The @ComfortablySmug Sandy tweets were obviously fake, but journalists retweeting without checking the source or facts led to his deliberate misinformation being broadcast as fact on network TV.
Salutary warning about the dangers of RT-ing, without checking what is being said.
"Tripathi, as an internet troll, was completely in character, and he had no responsibility to the public. But journalists do have that responsibility – and so, if Tripathi's silly tweets made it into the national press, it is the national press that is, at heart, to blame for not protecting journalistic standards as well as they should. It is a matter of a few minutes to call a spokesperson or check a live camera, and that is what journalists get paid to do. Producers or editors should not rush information to air or print until those calls have been made, and answered."
"Trying to trick his media followers, and their followers and readers in turn, with fake news. He reported, falsely, on a total blackout in Manhattan, on a flood on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and other things that didn't happen."
See also https://twitter.com/breeannehowe/status/263100107942154240 and
Love this piece from the Atlantic, on sorting the fake and Photoshopped from the genuine eyewitness images of Hurricane Sandy. Some very handy pointers for journalists dealing with less apocalyptic stories in need of verification, too.