Saturday, March 20, 2010

Newspapers admits their mountain was just a molehill

Recently I discussed the controversy at the University of Hawaii over a student who had used an empty classroom to film himself in a rather explicit episode of self-pleasuring. The newspaper had published an absurd paragraph in their "crime" section making unsubstantiated claims.

This blog looked at those claims and showed how absurd they were. I won't take credit for it but apparently the university newspaper now agrees fully with my analysis. They have apologized and retracted their claims completely.

About the claim that Tim, or Speedostudent, was endangering others, they now write: "There has been no such finding by the UH administration that there has been any endangerment..." Of course, even if the administration said their was, that wouldn't make it the case.

In regards to the exaggeration of this taking place in "many classrooms" they now concede that is "an inaccurate conflation of the material found on the blog, where a clear distinction between photos and a single video in one classroom is made." That is badly worded and confusing. To be precise there was one explicit video made in one classroom. There were photos of Speedostudent in a Speedo posing in other classrooms but nothing sexual was taking place.

As for their warning to not approach the student, they now admit this "represents a physical danger to other students, a claim for which the paper provided no evidence.

As for their use of terms like "sexually deviant" and "psychotic behavior" they said that they have "no medical qualifications to make such a judgment." Even if they did have the qualifications, the facts don't fit the terms.

They also apologize for something I did not realize, not being familiar with their paper. The material appeared in a section of their paper dealing entirely with criminal incidents on campus—the mere existence of such a column would clue me to avoid that campus. I was a copy editor at my university paper and we never had enough incidents of crime to warrant a regular column. The paper admits that by including this in the crime section they "suggested that a crime was committed." They now admit that is no investigation based on a criminal action involved.

In general, they have conceded all the points I made. Of course, I'm not sure that the apology is sufficient for the student they smeared.

Labels: ,