The Herald Gets Duped

1208199472This morning, I was reading through the daily papers and found this interesting item on page 6 of the Herald. “VP guns for shootout with Hill,” the headline screamed. The story, which had an Associated Press byline, claimed that during an appearance on Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney told Tim Russert that he didn’t believe Hillary Clinton’s claims that she actually loves guns, and challenged her to show her stuff by going hunting with him.

Seeing the potential for a million birdshot jokes, I went to the paper’s website to find the story. But it wasn’t there. Undeterred, I went to Google News to find the item. But seemingly the only outlet that had covered the story was the Herald, and the link gave me only an error message. Why hadn’t every newspaper in the country picked this story up?

Because the Herald got duped by a satirist.

On Sunday, Andy Borowitz posted an entry on the Huffington Post and his own website that claimed Cheney appeared on Meet the Press, and had challenged Clinton to a day of hunting. It’s a brilliant piece of satire, with some great fake quotes.

“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.”

That quote was picked up in its entirety by our favorite tabloid. Perhaps the piece’s kicker, which the paper also used, should have tipped them off.

But shortly after the vice president issued his challenge, Sen. Clinton seemed to back off from her earlier claims of hunting experience, saying that she had “misspoke” about her hunting exploits as a child.

“I fired a gun once, but I didn’t like it, and I didn’t recoil,” she said.

Clinton couldn’t possibly be that witty. But the, ahem, smoking gun is this—Dick Cheney did not appear on this weekend’s episode of Meet the Press.

“We were bamboozled,” Herald editor Kevin Convey told Boston Daily. He explained that the item got picked up as straight news in Google, and was folded into unrelated wire reports from the AP, and appeared online and in the print edition.

“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 added. The paper also posted a correction online, and will run an official correction in tomorrow’s edition.

. . .And we thought the danger of being suckered had passed after April 1.