MSNBC ran an article today, in which Al Sharpton was quoted defending Atlanta Falcon Michael Vick on his dog-fighting charges, saying that the investigation and subsequent attention the case has received was racially motivated. While you only have to ask a lacrosse enthusiast about the steps Sharpton has taken in an attempt to level the racial playing field where athlete-driven crime is concerned, the quote obtained by MSNBC was fake, as in Fakety-Fake-Fake-McFakerson.
And, yes: there were clues. The first being that the source of the Sharpton quote was a site called NewsGroper.com. The second being, as Gawker pointed out earlier, that the site comes tatted up with a title bar describing not just "fake parody blogs" but "political humor, celebrity satire, [and] funny commentary." And the third being that NewsGroper's "featured" bloggers include George W. Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (whose posts include "IAEA and Ikea--Not The Same" and "Supposed Lesbo Lacks Spice." One wonders if MSNBC's Alex Johnson, who was taken in by the fake Sharpton quote in the first place, did a little searching through the blogroll, thinking that a veritable goldmine of scoops had been discovered!
Oh, and what was the fake Sharpton quote?
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. They would get his autograph, commend him on his tightly-spiraled forward passes, then bet on one of his dolphins.
Uh-huh. While there is absolutely no doubt that the concept of a Brett Favre-run ring of fighting dolphins is, indeed, COMPLETELY AWESOME, it's clear that this quote is a fake. I mean, Brett Favre's forward passes haven't been "tightly-spiraled" or "commendable" in over a year!
MSNBC has since stricken the NewsGroper quote from the article and run a correction confessing to having been taken in by the satire site, but if you examine the article in its present state, it's clear that not all the satirical humor has been removed! We bring your attention to the hilarious, clearly unreal final paragraph of the piece, which reads, "Alton H. Maddox, a New York civil rights activist who was disbarred for his role in the Tawana Brawley case, argued that Vick was being targeted because 'he is not an assimilationist.'"
Come on, MSNBC! Are you that susceptible to being taken in by obvious foolery? By statements too satirically nonsensical to be believed for even--What? That quote is indeed real?
Well. Oh, dear, then.
Vick case divides African-American leaders [MSNBC]
Don't let this guilty plea fool you, Vick is innocent (like OJ)* [NewsGroper]
*OH YEAH, by the way: that was the title of "Al Sharpton's" "blog" "entry." You'd think it would touch off a warning bell or seven!