Welcome to the wonderful world of the unfiltered Internet, where legitimate history resides side by side with vicious fantasies:
A video showing a longtime supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton using slurs to describe Hoosiers spread through the Web like a virus Friday, triggering a firestorm of protest before the video was finally exposed as a hoax.
It was just the latest example of how the Internet is changing politics.
The video clip, uploaded to the popular video-sharing Web site YouTube and spread via blogs and e-mail, showed former Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor describing Hoosiers using profanity and a racial epithet.
No, this isn't going to be a lament about the loss of "editors" and "gatekeepers" as we move from the old media to the new. That's been fairly well chewed over in lots of places, and I suspect we willl end up with some kind of hybrid that combines new-style openness and access with old-style editing and sorting; filters and gatekeepers there will be.
My observation would be that this really isn't new, just faster. At your dead-tree newstand, you can find copies of The New York Times and Washington Post right next to copies of those tabloids that write about space aliens and Elvis sightings. ON TV, you can see "60 minutes" side by side with "The Jerry Springer Show" and wrestling right next to football and basketball. Most people have been able to sort out the real from the fictional, but some haven't. Scarily enough, they live and work right along with the rest of us.
The main thing that's different about the digital age -- other than how many information players there are -- is how quickly the hoaxes can spread. But they can be debunked just as quickly. Most people will retain the memory of the truth, but a few, unfortunately, will act on the lie.