April 2nd is sometimes like the “morning after” scene in a big war movie, where you walk around the body-strewn battlefield and try to identify everyone who’s been killed. Or in this case, fooled. This year, one of the victims turned out to be that old veteren war horse, the New York Times, who got tricked by a prank pulled by the writer of a law blog.
Yesterday, Eric Turkewitz, writer of New York Personal Injury Law Blog, wrote that he had been appointed as “official White House law blogger”. A few hours later, the Times published a reference to the appointment in their article “When Lawyers Blog“. The prank wasn’t pulled alone. Turkewitz employed a bunch of fellow bloggers to write posts and Twitter updates throughout the day, either commending or denouncing the news. On his blog today, Turkewitz has a fun run down of how they pulled it off and the aftermath once the NYT fell for it.
“The basic idea was this: A bunch of law bloggers would try to punk the political bloggers, whose reputation is to grab any old rumor and run with it. Fact checking hasn’t always been the strong suit of this community.
But the political bloggers, to their collective credit, didn’t bite, despite wide dissemination of the story. Not on the right or the left. Instead it was the vaunted New York Times that ran with the story without bothering to check its facts. The Times, of course, had no sense of humor about it when the angry phone call came to me a couple of hours later.”
So, to summarize the story, we’re going to steal the structure that the New York Times used in their write up of Gossip Bloggers the other day (in which they mentioned our own “gossip” writer Steve Krakauer):
THE NEW YORK TIMES: Newspaper, NYTimes.com
NOTABLE SCOOP: That time World War II ended.
MEMORABLE GAFFE: Yesterday, reported that Eric Turkewitz had been appointed the White House’s official law blogger — a juicy scoop, except that the story was a hoax.
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