MSNBC gets snookered by a fake Sharpton quote

Newsbusters and Ace are both on this, and NRO’s Media Blog was the first to note it: Looking around for a quote about Michael Vick, MSNBC’s Alex Johnson finds one from Al Sharpton that certainly sounds like the things the Rev typically says, so Johnson includes it in his story.

But at the same time, Sharpton argued that the prosecution of Vick was overkill.

“If the police caught Brett Favre (a white quarterback for the Green Bay Packers) running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other, would they bust him? Of course not,” Sharpton wrote Tuesday on his personal blog.

“They would get his autograph, commend him on his tightly spiraled forward passes, then bet on one of his dolphins.”

Race card, check. Weird analogy, check. Utter nonsense, check.

The problem is, it was too good to check.

The quote’s a fake, from one of my favorite new parody sites, News Groper. News Groper picks up where the brilliant but defunct Huffington’s Toast left off, publishing fake blog entries by real celebrities. HuffToast used to depict Cindy Sheehan with a little thumbnail of Eric Idle that still makes me laugh just thinking about it.

In the MSNBC case, I’m not sure which is funnier: That Johnson thinks Tawana Sharpton is a credible source for sound opinion on a football player who will probably be banned for life for gambling, or that he actually thought the dolphins-with-forehead-spears quote, published on a site that’s an obvious parody to anyone with a clue, was so legit that he need not pick up a phone and ring up the Rev just to double-check. The second is funny because the Rev Al has been known to spew nonsense on cue, so it’s not beyond the pale to think that he’d come up with something about the nonexistent sport of dolphin fighting. At least Johnson has most if not all of the MSM on his side for the first part: Sharpton wouldn’t be a household name if media types weren’t constantly asking for his irrelevant, self-promoting opinion.

Funnier than any of that, though, is that once caught, MSNBC offered a correction that’s only slightly more honest than the non-corrections we’ve been getting from TNR.

An earlier version of this article quoted from a blog entry purportedly by the Rev. Al Sharpton. MSNBC.com has determined that the blog is a hoax. In July, Sharpton signed a letter with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals condemning dogfighting, saying: “Dogfighting is unacceptable. Hurting animals for human pleasure or gain is despicable. Cruelty is just plain wrong.”

That word, “hoax,” does not mean what the authors apparently think it means.

Getting the last laugh, “Rev Al” is having none of this excuse.

All I can say, is it’s a really good thing those big MSM types have all those layers of fact-checkers and editors.