Monday, December 17, 2007

Heh! The outrage

-- by Dave

Conservatives got themselves all worked up today over the case of Francisco Nava, a Princeton student who claimed he was beaten up by a pack of nasty liberals. Brit Hume led off his "Grapevine" report with the case tonight video here):
Conservative students and faculty at Princeton University are questioning the absence of campus and community outrage — following the beating of a student leading a morality movement at the school. The New York Sun reports Francisco Nava was attacked by two men last week and told to shut up. The beating came two days after Nava received death threats by e-mail.

Nava — who is a Mormon — wrote in the student newspaper that a school campaign to distribute free condoms on campus was a — "tacit sponsorship of hookup sex." Three other members of the morally conservative Anscombe Society also received the threats, along with a conservative professor.

Princeton graduate Michael Fragoso tells the Sun — "There would rightly be outrage had the student been part of some other minority on campus. I have yet to see that right now, and that's rather disappointing."

No suspects have been identified and Princeton Township Police say they will not comment on the pending investigation.

Problem is, at the time that Hume aired his report -- which was sometime this afternoon -- it was already known for several days that Nava had attempted a hoax:
Francisco Nava ‘09 has admitted to fabricating an alleged assault on him that he said occurred Friday evening and also to sending threatening emails to himself, other members of the Anscombe Society and prominent conservative politics professor Robert George, Princeton Township Police said today.

“He fabricated the story,” Det. Sgt. Ernie Silagyi said.

Nava was released to Public Safety and charges “have not been filed pending further investigation,” according to a statement from Township Police.

Perhaps Hume and staff should just read Sadly, No! like the rest of us.

Same with Glenn Reynolds, who as TRex notes fell for the hoax with a link Saturday, in which, among other things, he offers the following insights produced by the story:
I guess it's part of the growing climate of fear in America.

I wonder if this will get the kind of attention that politically-reversed assaults would get?

But even better is Reynolds' lame defense once he cottons to the hoax:
STILL MORE: Andrew Sullivan seems to regard this as an "Insta-Embarrassment." But there's no embarrassment in correcting an error as soon as you're aware of it. That's something that Andrew, and his friends at The New Republic, should have figured out already.

Erm, no, the embarrasment, Professor, lies in the fact that at the time you posted this information, the reports revealing it to be a hoax were online and readily available (the Daily Princetonian report was up at 8 p.m. Friday; yours went up at 11 p.m. Saturday, more than a full day after the hoax was reported). [NOTE: This is incorrect. See update below.] All you'd have needed do before weighing in with incendiary rhetoric and wild accusations about a "climate of fear" was Google his name; the story would've come right up.

Hell, even Michelle Malkin -- who usually rushes to run these stories about liberal thuggery like J. Jonah Jameson with pics of Spidey robbing a bank -- knew better than to touch this thing with a 10-foot pole.

And about that rhetoric: Doesn't the fact that you used a hoax to demonstrate the existence of a "climate of fear" sort of, um, undermine your thesis? Don't you owe it to your readers to at least reassess the remarks that you made based on your belief the story was real? Do you think simply noting at the bottom of a long post building up this story that it was in fact a hoax is a sufficient correction? Really?

Ah, but who cares about such trifles when you're the mighty Instapundit, right?

Isn't this the guy who's been claiming that the blogosphere is going to replace that unreliable mainstream media because, among many other sins, they're just so damned arrogant?

This is par for the course for Reynolds, actually. It reminds me of the time that he linked to a FrontPage story linking the Latino student organization MEChA -- who Reynolds on other occasions, and with as good cause, labeled "fascist hatemongers" -- to an anti-Semitic hate group named La Voz de Aztlan. Of course, the story was fraudulent, and so Reynolds at the bottom of the post noted that it was "a mistake" (which he blamed on the "cough syrup"). Nevermind that he had also called the group "racist and homophobic" -- that characterization, apparently, stood; certainly, no apology was forthcoming. And of course, he hates having this shit pointed out to him.

He must be getting into that cough syrup pretty regularly still.

UPDATE: Well, now I get to do the correcting and apologizing. It seems the Princetonian timestamp for the piece revealing the case to be a hoax were a function of the original story and did not reflect the point at which the case was revealed to be a hoax. Tom Maguire in my comments has more. I was wrong about Reynolds' failure to pick up on the case being a hoax, and apologize for the mistake. Brit Hume, of course, has no such excuse.

The remainder of the remarks about Reynolds' failure to adequately address how the hoax affected his analysis stand.

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