It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.
That one was so outrageous that anyone should have seen through it. Hell, I did, and I almost wanted it to be true.
Maybe it will turn out that these guys performed a public service with their hoax. Even assholes serve a purpose, I guess.
But the truth was out for all to see long before the big-name take-downs. For months sourcewatch.org has identified Martin Eisenstadt as a hoax. When Mr. Stein was the victim, he blogged that “there was enough info on the Web that I should have sussed this thing out.”I wonder how much of what I think it true, isn't? Now that I think about it, though, I've thought in terms of probabilities for a long time now. Things aren't true, just "probably true" or "almost certainly true", or false, and so on. Sometimes I actually place a number on something, and error bars.
And then there is William K. Wolfrum, a blogger who has played Javert to Eisenstadt’s Valjean, tracking the hoaxster across cyberspace and repeatedly debunking his claims. Mr. Gorlin and Mr. Mirvish praised his tenacity, adding that the news media could learn something from him.
“As if there isn’t enough misinformation on this election, it was shocking to see so much time wasted on things that didn’t exist,” Mr. Wolfrum said in an interview.
And how can we know that Mr. Wolfrum is real and not part of the hoax?
Long pause. “Yeah, that’s a tough one.”
Probabilities and error bars...