Manti Te’o story proves journalism today is dead

The news of Manti Te’o’s girlfriend fabrication has reached epic proportions, with jokes flying off the shelf faster than David Letterman’s best days in the days of Dan Quayle.

Some of my favorites so far:

“Two people that will never know the touch of Manti Te’o: His fake girlfriend, and Eddie Lacy.”

“Te’o faked her death to protect her from Brent Musburger.”

“Dear Manti, Thank you. Sincerely, Lance Armstrong.”

“Manti’s girlfriend has the best looking body Stevie Wonder ever saw.”

“Manti Te’o wasn’t missing tackles in the National Championship game. He was hugging his girlfriend.”

“Dear Manti, only 5% of my girlfriend was fake. I win again. Sincerely, AJ McCarron.”

“Millions of people now know where to put the apostrophe in TE’O who will never figure out when to use it in IT’S.”

The story of Te’o’s made up girlfriend is so bizarre, it’s hard to know where to begin. But the bigger story is, in this day and age…the INFORMATION AGE for Pete’s sake…how did the story ever make it past Te’o’s imagination?

This isn’t 1977. Back then a rotary dial phone, anchored to a phone booth or wall was your only shot to speak to someone across the country, and it’d cost you. Now I know more people who shed their home phone for their cell than those who still have a home number. And those cells phones, find one that doesn’t have a camera on it and it’ll take most of your day.

You have Skype. You have Facebook. You have Instagram. You have Twitter. You have instant messaging. And you have just under a billion other methods of talking and interacting with human beings all over this planet.

And we’re to believe a college student at one of America’s pristine universities couldn’t employ one of these communication vehicles to connect the dots a little and see past this fake girlfriend “prank”?

Most believe Te’o was in on it. Common sense would say so. But apparently today’s journalist lacks that basic quality. Two sources and you have yourself a story. But heck, that’s hard. Just find a narcissist and take his word for it, then run with his claims for an eternity as the player uses your pub and the public’s sympathy to bolster himself into the #2 spot in the Heisman running.

Incredible. Simply amazing.

Maybe in this day and age of eleventy billion news outlets elbowing each other to have the story first, someone ought to place a premium on getting a story right. If they had, maybe AJ McCarron would’ve gotten a plane ticket to New York for the Heisman ceremony. A player with real stats, real accomplishment, a real girlfriend and a real future, instead of a fake.

Where is journalism today? Where is fact checking? As the nation’s college golden child (Notre Dame) rose from the ashes to contend for all the marbles, countless stories were done on Te’o, tugging at our heartstrings and demanding our sympathy.

But instead of a girlfriend, it looks like the only thing Te’o has seen off to the other side is journalism. May it RIP.


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)