December 24, 2005
Mao Book Hoax Confirmed
The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed Homeland Security agents (which don't exist) talked to him about checking out Mao's "Little Read Book" admits he made the story up. Professor Brian Glyn Williams confronted the student about the huge holes in his story only to be told it was a hoax. Williams said, "'I feel as if I was lied to, and I have no idea why." The rest of us would like to know why the student lied too. It looks like the student is suffering from a mental illness. His story became more elaborate with the inclusion of a second visit from DHS agents dressed "just like the guys in Men in Black." We also would like to know why Williams bought the story at face value. The professor appears to be a knee-jerk Bush basher who saw an opportunity to attack the President and took it. I do not buy Professor Williams' claim that he "wasn't involved in some partisan struggle to embarrass the Bush administration, [he] just wanted the truth." Someone interested in the truth would look into the story before passing on the unsubstantiated claim to a reporter.
Let's not forget the New Bedford Standard-Times who first published the story. Reporter Aaron Nicodemus and his editors were irresponsible, plain and simple. They weren't critical of the student's far-fetched claims. Readers deserve an apology and an explanation for how such bad journalism occured.
"Federal Agents' Visit was a Hoax"
UPDATE: Tim Blair chides Molly Ivins and James Carville and has lots of links.