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Feb 9, 2006

Deutschgate in the Media

The George Deutsch scandal instantly became one of the top stories in the press this week, and the coverage has been widespread, even where I live in the United Kingdom. Andrew Revkin, the author of the New York Times article about Deutsch’s resignation, deserves a round of applause for being the first to bring the story into the mainstream media. He contacted me late Monday night, only a few hours after I posted my original findings. I would also like to direct readers to two Texas papers, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Houston Chronicle, which both ran good stories with a local focus. In addition, I will be on The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 10:00 pm GMT.

Not everyone has covered this story well, and some haven’t even covered it at all. Although The Washington Post did cover the Deutsch resignation on Wednesday, the same day as The New York Times, it did not mention the source of the information on Deutsch’s lying about having a college degree. Although it briefly mentioned The Scientific Activist in an article on Thursday, it never acknowledged the fact that I personally called their National Desk and described my findings on Monday night, the same night I published them on the web! That’s the last time I give them a hot news tip.

Incomplete coverage isn’t as bad as no coverage, which is what's happening at Texas A&M University’s student paper The Battalion. There hasn't been a single article about the NASA censorship scandal, even though the original story came out over a week and a half ago. All of this is occurring despite the fact that the story is about A&M and the fact that I talked to the editors of The Battalion on Monday and Tuesday, and I submitted a letter about this for publication! Why hasn’t their been any coverage? Editor in Chief Melissa Filbin has the explanation. “I just don’t see the angle,” she told me. Are you serious? No angle? Filbin told me explicitly on Tuesday that there would be no coverage of this story. Unsurprisingly, a writer at the paper described to me what’s going on as “Lots of politics.”

If you would like to submit a letter for publication, submit it to mailcall@thebattalion.net. Please note that the paper's website states that letters are supposed to be 200 words or less.

I used to write for The Battalion, and in general I think it is professional and well-done, especially for a student paper. This situation is pretty sad, though. I hope that the editors of The Battalion will change their minds, because so far they have done a great disservice to the students of Texas A&M University, many of whom rely on the student paper to find out what’s going on in the world.


Update (9 February 23:59 GMT): It looks like The Battalion will be running a story about Deutsch this Friday after all. Thanks go to lunaliar for bringing this to my attention. I called the Editor in Chief, and although she wouldn't tell me much, she verified that the article would indeed feature an interview with Deutsch himself. Deutsch only just broke his media silence, but based on what he's said so far, I think we can expect something pretty ridiculous. I hope that The Battalion will provide a detailed background on the story, but since it has waived that option so far by not reporting on it at all, I'll believe it when I see it. Either way, I don't think it would hurt to keep them on their toes, so I'll leave the contact information up in case you have anything you want to say.

Update (10 February 9:26 GMT): Forget about what I said in the last update. The Battalion is in fact not running a story today on the NASA scandal, despite Melissa Filbin telling me and others that there would be one.

Update (10 February 20:52 GMT): I probably should have made this update earlier, but I have been busy all day making up for lost time in the research lab this week! As it has already been noted in the comments for this post, The Battalion did apparently run an AP story on Deutsch today, although I haven't seen it (it does not appear on the paper's website). While I am glad that there has been some coverage, this isn't a substitute for more in depth reporting, and it definitely does not make up for not reporting on this incident at all until now. I should make it clear that this has nothing to do with mentioning me or The Scientific Activist. Instead, this is about the students who relied on this paper for their news and were left in the dark on this subject. Regardless, The Battalion has proven itself in the past to be a professional paper, and with the large student body and wealth of resources available to it by operating at such a big public university, I have faith that it can overcome this and not drop the ball the next time a story like this comes up.

Update:I took down the contact information for The Battalion since it was no longer relevant.

55 Comments:

  • Hi, Nick, I couldn't find where to email you, but I wanted to say that I'm a writer at the University of Texas' The Daily Texan. If you would like to write an article about this, I would be glad to publish it in my space. I also have a tv show at our local station that covers politics, so if you're ever down in Austin, ring us up. My email is robertetaylor@gmail.com. Get back to me if you can

    By Blogger Robert Taylor, at Thu Feb 09, 09:34:00 PM  

  • Your notariety will soon fade. Enjoy it while you can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 09, 09:44:00 PM  

  • Thanks for what you've done with Deutsch. It takes courage, expecially in this current atmosphere of idiocy in America. When you get a chance, you might want to check out David Brin's blog "Contrary Brin." Although sometimes he gets too much into the political angles, he usually gets back to his roots and discusses science and society.

    By Anonymous saxa82, at Thu Feb 09, 10:44:00 PM  

  • Neil Postman, in "Amusing Ourselves to Death", argues that informed public discourse has ended with the advent of television.

    His argument is that a medium of communication influences the concepts discussed, since some concepts will be easy to discuss and others hard - for example, you can't talk philosophy using smoke signals.

    He avers that print as a medium of communication enourages rational thoughtfulness; and that television as a medium encourages de-contexualization (e.g. information which has very little or no relevance to us), de-contentization ("washes whiter!") and in fact converts every message it conveys into *entertainment*.

    Entertainment is fine in and of itself, but not when it is unfortunately being used as the primary medium for public discourse.

    The lack of meaningful public discourse is naturally harmful since it removes one of the primary inhibitors of State misbehaviour.

    By Anonymous Toby, at Thu Feb 09, 11:09:00 PM  

  • the plot thickens. Apparently it wasn't his fault. I say zero tolerance for people that lie on their resumes and lie to the public.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/10/science/10nasa.html

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 09, 11:32:00 PM  

  • Turns out they will be publishing it. Just talked to Melissa, she said to look for it in tomorrow's Batt. She alluded to a possible exclusive interview with Deutsch himself.

    I'll be watching for it.

    By Blogger lunaliar, at Thu Feb 09, 11:38:00 PM  

  • You should hear the "interview" on Whoopie-TAW (http://www.wtaw.com). Basically they toss a couple of soft-ball questions then give Deutsch the microphone for about 8+ minutes and let him rail against Hansen and the vast left-wing conspiracy. Sheesh!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 12:03:00 AM  

  • Nick,

    I could not find your email address to add to my email to the Battalion. Anyway, I sent something, but it looks like others did too. Hope all works out and I will be looking for the article in question in this paper.

    Jimmh

    By Anonymous Jimmy Porter, at Fri Feb 10, 12:18:00 AM  

  • It is disgusting how quickly and thoroughly you're willing to sacrifice the reputations of your fellow Aggies to further what is obviuosly a personal cause of yours. You may think you have justification for publicly attacking them but you certainly have no honor and no sense of loyalty. It's one thing to criticize A&M issues among other Aggies, it is quite a different thing to bad mouth students of your alma mater to the world. Enjoy your ephemeral spotlight at the expense of others, and good luck in your endeavors -- I'm sure you'll go far.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 12:23:00 AM  

  • Hmm, I believe anon here is Georgie himself. OR the other George. Anyhooo, is reporting a crime or correcting a lie a crime in neocon world? I guess it is and it's sad that America has come to this state with anon's vision of the world here. I'll petition the President that he is doing a fantastic job and that he should hire more people like GD.

    I wrote to the Batt, and to my alma mater, Cornell Univ, to spread the word and outrage.

    By Blogger Epikorean, at Fri Feb 10, 12:37:00 AM  

  • Hmmmm... where should I start?


    It is disgusting how quickly and thoroughly you're willing to sacrifice the reputations of your fellow Aggies...

    I think he sacrificed his own reputation by lying on his resume. If you're an Aggie, then I'm sure you're familiar with the Aggie Honor Code (An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do).


    ...to further what is obviuosly a personal cause of yours.

    If you're referring to the cause of science, then yes, I was trying to protect the science. Allowing someone like Deutsch to stay in his position would be incredibly destructive.


    It's one thing to criticize A&M issues among other Aggies, it is quite a different thing to bad mouth students of your alma mater to the world.

    First of all, he didn't graduate from A&M, which in itself doesn't make him not an Aggie, but the fact that he lied about this means that he gave up any legitimate claim to deserving some sort of protection from other Aggies. If you are worried about A&M, I think the fact that I was able to distance him from A&M made A&M look better, not worse.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Fri Feb 10, 01:23:00 AM  

  • From the NY Times today...

    Mr. Deutsch said he resigned of his own volition because he was unhappy with the negative publicity he and NASA were receiving in the news media. "I was just sick of it," he said. "I was being smeared. My integrity and credibility was being questioned. And as a human being, as a human being, I just could not take it anymore."

    And, of course, there was the little thing about lying on your resume!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 01:28:00 AM  

  • Republicans under the Rovian Model *always* attack where they themselves are at fault. So they immediately start yelling about being Swift-boated when their lies, manipulations, sweetheart deals and suppressions of the truth are discovered. Tom DeLay did that with a "testimonial dinner" after people started questioning whether some of the stuff he'd pulled was actually illegal. Remember all the luminaries who came out all huffy about Tom DeLay being "smeared?" Deutsch is just following the model set forth by his heroes in "The War Room" -- an experience he valued so highly that he placed it on his resume.

    --Skippy the wonder science geek

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 01:44:00 AM  

  • Yesterday this started to change from a good deed to being all about you. Now this has all become about you. You are so desperate to cling to your 15 minutes of fame that you are now whining abou the big bad media when they dont pay attention to little old you.

    Get over it. The guy quit and now he's gone.

    May be we should check into your background. Are you really a Rhodes scholar?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 02:04:00 AM  

  • I love it - NickGate!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 02:06:00 AM  

  • Congratulations :-) Considering how much wankery and hot air there is in Blogistan, it's nice to see it do something useful too. You have many admirers cheering you from the sidelines.

    By Blogger elendil, at Fri Feb 10, 04:07:00 AM  

  • Nick -

    From someone who worked with Dr. Hansen at Columbia University over 20 years ago and someone who is now a resident of Fort Worth, TX (your old stomping grounds), I'd like to give you a heartfelt thanks and round of applause.

    As far as Texas A&M is concerned, I hope that they are reminded of their code of conduct "An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do" if Deutsch ever attempts to complete his degree there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 05:36:00 AM  

  • Well, anonymous, I'm on the faculty of the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at TAMU and I can attest that Nick is a graduate of our department and a Rhodes Scholar. Of course, you could have figured it out yourself.

    By Anonymous Jim Hu, at Fri Feb 10, 06:27:00 AM  

  • Good work in outing this guy! the international community keeps looking on in despair as Bush and his people try their hardest to sink your country lower and lower (which is a very bad thing for everyone considering all the power it wields), so it's a relief to see that there are smart americans actually opposing their government shenanigans, and getting results. Here's hoping the US doesn't become a theocratic police state out of the Dark Ages!

    By Anonymous JK, Mexico, at Fri Feb 10, 02:24:00 PM  

  • Nick
    In regards to your 08 Feb post, "The New Republic" magazine had a recent issue, post Katrina, with an excellent article on Bush political appointees, with bios on many. I urge anyone to look it up and read it. It is an outrage. Ideology and loyality are their only qualifications.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 02:56:00 PM  

  • I can't believe Melissa Filbin blatantly lied to me! What is she trying to cover up, and WHY? I can tell you this, if she thinks that scoring points with some Bush Administration lackey is in the best interest of Aggies, then she is sadly mistaken. If you are not outraged, then you are NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

    By Blogger lunaliar, at Fri Feb 10, 03:28:00 PM  

  • She has a brilliant career ahead of her in the new journalism, Bush-style

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 03:44:00 PM  

  • The Battalion has the stupid AP article printed verbatim on the second page that doesn't mention you at all Nick. The Battalion really has gone downhill in the last couple of years, and that's not implying it was good ever anyway.

    We miss you Nick,
    -A fellow Aggie Democrat

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 04:37:00 PM  

  • The College Station local media has picked up the story today. Both KBTX and The Eagle are calling Mr. Deutsch an Aggie. I contacted KBTX last night and the response I received was that "since he went to A&M that makes him an Aggie." I informed her that by calling this liar an Aggie is a disgrace to all the true Aggies that have graduated and have not lied on their resume.

    Mr. Deutsch's comment about his resume, as reported in The Eagle, is that, "If my resume is misleading, I take responsibility for that."

    If? What part of stating that you did graduate from A&M and you actually did not would be misleading?

    I congratulate you Nick for busting this fraud.

    By Anonymous montyman, at Fri Feb 10, 04:44:00 PM  

  • Nick, I think that this press you're getting is great! Its ridiculous that any political appointee can muzzle or re-shape the message of government scientists.

    With all this web traffic associated with the national press linking to your blog, I encourage you take advantage of the opportunity to do some sincere scientific advocacy in addition to your media roundups! All these people visiting your site may be interested to hear more about the work that is being done in astronomy and mathematics to add further evidence to the Big Bang. Why it may or may not be considered a "theory" by rigourous scientific definition. Maybe that will help prevent some members of the ill-informed public from saying that an "intelligent designer" is a reasonable alternative to substantiated scientific explanations of the universe.

    - Becca

    By Blogger Becca, at Fri Feb 10, 04:55:00 PM  

  • I'm glad Deutsch's falsified resume was brought to light before he could have done more harm to the reputations of both Texas A&M and NASA.

    By Blogger Gavin, at Fri Feb 10, 05:05:00 PM  

  • All Aggies should be happy with the work you've done to out that fraud! Thanks--

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 06:16:00 PM  

  • Anonymous said...
    Your notariety [sic] will soon fade. Enjoy it while you can.
    ----------------------------

    Nick--

    Before you found the resume,Mr. Deutsch's comments stirred up one hell of a hornet's nest on science faculties on this country. I imagine the same is true at research labs. Your actions laying him low led to some outright jubilation at faculty meetings. In fact, personally I was almost sad you did it so fast--it cut off a building desire to do something united against these people.

    Your public notoreity may fade, but having spent five years on an Ivy science faculty I can assure you--five years from now, science professors will still remember what you've done, even if the media has forgotten it. It was just that big.

    PS Your detractors should really learn to spell.

    By Anonymous Professor Foland, at Fri Feb 10, 07:04:00 PM  

  • I wonder if the President of Texas A&M (Robert M Gates - a $2,000 Bush campaign contributor) is having any role in shutting down this story at A&M??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 07:31:00 PM  

  • Congratulations! You will need a new story by next week, but you did a great job this week.

    Gary Hurd

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 07:45:00 PM  

  • For what it's worth, The Batt did run a story. They just went with an AP story instead of their own. Maybe there was a political motivation, but maybe Melissa just had her first big exam of the semester, or couldn't find a reporter to cover it, or the reporter to whom it was assigned missed the deadline. With a student publication, there are any number of reasons not related to actual malice for why the story wasn't covered. And in the end, it *was*. Just not as deeply as you would have liked.
    -Prest0

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 08:36:00 PM  

  • AP Story on Yahoo.

    Not one mention of him lying about his degree from A&M.

    "What you do have is hearsay coming from a handful of people who have clear partisan ties and they are really coming after me as a Bush appointee," he told radio station WTAW. "I was an easy target. I was low-hanging fruit."

    By Anonymous montyman, at Fri Feb 10, 10:08:00 PM  

  • Currently on the front page of Yahoo with an active discussion thread. No mention in the main story of Deutsch resigning because of being caught with a bogus resume...instead, the story says he is a victim of a political witch hunt

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060210/ap_on_sc/nasa_resignation

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 10, 10:46:00 PM  

  • The 2/8/6 NY Times artical says he insisted that every mention of the Big Bang have the word "Theory" added. It is a theory, this is good science to call it a theory. Likewise, every mention of Intelligent Design should have the word "Faith" added.

    By Anonymous Luigi, at Fri Feb 10, 11:57:00 PM  

  • Dr. Foland: talk about spelling! Shouldn't your sentence "on science faculties on this country" say *in* this country? You must be an Aggie too.

    First we have a lying 24 year old Aggie Bushie and now we have a 23 year old Kerry Aggie complaining that no one is quoting him any more. Dueling Aggie fratboys. What fun.

    Instead of waiting for the phone to ring why don't you do your homework, Nick. Face it - both you and George are last week's news.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Feb 11, 12:22:00 AM  

  • Is this really a TAMU story? I don't think so.

    Originally, it was Hansen's story via the NY Times article. Then it went up the chain in NASA and Deutsche was mentioned along the way. TAMU is only involved by the fact that Deutsche happened to be enrolled there once and claimed to get a degree from there.

    If Deutsche is only a bit player, TAMU is an even smaller player and even then only by an unfortunate association with Deutsche.

    No one reads college papers anyway. The only ones that count are the national papers, the NY Times and the Washington Post. Don't waste your time worrying about TAMU.

    Let's stay focused on the big issue: which is the Bush Administration's efforts to silence scientists.

    - IMHO

    By Blogger element, at Sat Feb 11, 12:31:00 AM  

  • PS - I think the National security failure is not being given enough attention here. How many foreign spies, potential terrorists, etc. are able to evade thorough background checks and gain access to government positions by collecting political favor the way Mr. Deutsch has?

    By Anonymous Luigi, at Sat Feb 11, 12:44:00 AM  

  • Good job of calling the phoney out. It's disgusting that politicians are responsible for scientific appointments.

    By Blogger Jeff, at Sat Feb 11, 12:50:00 AM  

  • RE: Is this a TAMU story?

    In one sense it is. ^The Bush administration is trying to silence all critics (not just scientist) and one was of doing this is increased control of the media. To the extent that the media at Texas A&M is a microcosm of this, then it is part of the story.

    Also, Texas A&M has extensive connections to the Bush White House (including being the home of dad's Presidential Library)...so, to the extent that these connections were being used by Deutsch to land a political appointment in return for using the school paper to push the Bush agenda (see a number of stories that Deutsch authored while there), then, Texas A&M is part of the story.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Feb 11, 12:52:00 AM  

  • RE: "Don't waste your time worrying about TAMU"

    Actually, alot of people read the student newspaper at A&M. It is definately A&M related (especially since George worked for the battalian) so just because its not important to you doesn't mean Nick cannot address an issue which hits home to him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Feb 11, 02:47:00 AM  

  • "Mr. Deutsch's educational record was first challenged on Monday by Nick Anthis, who graduated from Texas A&M last year with a biochemistry degree and has been writing a Web log on science policy, scientificactivist.blogspot.com."

    from the nyt article you linked. they did give you credit and a plug!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Feb 11, 07:44:00 AM  

  • Good work, Nick. You are an asset to blogging and to the world.
    According to what I have read in the Houston Chronicle, George Deutsch is another cronie of GWB who got a lush job.
    Yesterday's Chronicle gave credit to you.
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story
    .mpl/headline/nation/3646353.html
    Today's Chronicle says George (yes, another Poor George) says he was "the victim of a smear campaign."
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story
    .mpl/front/3649226.html
    You've earned your place at Oxford!
    ..
    p.s. Search the Chronicle at
    www.chron.com for Deutsch. There is more.
    ..

    By Blogger Jim, at Sat Feb 11, 07:45:00 AM  

  • It's like a ticker tape parade - it keeps rolling in.

    Cool man - 'nother pat on da back for ya!

    It was a well played take down but GCD was just a pawn - a silly stupid common pawn whose desperate inadaquecy helped to high light this administrations greater mendacities and grossly manipulative tactics of distorting sound science. I doubt his absence will impact much in the front lines of the 'War on Science'.

    That said - I like your style. Ya'd make Bob Parks proud. Keep up the good work!

    -RP

    By Anonymous molecular spongebob, at Sat Feb 11, 08:30:00 AM  

  • Were you aware that George Deutsch had written 4 articles for The Battallion?

    Maybe the paper refuses to cover it b/c some of the people there agree so wholeheartedly with his Bush-bag-licking antics?

    By Blogger t.f., at Sat Feb 11, 12:47:00 PM  

  • He wrote many more than four articles for The Battalion, and his connections to the paper were very close since he used to be an editor there.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Sat Feb 11, 02:04:00 PM  

  • Anonymous said...
    It is disgusting how quickly and thoroughly you're willing to sacrifice the reputations of your fellow Aggies to further what is obviuosly a personal cause of yours. You may think you have justification for publicly attacking them but you certainly have no honor and no sense of loyalty. It's one thing to criticize A&M issues among other Aggies, it is quite a different thing to bad mouth students of your alma mater to the world. Enjoy your ephemeral spotlight at the expense of others, and good luck in your endeavors -- I'm sure you'll go far.
    -----

    Just to be sure we all understand what Anon is saying: misconduct is okey-dokey, if you're an Aggie. Nice try, Anon, but you're obviously a rather dull-witted Longhorn trying to make Aggies look like lying fools.

    By Anonymous cd318, at Sat Feb 11, 06:35:00 PM  

  • You should really, truly be ashamed of yourself. Do you have any idea what you've put the editors at the Battalion through this week? They've had to read pounds of hate mail from angry people across the nation who are ignorant of the real reasons behind the story not being run earlier - ignorance that is your own fault. When you write something cruel and critical of another paper, make sure you have the facts to back it up!!! They were waiting for the exclusive, because they knew it would be a bigger story than just the AP wire. A much bigger story. And then they got screwed over by a fellow journalist, resulting in the lack of this big story. It wasn't the Batt's fault, it wasn't A&M's fault, and even more importantly, it wasn't Melissa's fault. Why you would choose to try to blacken the name of a fellow journalist, fellow Battalion writer, and fellow Aggie like Ms. Filbin is beyond me. If this is the path of cruelty that you deemed necessary to take for your fifteen minutes of fame, then I shudder at what you'll do to regain this brief infamy once it's all over. You should apologize publicly to the Battalion, and to the editors whose lives you've made miserable this week. They don't deserve this.
    Aggie Code of Honor: An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do. By your falsifications of the facts about the running of this story, you broke the code that you swore you were upholding. Congratulations.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Feb 12, 06:45:00 PM  

  • I have nothing against Melissa Filbin. In fact I think she's a great journalist, and can remember some of her well-reported stories from when I was at A&M. I am still trying to understand why she covered things the way she did. Your accusations are very misleading, and this is probably the reason why you kept them anonymous. If the lives of the editors at The Battalion have been miserable this week, it is not because of anything I did, but because they failed to follow up on the hot news tip I gave them. To get at the heart of your comments, though, I do know the full story, and there is quite a bit that you did not mention. If you can point out any specific falsification here, please do so, but I think you'll find that this is exactly how events unfolded. Here's what happened:

    On Sunday, 29 January, The New York Times first reported on the NASA censorship scandal, and the original article was followed up by many more, in that newspaper and in others. The Battalion did not cover this story, even though an alleged A&M graduate, George Deutsch, was at the heart of it. I do not know whether The Battalion ran an AP story because those do not appear online. Even if it did, that would not have been adequate coverage. There should have been at least some coverage, because this was a major national news story with a connection to A&M.

    On Monday, 6 February, I called The Battalion and asked Melissa Filbin, the Editor in Chief, about the NASA scandal. She told me that she had been personally following it, but did not have any articles planned on it. This was before I had verified that George Deutsch had not graduated from A&M. Later, after I had posted the new revelations on The Scientific Activist, I called The Battalion to tell Filbin about them. She was not in at that time, so I talked to the News Editor, Allison Miles. She seemed very enthusiastic about this story, so I expected her to follow up this good news tip. I also submitted a letter for publication detailing my findings.

    On Tuesday, 7 February, I called The Battalion and spoke to Filbin again. It was during this conversation that she told me she would not be covering the Deutsch story, because she did not "see the angle."

    On Wednesday, 8 February, Andrew Revkin published his New York Times story. I submitted a revised letter for publication to The Battalion

    On Thursday, 9 February, there was still no coverage of the NASA scandal or Deutsch's resignation from NASA in The Battalion. I found this very irresponsible, so I wrote the post above, detailing the coverage of this scandal and calling on anyone who was disappointed in the coverage to let the paper know. Apparently a ton of people felt that way if they were able to make such an impact. At some point along the line The Battalion decided it would try to get and publish an exclusive interview with George Deutsch. In order to get Deutsch to go along with this, the paper assigned one of Deutch's friends to do the story. Even if this had gone ahead as planned, this story would likely have been biased toward Deutsch, based on who would be writing it and based on the content of the interview that Deutsch did on a College Station news radio program. I understand that this was the interview that was supposed to appear in The Battalion, but in an ironic twist of fate, the person who was supposed to conduct the interview for the paper instead gave it to the news radio station. Although I do feel sorry for The Battalion being undermined in this way, it is also the fault of the paper for choosing this person in the first place for such dubious reasons.

    On Friday, 10 February, The Battalion ran an AP story on Deutsch, but it did not appear online. As far as I know, that is the only coverage there has been of the Deutsch scandal in that paper. I don’t know what the reasons for this lack of coverage were, whether it was a desire to protect a former staffer, a hesitancy to offend its conservative readership, or a genuine lack of awareness of current events.

    I have nothing against The Battalion or its staff. I was and still am friends with current and former staff members, and I wrote for the paper briefly myself. I think it is overall a very good student paper, but it really dropped the ball on this one. Hopefully it will get things right the next time something like this happens, but big stories like this don’t fall into your lap that often. In the meantime, if it makes people at The Battalion feel better to blame their problems on me, then by all means, blame away. However, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Sun Feb 12, 08:41:00 PM  

  • Okay, I'll take the anonymity off. I hadn't put anything before because I don't have a blog or anything like that, and thus didn't see the point, but if it offends you for some reason and makes you think that I'm trying to cover something up, then fine, here's my name.
    The Battalion was waiting on the big exclusive. That was why they didn't run the AP news story, not out of malice or thoughlessness on the editorial staff's part. They had to make a decision, and they went for the bigger story. Part of the deal was to not run the AP story, so they agreed to wait until after the interview to run it. It was merely an attempt on their part to have a good paper - a decision that probably coincides with what you would have done if you were in the editor's shoes.
    And as far as not adequate coverage... have you ever noticed that the Battalion is a STUDENT NEWSPAPER ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS? They cover LOCAL news, and while this story did involve a former student, they had no obligation to put it in. It wasn't a Bush-clone attempt to cover things up, it was the fact that students don't look for the "uncovering of federal conspiracies" in a college newspaper. That's not it's purpose. Running an interview with an old Ag about the accusations brought up against him would have been student news. You can't treat this publication like a national newspaper when it's not.
    And that's what this all comes down to: you. The Batt didn't print something that you told them about right away, which means your fifteen seconds didn't extend to the folks in Aggieland, and that offended you. Why else would you be so angry about this? Why else would you post the numbers and email addresses of the editors in order to outrage your faithful flock? This is now a screw-up on their part, and thus shouldn't have ever been brought to national attention. I'm sorry that you didn't get your name in the Batt last week, but did you really have to create such an outlash because of it? Doesn't sound like a very intelligent, intellectual, Rhodes Scholar, AGGIE kind of thing to do. To me, it sounds like a little kid whining about not getting his name in the paper when he won his elementary school spelling bee.

    Thanks and Gig 'Em,
    Jessica Hayworth '07

    By Anonymous Jessica Hayworth, at Mon Feb 13, 01:11:00 AM  

  • Jessica,

    The Battalion is a daily paper that serves one of the largest universities in the nation, therefore it should be covering the big stories. This story, especially, had an A&M connection from the beginning, so it should no doubt have been covered, even if I hadn't discovered the inconsistencies on Deutsch's resume. Maybe if The Battalion had taken it on earlier, it would have made my findings first--it didn't take much to find them out. As you probably know, a lot of people at A&M don't respect The Battalion, but this is due primarily to a lack of understanding. I know how it works, though, and I know it could be and often is a great student paper. The reason I have made a big deal about this is because I hold The Battalion to a higher standard, and if you work there (I'm assuming you work there), then I would hope you hold it to that higher standard as well. Don't sell it short! It doesn't matter whether I get my name in it--come on, why would I care? I'm living thousands of miles away from A&M right now. However, I did spend four years at A&M fighting for people to hear a perspective that had been marginalized by A&M's oppressive conservative majority. What I am doing now is just a continuation of that, and it's something I'm doing because I care about A&M and its students. If that's a crime, then I'm guilty as charged. However, don't make petty personal attacks when you don't really know anything about me or my motiviations. I would expect more of a journalist.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Mon Feb 13, 08:21:00 AM  

  • Nick,

    I don't actually work for the Battalion - we can chalk that up on the list of things that you're wrong about. I'm simply a concerned student who is standing up for her school, her peers, and her student newspaper. I can understand your frustration with being a liberal at a very conservative university, but that conservativism doesn't leak out into the Battalion's news coverage. The only times that politics are discussed in a biased manner is on the opinion page, where both conservative and liberal students are free to express their beliefs and ideas. The Aggie Dems have the same opportunity as the Young Conservatives to write in and share. So please don't tell me that the things you've done have been motivated by improving the Batt and its coverage. You created more obstacles, and unfair ones at that, for them to overcome while putting the paper out last week. Fortunately, since the Battalion has a great staff, they managed to put out a good paper despite all of the havoc your blog created.
    As for personal attacks, wow, isn't that what you did to the editors of the Battalion? I mean seriously, isn't this the pot calling the kettle black? And I wasn't trying to attack you as a person - I was merely trying to understand your motivations for your cruel and unfair treatment of the editorial staff.
    All I really want is an apology - a real, true, sincere apology. The editors of the Battalion deserve it.

    Thanks and Gig 'Em,
    Jessica Hayworth '07

    PS - This is the second time that I've posted this message today, since you deleted it this morning. This is also the second comment I've posted that you've deleted. It doesn't say much for your integrity when you just delete any comment that you're not happy with, and quite frankly, I would have expected more of a journalist.

    By Anonymous Jessica Hayworth, at Mon Feb 13, 10:20:00 PM  

  • Jessica,

    You are correct in that I deleted your first post because it was anonymous and it had several inaccuracies. When you posted it again, I decided to leave it up and correct the inaccuracies instead. I did not delete your last one, though. That was probably due to a flaw in Blogger (there seem to be quite a few). I understand why you would be frustrated, but please don't make unfounded accusations.

    I don't know where you get the idea that my treatment of the editors was "cruel and unfair." I just told it like it was. Look back and see. You are the only one making personal attacks here. As I stated before, please let me know if you see any falsifications (there aren't any), otherwise, there is not much point in making these posts over and over again.

    Also, I had assumed you worked for The Battalion since you wrote your comments as if you could speak for the paper. Since you don't, though, please tell someone who really works there that anyone on the editorial staff can contact me if he or she has a problem. In the meantime, I don't think you can assume you speak for everyone there.

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Mon Feb 13, 11:08:00 PM  

  • You'll probably take this as some personal victory, but you're just not worth dealing with anymore. Some people just don't like to admit that they're wrong.

    Good luck at Oxford. Hopefully you'll find success without stepping on others in the process.

    By Anonymous Jessica Hayworth, at Tue Feb 14, 02:39:00 AM  

  • Jessica,

    OK, whatever you say. I hope you continue to enjoy The Scientific Activist! ;-)

    By Blogger Nick Anthis, at Tue Feb 14, 08:36:00 AM  

  • It's getting hot in here, can we break the tension please? Can't we all just get a long? Who am I kidding, I don't want to drag this on but some of Hayworth's comments need to be addressed once and for all.

    Hayworth is obviously a Bushie who's upset cause her friends at the newspaper were undermined. Get over it.

    "Have you ever noticed that the Battalion is a STUDENT NEWSPAPER ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS? They cover LOCAL news, and while this story did involve a former student, they had no obligation to put it in."

    While I understand it may be hurtful to some in the school community to have negative publicity connected to their school and former classmate/colleague, a school newspaper definitely has a duty to inform its students of what is going on inside AND outside of their little academic bubble, if it holds any journalistic integrity. If you think it doesn't cause it's JUST a little student newspaper, then you are denigrating the publication as well as offering a very weak excuse in defense of your accusations. No paper has an obligation to write a story but to miss THE hot news item related somehow to the institution, now that's poor journalistic sense. It's what newspapers--small, student, local, national--do: report news and jump on the hot topics. That's why Nick and others were outraged (at least, that was why I was) and the staff there received tons of "hate mail". If you didn't realized what was so important about this whole issue, I'm not even going to spell it out since it's been already addressed a hundred times.

    "The Battalion was waiting on the big exclusive. That was why they didn't run the AP news story, not out of malice or thoughlessness on the editorial staff's part. They had to make a decision, and they went for the bigger story."

    What were they waiting for?? Nothing, since they didn't publish anything besides GD's vitirolic version without the full scoop on the story. Now that's not fair and balanced nor very exclusive.

    --------------------
    It's not notariety, nor notoreity--it's NOTORIETY. Typos are nothing but if you are going to point out someone's spelling error, better make sure you spell it correctly yourself. It's just funny.

    By Blogger Epikorean, at Thu Feb 16, 11:47:00 PM  

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