So Politico’s Roger Simon composed a column in which he imagined a Paul Ryan “gone rogue” and referring to Mitt Romney as “The Stench.”
Simon tagged this as satire with his note at the very end of the piece referencing Jonathan Swift.
But I guess you’d have had to have read the whole thing. And know who Jonathan Swift was. Not to make an ass of yourself.
The less-than-flattering nicknames were quickly picked up by MSNBC, the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman and a number of others, and reported as fact. The only problem, of course, is that the column was a satire. How do we know? (Other than by reading it in full.) We asked Simon. His emailed response: “I figured describing PowerPoint as having been invented to euthanize cattle would make the satire clear. I guess people hate PowerPoint more than I thought.”
Among the “number of others” was MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, which should come as a surprise to no one.
This is not the first time an employee of MSNBC has mistaken the absurd for the real:
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was red-faced Tuesday after it emerged she and her producers had fallen for a satirical article jokingly calling for a US invasion of Egypt led by Sarah Palin.
In her broadcast Monday night, Maddow reported on an article at ChristWire.org, a satirical site that has fooled reporters before.
I feel their pain. I also read much too quickly, and so have been known to bungle a fact or two. For example, just this morning I thought I read in a post at Get Religion that Americans were calling for blasphemy laws. And I almost repeated it! Mollie Hemingway was obviously funning … right? … right?