Does Sarah Palin know that Africa is a continent? Well, she probably does by now. Did she know it before the election? I have no way of knowing for sure.
One of the most bizarre stories of the post-election season began when Fox News Channel’s Carl Cameron cited anonymous McCain campaign staffers who claimed that Sarah Palin didn’t know some pretty basic stuff. Gov. Palin has denied the allegations.
Then one Martin Eisenstadt identified himself as the source of the Africa claim, and MSNBC and other outlets reported it. Pretty soon, MSNBC et al. had to retract the story because “Eisenstadt” doesn’t exist. That much was a hoax.
Fox News, on the other hand, is standing by its original report, and pointing a bit gleefully to the fact the MSNBC and a number of others were duped by the “Eisenstadt” claim.
Does this weird episode demonstrate afresh why information from interested sources, especially anonymous sources, must be viewed with skepticism? Yes. Does it lend credence to the idea that the media is quick to jump on stories suggesting that conservatives, especially popular, populist conservatives, are ignorant? Yes. Does it prove that Gov. Palin knew Africa is a continent? Unfortunately, no. But it does remind us why she should be given the benefit of the doubt.