Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and reading Wednesday’s New York Times, when I came across this.
So, wait a second: The National Enquirer has set up a foundation because they got a story wrong? Don’t they get all their stories wrong?
Whiskey tango foxtrot, yeah Doc?
Hard to believe, isn’t it?
First off, let’s highlight the text for the tiny-type impaired.
Now the back story, compliments of Reuters media critic Jack Shafer.
Supermarket tabloid gets hoodwinked by imposter!!!
Only three days after Hoffman died, the tabloid reported that playwright David Bar Katz — the friend who discovered Hoffman’s dead body — and Hoffman were lovers. It also alleged that Katz watched Hoffman freebase cocaine the evening before his death and had repeatedly witnessed his friend’s use of heroin.
The source for the Enquirer‘s piece? Katz himself, according to the tabloid. But when Katz immediately stepped forward, denied any such interview took place, denied being Hoffman’s lover, denied having watched him do cocaine or heroin, and sued the Enquirer for $50 million, the newspaper retracted the story and apologized. It has now settled with Katz and will fund a foundation that will make annual grants of $45,000 to unproduced playwrights to honor Hoffman. The Enquirer also took out a full-page ad in today’s New York Times to state that it had been fooled by an imposter who “falsely and convincingly claimed to be Mr. Katz.”
But that’s not all.
The Times not only ran the ad on Wednesday, it also ran this front-page piece:
Truth and a Prize Emerge From Lies About Hoffman
“My 14-year-old said, ‘Dad, there’s something online about you and Phil being lovers,’ ” Mr. Katz said. “I said, ‘Phil would get a kick out of that.’ ”
Phil was Philip Seymour Hoffman, the actor and Mr. Katz’s good friend, who had been found dead three days earlier, apparently from an overdose of heroin. Mr. Katz, a playwright, was one of two people who had gone to his apartment and discovered his body.
“Things had already achieved the maximum level of surreality, and I thought this thing online was a big nothing,” Mr. Katz said.
In fact, the article, published by The National Enquirer, was the first pebble of a landslide of malignant fiction that sprawled across the web.
And came to rest in a full-page Times ad.