New York Times punked again

What happens when a personal injury lawyer tries to punk "political bloggers"?  Answer: the blogs ignore it, but the New York Times runs with it - on April 1.

The hoaxster was Eric Turkewitz, who wrote all about it on April 2.  He put out a phony story on April 1 that the White House hired him as its new law blogger, then he had a few fellow bloggers add to the hoax.

"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."

The NYT story that bit is here, although the only reference to the originally hoaxed material is in the note at the bottom.

That "paper of record" just added to its hall of fame: Jayson Blair, Rick Bragg, Fox Butterfield, Maureen Dowd, Walter Duranty, Hassan Fattah, Jack Hitt, Herbert Matthews, President Bush's "plastic" Thanksgiving turkey story, and Duke Lacrosse coverage.

Fact checking hasn't always been the strong suit of that community.