Ya gotta love it when “mainstream” news gets it wrong, WAY wrong. You also have to wonder just how deeply reporters have to dredge the cesspool of news that is on the internet just to come up with a story.

Alex Johnson, poor Alex Johnson. This intrepid MSNBC news reporter thought he had a scoop. A BIG scoop. While investigating the Michael Vick dogfighting story, he came across a website that apparently quoted the Reverend Al Sharpton:

“Consider this: If the police caught Brett Favre running a dolphin-fighting ring out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other to the death, would they bust him? Of course not. They would get his autograph, commend him on his tightly-spiraled forward passes, then bet on one of his dolphins.”

This quote makes it plain that Sharpton believes Vick to be a “Vick”-tim of racial injustice. So of course Mr. Johnson wrote up a nice little piece and placed it on the ever-accurate (parody) MSNBC website.

There’s just one problem….Al Sharpton never said it.

The “quote” was taken from a parody website called News Groper. Whoops…

MSNBC quickly retracted the story, saying it “had been the victim of a hoax”.

Now, for those of you who are not aware, a “hoax” is something that is intended to deceive or defraud. Like crop circles, like a fake 911 call, like Paris Hilton’s embracing of religion…

News Groper has ‘parody’ and words like Political humor, Celebrity Satire, and Funny Commentary all over it. Not exactly a hoax…more like humor. Kinda like Comedy Central’s cartoon “Little Bush” or every episode of Saturday Night Live.

Just a couple of questions and thoughts here.

First off, I find it amusing and highly arrogant that MSNBC would blame Groper for MSNBC’s mistake. Basically, we got suckered, it’s their fault. I guess they’re using Abe Lincoln’s old adage of “Fool me once, shame on you” a bit too closely.

Secondly, does ANY reporter EVER take anything they read off the internet as gospel? I mean, I didn’t go to the Columbia School of Journalism, but even I have heard of independent verification. For those of you at MSNBC who might be checking out E-Nirv (thanks, first of all) let me explain it to you. Independent verification means once you read or hear something that might be considered newsworthy, that is something you didn’t witness yourself, you verify its authenticity by…oh I don’t know, making a few calls perhaps? In this case, a jingle to Sharpton’s office with a question like “Did Rev. Al really say this?” might be in order. You also might want to actually check out some of the other stories the website was running to see just what kind of site it is, especially if YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THEM BEFORE!!! If below the Sharpton blurb you see “Oprah believes in the existence of aliens in her breakfast cereal. They tell her Obama wins in ’08!!!”, you just might want to reconsider. Wait, that was a bit extreme. Here are some actual stories from News Groper:

“Flirty Obama cuddles up with pandering Stewart, baby expected next June”
By Hillary Clinton

“Your assignment, should you choose to figure out what the hell it is…”
By Katie Couric

“Bush, hand over your daughter!”
By Vladimir Putin

Hard-hitting news…that’s News Groper.

Finally, is it just me or does it seem that the media constantly seeks to inject race into each and every situation? Johnson, were you so desperate to find a racially charged quote that you plunged willy nilly into the internet quagmire? Shall I suggest a scenario of how it could have gone down? Johnson’s editor says “Find me some quotes that tie this whole Vick thing back to racial prejudice.” So Johnson skips happily back to his desk, thrilled with the notion that he can, once again, prove how evil white people are. So he goes on his trusty MSNBC search engine and types something to the effect of “Michael Vick racial injustice”, and LO and BEHOLD! There it is! And from none other than Mr. Racial Injustice himself! This’ll inject some spice into that ol’ 24 hour news cycle….

From what I’ve heard, dogfighting is popular in the South among blacks AND whites. It’s an equally opportunic dumb thing to do.

***DISCLAIMER*** The pictures, descriptions, and events depicted on E-Nirv are meant for entertainment purposes only, you MSNBC automaton!