Deadspin’s Tim Burke Breaks Down His Reporting of the Manti Te’o Story

January 17, 2013 – 6:20 am by Brad Gagnon

Unless you’ve been in a coma the last 24 hours, you’re aware that SRI’s friends over at Deadspin rocked the sports world and made Lance Armstrong’s week with a jaw-dropping story Wednesday exposing Manti Te’o's dead girlfriend as a fake. Just how did the story come to be? One of the story’s reporters breaks it down.

Deadspin editor Tim Burke joined Doug Gottlieb on CBS Sports Radio to discuss his story on Manti Te’o's fake girlfriend and his shock over the fact nobody uncovered this until now.

On the difficult process of trying to get clarity and all the answers with this story:

“We’ve tried to contact him and ask, and the number that we had for him wasn’t accepting calls. And we’ve put in a request with the Notre Dame football information office for comment. But that’s one of the problems with a story that deals with false identities is the more answers you get, each answer is just two more questions. We’ve learned that this individual who was behind this big profile — this fake girlfriend — is actually somebody who Te’o knows. And we were told that they were family friends. And indeed, Te’o tweets out links to this guy who we know this whole time has been operating this account.”

On the other key part of the story, in his opinion:

“How what was obviously not a true story became truth to the media, and that there were really many sort of obvious discrepancies in the way the story was told, that if anybody would have looked at it, they would have said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. This can’t be true.’”

On “Lennay Kekua” tweeting on the same day she “died” of cancer:

“She was tweeting at the time she was dying of Leukemia. Some of these things just don’t really add up.”

On remaining questions:

“The only uncertain questions out there are exactly what Manti knew about it. We have talked to numerous people who are familiar with the individual who was pretending to be Lennay Kekua. We talked to his family members. We talked to his friends. And many of them just sort of thought it was a little prank until they read a story about Manti Te’o and said, ‘Oh, hey, this is the same guy.’”

On how no one in the media discovered this until now:

“I have no idea. As surprising as people find the facts of this story that we published on Deadspin, I find it far more shocking that we’re the first ones to actually look into it. I really am. And we’re gonna publish a follow-up that sort of illustrated [that]. … Many major media organizations and writers that I respect a lot were taken in by this and didn’t do their fact-checking, or overlooked discrepancies, etc. So that’s what really shocks me about this story.”

Listen to Tim Burke on CBS Sports Radio here

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Post a Comment