Friday, August 24, 2007

MSNBC Reporter Links to Parody Blog

I missed out on this story as it was occurring, but couldn't help but comment. Apparently those "layers of editors and fact-checkers" the mainstream media likes to boast of were insufficient in preventing MSNBC report Alex Johnson (assisted by two other NBC reporters from realizing that the ">Al Sharpton blog he linked to in a story about Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was a parody.

Although MSNBC is now claiming that the parody blog was a hoax, this doesn't explain how their "professional reporter" missed seeing the clearly marked words "fake parody blog" on the titlebar. It also doesn't explain why MSNBC is unaware of the difference between a hoax and a parody. In case anyone from MSNBC would care for some elucidation on the subject, here is Webster's definition of each term:

Main Entry: 2hoax
Function: noun
1 : an act intended to trick or dupe : IMPOSTURE
2 : something accepted or established by fraud or fabrication

Main Entry: 1par·o·dy
Pronunciation: 'per-&-dE, 'pa-r&-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -dies
Etymology: Latin parodia, from Greek parOidia, from para- + aidein to sing -- more at ODE
1 : a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule
2 : a feeble or ridiculous imitation
synonym see CARICATURE
- pa·rod·ic /p&-'rä-dik, pa-/ adjective
- par·o·dis·tic /"per-&-'dis-tik, 'pa-r&-/ adjective

Note to MSNBC- the fake Al Sharpton blog is clearly a parody- it was not designed to try to fool anyone, and it is clearly marked as a parody. But this does bring up another point. If MSNBC cannot tell the difference between a hoax and a parody, especially when the latter is clearly marked, then how can we trust them to report on anything, let alone something as potentially divisive as the Michael Vick situation?

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