web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

The Anchor Who Fell For An Obvious Hoax


Media-Monitor-logo

Back in November 1991, Forbes FYI, a supplement to Forbes magazine, ran an article that, as had to have been clear to anyone of even piddling intelligence, was an obvious put-on, a joke, a hoax.

The article began with the notice that “It has come to our attention through private channels that the Soviet government is preparing to make a very unusual, indeed unprecedented, offering: the embalmed remains of [founder of Soviet Communism] V.I. Lenin.”

The piece went on to explain: “With its ruined economy fast approaching crisis point, and a severe winter food shortage looming, the Russian government is being forced to undertake some very drastic measures in an attempt to bring in desperately needed hard currency…. The Deputy Minister, Mr. Victor Komplectov, first proposed selling Lenin’s remains last April, pointing to the enormous profits earned by the British government when it sold London Bridge to an Arizona developer in 1962.”

If the analogy between a bridge and a corpse wasn’t enough to tip off even the most credulous of readers, the following should have been:

“In an attempt to save the significant commission that an auction house such as Christie’s or Sotheby’s would charge – as well as to discourage an extraordinary, and to the Russians, unseemly, public spectacle – the [Interior] Ministry has decided to hold a closed, sealed bid auction. Bids must be received by the Ministry no later than midnight (Moscow time) on December 31 of this year…. A condition of the sale is that the Lenin corpse not be used for any ‘commercial, or improper’ purpose, the deed of purchase to be administered by the International Court of Justice at The Hague, in the Netherlands, making the conditions of sale enforceable by that international legal community.”

And if, by chance, there breathed an individual so naïve or intellectually challenged that he still had no idea his leg was being royally pulled, here was the description of the Lenin corpse offered by Forbes FYI: “Mr. Lenin’s body was embalmed at his death in 1924, and stored in a sealed, climate-controlled glass casket. (Shades of Sleeping Beauty!) It has been periodically re-embalmed. Every five to ten years the skin, somewhat yellowish but by no means jaundiced-looking, requires a special application of preservative, or ‘waxing.’ Under the terms of sale, maintenance is to be provided only by qualified Russian mortuary specialists from the Interior Ministry, expenses to be paid by the purchaser. (Estimated annual upkeep: $10,0000-$15,0000; varies with climate.)”

Finally, there was this: “Obviously, the Lenin corpse is not for everyone. But as a conversation piece, it would certainly have no equal. You might have some explaining to do to the lady of the home, but the item is fairly compact and could be accommodated to fit most large dens.”

Several years after the article appeared, Christopher Buckley, the then-editor of Forbes FYI (which would be renamed ForbesLife in 2006) reminisced about the incident on C-Span’s “Booknotes,” describing to host Brian Lamb the transparently phony details of the story and how the piece had been faxed to news organizations at the precise time the day’s evening newscasts were being prepared.

Most journalists were a little too savvy to fall for the hoax, related Buckley. There was, however, one exception.

“I was on my NordicTrack cross-country ski machine that night watching Peter Jennings … and on came a photo of Lenin. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God.’ I felt a little bit like, you know, the kid who puts the rock on the railroad track and the next day hears grownups talking about the train derailment. So that became a big story, quite a big story….”

How big? The interior minister of Russia, no doubt wondering why American networks employ morons as news anchors, had to make an appearance on Russian TV to reassure his people there was no plan to sell off Lenin’s corpse. Jennings subsequently apologized to viewers, saying “we were had.”

Why is the Monitor bringing this story up at this time? Well, August 7 marks the 4th anniversary of Peter Jennings’s passing, and the Monitor detested everything about Jennings – his smarmy demeanor, his skewed reporting, his pronounced anti-U.S. and anti-Israel bias, and the way his colleagues showered him with so many posthumous tributes you’d have thought he was a tribune of unvarnished truth and objectivity, a figure of unimpeachable trustworthiness, Diogenes’s Honest Man personified.

Jennings was none of those things, and apparently he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer either.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Anchor Who Fell For An Obvious Hoax”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Presidential-Seal-062014

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

Clinton-051614

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/the-anchor-who-fell-for-an-obvious-hoax/2009/08/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: