As I was saying the other day, I’ve finally spoken with the man whose hoax put me in the most embarrassing position of my journalistic career. The author, Christopher Buckley, had written the faux “news release” persuading me to write a story for Peter Jennings that the Soviet Union was auctioning off the body of Soviet Communism’s founder Vladimir Lenin. Now, 18 years after the hoax, Buckley was on the other line. Or so I thought.
How Can I Be Sure?
I called Buckley at a hotel number “he” gave me. I asked “him,” given our past history together, how could I be sure I was speaking to the real Chrisotpher Buckley? Without missing a beat he offered this evidence: “I’m in Dallas. You dialed a hotel in Dallas. If you go to the SMU [Southern Methodist University] website, you could find that I’m speaking here tonight.”
He was right. I did dial the hotel number in Dallas that he had emailed me. I checked out the SMU website and sure enough, there he was. SOLD OUT.
I was now ready to hear his version of the hoax I fell for on November 5th 1991.