Trust me when I tell you that you’ve never seen something like this before on cable news and probably never will again.

Did people actually believe this was real? I mean, the group’s website promises that “When you need the appearance of outrage, we are able to deliver it at scale while keeping your reputation intact” — under the heading “Unassailable Authenticity.”

Demand Protest, a San Francisco company that bills itself as the “largest private grassroots support organization in the United States,” posted identical ads Jan. 12 in multiple cities on Backpage.com seeking “operatives.”

“Get paid fighting against Trump!” says the ad.

“We pay people already politically motivated to fight for the things they believe. You were going to take action anyways, why not do so with us!” the ad continues. “We are currently seeking operatives to help send a strong message at upcoming inauguration protests.”

The job offers a monthly retainer of $2,500 plus “our standard per-event pay of $50/hr, as long as you participate in at least 6 events a year,” as well as health, vision and dental insurance for full-time operatives.

$30,000 a year as a baseline salary — with the potential to earn more — plus full benefits just to protest, huh? And they’re supposedly doing this on a scale involving hundreds or thousands of protesters. Imagine the sort of fee they’d need to command to keep an operation like that afloat. It’s an obvious, obvious hoax. You’re about to see just how obvious it is.

Like Carlson, though, I’m curious now to know who the target of the hoax was. I assume it was a goof on media, manufacturing “fake news” with a sexy political angle with minimal effort to see how many outlets would bite. Or was it done just for the lulz? Is this guy, in other words, a James-O’Keefe-style political provocateur or is he just a comedian/prankster trying to get on TV? (His willingness to stay in-character here suggests he’s a performer of some sort.) Can’t be long before we know.