When Bill Keller first commented on the fake op-ed in his name on Sunday morning, he sounded a lot more amused than he did on Sunday night, once WikiLeaks started taking credit for the prank. The former New York Times executive editor has had his disagreements with the secret-sharing site, with which his paper partnered in 2010 to release diplomatic cables but has since severed its relationship. So it's no surprise he's not amused to find out WikiLeaks was behind this astonishingly successful prank. Keller told The Guardian's Ed Pilkington, "I see this in the realm of childish prank rather than crime against humanity. It's a lame satire. I'd take it a little more seriously if it were actually funny." That's a lot more annoyed sounding than the snickering, borderline-goofy comment he gave to All Things D's Peter Kafka when the hoax started making the Internet rounds on Sunday morning:
Ah, the social media hall of mirrors. Yes, the “WL Post-Postscript” Op-Ed is a fake. (Though it steals a few lines from my exchange a few days ago with Matthew Ingram, which was real.) My tweet calling the fake tweet a fake was real. This tweet assuring you that the tweet about the fake tweet is not fake is also real. All clear now, right? Good. It’s been real.
For WikiLeaks, its admission has led to blowback from other quarters as well, questioning the organization's credibility. ProPublica reporter Charles Ornstein tweeted on Sunday night, "When @Wikileaks admits to perpetrating hoaxes, its credibility is shot. How can its documents be trusted?" And NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen chimed in on Monday: "I say it's a nadir for Wikileaks... Their ship was launched on the sea of verification. They just sunk it. For attention." It was a good prank in that it generated a lot of talk, but now something of a hangover appears to be setting in.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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