Yes, it is also an extremely well-done unethical website, a clone of the New York Times editorial pages, even featuring links to the real Times.
It is, however, a web hoax that presents a defense of Wikileaks, itself an unethical position, under the by-line of a real person, former Times editor Bill Keller, who didn’t write it, in order to mislead and fool people. One of those fooled was Times technology editor Nick Bilton, who passed on the link on Twitter. Keller eventually used a tweet to expose the hoax.
What a riot.
Hoaxes like this are constitutionally protected, but they are the news and commentary equivalent of the scene in “The Naked Gun” in which Leslie Nielsen throws ten baseballs into the air as a catcher is trying to catch a foul pop-fly. They are information vandalism, and until the media and the public stops regarding them as newsworthy or funny, they will proliferate, and some will cause tangible harm
The technical term for the purveyors of web hoaxes like this is “assholes.” Once that is agreed upon, unequivocal and clear, we might have a chance of discouraging them.
Update: I had just finished writing the post when I learned that Wikileaks itself has taken responsibility for the hoax. You see? The technical term was accurate.
Source and Graphic: Care 2 Make a Difference