Manti Te’o and the End of Truth

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Khan Manka, Manti Te'o, Brian Te'o, Lennay Kekua, Annette Santiago, Pete Thamel, Lennay Marie Kekua, Gene Wojchiechowski, Charlie Rose, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Fred Matua, Charlie Rose, Oasis Christian Church, U'ilani Rae KekuaFirst, an acknowledgement:

This is a quote by Tom Brokow right after the first Gulf War started in 1991 and CNN had the only reporters on the ground during the initial bombing of Bagdad: “CNN used to be called the little network that could. It’s no longer a little network.”

This can now be said of “ used to be the schlocky little sports blog that could. It’s no longer a little blog (though still somewhat schlocky).”

As of this writing, the Manti Te’o story has been read over 3,000,000 times on the site – (read it here, it’s awesome). To put it in context, a story about the 34 Hostages killed in Algeria (including Americans) has been read 27,000 times on Gawker (the parent of

So congratulations to everyone at You win. The rest of sports media loses.

The reporters at (Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey) said they got an anonymous tip that there was something fishy (my word) about the Manti Te’o girlfriend story. They did an initial Google search and found no stories about his supposed girlfriend (Lennay Kekua) except those that mentioned Manti Te’o. It was as though she only existed through her involvement with Manti Te’o. No other connection or mention. That is fishy.

But there could have been other mentions.

If those who masterminded the hoax had wanted to create old media stories about her and old websites and old social media profiles, etc., they could have. It is so easy to create a false persona that everyone believes is real… they might as well be real.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Khan Manka, Manti Te'o, Brian Te'o, Lennay Kekua, Annette Santiago, Pete Thamel, Lennay Marie Kekua, Gene Wojchiechowski, Charlie Rose, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Fred Matua, Charlie Rose, Oasis Christian Church, U'ilani Rae KekuaThey could have created a very rich, detailed, full life of Lennay Kekua that would fool everyone. People would say stuff like “oh, good for her,” “oh, I didn’t know that about her,” etc. And they would believe it because they don’t care if she’s real or not. She’s on the internet – so she’s real. End of story.

Everything that everyone says as a fake persona on the internet is true because who is going to investigate it? There aren’t enough Deadspin.coms in the world to look into the millions and millions of fake people out there.

If a fake person says on Facebook “I am eating a hamburger” – who’s going to believe it’s not true. It’s not possible, of course, because fake people can’t eat. But no one is going to question it. Because no one cares.

Everything writes on the internet is as true as everything the New York Times writes. We may not agree with what they write but we don’t question the validity – there just isn’t enough time (unless it’s The Onion – and who is to say that stuff’s not true).’s story of Manti Te’o was actually questioned immediately by “the established media” because didn’t have a strong journalism reputation (to say the least) and most people never heard of it.

But now, they are a go to source for breaking sports journalism – and, going forward, most won’t question what they write next.

Manka Bros., Khan Manka, OnMedea, Jill Kennedy, Khan Manka, Manti Te'o, Brian Te'o, Lennay Kekua, Annette Santiago, Pete Thamel, Lennay Marie Kekua, Gene Wojchiechowski, Charlie Rose, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Fred Matua, Charlie Rose, Oasis Christian Church, U'ilani Rae KekuaMaybe the writers at aren’t real either – no one seems to be inquiring about that – but it would be really easy to create “journalist characters” who act like they’re breaking real news stories until one day they actually do break real news and become “legitimate.”

Who is Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey? Sounds fishy to me. Extending it to television, who believes Charlie Rose is real? He looks like he’s been dead for years.

The internet is a fantasy world where people can be happily anonymous or happily real. It’s all the same.

It’s a massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMOPG) that we all play every day of our lives.

And no matter how many times Facebook asked for a phone number or a driver’s license or passport for users on their site to make sure only real people are there, the truth is, 20 or 30% of people there are not real. And never will be real and most of us never question it because we want the fantasy to be reality. We want our dogs to have Twitter accounts. We want to interact with “Shakespeare.”

It looks to me like Manti Te’o got caught up in that world and really fucked up his life in the “real world.”

Lennay Kekua had to die because someone would have eventually wanted to meet her OFFLINE – and that is where there is still some truth in the world.

Online, there is no truth and there never will be – and that’s the way we like it.

Accel Partners, Ben Silverman, Bob Iger, Chris Hughes, David Kirkpatrick, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Gerald Levin, Greylock Partners, HBO, Jeff Bewkes, Jeff Zucker, Jill Kennedy, Joanna Shields, Jon Miller, Khan Manka, Li Ka-shing, Manka Bros., Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Cohler, MySpace, Nicolas Carlson, OnMedea, Owen Van Natta, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Rupert Murdoch, Sheryl Sandberg, Sumner Redstone, Toy Story 3Jill Kennedy – OnMedea



16 Replies to “Manti Te’o and the End of Truth”

  1. Am I the only one who feels like this story makes perfect sense? He probably met the girl online, and felt ashame to admit that he met someone online without actually meeting her in the real world, so he made up a few white lies to explain how they actually met to make himself look more reasonable.

    I’m a wedding photographer and many of my clients meet online. Some embrace it and other clearly lie to me about how they “first met”.

    Obviously Manti could be making this whole thing up but I’d be willing to bet that he was catfished by someone online (even if she was”real”) but then tried to save a little face once he realized this girl lied to him about most of her story.

    I really feel bad for the guy. Gay or straight, the media has slapped him in the face without considering the human element – manti is probably both heartbroken and completely embarrassed.

    1. Patrick, I think the biggest question is this…. At least for me. Is he heartbroken and embarassed because he fell for something Or someone that was a hoax or because he got caught?

  2. The lie was paying off until he got caught. Did you not see all the publicity he got for “battling through this tragedy”… Jersey sales and fame, attempting to boost his career. People bought into the false story. A lot quite literally.

  3. Agreed Jill! He made it all up for some personal reasons, of which plenty are speculating. Then it just snowballed out of control as these things always do. Lies beget more lies. The BIGGER story here is Notre Dame’s cover-up and failure to notify the media when they found out weeks ago (before the BCS championship).

  4. There is no more truth. We live in a surreal world where there is no more honor, honesty or civility. Truth has now become an ancient term–all the rest is Lady Ga Ga and Ga Ga land.

  5. Still no clear motive. The story keeps getting more complex but why would these people go to such lengths to perpetrate this hoax? Did they ask for money for the funeral? Did they ask for money for any other reason? Without a motive, this sounds far-fetched and unbelievable…

  6. I thought notre dame students was suppose to be smart? How dumb do you have to be to fall for that? Or how dumb do you think America is if you say you didn’t know? Maybe Manti is trying to use some Jedi mind trick :-/

  7. Within 48 hours we can all expect to hear an apology from Manti Te’o who will assure everyone that Notre Dame was completely fooled and in the dark about the fraud.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. This story and everything surrounding it is just insane. Am I reading this correctly? A. He is lying to garner sympathy to help his chances with the draft or Heisman trophy, or B. He is dumb as a doornail for believing an online contact is his “girlfriend” without ever meeting her for something like two years, and he didn’t think it odd to not attend her funeral. Take your pick. The only winner is Lance Armstrong who has been bumped from the spots headlines.

  9. Most guys want to meet a woman they meet online within a month unless there are unforseen circumstances. For it to go on longer than that is ridiculous. I’ve know people to travel to meet someone they met online within a month. No excuse. On some level he must have wanted to be fooled.

    I had an online experience where a guy wasn’t trying to meet after talking for almost a month and I found out why. He had lied about his education and job. He thought he was Gibbs on NCIS but he was just some rent-a-cop who would never be admitted into the kind of graduate program he claimed he had a Masters in. I even wrote an article about

    My point is: This story makes no sense on either side.

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