(AP/Patrick Semansky)

Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley cites satirical news article in policy paper

"Errant footnotes" are a "side effect" of a well-researched policy paper, a spokesman said


Scott Eric Kaufman
July 9, 2015 9:17PM (UTC)

Former Maryland governor and current Democratic presidential contender Martin O'Malley published a policy paper on Thursday in which he outlined the specific measures he would take to regulate Wall Street. Unfortunately, like many an undergraduate with his face pressed firmly to the deadline, O'Malley played a little fast and loose with his sources, as Phil Mattingly first pointed out:

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The "satirical" site in question is The Daily Currant, which as J.K. Trotter noted isn't really even a satirical site, inasmuch as it doesn't actually attempt to satirize anything.

The Daily Currant's sole reason for existing is to fool unwitting readers into clicking on a link in which a politician or celebrity is purported to have said something that reasonable people believe they could have said.

For example, there's a piece on the site now -- to which I won't link, given their business model -- with the headline "East Germany Demands Bruce Jenner Forfeit Olympic Gold Medals." Obviously, the fact that it's East Germany doing the demanding should clue readers into the fact that this story isn't legitimate, but is East Germany really a topical object of satire at the moment?

Of course not. The article that fooled O'Malley -- or whichever aide or assistant actually wrote the policy paper -- was actually much more topical: "Eric Holder Takes $77 Million Job with JP Morgan Chase." However, if the author of the policy paper had actually read the source, they would've noticed that its provenance was dubious at best:

“Considering the awful shit we did — and boy did we do a lot of sleazy, ugly, ethically insidious shit -- Mr. Holder always stood in our corner and defended us no matter what. Hell, I even got a 74 percent raise out of it!”

At least, one hopes they would have noticed. A spokesman for O'Malley told Time, however, that "[e]rrant footnotes are just a small side effect of putting out the most comprehensive policy paper of any 2016’er on Wall Street." Which is fair enough -- if they're errant, as opposed to deliberately intended to deceive as was the case here.


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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