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Ear to the Ground

Breitbart Site Duped by Fake Paul Krugman Bankruptcy Story

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Posted on Mar 11, 2013
Screenshot via Media Matters

A editor fell hook, line and sinker for a satirical story that claimed economist Paul Krugman had filed for personal bankruptcy after accumulating more than $7 million in debt. In a since-deleted March 11 post, editor at large Larry O’Connor ridiculed the Nobel Prize winner for handling his own finances so poorly, evidently unaware that the article had originated from the satire site The Daily Currant.

“In his post, O’Connor jabbed Krugman for supposedly spending ‘$84,000 in one month’ on Portuguese wines and ‘a dress from the Victorian period,’ and concluded that ‘apparently this Keynsian [sic] thing doesn’t really work on the micro level,’ ” Media Matters reported Monday.

The story was yanked without explanation, but O’Connor later tweeted that he “trusted as the source for that Krugman piece, but they were duped by Daily Currant, therefore, so was I!”, which is a subsidiary of The Boston Globe, also deleted the story from its website, but not before questions arose on how it got there in the first place. Globe editor Brian McGrory explained that no decision was ever made to run the piece and that it came from “a third party vendor who partners on some finance and market pages on our site.” He added, “We never knew it was there till we heard about it from outside.”

Coincidentally, just last month blogger John Nolte ripped into The Washington Post for running a story about Sarah Palin that also originated from The Daily Currant, blasting the paper for not letting “facts get in the way of a good narrative.”

Media Matters:

According to Nolte, if Post blogger Suzi Parker “had a shred of self-awareness, integrity, and dignity, she would have changed the headline to ‘Too Good To Check,’ and under it posted an essay about how shallow, smug, bitterly angry partisanship can blind you to common sense.”

...This is (at least) the second major embarrassment for the Breitbart sites in recent weeks. Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro was recently the target of widespread criticism and ridicule after he wrote a post highlighting the Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s ties to a nefarious, non-existent group called “Friends of Hamas.”

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And lest you were concerned about Krugman’s finances, the New York Times columnist took to his blog Monday to assure everyone that the whole thing was indeed a hoax.

Krugman via The New York Times:

On Friday I started hearing from friends about a fake story making the rounds about my allegedly filing for personal bankruptcy; I even got asked about the story by a reporter from Russian television, who was very embarrassed when I told him it was fake. But I decided not to post anything about it; instead, I wanted to wait and see which right-wing media outlets would fall for the hoax.

And came through!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go give a lavishly paid speech to Friends of Hamas.

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—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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