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"Te’o and the Death of a Responsible Press "

  • From today's (4 Feb 13) Town Hall

    "Te’o and the Death of a Responsible Press

    Bruce Bialosky
    No wonder Manti Te’o was able to foist this fraud upon the American people in a deceitful act of self-promotion. No one questioned this contrived story. "

    I tried, but with my terrible computer "skills"

    was not able to inform author he

    was a prime example of just what he was complaining about,

    an irrisponsible writer. He failed to follow up,

    on the admittedly still evolving evidence,

    and just followed the common assumption,

    Te'o "had" to have participated in the hoax.

  • Gary, this entire situation is very instructive about the role of the press in disseminating "news." Somehow, the line between fact and opinion has gotten increasingly blurred. "Journalists" who are not particularly close to a situation will offer "shoot from the hip" editorials and it will be accepted as verbatim by many. When we watch or listen to news, whether it's ESPN, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc,. we need to bring a healthy dose of skepticism to the table. What happened with the reporting of the Manti situation is not an exception.

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    I may not be pretty, but I'm fast..... POTW 1/31/11 - 2/6/11

  • It's sad to say, but IMO you would be hard pressed to find a true journalist out there. The skill of unbiased journalism has been eroded by idealogy, bias, and the need to entertain (for ratings). Regardless of what your political affiliation is, if you are truly dispassionate and recognize the need for true journalism, you would have noticed the derth of it during the two recent Presidential Elections.

  • So, there is a young boy locked up in a bunker, with a known killer. I last heard that he needs medicine daily, and they were trying to figure out a way to get the boy his medicine. I have not heard much about this whole situation. But, when Manti had a fake gf, it was headline news for 3+ weeks. These 'reporters' really need to figure out what really is important, and report only the facts. They start reporting rumors and things that seem to make the story bigger. After it gets out of control, the damage is done, and the person (Manti in this case) has to worry about damage control.

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    3 time POTW

  • Well - it is a "first to report" world in today's media - even if you are half right or report to simply "elicit a reponse or open the discussion" - media companies feel it is a "First to spit anything out has squatters rights" regardless of the truth or factual content.

    How many times have you heard "We were the first to report this..."

    Just watch how the paparazzi practically fist fight for positions at events to "get the exclusive shot" It is a dog eat dog world and everyone is wearing buscuit underwear...

  • A quote attributed to a very wise man.

    All good comments, above.

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    I may not be pretty, but I'm fast..... POTW 1/31/11 - 2/6/11

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  • Good stuff here, great responses. I have refrained from these threads preferring to wait til Ronaiah admitted he was the guy and that Te'o had no involvement. Thankfully, he came clean about this whole mess.

    Leppy, you're spot on; I've said in other threads that folks want to be first, not right. Then as facts come out, people just want to be right, and cognitive dissonance reigns. No set of facts will ever convince some that Te'o wasn't in on it. In that way, this episode it a microcosm of the world we live in.

    Furthermore, i would add that I think part of why this story became so big is because it went outside the bounds of normal sports/news reporting. When TMZ and entertainment tonight are on the case, they'll certainly do what they can to keep a story going so there's even more of an eye brought to bear on a situation like this. Why? Because of ratings...

    That said, I've been following this thing from the jump. Not te'o, but deadspin. I've been trying to wrap my head around the purpose of the story. Never felt comfortable with the 80% that folks bought into. I would posit a theory for everyone to consider, and perhaps hasn't been talked about yet:

    Perhaps this story never was about journalism as is being discussed here; perhaps Te'o, and via proxy the University and folks here, were simply pawns in a game of one-upsmanship. and Everyone got so caught up in it, that the folks who got this mess started can slink back to the shadows, confident in another job well done.

    Please bear with me here as I present my timeline:
    -Within hours of the story breaking, Burke goes on the Doug Gottlieb show to talk about the story. Says they had the tip on Friday, and by Tuesday they had a rough draft ready. Doug asks did you talk to Te'o or ND. Reply: left a message, got spooked someone would scoop us, so we went with it. DG asks is 80% sufficient? Reply: how much more do i need.

    from this point on, personally, I've left behind the notion that they were breaking news for the purpose of breaking news. This is about something else

    -nytimes puts out an article saying ESPN had the story but was vetting it (probably good journalism), to which deadspin editor acknowledges being spooked by not getting story out. Is told that ESPN was vetting story, deadspin response is "that's just idiotic." Why? because its an internet hoax, if they get wind of it, they can destroy all the evidence.

    at this point, I'm pretty sure this isn't about breaking news, it's about sticking a finger in mainstream media outlets' eyes

    After Schaap interview, Deadspin puts out a rebuttal; note that they don't refute the interview, they only attempt to cast aspersions on the veracity of the story.

    The following week, does a slate gabfest podcast interview where editor spouts same things listed above: moved rapidly to get story, yada yada. with respect to the 80% "...some Manti Truthers took ahold of that statement.." he went on to say "I'm working on more, but can't get into it" and "The line contains within it it's own caveat." No regrets for the 80%. But something he said sealed it: "I love Manti Te'o because he identified that loophole (in previous coverage) and drove the story through it."

    Thats all you need to know: Why use an obscure Slate magazine podcast and radio shows to further your story. With respect to journalism: Deadspin doesn't exist to do good journalism, per se. Rather, it exists to further it's own agenda: sticking it to the larger media outlets who, by their sheer size can't overcome the inertia inherent in their size to vet stories like Te'o's.

    So, as far as I'm concerned, the deal is over; if Te'o forgives the guy, so be it. He's the victim, not me. But, how do we proceed? I get the angst as folks were sullying Te'o and the university. The general consensus was either 1) he's not guilty or 2) what happened to innocent til proven guilty 3) not a big deal, young kid make a mistake. Now the story has run it's course, and folks now are out for blood, or at least public admittances of guilt for believing Te'o might have been in on it. I personally am not holding out any hope for that to happen. But there is something we can do about it: will we remember these things when it's not an ND player in a innocent til proven guilty situation? will we vet the "scoops" we bring to the boards. Will we try to collect the facts before rendering a phrenologists interpretation of what a kid tweets, or casting aspersions on the kid and his parents? I would hope so. That's the lesson I take from all of this.

    Perhaps that last paragraph was a bit tangential to my overall point, but I think it puts into perspective that there's being first, then theirs being right, and then theirs truth. Lets not be first or simply people who seek affirmation of those who say they're right.

    That's my theory, feel free to set fire to the straw-man if you believe my theory needs a bit of refining...cool

  • You could say that the media was irresponsible with their reporting going back to September 2012 when they ran with the story of the AA football player and his severely ill girlfriend. Then the subsequent passings of Grandma and the girlfriend became the cause celebre in the backdrop of a wonderful season.

    And nowhere along the line did anyone fact check this story. At least until some cyber rag named Deadspin did the work that the mainstream press ignored.

    To this day I wonder if anyone would know the truth if not for Deadspin. Or would this story become the next legend in South Bend.

  • Excellent, SBS1980,

    But I'm still waiting for the explanation concerning 2008. I think I know, but I would like it confirmed.

  • Jlaw :

    "Good stuff here, great responses. I have refrained from these threads preferring to wait til Ronaiah admitted he was the guy and that Te'o had no involvement. Thankfully, he came clean about this whole mess."

    I also glad Ronaiah ( I did not watch but reportedly on \ with TV interview Phil )

    indicated Te'o was not a participant in the fraud.

    However I would not be surprised to later learn

    there was money or other motive

    and Ronaiah figured coping to being gay or latent gay

    was better than jail.

    Your media theory does seem plausible

    but not proven

    and am not sure

    how it could ever be proven.

    Certainly concur, especially with today's media,

    one should not jump on a story until

    confirmed and vetted by multiple sources.

    Even then caution is warrented.

    Addendum:

    Back to the Ronaiah - gay / loved Manti

    again to me second hand,

    but reports he/she is on tape offering gifts

    to Manti. (Which Manti refused )

    Why would some one who cared for Manti

    offer NCAA violation gifts ?

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by garyfh 14 months ago

  • If Deadspin hadn't broken the story, and ESPN continued to sit on it, I think Manti's "team" would have leaked it. They had to know it was only a matter of time. Too many loose ends, not the least of whom was Tuiasosopo, for whom there would be a payday somewhere along the line, so you knew he wasn't going to sit on it forever. Just as they orchestrated Manti's appearances, they would have wanted to leak the story in some damage control fashion because they would have liked to have avoided precisely the kind of poop storm that ensued. Basically, Deadspin had half the story, but they tried to pass it off as the whole one, with their "80% certainty." In their line of work, which is not journalism, that's all they need to do.

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    I may not be pretty, but I'm fast..... POTW 1/31/11 - 2/6/11