Think of the last person you might expect to be filing for personal bankruptcy. Here’s an idea: economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. The man won a Nobel Prize for Economics!
Though Krugman’s base of readers undoubtedly skews liberal, readers of the conservative website Breitbart.com might have been equally taken aback by the headline that appeared this morning, albeit briefly, on the site. Media Matters captured the moment via screenshot.
Although this could have been a moment of triumph for some conservatives who oppose Krugman’s views on economic policy, it was not to be. Krugman’s faked fall was concocted at the The Daily Currant, a website that prides itself on satirical news reports.
Here’s the play-by-play.
Larry O’Connor, the Breitbart reporter behind today’s headline about Krugman, used a blog post by “Prudent Investor” on Boston.com, a leg of the Boston Globe, as the main source for his report.
“Prudent Investor” used an Austrian news source as its source of information. The trail seems to end at the Austrian website, which quoted The Daily Currant as its source of information.
So O’Connor was not alone in getting duped by The Daily Currant’s report, but after last month’s Friends of Hamas fiasco, a little precautionary digging might be in order when it comes to thinly-sourced, unlikely-sounding headlines.
It turns out Krugman was not quite taken by surprise by today’s fallout. According to his blog post today:
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.
The reports from Boston.com as well as Breitbart.com have since been removed, but the screenshots live on.