Revisiting the Manti Te’o hoax


Remember when that star college football player had a long-standing internet relationship with a girl he never met?

Then that girl died and it was a huge deal that he had to deal with those circumstances, especially after his grandmother had died recently? How he used to talk with that girl on the phone when she was in the hospital? And that girl turned out to be a fake account ran by a friend of Te’o’s? Yeah, good times.

The details are long and take some time to read, but to say it’s worth it would be an understatement. It was one of the weirdest stories that I’ve ever came across and everyone else would say the same thing.

What was looked over throughout all the weirdness, though, was some of the best investigative journalism that had been seen in a while. Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey of Deadspin worked their butts off to get to the bottom of an intriguing, yet ridiculous, story about one of the nation’s most popular names.

They did the research. They made the calls. And after all was said and done, after a process that took months of investigation and years of backtracking, they did what they set out to do. They got to the bottom of it all, and they found the truth.

Though it may have resulted in Te’o looking bad and helpless, the story was needed to clear the air of mystery. Journalism doesn’t always spare everyone, nor should it. Journalism is supposed to report the truth. And that’s what Burke and Dickey did.

Now if only every other journalist could follow suit.

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