A great number of news outlets have succumbed to enterprising pranksters, from the “former Obama supporter” on Fox News to the vulgarly named newspaper source and beyond. Would that MSNBC could claim that it was outfoxed by a brainy and clever deceiver.

The televised record suggests that wasn’t the case, however.

In the video clip above, MSNBC host Krystal Ball introduces an alleged “eyewitness” to the Malaysia Airlines plane crash with the following words:

Ball: Let’s turn now to an MSNBC exclusive. U.S. Staff Sgt. Michael Boyd is at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and says that he saw a missile in the air hit the plane. He is on the phone with us. Sergeant, are you there?

That introduction clearly came through the producers who churn out Ball’s show, “The Cycle.” And it includes a single conflicting signal to give pause to any worthwhile journalist, even in the midst of frenzied crisis coverage: The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is located, logically, in the capital city of Kiev. The airliner went down in the eastern part of the country, over a village named Torez. Have a look at the plausibility of an eyewitness account coming from Kiev:


(Google Maps)
Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.