Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Who is victim of hoax? Not the player, not the media

And certainly not Notre Dame, the university that sat on knowing a widespread story about a player's dead girlfriend was all false. No death. No girlfriend. No tragedy.

What a fantastic job by Deadspin. com for putting the facts before us, completely, fully showcasing the extent of the lie and the failure of the media, oh and names are named and links provided, in perpetuating a nice-sounding story. I must note that much is made of Sports Illustrated writing it about it, but this story from them just adds about the tough week for the player, not going into detail about the supposed death. It just mentioned it, as it was a commonly shared story, it seems.

Better than the details in what media reported about the case and what facts were out there (lack of death notice all the way to the tweets and the origins of some photos) was the speculation by a friend of Manti Te'o who said he was "80 percent" sure that Te'o was in on it.... based on the fact that he couldn't be that stupid.

Apologies to athletes for a bad joke, but not even a football player could be that stupid, to become engaged to someone he had never met. Can someone be really so dumb? (What a tough thing to argue to the world... I'm not a liar; I'm an idiot.) All the details about meeting her, where did those come from? And what kid tells his parents such details... isn't it just, "I met this girl" and maybe include a geographic location.

If he didn't lie about these details, someone else did. And the mistakes of the media include fact-checking, independent sourcing and pushing a nice story that's already been told... not making something up. Newspapers and TV reporters aren't generally that bad, just creating facts. No, these had to presented by someone.. the son to the father? The father to the media?

That Notre Dame first sat on knowing the story was a hoax (three months after it started, they said they learned but waited until it broke to share that?) is bad enough, but to push the idea that the player is a victim of the hoax means that the media and his friends/family created such rich and deep false details. They said he was on the phone with her overnight to hear breathing. Their stares had intertwined when passing by one another at Stanford? A good hoax needs details, if the story is going to jump from conversation to front page.

Now come the jokes, and they are good, highlighted by a photo gallery.

Let's hope we don't hear the last of this, and gain, great job Deadspin. And Slate has a nice piece of analysis, noting that the narrative gets in the way of fact-checking, too often.

Oh, and again, if it's on the internet, you can delete it, but it's never gone forever.

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