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A Fake Expert Named Martin Eisenstadt and a Phony Think Tank Fool Bloggers and the Mainstream News Media

Posted on November 13th, 2008 at 14:00 by John Sinteur in category: Indecision 2008 -- Write a comment


It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

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’s a weird kind of lie…kind of like someone pointing at a random guy and calling him a child molester… no matter whether it’s true or not, you start picturing it BEING true, and it tarnishes the guy.

Sarah Palin needed to be the kind of candidate that no one would ever believe this about, in order to be immune to it.

She wasn’t.

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