Maybe out of thin air.
The controversy started with a quickly discredited Jan. 17 article on the Insight Web site asserting that the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing an accusation that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6.
(Other news organizations have confirmed Mr. Obama’s descriptions of the school as a secular public school. Both senators have denounced the report, and there is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign planned to spread those accusations.)---
The Clinton-Obama article followed a series of inaccurate or hard-to-verify articles on Insight and its predecessor magazine about politics, the Iraq war or the Bush administration, including a widely discussed report on the Insight Web site that President Bush’s relationship with his father was so strained that they were no longer speaking to each other about politics.
With so much anonymity, “How do we know that Insight magazine actually exists?” Professor Whitehead added. “It could be performance art.”
But hosts of morning television programs and an evening commentator on the Fox News Network nevertheless devoted extensive discussion to Insight’s Clinton-Obama article, as did Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk radio hosts.