27 April 2007

Dog Bites Man II

Ham report stirs 'mess'

An obscure online parody of the recent hate incident at the Lewiston Middle School - a parody reported as news on a national Fox broadcast Tuesday - launched an immediate avalanche of angry phone calls and ugly e-mails to the school system....

Levesque said he was bothered not only that the parody took aim at a sensitive issue in Lewiston, but also that Fox and others reported the information as fact without checking. The national media, Levesque said, sees information posted online and “uses it as gospel.” [my emphasis]
Should we add this to the list of Journalism Scandals?

Background References:

'Hate incident' in city
One student has been suspended and more disciplinary action could follow a possible hate crime at Lewiston Middle School, Superintendent Leon Levesque said Wednesday.

On April 11, a white student placed a ham steak in a bag on a lunch table where Somali students were eating. Muslims consider pork unclean and offensive.

The act reminded students of a man who threw a pig's head into a Lewiston mosque last summer.

The school incident is being treated seriously as "a hate incident," Levesque said. Lewiston police are investigating, and the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is working with the school to create a response plan.
Student Leaves Ham Sandwich on Lunch Table Near Muslims, Suspended for Hate Crime (Parody)
According to Superintendent Levesque, "the school incident is being treated seriously as a hate incident." Police are currently investigating the matter alongside the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence, who is also working with the school to create an anti-ham "response plan."

"We've got some work to do to turn this around and bring the school community back together again." Said Levesque, "These children have got to learn that ham is not a toy, and that there are consequences for being nonchalant about where you put your sandwich."
Somalis, others reflect on high-tension week in community relations
In the days after last Thursday's report of a hate incident at Lewiston Middle School involving a ham steak left at a lunch table to insult Somali students, a Sun Journal newspaper forum was so filled with hostility it was shut down.

Wessler said he received hate e-mail and two phone messages in which a man threatened to commit violence against him.

And then last Saturday, Brent Matthews, a Lewiston man who became known for rolling a pig's head into a Somali mosque last July, committed suicide at Marden's parking lot.

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