Journalists miss facts in Te'o girlfriend story


Days after the story of an unbelievable hoax involving Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, there is talk of how so many journalists missed it.

"Check with two sources, two independent confirmed before you print or go with the story and they didn't," said Art Levin, professor emeritus of journalism at Butler University.

Now retired, Levin taught journalism at Butler for 23 years. For him, the fact that the media did not check out Te'o's story about his girlfriend is almost as big as the story itself.

"If a girl went to Stanford, had an automobile accident and got leukemia and died, there must be a funeral or an obituary and they checked all the records during all that time and couldn't find a funeral notice or obituary. Obviously, she didn't exist and two young men who did the leg work did the story," Levin said.

All the major news outlets didn't bother to check out his story. The sports website did and now everyone else is following their lead, combing over his every word.

Te'o says he discovered the hoax December 6, but that didn't stop him from talking about her two days later at the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

"I'll never forget the time I found out that my girlfriend passed away," Te'o said.

Then he told officials at Notre Dame December 26 - 20 days later. Students on campus told Eyewitness News they want to believe in the man they believe embodied the spirit of Notre Dame. Residents of his hometown feel the same way.

"We just want others to know that we know Manti. We know he wouldn't do that, but whatever comes of this, we still love Manti," said Kela Miller.

Te'o has already graduated from Notre Dame. He is now at a pre-NFL draft camp in Florida.