December 24, 2005


Student's tall tale revealed: Confesses fabricating US surveillance story (Jonathan Saltzman, December 24, 2005, Boston Globe)

It rocketed across the Internet a week ago, a startling newspaper report that agents from the US Department of Homeland Security had visited a student at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth at his New Bedford home simply because he had tried to borrow Mao Tse-Tung's ''Little Red Book" for a history seminar on totalitarian goverments.

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.

Couldn't we have tortured him first?

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2005 8:04 AM

That Nazi, going to the poor bastard's house and confronting him- all he did was tell a false story about the Bushitler Regime. What's this country coming too.

Posted by: some random person at December 24, 2005 8:10 AM

Publish the 22-year-old student's name. Let shame and humiliation rain down on his little immature skull.

Posted by: AllenS at December 24, 2005 8:24 AM

Of course it was false. What possible reason could the FBI have?

The student should be sanctioned by his school but I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Bob at December 24, 2005 9:01 AM

Now back to the Kansas professor who was beaten up by fundamentalist thugs while walking in the middle of nowhere in the wee hours before dawn.

This is really getting to be a modern day version of the boy(s) who cried wolf -- The Liberals Who Cried Oppression. But until the media starts treating these stories as warily as they treat any White House announcement, people will keep trying to scam them to justify their own cause.

Posted by: John at December 24, 2005 9:49 AM

Really, the original tall tale was so improbable that no reasonable person could have taken it seriously.

There were many thousands of copies of the Little Red Book around in those days--I had one, I stil have it.

It's too bad the joker didn't repeat his story to the police, then we could have burned him for false reports to law enforcement. I'm afraid all we have here is a juvenile jest repeated as a real threat to academic freesdon by a lefty professor.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 24, 2005 10:44 AM

Dan Rather still believes the story is true.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at December 24, 2005 11:15 AM

For punishment, he should be forced to read Chairman Mao's book out loud to the rest of the students in his "history" seminar and then explain how even though many millions of people were subjugated by its author and many millions were murdered at his command, people like his professor did and still do laud and fawn over him.

Posted by: erp at December 24, 2005 12:03 PM

The MSM, jumps on another "story" (i.e. fairy tale) that matches their agenda, because it is just too good not to be true, only to discover that they have once again pulled the wool over their own eyes.

What ever happened to: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." as the basis for journalism?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 24, 2005 3:31 PM

. . . and I was abducted by conservative right-wing aliens last week until I promised that I would not oppose their agenda of universal conquest. HONEST!

Posted by: obc at December 24, 2005 5:21 PM

Forget Darwin - it's stories like this that make me miss Harry.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 24, 2005 10:26 PM