Reporter On The Roxanne Shante Story Chimes In... Sorta

from the well,-well dept

So, yesterday, we published our report noting that the NY Daily News story about Roxanne Shante supposedly earning a PhD from Cornell didn't appear to be fact checked at all, and in checking the facts, we found that almost none of them checked out. I had contacted the Daily News asking them to put me in touch with the reporter on the story, Walter Dawkins, but had not heard back until about an hour ago. Someone claiming to be Dawkins called me (and a call to his phone turned up voicemail claiming to be Dawkins), saying that he heard about me looking into the story from an unidentified "Dan from Cornell" (not from the Daily News, so apparently separate from my request) and wanted to see what I had found out and if there was any more beyond what I had written. So I told him that I had written everything I had found out, but I was more curious in finding out from him if he had done any fact checking at all on the story, and could he back up any of the things in the story that didn't check out.

From there, the call got... weird. First he just started listing off the already debunked sources of the Cornell Magazine (I'm guessing he meant the Cornell Chronicle) and that alum list which was obviously wrong, since it was from '91, well before Shante claimed to have attended Cornell. Then he said he heard about it on a "Hot97 interview." Then there was a pause, and he suddenly got quite agitated, saying he had to "get out of here" and then, "I know what you're doing! No recording, no writing stuff down. Everything I just said is OFF THE RECORD." Of course, that's not how it works. If you have something to tell a reporter "off the record," you establish that first. And I pointed out that surely he, as a professional reporter, knows that. I won't reprint his response, because I guess we can assume that everything after that point in the call was, technically, "off the record" but I can say that he never answered a single question and that most of the rest of the call had him insisting that he had nothing to say to me, followed by me pointing out that he was the one who called me, not the other way around. Eventually, the call ended with him hanging up on me and refusing to answer any of the questions I asked. He did, at one point, promise me an official statement later, but I'm not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, Shante also has been responding oddly, telling one blog that she was just "going to let it go," and posting on Twitter that "in 3days I will rise again everything is temporary today's gossip is tomorrow's deleted messages." Apparently, 'fessing up isn't in the cards.

But, of course, we need those big important newspapers with their professional reporters and fact checkers, or the blogs would run wild with lies, right?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Yet another example of...

    why I don't use the mainstream media. I am so sick of biased yellow journalism. Then they want US to PAY for their crappy "news"? The collective analysis of hundreds, if not thousands usually gets it right. News outlets will die off, just as CD's replaced records, and MP3's will eventually replace CD's. Embrace change or die off. Just die already!

     

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  2.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Yet another example of...

    Honestly, I get more out of the Colbert Report and The Onion than any 'legitimate' news outlet. At least with those two you know they're putting you on; while the 'legit' ones will lie to your face, claiming all the while it's true.

     

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  3.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    ...then something needs to be proactively done in response to this. I mean, it's good to share the story, but that can't be the end of it. Much like you get witnesses and communities to come out against far greater wrongdoers (thieves, rapists, gangbangers, etc.), you need to take steps to make sure that Dawkins can't perpetrate this kind of intellectual crime on others. Phone records should be a good starting point of verification.

    "Dawkins called me saying that he heard about me looking into the story from an unidentified "Dan from Cornell""

    ...mmkay, and did you ask who the fuck he was talking about? Did he say it like those really ditzy girls do where they just use first names and loose associations and just assume that because THEY know who they're referring to then you must to, because after all, who they know is, like, crazy imporant and stuff? This explanation of how he heard about your post sounds fishy.

    "and wanted to see what I had found out and if there was any more beyond what I had written"

    Oh, so he's an openly sharing information guy. Well, that's nice of him. Good of you to tell him everything you found out, too.

    "but I was more curious in finding out from him if he had done any fact checking at all on the story, and could he back up any of the things in the story that didn't check out"

    Well that's fair. You basically asked him the same thing he asked you. I smell a wonderful sharing of information amongst peers! Yaaay!

    "First he just started listing off the already debunked sources of the Cornell Magazine"

    Uh oh. Hope....fading....wish for....better news....

    "Then he said he heard about it on a "Hot97 interview.""

    ....no way. He didn't really say that, did he? He said to you that one of his sources of information was from what I can assume was a radio interview. As a source. Of information, as opposed to terrible music. Naaaaah, no way. No way, because any journalist who managed to bang his TA long enough to scrape a passing grade through his college courses would know how ridiculous that is and would want to flee from the conversation immediately.

    "Then there was a pause, and he suddenly got quite agitated, saying he had to "get out of here" and then, "I know what you're doing! No recording, no writing stuff down. Everything I just said is OFF THE RECORD.""

    .....dammit, it WAS true. And my explanation of how he passed his classes is clearly the only one that makes any sense, given his lack of understanding of how "The Record" works.

    "Meanwhile, Shante also has been responding oddly, telling one blog...that "in 3days I will rise again..."

    ....[speechless]....

     

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  4.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:50pm

    Hilarious.

    This story keeps getting better all the time.

    Keep it comin' Mr. Dawkins!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:57pm

    Job Opening

    If anyone is looking for a job reporting for the NY Daily News, you may be in luck. I think there may be an opening soon.

     

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  6.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Yet another example of...

    seconded. For me it's Colbert Report and Fark, mostly because fark has more amusing headlines (and fact checks). Example fark headline: Scottish men buy bigger condoms than the rest of the UK, but to be fair, you can't make a decent haggis in the smaller sizes.

     

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  7.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 3:06pm

    How Stuff Works

    "today's gossip is tomorrow's deleted messages."

    Yeah, because that's clearly how the Internet works. It would be different if there were gigabytes of storage somwhere on devices that could "serve" that stored data for decades to come, and some kind of free tools that would index and find information associated to key words, no matter how obscure. Of course, that would only make an impact if many people had access to a network and had devices to render that information. But, alas, no.

    The Internets are just a modern version of the town cryer: loud for a ephemeral instant, mere echoes just seconds later.

    You go Shante. I'm glad you're not a real Cornell grad - we already have to suffer the indignity of Andy from "The Office". I'll just add you to the list of fictional Alums that don't make the school proud.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    "in 3days I will rise again..."

    Shante the anti-christ?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    Why am I left with the impression that this Mr. Dawkins is not a "journalist" as that word is commonly understood? All the qualifications like "special" and "writer" leave me a bit suspicious about his actual status.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    Just because she's on the cross doesn't make her Jesus...

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    Thus "anti-christ" not Jesus

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 4:31pm

    When the reporter contacted Warner Brothers Records about the contract before the article, its only response was that it was having difficulty finding someone within the company who could "talk eloquently" about it.
    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2009/08/23/2009-08-23_rapper_schools_record_label_qns_ma_ makes_warner_music_foot_bill_for_phd.html#ixzz0Q5af9kUb

    wtf

     

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  13.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    Maybe he was saying that Jesus WAS the antichrist, meaning that the REAL christ came before him?

    Like John the Baptiste, perhaps?

    Or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Or encased sausage?

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    How Old Are You?, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    Or Dark Helmet. What is with the fake smiley face?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    CrushU, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    He changed it after commenting on the revelation that the media industry is giving permission to companies to distribute movies/music on torrents...

    He's Dark Joker now.

     

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  16.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay....IF that was really Dawkins....

    Actually it was my post award as comment of the day celebratory act.

    The truth is that there are so few good Dark Helmet photos out there....

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Job Opening

    roflol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2009 @ 7:29pm

    Re:

    " It has come to the attention of the Daily News that a number of statements in this article written for the Daily News by a freelance reporter are, or may be, false."

    Ignore the fact that blogs are the one that corrected you and blogs are the ones that came to the correct story before you and you simply FREELOADED off of blogs and act like you are the one initiated the original research and blogs simply parasite off of you. Give no credit to the blogs whatsoever but expect them to give you credit. HOW PATHETIC.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    D Davis, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 7:40am

    um, ouch

    Ouch, you nailed him.

    So.Bad.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Matt, Sep 8th, 2009 @ 4:14am

    Confirmation?

    Can we be sure that this dude was the reporter?

    Also, do a search for this guy. This is like the only story he has ever written and he doesn't have his own website, so I assume he's just a music fan or a blogger of some kind.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Matt, Sep 8th, 2009 @ 4:21am

    Or...

    OK, well, maybe he's a teacher and a PR dude. From the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (notice the EMI reference):

    Basic Public Relations Writing
    X50.9293/$785
    S Sec. 1: Wed. 6.30–9 p.m., Sept. 23–Nov. 18
    (8 sessions). No class Nov. 11. Walter Dawkins
    ,
    journalist whose work has appeared in the
    New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek,
    Variety, and others; public relations at EMI
    Records
    and the NBA.

    http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:uG8Hq0Bt8jgJ:www.scps.nyu.edu/export/sites/scps/pdf/bul letin/fall-2009/scps-pr.pdf+Walter+Dawkins+journalist&cd=35&hl=zh-TW&ct=clnk&gl=hk&a mp;client=firefox-a

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    cheyenne, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 7:02am

    dance

    u suck hahahhahahha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    cheyenne, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 7:03am

    dance

    u suck hahahhahahha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    cheyenne, Dec 22nd, 2011 @ 7:03am

    dance

    u suck hahahhahahha

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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