Star-Telegram Cites Fake News Story as Proof Graduation Speeches Should Be Censored

Thumbnail image for RemingtonReimerActual.jpg
Despite what the Star-Telegram may tell you, this is not a real news story.
When Joshua ISD officials cut off Remington Reimer's valedictory speech, we thought it unlikely that it had anything to do with his mention of God. After all, district officials didn't seem concerned later in the ceremony when another student delivered a prayer, punctuated by a lengthy recitation of scripture and a shout-out to Jesus.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram feels much the same way, declaring in an editorial this morning that the mic-cutting was prompted not by faith but because Reimer veered from his pre-approved script, just like the district said. Nor does the paper think Joshua ISD was wrong in policing graduation speeches. As evidence, they provide a list of ill-conceived one-liners from graduation speeches of yore:

"I had an abortion my junior year. Let me tell you what that was like."

"This school did its best to suppress my ability to think critically, but it failed. As soon as I leave here, I'm going to find a way to blow up the system."

"You want prayer in public schools? I say what they need is anarchy, the more the better. Legalize pot so we can sell it on campus."

"Heil, Hitler. Viva Castro. Marx is my hero."

The editorial writers don't bother mentioning who delivered these particular lines (a hasty Google search leads right back to the editorial), but some high school senior presumably said them somewhere. They're more meticulous in attributing the next quote:

Then there's the Ozzie Guillén school of waking the audience: "Man oh man, did you little [expletive deleted] pick the wrong time to graduate," Guillén was quoted as telling a graduating class in 2011, when he still managed the Chicago White Sox. "For those of you lucky enough to get jobs, maybe half of you work at [expletive deleted] Popeye's Chicken, and the other half get your [expletive deleted] blown off in Afghanistan."

Those school officials banned him as a result. Can you blame them?

No, probably not. But Guillen, who has delivered his share of profanity-laced oratories, never said those particular words, nor was he ever banned from Wheaton Warrenville South High School. The source of the quote, which the Star-Telegram is helpful enough to link to, is an Onion-esque fake-sports-news site called The Heckler. It was a parody, in other words. Not real.

We've emailed the Star-Telegram's editorial page director for an explanation of what happened, which we assume will be something along the lines of Googling "terrible graduation speech" and blindly copying from the first link that appears. We have yet to hear back.

(h/t Omar Villafranca)

See also
Joshua ISD Cut its Valedictorian's Mic Last Night, But Maybe Not for Talking About God


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20 comments
mcdallas
mcdallas

It's called "journalism".  I hear that classes are offered in this field.  But I Googled "journalism class" and learned that blogging is journalism as is commenting online.  Looks like I'm a journalist already!  Yea!

mnorman3
mnorman3

This was a really bad mistake on our part. We didn't recognize The

Heckler site, and that automatically should have triggered alarms. Once we realized the error we posted a correction on the online version of the editorial. We apologize to all Star-Telegram followers and rest assured that we will take additional steps to make sure this type of error doesnt happen again. Mike Norman, Editorial Director, Star-Telegram

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

Of course the paper doesn't think Joshua ISD was wrong in policing graduation speeches. It was an editorial writer, not a real journalist.


LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

Well. The editorial now has a full attribution of the idiocy at the top, including admission of guilt in quoting a satire site. Who knew that the Eric Celeste comparison would accomplish so much?

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Why does the Constitution get suspended by walking into a school, but for the admins, they get plenary powers. Every parent should teach his kids to questii n authority, not swallow crap.

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

“We are all fortunate to live in a country where we can express our beliefs. Where our mikes [sic] won’t be turned off, as I have been threatened to be,” read the speech, per the Cleburne Times-Review. “Just as Jesus spoke out against the authority of the Pharisees and Saducees [sic], Who [sic] tried to silence Him, I will not have my freedom of speech taken away from me.”

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

My high school commencement speaker told us to save up for plastic surgery. He was unshaven and somewhat hungover, but goddamn if he didn't have a point. 

DallasSportsPrincess
DallasSportsPrincess

In all seriousness, I'm not surprised.  Journalism has become an incredibly lazy profession.  I have decided the only decent news outlet in the area is the DO.  That's not ass kissing.  That's how I see it.  No one actually covers what the hell is going on in the cities the way the DO does.  Journalism is letting us down - we get a sanitized version, or hyped version (depending on the need of ratings/subscribers) and they only seem to follow what politicians want us to hear/see.  The intellectual dishonesty that abounds now is what's really killing this country.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

And it's already been edited to remove the Heckler paragraph, with nothing to note that the editorial was edited in the first place. Not so much as a "we regret the error." Damn: I didn't know Eric Celeste was back to working at the Star-Telegram.

ruddski
ruddski

The cites by the ST are positively shocking. Thank goodness the authorities were there to protect the little boys and girls from exposure and consequences

Cowtown
Cowtown

Amon Carter Sr. is turning over in his grave thinking about what a piece of shit his once great newspaper has become.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

MCDallas, you can't be a journalist, at least not in Dallas and Fort Worth. You aren't screaming "DO YOU KNOW I AM?" at anybody who won't give you whatever you want for free. The real judge of journalistic mettle in this town is desperately trying to get the attention of someone whom actually matters in the scheme of things, introducing yourself with "You, of COURSE, know who I am, don't you?", and badmouthing them in print for months because the subject can't tell one pudgy, balding basement goblin from another.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

Naturally, firing the individual who grunted out that editorial isn't an option, seeing as how the other quotes used are probably about as fake. Silly me: if local papers fired every incompetent editor who pulled a stunt like this and made them take jobs suited for their skills and abilities, you'd have chaos. The crackwhores in the downtown Greyhound bus station have enough competition as it is.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@bvckvs I think the school should monitor those speeches, bvckvs.Get those kids used to the idea early on that the authorities are going to be listening in to every word they utter for the rest of their lives.

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

Point. Besides, it's not like the upper managers are going to fire each other. They'll need each other when the ievitable layoffs come, and that reminder of favors owed is why they're hired at a bud's new publication. It really helps explain why Dallas journalism is so inbred, doesn't it?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bmarvel @bvckvs 

What? Why, that's crazy talk, bmarvel!

What we really need to do is fire all of the teachers and administrators and let those young'uns go all free range. It's organic & stuff. Wouldn't wanna trample their free speech, after all.

*chuckle*

Anyhow, sarcasm aside - suddenly, I find myself on the same side of an argument as bvckvs, and I think I may need to reevaluate my priorities. 

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