Media Busted Backing Linebacker’s Line

Mante Te'o

Was Notre Dame football star Manti Te’0 a “victim of a cruel internet prank” or did he deliberately peddle to the lazy media a phony story about the death of an imaginary girlfriend? UK Daily Mail.

Paul Farhi Wash Post:  “Although it’s still not clear who created and perpetrated the apparent deception, the media took Te’o’s word for it without inquiring further. ”

Farhi quotes press think tanker Tom Rosenstiel:  “The lesson here is ‘look inside the freezer.’ Journalists shouldn’t be taking [a source’s] word if there is some way to verify it for themselves.”

In a “crazy” press conference Wednesday, Notre Dame’s athletic director claims Teo’s the victim.  Chicago Tribune NYDN.

Sports Illustrated’s senior writer Michael Rosenberg:  Who got duped? Well, most of media, for one. This includes Sports Illustrated — we put Te’o on our cover in October, and the story includes Te’o talking about his girlfriend dying. I didn’t write the story, but I’m going to be honest here and say I could have written the story.

Other media outlets had already written about Te’o’s girlfriend dying, and Te’o talked about it … I mean, we’re all supposed to have b.s. detectors in this business, but mine would not have gone off there. Evidently, I’m not alone, because dozens of media outlets mentioned the girlfriend without wondering if she existed. In that situation, a reporter tries to talk to her family, other people who knew her — you fill in the edges of the story. But if you don’t get a hold of those people, would you really think “Hey, this is probably just a hoax, and this girlfriend doesn’t exist”? Be honest.

Rosenberg on Te’o’s evasive answer at a Jan. 3 press conference: “Technically, Te’o did not lie. But he did tell a lie of omission — somebody asked him about his dead girlfriend, and he declined to tell the truth: That she did not exist. This was a pattern for Te’o. Everybody assumed he met her in person, and he certainly indicated that he did. … By that standard, most men in this country have spent time alone with Kate Upton. … I think he did what a lot of young men do: He lied a little bit about his woman. … [H]e let people believe he’d met her in person, when in fact, he had just met her online. He didn’t realize his lies would get caught in a web of much bigger lies.”

The Associated Press fingered Te’o talking about the dead girlfriend to the media AFTER he supposedly discovered the hoax in early December.  The imaginary lover is identified as 23-year-old Diane O’MearaNYP.

The sports site Deadspin tackled the fable the mainstream media swallowed without checking. Why?  “Sportswriters didn’t care to look.”  Slate.

Related:  Duo joked about hoax on Twitter over a month ago.  BuzzFeed.

Will this hurt Teo‘s chances in this spring’s NFL draft?    The phony sob story came out last fall.  Can you say Heisman?  Teo was a runner-up.

Decades ago another Notre Dame football star, quarterback Joe Theismann, changed the pronunciation of his name from Theesman to Thighsman to rhyme with Heisman.

NYT:  Was Te’o a sympathetic victim of a cruel fraud, or a calculating participant in a phony story that had been milked to aid his bid for the Heisman Trophy?

Thursday, January 17, 2013 @ 8:29 AM

  • 4lsanday

    Not sure what to belive on this. I admit I am a fan of this young man not as big a fan as my young grandson who’s number one Christmas gift list was a Manti ND jersey.

  • John Cobb

    It means he will be going in the 2nd round probable, he is either a dupe or a psycho, either way he just cost himself millions. 

     His sucky performance against an NFL caliber offence didn’t help.

    • Sentinel

       Welcome to the SEC, Te’O – and Roll Tide.

  • 4lsanday

    Of course now many are critical of the media for falling for this ” hoax” and not vetting the story. Sort of like how the MSM gave Obama a pass and still do.the difference Manti was running for the Heisman Obama was running for POTUS.

  • bbb

    How do you get that the young man lied when he said he met her in person to most men have spent time alone with Kate Upton?  The media cannot or will not do the real job, now it is create a story or move a story along, and in some cases just not even bother to look for more than their beliefs and values.

  • scott

    Te’0’s previous girlfriend was inflatable.

  • Raphael

    I tell ya I just can’t get a break. My inflatable doll is a lesbian.

    Rodney Dangerfield

    • scott

      A Classic!!!!
      One of my favorites:
      I tell ya, I just can’t get no respect. Everytime I go to my Proctologist, he sticks his
      finger in my mouth.

      Rodney D.

  • Jimbotalk

    My girlfriend had an imaginary lover.  Imagine my surprise when I found out we had a three-some the other night. 

  • Marty Davis

    I think it was all about a trophy named Heisman. … 

    • John Cobb

      So do others Marty, and I mean people inside the NFL, and if that’s the case, this guy may not get drafted.

    • Marty Davis

      Do you really think this delusional dude’s denouement is an NFL diss?

    • John Cobb

      No, what it means is he tried to manipulate the system in a most devious way, no team would want someone that selfish on the team.

      But, if by some strange chance he is telling the truth now, then he will have no respect in the locker room, for obvious reasons.He is probable overrated too, because he plays for the Irish, it happens all the time.

    • 4lsanday

      Your dreaming.

  • Marty Davis

    “How to Tell if Your Friend’s Girlfriend Is Not Real: A Lesson from the Manti Te’o Fiasco,” by Caity Weaver on Deadspin:
    “If your friend has never met his girlfriend of one year … That
    girlfriend is: not real. … If your friend’s girlfriend lives through a
    horrific car crash that leaves her ‘on the brink of death’ and your
    friend doesn’t carve out a day to visit her … That girlfriend is: not
    real. … If your friend’s girlfriend dies, but, prior to her death, gives
    your friend a pass on attending the funeral on the off chance he’s got
    [stuff] to do that day and really, some white roses and a couple
    interceptions is more than enough, thanks … That girlfriend is: not
    real. … And once more, for clarity: if your friend has never met his
    girlfriend of one year … That girlfriend is: Definitely just not real.”