OK. So, I’d planned on a bit of “blog silence” over the next couple of days, but I’d be a bit remiss if I didn’t post an update on the story I blogged about so passionately just recently. That is, the story of the student questioned by federal agents after checking out Mao’s “Little Red Book.” I just read a moment ago that the student has admitted it was a hoax.
The story, first reported in last Saturday’s New Bedford Standard-Times, was picked up by other news organizations, prompted diatribes on left-wing and right-wing blogs, and even turned up in an op-ed piece written by Senator Edward M. Kennedy in the Globe.
But yesterday, the student confessed that he had made it up after being confronted by the professor who had repeated the story to a Standard-Times reporter.
The professor, Brian Glyn Williams, said he went to his former student’s house and asked about inconsistencies in his story. The 22-year-old student admitted it was a hoax, Williams said.
”I made it up,” the professor recalled him saying. ”I’m sorry. . . . I’m so relieved that it’s over.”
While it’s no doubt a relief that this particular story isn’t true, it’s worth remembering some thing that will no doubt be forgotten while conservatives are crowing over this hoax as an early holiday present. I’ll just say it and go back to the holidays with my family confident that it will be completely drowned out in the “See? Liberals lie about everything!” rhetoric certain to ensue. It’s their holiday gift, and our lump of coal. This story may not have been true, but there are plenty just as bad that are true.
I’ve blogged about them before, and mentioned a few here. There’s the student whose anti-Bush poster got her a visit from the feds, the guy who’s anti-war talk at his gym was overheard and got him a visit too, the guy who got a visit after a fellow coffeeshop patron spotted an anti-war editorial under his arm while standing in line, and the parents who got a visit after their kid’s less-than-sufficiently jingoistic speech at school. And there are more that 100 of them at McCarthyism Watch, if anyone bothers to look. Few will. Every one will likely be drowned out or dismissed by pointing to this one.
Oh well. Score another one for the wingnuts. Now they can turn is up a notch every time another McCarthyism Watch story pops up, and point to this one as an example. Folks, the rock just got heavier and the hill steeper. Shall we bother to continue pushing?
Good night, and good luck.