside, MSNBC’s Matthews IS considered mainstream media by many deluded Progressives.Unless you’d LIKE to leave him and Olbermann in a media ‘oubliette’?Hey, I’D be down with that!

  9. Dan Kennedy

    PP: Matthews and Olbermann are talk-show hosts, and should be evaluated on that basis. I like Olbermann, although there are times when I’m not in the mood to be hectored. Matthews can be entertaining at times.They should be held accountable for their facts, as any talk-show host should. But I wouldn’t evaluate them as journalists. No one would take either of them seriously on that level.Yes, they are mainstream media — they’re talk-show hosts working for a mainstream-media outlet. I don’t find this difficult.

  10. Dunwich

    Palin lied about Couric’s what-do-you-read query to at least one of her many interviewers this week. It wasn’t a hostile dig at Alaska (and she should understand transcripts are available). Truth-stretching is a pattern we are likely to see continue in her Senate and Presidential runs (If God opens those doors!).

  11. mike_b1

    Two words: Swift Boat.Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it yourself. Lee Atwater must be spinning (get it?) in his grave.

  12. Steve Caldwell

    After the 2000 “Al Gore said he invented the internet” lies from conservatives and the 2004 “swiftboating” of John Kerry by conservatives, I’m shocked that someone decided to borrow these conversative GOP tactics and use them against a conservative Republican like Sarah Palin – NOT.

  13. An Astute Observer

    **Joel — Don’t forget that this story came from GOP-TV…*You mean instead of DEMsnbc..or the Clinton News Network?

  14. An Astute Observer

    **Matthews and Olbermann are talk-show hosts, and should be evaluated on that basis.**Same thing with Hannity and O’Relley?It’s basically talkradio with pictures.

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Not So Astute: I also wrote, “They should be held accountable for their facts, as any talk-show host should.” I don’t think O’Reilly and Hannity (especially) would do so well in that department compared to Matthews and Olbermann.

  16. Mike from Norwell

    Dan, think you’re missing one point here: running with rumors taken from a hoax/humor site isn’t a good thing for the media’s credibility, regardless of their political point of view. When you start with something completely fabricated for humor effect, kind of invalidates everything that you develop on the “story” from there on in…Would be interested on how you would grade a student who came to you with a hot story based upon something out of the Onion, like this:

  17. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: I think we’re talking about two different things here. There is no way that MSNBC should have relied on “Eisenstadt”‘s blog. We agree on that.My point is that some people are leaping to the conclusion that “Eisenstadt” was Cameron’s source on the Palin stuff, and Fox says that’s not the case.In the Greta Van Susteren interview, Palin specifically said that the media ran with rumors that she was not Trig’s mother. I’ll bet the McCain campaign told her that’s what had happened, because they were spreading that publicly a couple of months ago. But it wasn’t true — it didn’t happen.

  18. Joel Monka

    It didn't? Five minutes of Googling found the story in the CBC Atlantic'll grant that none of these are reputable news organizations, but they are arguably mainstream.

  19. Dan Kennedy

    Joel: If you’d spent one more minute Googling, you might have found my post ripping Andrew Sullivan for going with this. Two of the links you’ve given me are Sullivan. To the best of my knowledge, he is the only mainstream journalist who made any mention of it.I didn’t realize CNN picked up Sullivan’s blog, so bad on me (and them!). But I’m not going to concern myself with what Canadian television is doing.

  20. Joel Monka

    I had forgotten your post about it- it’s been a busy ten weeks! (is that an understatement, or what?)

  21. An Astute Observer

    Joel: If you’d spent one more minute Googling, you might have found my post ripping Andrew SullivanYeah, but before that post “ripping’ him you sent out an amil and posted the rumor…and continued rolling it along.

  22. Dan Kennedy

    Not So Astute: That is a lie. Thinking of running for office?

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén