Remember when we (and the Post and Politico) were hoodwinked into believing that Kristen Wiig and Joe the Plumber had canoodled at a Saturday Night Live after-party? Well, the perpetrator of that hoax was a fake guy named Martin Eisenstadt who has a fake think tank called the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. This all came out nearly ten days ago. Shortly after, a story appeared on The O’Reilly Factor claiming that prior to entering the campaign, Sarah Palin did not know whether Africa was a country or a continent.
Now, the New York Times has a story explaining the whole Eisenstadt hoax. The folks behind the think tank, its Website, the Wiig prank, and “Eisenstadt” himself are Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish, a couple of writers hoping to pitch a TV comedy based on the character. Their latest prank was to completely fool MSNBC, with only an e-mail. “Eisenstadt” fired off a missive to someone at MSNBC claiming that he was the “McCain source” who leaked the story about Palin’s Africa confusion. MSNBC reporter David Shuster went on the air with the news about the fake source, which the network later had to correct. Fox News stands by its original story. It’s a convoluted tale, but the short version is this: MSNBC was taken in by a known hoax, we were too (earlier when the pranksters were less well known), and the story about Sarah Palin not knowing whether Africa was a country or continent has yet to be debunked.