On Sunday morning, the economics analyst and TV commentator Barry Ritholtz dropped a bombshell on his blog: Roger Ailes, the powerful president of Fox News, will be indicted in connection with allegedly telling a News Corp. executive to lie to federal investigators, according to Ritholtz's blog post.So some obscure blogger can claim to meet a stranger in an airport who supposedly peddles uncorroborated speculation and all of a sudden he unequivocally declares a man will be indicted today?
The story, which was based on what an unnamed source told Ritholtz, quickly boomeranged around the Web and Twitter. Several well-read web sites, including Business Insider and Political Wire, picked up the report.
As it turns out, Ritholtz's source for the post was a man he happened to meet and strike up a conversation with at a Barbados airport over the weekend, he told me in an interview this afternoon.
Here's what happened, according to Ritholtz, who just got back from a vacation on the tropical island: He was sitting in the Barbados airport waiting for a plane to arrive and he struck up a conversation with an older man sitting next to him.
"We started chatting and next thing I know, we're waiting to leave the gate, his phone rings and he tells his wife, 'yeah Ailes just canceled the event,' Ritholtz says, describing the man as "obviously annoyed and frustrated."
The man runs an annual event in March at which Ailes was scheduled to speak, according to Ritholtz, who declined to specify the event. When he asked the man why Ailes canceled, the man said Ailes was about to be indicted. He describes the man, who he would not name, as an "Upper East Side Democrat."
This isn't even a thin gruel. There's nothing there but wishful thinking. But hey, it got the guy plenty of traffic, I'm sure, so he no doubt thinks making things up is worthwhile.