Early this morning, a pro-WikiLeaks op-ed purporting to be penned by former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller cropped up online. It was a stunningly convincing piece of web fraud, its design practically identical to the New York Times‘s own homepage, with every link leading to an actual Times article or section. The only hint that it wasn’t real was the URL: instead of showing as nytimes.com/pages/opinion, it read “opinion-nytimes.com.” It’s a tiny difference, but a monumentally important one.
The article itself, which staunchly defends WikiLeaks and the importance of qualifying it under the First Amendment, is certainly stylistically similar to the real writings of Mr. Keller. Some of the wording is rather clunky, but that seems to lend the piece the impression that its message was so dire that it was written in an emotional hurry. The faux article tries so hard to be convincing that it even borrows wording from an email Mr. Keller wrote recently to GigaOm about WikiLeaks.