David Shuster, we tried to warn you. "Martin Eisenstadt" is no adviser to John McCain, our own Alex Pareene reported Nov. 4, but rather a talented comedian. Mother Jones did likewise. And yet! On Monday, nearly six days after that warning, you had to go and identify Eisenstadt on MSNBC as a "McCain policy adviser" who spread word that McCain running mate Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent. The Times did a big expose, revealing that Eisenstadt is really Eitan Gorlin, who perpetuated the hoax with fellow filmmaker Dan Mirvish. MSNBC retracted the story, and we're left to examine your track record:
- Shuster was suspended from MSNBC in February for saying Bill and Hillary Clinton "pimped out Chelsea." Which was a total overreaction on the part of his bosses, but they do call the shots, so it counts as a strike.
- In August, he ended up in an extended, horridly awkward on-air argument with Joe Scarborough about Iraq. Scarborough was at least as obnoxious and provocative, but Shuster did his part to keep the fight going and ended up looking like he was on the receiving end of a smackdown. Particularly after Scarborough slammed him for sleeping through three scheduled appearances on Morning Joe.
- Now this!
None of this is to say the ex-Fox Newser is about to be fired. Shuster's colleagues Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Scarborough had plenty of on-air fights as well. Shuster is in the good company of bloggers at the New Republic, Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post, all of whom were fooled by Gorllin. (Olbermann, contrary to Eisenstadt's claim, did not buy an Eisenstadt claim that Joe the Plumber was related to Charles Keating.)
Your night editor (sigh) was taken in, as well, writing a post about Paris Hilton's relatives angrily phoning up McCain about one of his campaign ads. Do I get any points for rejecting five subsequent tips from his site as suspicious? Didn't think so.
Shuster, though, will probably need to watch his step a bit more closely going forward than the rest of us. (Watch his Eisenstadt face plant in the video up top.)