For two years the Daily Egyptian (the student newspaper of Southern Illinois University) has unwittingly been a tool in perpetuating a cruel hoax on it's readers. The story of a marine father deployed in Iraq, mostly told through the perspective of his young motherless daughter. One problem... He didn't exist and the child was a pawn who had been tricked into believing that she was involved in filming a documentary.Out of the Box goes on to dig up the original "scrubbed" article. It's a total sham. I can't believe anyone would be taken by this without doing some verifying. I suppose the rationale for removing the offending items could be that since it is false, they didn't want to make it available for someone to inadvertently stumble across and wind up believing. Maybe that is the right thing to do, I don't know.
The hoax only began to unravel when the child's "caretaker" went one step too far - claiming that the father was killed in Iraq. The Daily Egyptian has now filed at least two mea culpa's but they've gone a step farther - they've scrubbed all of the previous articles, columns, and letters from their archives. Is that the responsible thing to do?
In their mea culpa, the DE has this explanation for their screw up:
We didn't check the facts carefully. We believed what we were told without verifying. We weren't as skeptical as we are supposed to be. We were fooled by a little girl with a cute smile, surrounded by a group of adults who acted the hoax with her.Boy, that sounds an awful lot like the mainstream media in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Only instead of a little girl with a cute smile surrounded by adults we got a little President surrounded by lying enablers.
For it's misdeeds, the DE even made Atrios' Wankers of the Day today where I got the tip on all this.