McCain 'Insider' Who Leaked Palin Dirt a Fake

Tale of would-be VP not knowing Africa's a continent fooled media
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2008 9:43 AM CST

(Newser) – MSNBC thought it had a scoop: On Monday, it identified "Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser" as the man who claimed Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent. Only trouble? Martin Eisenstadt doesn't exist—he's a character in an elaborate, months-long hoax that has taken in news organizations from the New Republic to the LA Times, the New York Times reports.

"With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find," said one of two obscure filmmakers who built up the Eisenstadt character, complete with a bogus think tank and a frequently updated blog. Despite warnings that Eisenstadt is a fake, bloggers and the mainstream media keep quoting him. As for the name, the filmmakers explain, "All the neocons in the Bush administration had Jewish last names and Christian first names."