Pretty damned funny:
A Las Vegas man claims he started a false rumor that the injuries suffered by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid several months ago were the result of an attack by Reid’s brother, not an exercise accident.
Larry Pfeifer, a 50-year-old former consultant in the nightclub and entertainment industry, said he fabricated the story after becoming appalled that right-wing political blogger John Hinderaker published a rumor that Reid’s injuries stemmed from an assault by a Mafia enforcer. Pfeifer said he pitched his fake story about the Reid brothers’ supposed fight to Hinderaker, author of the Power Line blog, to test whether the blogger would publish it, as well. When Hinderaker reported it and the rumor was subsequently spread by others in conservative media, Pfeifer says he began plotting to self-report it as a lie to show the lack of credibility and journalistic standards among partisan media figures.
“It was just so outrageous,” he said. “The fact that someone can say something completely false that can destroy somebody’s life, it’s just wrong. Where’s the moral compass?”
Pfeifer, who describes himself as a motivational speaker who is involved in addiction counseling, said he completely concocted the story that Reid’s brother, Larry, showed up intoxicated at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on New Year’s Eve in Henderson and claimed to have beaten up a relative.
Pfeifer said the media figures who published and broadcast the rumor did so without corroboration and without knowing his true identity. He revealed to them that he was using a pseudonym, he said, yet none demanded proof of his true identity.
The rumor spread quickly after Hinderaker published it April 3, landing Pfeifer on conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham’s radio program six days later when Hinderaker was a guest host, and leading to a conversation between Pfeifer and Rush Limbaugh. Pfeifer said he tried to get on Limbaugh’s show, where he planned to admit he’d made up the story.
“I thought the whole thing would be over in a day and a half,” he said. “I wasn’t after 15 minutes of fame. I wanted a platform where I could present this as what it was and 2 million people would pick up on it.”
He said he decided to present the truth after Limbaugh rejected him as a guest but repeated the rumor April 15 on his talk-radio show.
That would be Time Magazine’s Blog of the Year in 2004.