Tucker Carlson boasted in July that his site, the Daily Caller, had bought the domain name for liberal MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. Carlson, a conservative journalist and pundit, even said he would start using the email address email@example.com as a gag.
So it was interesting to see that Olbermann allegedly sent some angry emails to the Philadelphia Daily News' Stu Bykofsky using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phawker.com, which published the exchange, claimed it was "guaranteed 100% for real."And Bykofsky later confirmed to media industry watcher Jim Romenesko that he was writing to email@example.com, which he believed to be Olbermann.
Although emails were indeed sent back and forth, it wasn't Olbermann on the other end.
An MSNBC spokesman confirmed the emails are fake, and Olbermann responded in a statement to The Upshot: "Mr. Bykofsky has been, I would suggest, hoist on his own petard."
In the email exchange, "Olbermann" rails against MSNBC President Phil Griffin, who recently suspended and subsequently reinstated the host over a violation of network rules against giving to political candidates.
"As I've said publicly before, Phil Griffin is not my boss (thank god), nor is he intellectually qualified to be," the fake Olbermann wrote. "Phil pretends otherwise in public. I'm not his shrink, but I assume it makes him feel better. The remarkable thing is that fools like you believe his fantasies. That pleases Phil, but only exposes your ignorance. The proof? I'll be anchoring on election night 2012, long after Phil Griffin has moved on to a job for which he's actually qualified, perhaps on QVC."
Later, "Olbermann" wrote that he "could have Phil Griffin fired tomorrow if I felt like it, trust me."
Carlson, reached by phone Tuesday night, confirmed he impersonated Olbermann in the email responses to Bykofsky.
"Could you resist?" Carlson said. "It was just too funny. The flesh is weak."
Carlson said he didn't expect the email exchange to be published.
As a former MSNBC host, Carlson knows Olbermann and Griffin quite well. He hosted MSNBC's "Tucker" until the show was canceled in March 2008. Carlson stayed on as a political analyst through the 2008 election and has since moved over to Fox News.
(Photo of the real Keith Olbermann behind a Bill O'Reilly mask, July 2006: AP/Reed Saxon)
[This post was updated in the text and headline after Carlson confirmed he sent the emails]