MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was recently duped by an Internet satire website. That is, The Rachel Maddow Show reported information from the satirical website ChristWire.org, which had called for Sarah Palin to “speak out publicly and forcibly for an American-led invasion to protect our interests in North Africa.” (See the ChristWire story here).
The New York Times reported on ChristWire in September. In that report, the Times noted: “Oh, by the way: ChristWire is all one big joke. Not the readership — which hit a high of 27 million page views in August — but the content, the opinions and the fake authors who write the stuff. ”
Maddow ‘s show acknowledged the error in a tweet. The Twitter account for her show, “MaddowBlog,” wrote “The bad news about a free and open internet? Sometimes you get had by brilliant satirists. Christwire: 1 TRMS: 0”
As Mediaite explained: “Yes Maddow’s producers erred here in not first fact checking (something with which we have taken issue before) but in this instance, the mistake seemed relatively small since it was just one overblown comment among many.”
ChristWire even weighed in on Maddow’s reporting of their story, commenting:
“MSNBC talking head Rachel Maddow lit up the conservative blogosphere Monday night with an unprecedented attack on Christian journalism in America today. In the middle of a discussion about the Egyptian crisis, she shocked many with a surprisingly vicious assault on Sarah Palin and her grassroots supporters across the country. It was the height of unabashed media bigotry and this liberal icon’s career may very well suffer from the repercussions already stirring around the globe.”
iMediaEthics wrote in August when the Huffington Post fell for a satirical article on ChristWire. The Huffington Post’s Katla McGlynn had criticized the ChristWire.org article “Is my Husband Gay?”, apparently believing the story was a serious article and not satire.
According to Atlantic Wire, the article was re-written to introduce the question of whether ChristWire’s article was satire. However, the Huffington Post still hasn’t published a correction or notice to readers explaining that the story was rewritten.
iMediaEthics has written to MSNBC for comment.