Mancow, Was The Waterboarding All A Hoax? - NBC New York

Mancow, Was The Waterboarding All A Hoax?

Shock-jock claimed waterboarding was torture, but was it a stunt?



    Mancow, Was The Waterboarding All A Hoax?
    Getty Images
    Mancow's no dummy -- but he supposedly submitted to waterboarding anyway.

    If his waterboarding stunt was staged for publicity, it worked: More people than ever now know who Erich "Mancow" Muller is.

    Muller has held on to top headlines for over a week now, after, first being waterboarded in front of TV cameras, and then loudly pronouncing an "ideological conversion," from right-wing shockjock, ala Howard Stern, to an outspoken critic of the wartime procedure, which he said is torture.

    Now, Gawker has Mancow back in the spotlight as it presents evidence that the whole episode may have been faked.

    "A tipster has provided information that suggests the whole thing may be a hoax," Gawker reported Thursday.

    Watch Mancow Waterboarding Stunt

    [CHI] Watch Mancow Waterboarding Stunt
    WLS radio host Mancow Muller subjects himself to waterboarding.
    (Published Tuesday, July 28, 2009)

    The evidence comes in the form of a series of emails exchanged between the DJ's publicist, Linda Shafran, and David Kupcinet, -- grandson of legendary Chicago newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet. Shafran apparently wanted to know if Kupcinet, an advocate for a Chicago veterans' foundation, could hook her up with a soldier to act as the waterboarder.

    The emails, presented more fully in the Gawker article, seem to indicate that the publicist was attempting to arrange a "hoax" that would look real.

    "It's going to have to look 'real,' but of course would be simulated with Mancow acting like he is drowning," she wrote on May 21.  She later told Gawker that she had misspoken and was mistaken.

    Either way, Shafran got her client lots of the attention he craves. But finding out whether Mancow was really tortured or the public simply soaked may require waterboarding Shafran.