For eight years, Bill Keller was the Executive Editor of the New York Times. Today, he’s a full-time writer for the paper of record, and when he talks, people listen. In fact, it turns out people listen even when it’s not actually him talking.
Like, say, in this deviously clever—and quite realistic!—fake editorial, in which a fake Bill Keller gives a fake rousing defense of WikiLeaks.
It’s a charming piece of deception; the voice is close enough to Keller’s (and even borrows some direct quotes from the victim, as AllThingsD reports), the background looks enough like the real nytimes.com that you’d be forgiven for missing the absent NYT favicon and the incorrect URL format. And plenty of people did just that! Including journalistic notables from Salon, GigaOM, and the NY Times itself.
Oh, and Anonymous bought into it, too.
In fact, it took an all-caps tweet from Keller himself early this morning to put and end to the confusion:
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
Well played, mischief-causers! I don’t know if you’ve changed anyone’s mind about Wikileaks, but you’ve certainly made a handful of people feel foolish for five or six hours. And that’s got to count for something. [Fake NY Times]