It’s widely accepted among most Americans—even journalists--that you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers these days.
That was especially true if you happened to pick up a print copy of The Boston Herald the other day and read the story appearing at the top of page 6. The one with the headline: “VP guns for shootout with Hill,” with credit given to the Associated Press.
Here’s the lead paragraph:
“One day after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton professed an abiding affection for guns and hunting, her love of firearms came under attack from another sometime hunter in Washington. Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney said that a hunting contest between him and the New York senator was ‘the only way’ to determine whether Sen. Clinton's tales of her gun prowess were for real.”
What a story, huh? Except that there wasn’t a shred of truth to it, of course.
The Boston Daily blog, a production of Boston Magazine, reported yesterday that the Herald was completely duped by the story, actually the work of satirist Andy Borowitz that had appeared on several left-leaning weblogs, including The Huffington Post.
Among the fabricated quotes that should have been a red flag for the Herald editors is this juicy morsel:
“To be frank, Hillary Clinton’s stories about her adventures with guns don’t exactly pass the smell test,” the vice president told host Tim Russert. “If she really wants to show that she knows how to handle a rifle, there’s an easy way to do that: meet me in the woods.”
Herald publisher Kevin Convey told Boston Daily that his editors were “bamboozled” by the fake story.
He said the story was picked up as straight news in Google, and was folded into unrelated wire reports from the AP, making it into both the online and print editions of the paper.
“We failed to double-check the item against the Meet the Press website, which we should have done. We have changed our policies a bit to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Convey told the Boston Magazine blog.
It’s too bad, though. Guess we’ll never know the outcome of a Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton hunting challenge.
Now THAT would be news!