Feature

Paul Krugman going bankrupt? How a satiric story went viral

Don't believe everything you read

Make that two MSM scalps for The Daily Currant. The satiric news site won some publicity last month when a blogger at The Washington Post fell for a fake article that claimed Sarah Palin had been hired by Al Jazeera. Now, a make-believe story about New York Times columnist Paul Krugman declaring bankruptcy has also gone viral, after appearing on Boston.com, the digital home of The Boston Globe.

According to editors at the Globe, the story was fed to the site by a third-party vendor. It was based on an article by Austrian magazine Format, which in turn was based on The Daily Currant version. The original story included some colorful details about Krugman's out-of-control spending habits, such as: "Krugman went deeper into the red by impulsive shopping splurges, throwing his money after Portuguese wines and British dresses from the Victorian period, flattening his Black Amex card by $84,000 in one month."

"We never knew it was there till we heard about it from outside," Globe editor Brian McGrory tells The Washington Post. "The idea that we'd have a partner on our site is actually news to me," he continued, saying he would review the paper's relationship with the vendor.

One other news organization bought the story: Breitbart.com, which marks the third time in the past few weeks that the conservative press has been panned for publishing a false story. Breitbart was dinged for reporting that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had links to a non-existent group called "Friends of Hamas," while The Daily Caller got into trouble for claiming that Sen. Robert Menendez had slept with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

And in this case, the famously liberal Krugman claims that he expected the Currant story to spread. "I wanted to wait and see which right-wing media outlets would fall for the hoax," Krugman writes on his blog. "And Breitbart.com came through! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go give a lavishly paid speech to Friends of Hamas."

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