A fake NY Times article reportedly written by Bill Keller in support of WikiLeaks has made the rounds on the internet, fooling readers into believing the venerable New York paper is in support of the secret-spilling organization’s First Amendment rights.
The alleged article, “WikiLeaks, a Post Postscript” had a strong stance that regardless of your feelings about Julian Assange, WikiLeaks must be protected under the First Amendment, Gawker reported. The op-ed went on to state that Times reporters who report on the WikiLeaks information should be protected as well.
The fake NY Times article could be figured out with a bit of research. It was never actually published in the Times and not written by Keller either.
The problem is that the real Bill Keller didn’t write the op-ed. The article wasn’t even published on the New York Times site, but rather on a fake NY Times page purchased on March 30, Gawker reported.
It was apparently good enough to fool some of the Times’ own reporters, the blog Storify reported. The blog is written by John Stearns, Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director at Free Press. The fake op-ed spread quickly across Twitter, even being tweeted by some reporters.
The story spread in part because of its strong stance on the issue:
As those of you who have followed my turbulent relationship with WikiLeaks and its Guru-In-Chief Julian Assange know, I am first in line when it comes to distancing myself from his brand of transparency without government checks and balances. You don’t have to embrace Assange as a kindred spirit to believe that what he did in publishing those cables falls under the protection of the First Amendment. The backroom pressures by the Obama Administration’s State Department to expand its financial blockade targeting WikiLeaks to include news organizations that host information from their trove of pilfered documents goes too far.
Strangely enough, an account that appeared to be Keller’s account was one of those used to tweet the article, though that was later determined to be fake as well. The tweet is still up, even though Keller denied writing the piece and the NY times showed the article to be a fake, Gawker reported.
THERE IS A FAKE OP-ED GOING AROUND UNDER MY NAME, ABOUT WIKILEAKS.EMPHASIS ON “FAKE. “AS IN, NOT MINE.
— Bill Keller (@nytkeller) July 29, 2012
Apparently at least some of the words used were real, one reporter tweeted.
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) July 29, 2012
While the source of the fake NY Times article was in question for some time, WikiLeaks stepped forward later to take credit.
Yes. We admit it. WikiLeaks (Assange co) and our great supporters where behind the successful NYTimes banking blockade hoax on
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 29, 2012
Despite the uproar, the fake NY Times article could still be found online on Monday evening.