"Politics determine who has the power, not who has the truth."
March 11, 2013 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Breitbarted! [BUSINESSINSIDER.COM] "Conservative news site Breitbart.com duped by fake story that Paul Krugman declared dankruptcy. A satirical item published last week purporting that economist Paul Krugman had filed for bankruptcy has spread to Boston.com and the conservative website Breitbart this morning. The item originated in The Daily Currant, a satirical news site. Austria's Format online magazine picked it up, and their report was subsequently cited by Boston.com [It has since been taken down 404 error.]. Then it spread to Breitbart. It has since been taken down this morning, but here's a screenshot:"
"Krugman responded [NYTimes.com] to the mix-up this morning, writing on his blog that he knew of the fake news item and was asked about it by a Russian television station. He wrote that he did not address it on his blog because he "wanted to wait and see which right-wing media outlets would fall for the hoax."
posted by Fizz (59 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Next up on Fox: Friends of Hamas go bankrupt after buying Obama Phones from Krugman's Death Panels.

...

I know I'm going to hear about Krugman from my conservative boss; and when I say it was all found to be a hoax, he will just say "well behind every joke is an element of truth" as if it's the sagest advice ever given.
posted by kzin602 at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2013 [32 favorites]


This is all good because only right-wing media outfits fall for hoaxes, right?
posted by chavenet at 9:24 AM on March 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Rather than tighten his belt and pay the sums back, the pseudo-Keynesian economist decided to "stimulate" his way to a personal recovery by investing in expenses he hoped would one day boost his income.

Between 2004 and 2007 Krugman splurged on expensive cars, clothes, and travel in hopes that the new lifestyle would convince his bosses at the New York Times to give him a giant raise.

"They say always dress for the job you want," Krugman explains. "So I thought maybe if I showed up in $70,000 Alexander Amosu suits they would give me ownership of part of the company. If I had only been granted a sliver of the New York Times Co., I could have paid everything back."


This is hysterical and couldn't be taken seriously by a reader. It just goes to show you the value of not taking a report at face value and digging back to the underlying documentation.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 9:25 AM on March 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Friendly reminder: currants, currents.
posted by Fizz at 9:29 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few right wing acquaintances were sharing this last week, although they knew it was satire. The thing that really bugged me though was that they thought it was a really biting takedown of Keynesian economics / counter-cyclical spending.
posted by knapah at 9:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is all good because only right-wing media outfits fall for hoaxes, right?

There is a degree of shadenfreude, to be sure.

But jesus, what sort of fact checking does anyone do anymore ? They could call him and ask, they could seek out the filing, etc.

But no, just put it on the website and pull it if it is wrong. Not even issue a correction.

I'd say this incident gives journalists a bad name, but they didn't even do journalism. They did blogging.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is all good because only right-wing media outfits fall for hoaxes, right?

The originating source was obvious satire. It's no more a hoax than when Onion stories are mistaken for reality.
posted by compartment at 9:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm hoping "declaring dankruptcy" will catch on as a slang term for being out of marijuana.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:32 AM on March 11, 2013 [79 favorites]


shadenfreude

Or in this case, schadenlols.

Don't know why the Big B didn't just run with this anyway. It's not as if they've let accuracy or even truth be an obstacle before.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:36 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


But jesus, what sort of fact checking does anyone do anymore?

ASSISTANT: "Hey did you see this story on this website? Paul Krugman is bankrupt."
BREITBART: "Put it up."
ASSISTANT: "Maybe we should check...."
BREITBART: "What did I just say?!"
ASSISTANT: "Ok, you're the boss."
BREITBART: "** maniacal laugh**
posted by Fizz at 9:36 AM on March 11, 2013


Boy, I hope they backpedal as effectively as they did with their Friends of Hamas coverage.
posted by Rykey at 9:39 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Man, that website's standards really went to hell when its founder died and went to Hell.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:40 AM on March 11, 2013 [36 favorites]


The originating source was a satirical article. It's no more a hoax than when Onion stories are mistaken for reality.

I don't know, laundering a "satirical item" through an Austrian web site is a great cover. They have a disclaimer now.
posted by cgk at 9:42 AM on March 11, 2013


They should get James O'Keefe in there to review editorial standards. Sheesh.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:42 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paul Krugman declared dankruptcy.

Krugman declares his intellectual bankruptcy with every column he writes.
posted by three blind mice at 9:43 AM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not to make this all about Krugman, but, that claim is absurd.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:45 AM on March 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


This is all good because only right-wing media outfits fall for hoaxes, right?

Well, we are talking about Breitbart here. Egregiously overlooking fact checking, or just making up shit, seems a particular problem with that enterprise. From ACORN, to Hagel coverage, to this amusing historical bit:

Journalists on the campaign trail saw [Lyndon] Johnson drunkenly board a plane armed with nuclear weapons and then accidentally drop them on the United States. Luckily, by the grace of God, they did not go off. None of this was reported, while newspapers editors worked in overdrive to portray Goldwater as eager to push the button.

Breitbart isn't only easily spoofed, but seem to actively make up stuff out of thin air. This is a serious problem that doesn't limit itself to Breitbart's domain. Conservative media across the board seems obsessed with creating its own reality, at the expense of its own credibility, as its readers actively reject any other news sources.

Breitbart getting spoofed isn't a odd accident. It's completely expected.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:48 AM on March 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


I notice the spoof article uses what's becoming a standard right-wing talking point:
However, Keynes did not advocate using debt financing to stimulate the economy. Rather, he argued that government should save in the good times and spend in the bad.
They're basically trying to rewrite history as if Keynes either just believed in saving in good times for a rainy day, or else would only have supported very small debt loads. In fact, when Keynes was writing the General Theory:
In the UK, the government debt to GDP ratio was over 150 percent. This did not stop Lord Keynes from recommending fiscal stimulus in order to offset the continuing effects of the Great Depression.
Keynes still advocated deficit spending, even in times when debt loads were already high.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


But jesus, what sort of fact checking does anyone do anymore?

SA Goons from their Sports forum edited a Wikipedia article to give baseball player Mike Trout the nickname "The Millville Meteor" because it was funny. It didn't get caught and a couple sites picked it up using the Wikipedia article as their source/fact-checking. The goons then edited the Wikipedia article using those sites as their citations. It took off and now Mike Trout signs things with his nickname.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2013 [39 favorites]


I've seen articles from The Daily Currant repeatedly mistaken for actual news, by plenty of people who ought to know better.

I used to think that it was because the satire was too subtle (as opposed to, say, The Onion) to be recognized as satire. Now I'm wondering if the whole site isn't a sort of meta-satire of the credulity of the internet.
posted by DiscountDeity at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2013


And with that, three blind mice enacts an austerity program for favorites.
posted by notyou at 9:51 AM on March 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


In actual news ACORN worker sues James O'Keefe and wins $100k. Now if Breibart were an actual news site they would be reporting this with the same zeal they did the fraudulent video O'Keefe produced. But they won't because they are just another wingnut propaganda site. Any site, news organization, radio program or magazine that references information garnered from this site as actual news is immediately purged from my list of news sources.
posted by any major dude at 9:52 AM on March 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Ghostride The Whip: "SA Goons from their Sports forum edited a Wikipedia article (...)"

Did they? Are you sure?
posted by boo_radley at 9:52 AM on March 11, 2013


that website's standards really went to hell when its founder died and went to Hell.

He's no longer around to tell them to "behave themselves."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:53 AM on March 11, 2013


It's not like the Breibart folks really care that they got fooled. They'll just delete it and jump right into the next thing to freak out about. They're not really given to introspection.
posted by octothorpe at 9:55 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


ASSISTANT: "Hey did you see this story on this website? Paul Krugman is bankrupt."
ZOMBIE BREITBART: "Braiiinssss"
ZOMBIE REAGAN: "Braiiiinsssss"
ZOMBIE AYN RAND: "Braaaaaaiiiiins!"
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:56 AM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


BUSINESSINSIDER.COMMED! Who gives a flying fish?

In actual news ACORN worker sues James O'Keefe and wins $100k.

That is some good news.

They'll just delete it and jump right into the next thing to freak out about.

For real. They might not even delete it. From the story about ACORN and Vera.

When last I wrote about this story in 2010, long after all the facts had come to light, there was no correction appended to the story. And look at the page today: The original story is still up with no correction, no clarification, no editor's note --- nothing.

?!?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:58 AM on March 11, 2013


Oh yes, I'm sure. I was reading the threads as it happened, but perhaps you'll take ESPN's word.

IN THE FORUMS pages of SomethingAwful.com, a 24-year-old who calls himself Weed Mouse is getting tired of the Trout hype. So on June 27, he decides to change the conversation. "I made a remark that this season is only his floor if he is Mickey Mantle," says Mouse, a recent college graduate in St. Louis. It's too early to say, he argues, but still Mouse dubs Trout the Millville Meteor, a play on the Commerce Comet, Mantle's hometown-inspired nickname. "I am a bit of a fan of the old-timey baseball nicknames: Splendid Splinter, Georgia Peach, the Freshest Man on Earth, etc.," he says. "They are certainly better than lazy garbage like A-Rod and Han-Ram. Getting to troll massive amounts of people is just a bonus."

SomethingAwful users update Trout's Wikipedia page with the nickname. For citation, they use legitimate-looking links that don't actually reference the nickname (which, after all, hadn't existed before that day). The links fool Wikipedia's editors and buy Weed Mouse some time. Within days, journalists and bloggers start picking up the name and using it in their articles. SomethingAwful users quickly update the Wikipedia citations with real examples that prove the Millville Meteor is in active circulation. Two weeks later, Baseball-Reference.com updates its Mike Trout page. SportsCenter uses it on July 18.

Trout hears the nickname. "I don't know where they got that," he says. But later in the summer, on eBay, a baseball is being sold that Trout has inscribed with it, in silver ink.


My source.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:02 AM on March 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Horace Rumpole: "I'm hoping "declaring dankruptcy" will catch on as a slang term for being out of marijuana."

That was totally my thought - we have to spread that meme far and wide!!!!
posted by symbioid at 10:02 AM on March 11, 2013


Heh - Dec 15,2012 WOTD at Urban Dictionary: Dankrupt
posted by symbioid at 10:05 AM on March 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Journalists on the campaign trail saw [Lyndon] Johnson drunkenly board a plane armed with nuclear weapons and then accidentally drop them on the United States. Luckily, by the grace of God, they did not go off. None of this was reported, while newspapers editors worked in overdrive to portray Goldwater as eager to push the button.

Wow. Was this a pre-existing right wing meme? Because that is hilarious.
posted by brundlefly at 10:08 AM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


"well behind every joke is an element of truth"

Maybe the element of truth here is that the world's most unreliable "news" sources are only able to present the worldview they do by means of not checking their "facts". :)
posted by anonymisc at 10:28 AM on March 11, 2013


Krugman declares his intellectual bankruptcy with every column he writes.

And yet his predictions are the ones that consistently turn out accurate, while those he opposes end up looking like misguided fools.
posted by anonymisc at 10:31 AM on March 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


I've seen articles from The Daily Currant repeatedly mistaken for actual news, by plenty of people who ought to know better.

I used to think that it was because the satire was too subtle (as opposed to, say, The Onion) to be recognized as satire. Now I'm wondering if the whole site isn't a sort of meta-satire of the credulity of the internet.


The Daily Currant manages to write articles that press exactly the right schadenfreude buttons. You want to believe so much that they're true. Their Santorum/Grindr article got me when it was posted here, and I saw it repeated on my social networks with the same credulity.
posted by gladly at 10:47 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd like to laugh but I keep thinking the Borowitz Report stories are plausible and I think the Onion is becoming the Internet's Nostradamus.
posted by srboisvert at 11:10 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's good to see this get some exposure. Anything that sheds some light on the shittyness of the Bretibart organization is good. Of course, with most things like this, those that really need to know this either won't hear it or, if they do, won't care.
posted by zzazazz at 11:20 AM on March 11, 2013


"So I thought maybe if I showed up in $70,000 Alexander Amosu suits they would give me ownership of part of the company."

That's hilarious.

Background:
33 yr old high-end luxury designer Alexender Amosu, who is well known for his diamond encrusted cell phones, is now adding another innovative business venture to his ever increasing portfolio by introducing what is now being described as the most expensive suit on the planet. This suit, which is priced at £70,000 ( about $101,907), includes nine 18 carat gold & diamond buttons and features very expensive fabrics from rare animals vicuna and qiviuk.

Amosu’s suit was ordered by an unmentioned buyer who plans to attend a party in central London. It took Amosu and his team over 80 hours and 5,000 individual stitches to finish the piece. To complete the sell Amosu is also throwing in a luxurious and highly secure delivery by transporting the suit via armored Range Rover.

posted by zarq at 11:48 AM on March 11, 2013


Apparently, Boston.com had no idea that the story went live on their site, and had no editorial control over the content of it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Krugman declares his intellectual bankruptcy with every column he writes.
posted by three blind mice


What, did he laugh at your proposal to stimulate the economy by sending all farmer's wives to workcamps?
posted by jamjam at 12:02 PM on March 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I was wondering why Krugman left "Prudent Investor" over at Boston.com off the hook; that post is just as confused, gleeful and axe-grindy as what Breitbart came up with. From Pogo's link:

How did Boston.com, powered by the Boston Globe, glom on to this trash?

Brian McGrory, the Globe’s editor, explains that no editorial official at his paper ever made a decision to post the piece. “The story arrived deep within our site from a third party vendor who partners on some finance and market pages on our site,” says McGrory. It was never on the Boston.com homepage, says McGrory. “We never knew it was there till we heard about it from outside.” Since the posting went up, McGrory attests to having done “urgent work to get it the hell down,” something that appears to have happened, though not as quickly as McGrory would have liked. “The idea that we’d have a partner on our site is actually news to me,” says McGrory, who vows to “address our relationship with that vendor.”


Good luck.
posted by mediareport at 12:03 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Brian McGrory, the Globe’s editor, explains that no editorial official at his paper ever made a decision to post the piece. “The story arrived deep within our site from a third party vendor who partners on some finance and market pages on our site,” says McGrory

This brings up more questions than it answers.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:07 PM on March 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


The story arrived deep within our site from a third party vendor who partners on some finance and market pages on our site,” says McGrory. It was never on the Boston.com homepage, says McGrory. “We never knew it was there till we heard about it from outside.” Since the posting went up, McGrory attests to having done “urgent work to get it the hell down,” something that appears to have happened, though not as quickly as McGrory would have liked. “The idea that we’d have a partner on our site is actually news to me,” says McGrory, who vows to “address our relationship with that vendor.”

So let me get this clear, this "article" just mysteriously somehow got itself onto a legitimate news source through an unknown third party and then got magically picked up by a bunch of pricks who are known for manufacturing news?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:11 PM on March 11, 2013


SRSLY does no one even bother to check sources anymore?
posted by Mister_A at 12:13 PM on March 11, 2013


SRSLY does no one even bother to check sources anymore?

Apparently not. In unrelated news, I have some shocking investment news that will make you realize you need to buy some stuff that you don't have and that it just so happens I'm selling.

Oh wait, this unchecked news thing was already used by Beck for that scam.

Back to the drawing board.
posted by anonymisc at 12:30 PM on March 11, 2013


I had no idea who Breitbart was the other day when I went to look him/it up.

I was toying with the idea of making an image titled "Breitbart Simpson", but when I found out he had recently passed away, it seemed churlish.

Too bad - it might have turned into another of my "psychic" drawings if I'd gone through with it.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:39 PM on March 11, 2013


If Breitbart's success in killing ACORN with false stories is any indication, expect the bank holding the mortgage on Krugman's house to foreclose next week.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:00 PM on March 11, 2013


Wake me when a Republican earnestly refers to the Krugman bankruptcy on the House or Senate floor....

On second thought, don't wake me because I'd rather just continue sleeping on the off chance that this is all just some horrible, horrible, nightmare.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 1:02 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Breitbart part is easy to understand as it's not a news site. But the explanation about Boston.com's role is just confusing. A third-party vendor? They had no control on what went on their site? Can someone explain that to me with simple words, slowly?
posted by zardoz at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2013


I'm betting it was an advertorial - advertising content disguised to look like legitimate news. They seem to be all over the place.


"Apparently not. In unrelated news, I have some shocking investment news that will make you realize you need to buy some stuff that you don't have and that it just so happens I'm selling."

Ten tips from local moms that let you get away with not checking sources. Just click here!
posted by Kevin Street at 2:06 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


But the explanation about Boston.com's role is just confusing. A third-party vendor? They had no control on what went on their site? Can someone explain that to me with simple words, slowly?

I could, but I'd have to use a lot of scare quotes - like "journalism" and "editing." Boston.com is the online excretion of the Boston Globe, which is one of the crown jewels of your so-called "liberal media," and is currently owned by another one. That one happens to be Krugman's employer. I don't read the NYT with any regularity, but the Globe is usually full of corporate bullshit.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:36 PM on March 11, 2013


But the explanation about Boston.com's role is just confusing. A third-party vendor? They had no control on what went on their site?

Boston.com is the online excretion of the Boston Globe

Errr... No, not exactly. Not any more, not for some months. The Boston Globe got sick of giving it all away for free (about 10 years too late) and launched bostonglobe.com. They continue to provide some content for boston.com but keep some stuff held back for themselves behind a paywall. Boston.com is turning increasingly into some kind of about.com content farm/third party link referrer but masquerading as a newspaper. Also, an internet radio station. Not entirely surprised that a third party authored "column" was able to get inserted into their content without them paying a lot of attention.
posted by davros42 at 5:16 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]




Intellectual bankruptcy is to not critically read your own links but present them as if the other person is saying what you want him to say:
[T]o support the claim that Krugman said deficits don't matter, Scarborough and Sachs point to Krugman saying explicitly that people who say deficits don't matter are wrong. Krugman then spends pretty much the entire post arguing that deficits will matter a great deal once we're out of the liquidity trap.
Nope, Krugman is not the participant that's intellectually bankrupt here.
posted by the cydonian at 7:16 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I bet this whole matter is making Andrew Breitbart lie still in his grave not rotating at all.
posted by JHarris at 8:29 PM on March 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Good god at that Krugman thing. Apparently its the first article that comes up if you type "krugman deficits don't matter" into Google. Either they didn't even bother to read the article or they are frauds: pure and simple. This isn't even about economics anymore. Its about a basic failure to honestly engage in a debate. We are talking abut grade school level questions of honesty and basic reading comprehension.

Sachs and Scarborough linked to article to cite a claim that Krugman was arguing one thing when the entire article they cited was arguing exactly the opposite. How does that happen? Scarborough I sort of understand. He is basically a mimbo/fraud, but my understanding was that Sachs was an economist of at least some renown. What happens now? Does this just pass? Does the Washington Post issue a correction? Doe nobody challenge either of them to actually read what they are citing?

But yeah, three blind mice and favoriters, Krugman declares his intellectual bankruptcy with everything he writes. I'd rather be intellectually bankrupt than illiterate or a liar - and I don't think Sachs is illiterate.
posted by eagles12 at 10:07 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


ASSISTANT: "Hey did you see this story on this website? Paul Krugman is bankrupt."
ZOMBIE BREITBART: "Braiiinssss"
ZOMBIE REAGAN: "Braiiiinsssss"
ZOMBIE AYN RAND: "Braaaaaaiiiiins!"


It's a bit late in my opinion, but I'm still glad these three are *finally* wanting brains. (How about some conscience for dessert?)
posted by hell toupee at 7:34 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Breitbart part is easy to understand as it's not a news site. But the explanation about Boston.com's role is just confusing. A third-party vendor? They had no control on what went on their site? Can someone explain that to me with simple words, slowly?

My guess is that they pay a third-party content vendor (like Associate Press, but cheaper) for wire stories, and this was one of them. Guess they don't edit them. Or even fact check!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:45 AM on March 12, 2013




Man, that website's standards really went to hell when its founder died and went to Hell.

I phoned the Vatican to fact-check whether Breitbart's soul was actually burning in hell, and the Pope refused to comment (!)
posted by straight at 8:22 PM on March 16, 2013


« Older E.U. to Ban Cosmetics With Animal-Tested...   |   Don't panic. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments