Martin Eisenstadt - The End (?)

November 12, 2008 by  

Yesterday I spoke with Richard Perez-Pena of the N.Y. Times to discuss the true identity of Martin Eisenstadt.

You can find the story here.

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

So who is Martin Eisenstadt? Read the story to find out the truth (and see what they had to say about me and what I had to say).

Of course, Eisenstadt is denying it all.

The truth is out there, but I’m guessing this may not be the last we’ve seen of Michael M. Thomas Martin Eisenstadt.



10 Responses to “Martin Eisenstadt - The End (?)”

  1. Bob on November 12th, 2008 4:18 pm

    What Jen’s gonna say.

  2. Jennifer on November 12th, 2008 4:21 pm

    (Thanks, Bob)

    “As if there isn’t enough misinformation on this election, it was shocking to see so much time wasted on things that didn’t exist,” Mr. Wolfrum said in an interview.

    And how can we know that Mr. Wolfrum is real and not part of the hoax?

    Long pause. “Yeah, that’s a tough one.”

    Well, we know he’s already been unmasked as both “The One who threw the ball” and “He who can deliver desire,” so….

  3. hugh.c.mcbride on November 12th, 2008 4:44 pm

    What a minute — WK Wolfrum is a *real person*?

    I thought he was just my imaginary friend, like McCain’s Joe the Plumber on that SNL skit.

    Well, now … this just changes *everything*

  4. dgun on November 12th, 2008 7:29 pm

    Congrats Bill.

  5. chingona on November 12th, 2008 8:59 pm

    I need to thank you for your tireless investigation of this matter. Thanks to having read your stuff on Eisenstadt oh those many months ago over at Shakesville, I scored big time points with my boss this evening. I’m a reporter at a mid-sized daily, covering local government. He’s my assistant city editor. We operate under extremely stringent, nearly impossible rules on anonymous sources for our own work (though we’re not so strict about wire copy). He told me how the most cruel and improbable anonymously sourced accusations against Palin turned out to be the work of an Internet hoaxster, some character named Martin Eisenstadt. My eyes grew wide and I exclaimed “Martin Eisenstadt!” and explained what I knew from your work. He now thinks I’m smarter than the entire New York Times put together, and told the city editor how even his reporter in Bumblefuck, Arizona, knew the guy was a hoaxster when all these big publications got taken in. “Don’t I always tell you you’re just as good as any of those guys!” he crowed. “You think they’re better than you? You’re better than they are!” I gave all credit where it was due - to you - but he’s still impressed. What we’re depressed about is how bad shit like this make those of us fighting the good fight, doing our due diligence and behaving ethically look.

  6. William K. Wolfrum on November 13th, 2008 4:01 am

    Crap. My hoax of being a hoax was outed by a hoax.

    And thanks, Dgun. Kinda surreal that whole episode ended up in the NY Times, eh? I still believe “Eisenstadt” will have another “scoop” again in a week or two and everyone will fall for it again. I suppose my faith in the media is a tad shaky these days.

    Chingona: lol, great story. You could have kept the credit for yourself, of course. And then after you hit it big, you could send me 10 percent of what you make. That’s one Mormon philosophy I can get behind ;)

    Seriously, though, thanks and I’m glad to have helped. All you can do is keep being honest and ethical and hope the pendulum swings back to where journalists are appreciated for being good, rather than being stars.

  7. William K. Wolfrum Chronicles » Blog Archive » Martin Eisenstadt was not - I repeat - was not Carl Cameron’s source for the Sarah Palin smears on November 13th, 2008 7:50 am

    [...] William K. Wolfrum Chronicles Bill Wolfrum’s world of satire and commentary « Martin Eisenstadt - The End (?) [...]

  8. Bean on November 13th, 2008 10:05 am

    I just saw the article in NYT and thought “Hey, I’ve been reading about how this is a hoax for ages” and then they quoted you. I loved how they ended the article. I guess that’s how the NYT does “edgy.”

  9. Toddy on November 14th, 2008 12:46 am

    In the article I just read there was a suggestion Mr. Wolfrum that you might be part of the hoax.

    No idea, but I want to commend you for refuting the Eisenstadt assertions if you weren’t part of the hoax.

    I also find this whole notion of dis/mis-informing people during an election vile.

    Of all the things we should be taking seriously, votes and elections, to not add more debris to already murky waters would be one of the most sacred. Imagining these two 40ish people acting like this is a simple college prank is revolting. This whole hoax a very poor excuse for humor.

    I wonder how many people believed what Eisenstadt said, people who voted! And, due to controversy, consider the banter a form of validation, the idea that the person would have admitted it early on to assure they do not mistakenly influence someone’s vote. Does Mr. Eisenstadt have any idea how many people he influenced or did not influence?

    If this had been a vote in a courtroom he’d be guilty of jury tampering. The honor and respect, at least amongst the people themselves (not the candidates), of our American vote is a voluntary sequester to assure someone didn’t vote on false pretenses, mis-information or an outright lie.

    I should hope that if this Eisenstadt ever finds himself in a criminal prosecution that someone happens to dis/mis-inform the jury of his dealings with OJ’s attorneys, and his working at a homeless shelter where he cleaned and re-distributed the clothing OJ wore at the time of Nicole’s demise. Numerous homeless individuals received them randomly just to make sure they’d be lost over time and throughout Los Angeles where no one would look.

    Not that any of that is true but I think I illustrated my point to how this whole hoax during a Presidential Election disrespects the vote.

    Thank you for reading.

  10. dgun on November 14th, 2008 4:20 am

    I feel your pain Toddy.

    But what Eisenstadt was able to do acts as a pretty good criticism of ‘modern’ media.

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