Despite No Publicly Available Proof, Press Treats Mizzou Feces-Swastika Incident As Fact

Name the missing word in the following sentence from tonight's Associated Press report on the current situation at the University of Missouri: "On Friday, the now-former chancellor issued an open letter decrying racism after a swastika smeared in feces was found in a campus dormitory." The obviously missing word is "allegedly," as in, "was allegedly found." That word is also missing in sentences found in three separate reports at the New York Times. On October, 24, the Washington Post unskeptically accepted the recounting of the incident in a report shortly after it — ahem, allegedly — occurred.

There's a really big problem here. Sean Davis at The Federalist was unable, after extensive efforts, to locate any evidence that the incident really took place. Additionally, he found that a photograph supposedly representing what was done has been present elsewhere on the Internet for a year.

While Davis's work doesn't conclusively show that the incident is a hoax, it should be far more than enough to convince establishment press journalists with integrity covering events at the university to surrender their clearly expressed assumption that the incident actually occurred.

Three specific Times references not containing the word "allegedly" in describing or referring to the swastika-feces incident include the following:

  • In a report primarily about the University's Pre-World War II history of racism — "Then last month, a swastika was drawn on a residence hall in human excrement."
  • In coverage of the resignation of University President Timothy Wolfe — "Later that month, the swastika was found, scrawled on a wall in feces."
  • In coverage of the boycott by some Missouri football players — "racial slurs hurled at black students and feces smeared into the shape of a swastika on a wall in a residence hall."

In light of this shroud of presumptive certainty, it's stunning how utterly fruitless Davis's intensive efforts were to locate anything confirming that the incident actually happened (links are in original; bolds are mine):

(window title) Why Is There Zero Evidence of the Mizzou Poop Swastika?

(article title) Was The Poop Swastika Incident At Mizzou A Giant Hoax?

... According to Billy Donley, the president of Mizzou’s Residence Halls Association (RHA), the poop swastika was reported at approximately 2:00 a.m. on October 24, 2015.

“On Saturday, October 24th, at 2:00am an individual came into one of the restrooms in Gateway Hall and drew a swastika on the wall with their own feces,” Donley wrote in a letter several days after the alleged incident. “This event happened while many students, including myself, were already asleep.”

Later in his letter, Donley noted that he only found out about the alleged vandalism incident “via a flyer posted on the walls” of the dorm.

... The Federalist also attempted to contact Christian Basi, the associate director of the University of Missouri News Bureau, who previously told the Columbia Missourian on Oct. 30 that the incident had been immediately reported to Mizzou police. Basi did not respond to requests for comment prior to the publication of this article.

Calls to the University of Missouri Police Department, which responded to and investigated the alleged poop swastika incident, also failed to yield any evidence of the poopstika.

Multiple activists on Twitter pointed to this photo as proof that the incident occurred as reported, but a Google search for the same image shows that it has been floating around the Internet for nearly a year.reddit thread from November of 2014 appears to contain the earliest publication of the photo in question, meaning that it most certainly does not constitute proof of the incident alleged to have occurred at Mizzou on October 24, 2015.

... The Federalist also repeatedly contacted @ConcernedStudent1950, the Twitter account representing Mizzou protesters who issued a series of demands of university administrators after the alleged poop swastika incident made headlines. The individuals running the @CS1950 account failed to produce any photographic or documentary evidence of the incident prior to publication of this article.

... Did the incident happen as reported, or did two university administrators resign over protests that were sparked by a hoax? And if the incident did happen as reported, a proposition for which no publicly available evidence currently exists, how did university administrators and law enforcement authorities confirm that the vandalism was driven by racial animosity, as opposed to being promulgated as a public relations stunt meant to tar the university for failing to provide an environment free of racist invective? It would not be the first time a public university fell victim to a high profile PR stunt that was later revealed to be a fabrication. Either way, students, their parents, university employees, and Missouri taxpayers deserve solid, verifiable answers based on clear evidence about what exactly transpired in that Gateway Wall bathroom in the early morning of October 24.

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit has also helpfully noted that there is no evidence, other than the victims claiming that they occurred, of the racial slur incidents which have triggered campuswide concern during the past six months.

Sadly, there have been dozens of campus "hate" hoaxes over the past several decades; here is a list of ten in just the past four years. Given that history, the press should be as least as skeptical in the current evidence-free situation as it is when it describes a crime with multiple witnesses and mountains of physical evidence as "alleged."

Sadly, hoax perpetration has occasionally been proven to be a rewarding enterprise. Although the hoax he helped perpetrate wasn't college-related, just ask Al Sharpton, who built a lucrative career on the Tawana Brawley hoax.

Cross-posted at

Education Higher Education Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission Double Standards Labeling Race Issues Racism Online Media Blogs Wire Services/Media Companies Associated Press Major Newspapers New York Times Washington Post

Sponsored Links