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How Did Huffington Post Get Duped by ChristWire Satire TWICE?

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Posted on February 3 2011 7:00 am
Jesse Hathaway survived the progressive re-education camps of Ohio University and the People’s Republik of Athens, and now lives and blogs in beautiful Myrtle Beach, SC. Follow him on Teh Twitter, and become part of his Right Turns Only posse.
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There’s an old joke that goes, “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on the monkey.” After yesterday, progressive new-media outlet Huffington Post reached “stage 2.”

Yesterday, hostess and alleged twelve-year-old boy (as SNL memorably satirized her, embedded below for your viewing convenience) Maddow showed that she really did have the truthiest show on television, when she and her vast army of fact-checkers fell for a thinly-veiled Internet hoax, airing the joke on her news program… as news.

The so-called “smartest person on television”, Maddow cited a satirical faux-news article from “ChristWire.org,” a satrical website in the style of The Onion, as real news on Tuesday. The story in question claimed that conservatives were calling on Palin to advocate an American-led military intervention to put down the increasingly violent revolution in Egypt.

In response to the jeering of the blogosphere, and other pundits, MSNBC flushed the online video of Maddow’s gaffe down the memory hole, but not before media watchdogs were able to upload copies of the “news” segment to Youtube and other social-media video sites.

After realizing her gaffe, Maddow, a good sport about her flub, apologetically joked on Twitter that “the bad news about a free and open Internet [was,] sometimes you get had by brilliant satirists. Christwire: 1 TRMS: 0.”

As another pretend news outlet, The Atlantic, notes, progressive online news-hub Huffington Post has yet to realize that it was a joke and print a retraction, or admit that they couldn’t recognize a joke if it walked up, introduced itself, and slapped them in the face with its glove.

For that matter, the Huffington Post appears to be the online version of that one guy who is a bit slow on the uptake, when it comes to jokes. Last August, HuffPo fell for another ChristWire fraud, reprinting as gospel truth a guide for women, advising them on how to tell if their husbands were gay.

In the guide, the Post’s re-print of the joke column advised women that their husbands may be homosexual if they “travel to Asia or big cities often,” among other signs.

It took a gentle, yet firm, line of questioning from New York Times reporter Mark Oppenheimer for the Huff-lepuffs to realize that they had reported fake news as the real kind.

This isn’t the first time that Maddow’s truthiness has come back to bite her, though. In October, Maddow accused former Republican Congressman Steve Stockam of having advance knowledge of domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh’s plans to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Maddow accused Stockam of withholding the information from authorities, out of sympathy for the violent anti-government aims of McVeigh.

We shouldn’t be too hard on Ariana Huffington and the rest of her ship of fools, though. When you’re an aspiring media maven—and a progressive political hack— like her, it’s really, really hard to not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Editor’s Note: See Kathy Shaidle’s post challenging Maddow for this blunder here.

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