A Major Failure For American Journalism – The Manti Te’o Hoax

MANTI TE'O: Lost his "girlfriend" in September last year

MANTI TE’O: Lost his “girlfriend” in September last year


Hey guys, Tom Robinson here. This is NOT a wrestling post. This is in fact about the recent developments of the story in the US about the American Football Player (who’s actually Samoan), Manti Te’o.

For those of you who don’t know by now, this guy Manti Te’o, who plays American Football for Notre Dame, gave an account to a number of media outlets, claiming that he lost both his grandmother and his girlfriend Lennay Kekua on the same day. Apparently, Lennay was involved in car accident and died from Leukaemia.  But recent revelations a couple of days ago have confirmed that not only did Lennay Kekua not die – she didn’t live either. Deadspin released a report on January 16th that basically said the entire thing was a hoax.

His club Notre Dame released this statement:

“On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.”


Now this story is slightly complicated and it’s a little hard for myself to get my head around, but I’ll tell you what isn’t hard to figure out – The American Media Industry fucked up big time. Look at this list of some of the media organizations that bought the story:


No-one from any of these brands thought to look it up. Even the New York Times. THE NEW YORK TIMES! One of the most well-known newspapers in the world didn’t think “OK, let’s just confirm if what he’s saying is true”. Now I am certainty not a journalist for someone like the New York Times, and I don’t work for ESPN. I only started studying journalism in October. And even I know that you have to make sure what you are being told is true. Never take what anyone says for the truth. Never trust what government’s tell you. Always look into something before confirming it to be fact. And the fact that none of the major American media industries had the testicular fortitude to question what Manti said has to tell you something.

Of course, over the years, lots of media industries have fallen for hoaxs and released false stories

Yeah, this story was a while ago, but the thing is Media industry shouldn’t be making mistakes like this in this age. Back then, the internet wasn’t as popular as it is now, and with all the ways and resources they could have done, before deciding it’s legitimacy, this was a pretty pathetic episode for American Journalism.

I also doubt that this story will end here, as a lot more truths and twists are bound to come out real soon.

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