Really, Washington Post?

The Washington Post actually reported on Tuesday that Sarah Palin was joining the Al Jazeera America network to host a new show. Their source? The Daily Currant, an Onion-style parody site. They now issued a correction and removed this paragraph from the original article:

“As you all know, I’m not a big fan of newspapers, journalists, news anchors and the liberal media in general,” Palin told the Web site The Daily Currant. “But I met with the folks at Al-Jazeera and they told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.”

Now I’ve fallen for a parody site before, so I understand how one person can make this mistake. But a writer for the Washington Post? Where was the editor? Did no one ever think to wonder why no legitimate news outlet was reporting this, or to contact Palin’s reps to find out if it was true? And even if you’re convinced that Palin is an idiot, that quote is more than just a little unbelievable. I can understand how a blogger, dashing off a post in a minute or so, might make such a mistake (as I said, I’ve made it before). But I can’t understand how that happens in an article that includes expert interviews and analysis and that must, one presumes, have gone through an editor.

14 comments on this post.
  1. Marcus Ranum:

    That quote is waaaay too coherent to be Palin.

  2. hunter:

    Ed, this is the Washington Post — they publish columns by Jennifer Rubin, for crying out loud.

  3. unbound:

    While not the liberal bastions that Faux News would like the world to believe, both the NY Times and the Wash Post journalistic quality have been inconsistent for a long time now.

  4. slc1:

    Re hunter @ #2

    They also publish column by Charles Krauthammer, another neocon hack.

  5. jnorris:

    Gov Palin working for Al Jazeera America would be interesting. I could see her on a weekly round table with other wingnutz, each trying to say the stupidest things. I would go to premium cable to watch.

  6. timgueguen:

    The Post is probably like a bunch of other media outlets seem to be, they have fewer employees trying to do more and more. So you have less editing and fact checking.

  7. Bronze Dog:

    I’m trying to remember where I heard a particular argument that seems pretty reasonable to me: Television news and newspapers are trying too hard to be like Twitter. They’re focused primarily on being the first to report a story. They can’t win that way. Instead, they should focus on analysis. They should be the ones to fact check the quotes, rumors, and so forth. The existence of fact checker organizations means they aren’t doing that. If they go that route, they won’t be the first to report an event, but they can be the ones who make sense of it and how it fits in with all the other goings-on. It should be about accuracy and understanding over speed.

  8. krisrhodes:

    Jennifer Rubin has really lost her sparkle, I haven’t been laughing nearly as much as her columns since the election. I real tragedy to see a young comedian run out of material but still be forced to write several columns every week.

  9. slc1:

    Re timgueguen @ #6

    Case in point, they have studiously refrained from fact checking the preposterous claims of George Will relative to global climate change.

    Re krisrhodes @ #8

    The sparks are flying pretty fast and furiously from Ms. Rubin’s word processor on the subject of Secretary of Defense designate Chuck Hagel.

  10. tommykey:

    The tipoff was that she was quoted as referring to the “liberal media” instead of the “lamestream media.”

  11. Cathy W:

    They weren’t reporting that it was true, they were reporting that another paper was reporting it! It would have been perfectly fine if they hadn’t used a fictitious quote.

  12. Stacy:

    To be fair, The Daily Currant isn’t very funny. It’s not easy to detect satire in writing so dull.

  13. d.c.wilson:

    While newspaper staffs are shrinking, I don’t buy that as an excuse. How many people do you need to pick up the phone and call Palin’s publicist? Or just Google th Daily Currant to find out if they are legitimate?

  14. Jared Asay:

    There’s no line between Sarah Palin and satire of Sarah Palin. They’re indistinguishable. That’s why WaPo fell for it.

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