Saturday, December 24, 2005

No Mao Row

A few items back, I discussed a story that was raging around the net about UMass Dartmouth student who claimed that he had been questioned by Department of Homeland Security agents after having requested Mao's "little red book" via an inter-library loan. As cynical as I am, this didn't strike me as particularly surprising, though some of the details did seem a tad "off." In fact, the whole thing sounded silly, really, but I and many others spared no time sounding off about what appeared to be yet another example of Bush administration overreaching.

John McAdams of Marquette Warrior had pointed out in the comments that there was some debate as to the legitimacy of the story. Indeed, it now appears that the story is a hoax. Joe Gandelman has the details but the bottom line is that the "student," who has yet to be named, confessed to simply making shit up. Like there isn't enough real nonsense to keep track of.

This is exactly the kind of story that makes legitimate criticism of the administration's actual behaviour all the more difficult. When mendacious claims like these surface, keeping alert of real news is all that much harder. And those on the right are correct in pointing out that critics of Bush glommed onto this one with a little too much zeal and insufficient skepticism. Ultimately, though, the real culprit is the The Standard-Times, which reported this story with insufficient fact-checking and relied on hearsay. Didn't these guys learn anything from Judith Miller?

And whoever this "student" is, I'm sending a big, hearty "fuck you, asspiece" his way.


Blogger vacuumspeak said...

Time and again the journalism community shows its lack for nose-to-the-ground research. How can we believe anything they say to us? Why feed us lies? There is enough going on to destroy our country that we don't need to lie about it.

3:56 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Quite. What I find troublesome about this is that the was no real pressing need to publish the story until the reporter had established the facts. This was not time-critical so why rush?

This is exactly the kind of thing that gets a "liberal media" bashing and deservedly so.

5:18 PM  

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