This is pretty priceless. Apparently, a New York personal injury lawyer and legal blogger took advantage of April 1st to post a false story in an effort to prove that political bloggers simply spread rumors and don’t fact check anything. In the fake blog post, he claimed to have been named as the White House’s “official White House law blogger” and sat back to watch the political blogs fall over themselves reporting on the story.
Well, no one did. The bloggers couldn’t confirm the story, so no one ran with it.
Except the New York Times.
Liberty Pundits covers the story:
It’s a good ruse complete with charts and stories. So the NYT gets wind of it. Their “fact-checking” department calls both the lawyer and the White House. Lawyer specifically obfuscates; he confirms NOTHING. The WH? No one home. The story has no confirmation whatsoever on any level.
What does the NYT do? I can’t grab an archived version to link, but here is the cut from Gawker claiming to be the original NYT piece:
After all, as Mr. Turkewitz, a Manhattan lawyer, writes on his New York Personal Injury Law Blog, he is about to be sounding off on all manner of legal issues as the Obama administration’s new White House law blogger.
“Excited about new blogging gig as White House law blogger,” he tweeted this morning. “But hope I don’t have to spend too much time in D.C.”
Spoken like a true New Yorker.
And as if it couldn’t get better. The lawyer turns out to be smug prick that learned something he probably didn’t want to know:
The basic idea was this: A bunch of law bloggers would try to punk the political bloggers, whose reputation is to grab any old rumor and run with it. Fact checking hasn’t always been the strong suit of this community.
But the political bloggers, to their collective credit, didn’t bite, despite wide dissemination of the story. Not on the right or the left. Instead it was the vaunted New York Times that ran with the story without bothering to check its facts. The Times, of course, had no sense of humor about it when the angry phone call came to me a couple of hours later.
So, he tried to punk us and instead found out that what we’ve been saying about the NYT has been true all along.
This incident speaks volumes about the credibility of the remaining few print media, and why their circulation numbers are plummeting. It also sheds a light into why so many are turning to the internet — and especially blogs — for news and political commentary. Despite the narrative that bloggers don’t bother to check what they’re writing on, it was the bastion of the mainstream media, the grand New York Times, which essentially sets the stage for what the other mainstream media report on, that didn’t bother to properly vet a story.