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MSNBC pranked badly during Malaysia Airlines crash coverage

MSNBC host Krystal Ball, getting pranked on live

MSNBC host Krystal Ball, getting pranked on live TV by an "eyewitness" to the Malaysian Airlines crash on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Credit: Noah Rothman via YouTube

It appears accuracy (or at least, fact-checking) took a backseat to speed in MSNBC's coverage of the Malaysia Airlines crash Thursday.

Live on the air, host Krystal Ball took a phone call from a supposed eyewitness to the tragedy, who identified himself as U.S. Staff Sgt. Michael Boyd and said he was at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. Describing the scene, the caller said he looked out the window and "saw a projectile flying through the sky" -- but just what that "projectile" was, according to the man, is not fit for this site, so watch the MSNBC prank on YouTube. (App readers: tap the link below.)

The worst part is not even that MSNBC apparently did not vet this "exclusive eyewitness," but that Ball did not catch on to the prank, considering she goes on to ask him "what sort of missile system that may have been coming from." Really, Krystal Ball?

The Washington Post (and probably many other outlets) says it has reached out to MSNBC for an explanation. No word from Howard Stern.

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