Slight Factual Error

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Gawker, whose staff apparently checks all the Columbia news websites every ten minutes for changes, is muscling onto Bwog’s turf a little bit this afternoon. Namely, catching Spec with its pants down with the following correction tucked at the bottom of yesterday’s caustic anti-Tibet editorial:

CORRECTION: This submission misstates that one Dalai Lama admitted to having sex with hundreds of men and women while knowing that he had AIDS. Additionally, the submission misstates that many monks participated in the dismemberment of female bodies. In fact, there is no factual evidence to substantiate either of these claims. Spectator regrets the error.

Well, yes, that’s amazing. Good enough for Gawker to walk its fancy self above 96th Street (and to note that relevance, the current Dalai Lama has held his position for fifty years, which means the number of Dalai Lamas an editor has to look up to verify that claim is approximately one).  We won’t even mention that Spec tagged the article “ignorance.”

Anyway, we applaud Gawker on their nice catch. However, stealing our headline from earlier today? Man. Clearly, somebody should be paying us. We’re looking in the general direction of your faux-loft penthouse, Denton.

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  1. The King of Spain  

    I feel like the "cutting up women" claim is a reference to sky burials, where the bodies are left for animals to be eaten. The same thing is done for Zoroastrians, but the Tibetans dismember the corpses for easier eating by birds. This has to be the source of her spin. Either that or brainwashing.

    The claim is analogous to, "Priests of the Catholic Church have been claiming to serve the blood of an undead Jew to women for years." They're both true statements.

  2. That article  

    felt like it was written by a member of that one club that's the front for the Chinese Consulate.

  3. Imagine  

    a mistake in a piece by a student journalist. I bet bwog doesn't know anything about that.

  4. um...  

    but this one is pretty ridiculous. So he's a bisexual AIDS-ridden slut? The dalai lama? really?! One would think that kind of shocking fact would merit extremely rigorous fact-checking. What's next? Obama as a tranny who services the homeless?!

  5. alexw  

    HA! The article was written by "Christina Liu," one of my various phony pseudonyms.

  6. D.L.  

    Well... it's not really a minor fuckup, like getting a date wrong. I'm almost tempted to say it's offensive, but it's so far off base that it just reveals the sheer stupidity/ignorance of the writer.

  7. MNT  

    She was probably thinking of this, though still a big error: http://www.aegis.com/news/Lt/1989/LT890302.html

    Also, Bwog, remember the time you reported that a basketball player had an STD without fact-checking it? Can't find the post (deleted?), but that was pretty similarly ridiculous.

    • indeed  

      Indubitably that's where the idea came from, and she's just so fucking dumb she didn't know there's a whole galaxy of Lamas out there, not just one (no mention, of course, of the last Panchen Lama, who was disappeared by the PRC at the age of 6, and has not been heard of since). Even so, that's like calling the Pope a pedophile, and all Catholics apologists, just because of the actions of a few--okay, a lot--of priests. Actually, it's a lot worse, because there's only one.

      I just hope she feels unrelenting shame about this whole thing, like real, deep shame, and that from now on, every time she introduces herself to someone, they snigger and then walk away.

    • if i remember  

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think people (or maybe just one person) posted flyers on campus saying "THIS GUY HAS AN STD," and Bwog posted a picture of one.

      A mean thing to do to the guy, but Bwog wasn't confirming or denying anything.

      • yeah  

        True, but when you disseminate someone's charge that widely without doing any fact-checking, you're complicit in that shit. Plenty of stupid, false, and malicious things are said/written about people every day, but media outlets are expected to show some restraint and do a little digging before repeating them. It's not a perfect analogue to the Spec error, true -- I'm just trying to say that the Bwog is being awfully pissy (as usual) about a Spec fuck-up when they themselves are guilty of a similar offense.

  8. Hey Spec  

    I think you need to do a bit more than "Correction Appended" and "Spec regrets the error". That was slanderous and absurd, and in the real world a newspaper that did something like that would see its EIC resign the next day. Let's keep Chinese propaganda off our newspapers please, and could someone check that Christina Liu isn't in fact an agent of their government? Fucking ridiculous.

  9. I'm having a  

    really hard time figuring out if the Spec piece was satire. It seems to be the case until the last few paragraphs about Iraq and the like.

  10. Wow

    Ya, i can't believe that there wasn't a single source reference in the article. Between this and the fact that the spec has two columnists who talk of nothing other than how columbia is a "white supremacist" institution, i think it's fair to say that the editorial board has reached a new low.

  11. spec

    spec pretty much caught a break on this, since no one has read gawker since choire sicha left. god help them if it gets posted on wonkette or jezebel, though.

  12. Liu  

    Liu must be an agent of China to write such bull

  13. Denton?

    Is that the guy from that video?
    "Clown on her, Denton"

  14. hey bwog

    it may actually have been a bwog reader (ahem: me) who sent in the the thing to gawker. next time you'll think twice about not printing my hilarious tips.

    you snub me, and i send my hilarity above you.

    you have been warned.

  15. Carl  

    Big hitter, the Lama

  16. Does anyone  

    know Christina Liu? Is she a Chinese government agent? Brainwashed? Just really, really gullible?

  17. holyshit

    people, be fair. she just made two or three factual errors, but the point she was making - knowing what you are fighting for - is absolutely right. it's just stupid to blindly follow the "super cool fashion" of defending tibet and the dalai lama, like that holywood guy , - you know what, its basically true that tibetans lived in slavery under the dalai lama, poor peasants were often beheaded for defying the cruel ruler, you do not need to check the history book on this, just look at the eye of mr. Lama - he is nothing but an opportunist and a cruel butcher... for those who just like that monk, you got too much romantic stuff in your mind... his holiness is certainly having a lot of peace and happiness in his private life, but i doubt he knows anything about life more than you and i do... stop letting yourself being so easily manipulated by anybody, including his holyshit.


      Are you kidding me? Two or three "factual errors?" I would say two or three gross distortions. One gross distortion is one too many, and that goes just as well for your absurd claim that the present Dalai Lama is "an opportunist and a cruel butcher."

    • Radio Free Asia  

      So wait, now it's a "super cool fashion" to defend the rights of man? I never knew Rousseau was so hep.

      Just for some context on the government that fired on protesters in Tibet...that's the same government that sponsored the brutal crackdown on Burma, and that continue to underwrite genocide in Darfur. You want cruel butchery? During the crackdowns in Burma, detained protesters were burned alive in crematoria. You want cruel butchery? So far thousands have died in Darfur, and there's more to come.

      China is government without a conscience. All the rulers understand is the barrel of a gun. It's amazing how the Chinese government has shifted blame off its brutality by playing with ethnic tensions. Sometimes when you play with matches, you get burned.

      Meanwhile, it's wonderful to see all these Chinese lackeys showing up at Columbia. Maybe that propaganda works back home, when they throw you in jail for dissent, but here such blatant injustice does not fly.

  18. They took it off...  

    From Spec: "Because this piece was based on unreliable sources we have decided to retract the article and remove it from the Web site. We appreciate all the letters we have received (one of which is printed in the 4/18/08 issue) and deeply apologize for the error."

  19. not so holy

    Re: "Just for some context on the government that fired on protesters in Tibet" --

    man, i know if I argue in favor of the chinese govt, I'll simply be accused of being their lackey, but you should not ignore that fact that, if those tibetan monks had any conscience, they wouldnot have killed (burned live) those innocent shop owners just to get their message out, the chinese police did not fire at them this time, unlike what they did to the students in 1989, so, those damned monks are simply taking advantage of this olympic moment to get the attention of the western world, they know the chinese govt cannot do anything outrageous this time since there is the olympic torch hanging ahead... but those poor Han people who wanted to try their luck in tibet ended up with their life and families totally fucked up, if you think that is just propaganda, then how do you know the burma and darfur things are not western propaganda. What the chinese govt did wrong in tibet is just their dumb communist officials don't know how to manage the monks in a smarter way, for those of you in support of the dalai lamas, try to imagine what life would be like if you yourself live there, would you like someone like the dalai lama to be your president? let's be real...

    ok, i'd better admit iam a communist lackey before you smart men start attacking me.

  20. Radio Free Asia

    Well, given that China has been trying to suppress Tibetan spirituality for decades now, and given that Tibetans continue to support him wholeheartedly--YES, there are many people who would want the Dalai Lama to be their president. China hates the Dalai Lama, as is clear from your postings. But people follow him anyways, they march for him and die for him, because they believe in him more than the junta government in Bejing.

    I genuinely sympathize with the Han Chinese who were attacked, and I do think that the Tibetan violence was wrong. But this is sheer propaganda:
    "The Chinese police did not fire this time, unlike what they did to the students in 1989." Hu did fire at Tibetan protesters, just as he fired at students at Tiananmen and just as his lackey Than Shwe fired on Burmese monks. Before the riots even started, the Chinese government was ruling Tibet with an iron fist. They would routinely jail people who spoke out.

    I hope you will see what the Chinese government has done since 1989. They have played one ethnic group off another (specifically, enflaming Han sentiment against everyone else, e.g. encouraging Han to move into Tibet and they discriminating against Tibetans). That way, Han begin to value their superior position over Tibetans, instead of valuing freedom for all.

    Twenty years ago, Chinese students died so they could raise their voices for freedom. Today, they come down firmly on the side of oppression. Why can't you see this?! Do you honestly believe Chinese are better off when they're thrown in jail for saying the wrong thing? Let go of your dislike of Tibetans, and fight for YOUR freedom alongside them.

  21. Radio Free Asia

    One more thing to add. From the post, it might look like I'm comparing you to Than Shwe because you're both Chinese "lackeys". This was unintentional, and I do not believe it for one second.

  22. facts

    1: article available via google cache:


    2: it is patently insane to describe what she wrote as merely "factual errors". where is she getting this propaganda from?

    3: related: WTF, spec editors? how did you not catch this? how did you allow this to go to print?

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