MSNBC mistakes a 'fake Al Sharpton' blog for the real thing

In an article about African American leaders' reactions to the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal, an MSNBC reporter quotes a satirical blog by mistake.

When News Groper, an entire site full of "fake celebrity" blogs in the vein of Fake Steve Jobs, launched earlier this summer, some people (myself included) thought it would have a rough time making a name for itself on the Web. There's so much online comedy already out there, and after the rise and fall of Fake Steve, I thought the blog community would've had enough of celebrity satire (celebritire?)

Now, however, it looks like News Groper may have had its big break--MSNBC reporter Alex Johnson mistook one of its blogs for real, and quoted it in an article. A soundbite from News Groper's Al Sharpton blog originally appeared in Johnson's story about African American leaders' reactions to the Michael Vick dogfighting case.

The faux Rev. Al blog post used an over-the-top analogy to explain that Vick, who is African American, was a victim of racist justice. "Consider this: If the police caught Brett Favre running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other to the death, would they bust him? Of course not," the satirical piece read, as quoted by Mashable's Pete Cashmore. "They would get his autograph, commend him on his tightly-spiraled forward passes, then bet on one of his dolphins."

The fake quotation is no longer there, but some suspiciously small fine print explains the situation: "An earlier version of this article quoted from a blog entry purportedly by the Rev. Al Sharpton. MSNBC.com has determined that the blog is a hoax." Considering the title of every News Groper page contains the terms "Fake parody blogs, Political humor, Celebrity Satire, Funny Commentary," this is quite the little screw-up.

Oops.

Fake Al Sharpton, naturally, wouldn't remain silent. "Excuse me, Mr. Alex 'Investigative Reporter' Johnson of MSNBC, but before you go calling people a hoax, maybe you should take a long look in the mirror," the shadowy satirist behind the blog wrote. "When I said that Brett Favre was probably fighting dolphins against each other to the death with swords crudely attached by duct tape, it obviously wasn't real; it was a METAPHOR. First of all, the adhesive in the tape wouldn't hold up in salt water, and also, how many backyard saline pools have you ever swam in?"

 

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