You have got to read this entire feature story in the Stanford Magazine about Korean hip hop star Daniel Lee (aka Tablo), whose fell under attack from websites who asserted that he hadn’t really graduated from Stanford. He had, but like the hard core birthers, Tablo’s detractors refused to accept any evidence he could provide to document his academic background (like, say, an official university transcript). Meanwhile, the Korean media covered the story by telling “both sides.” Excerpt:
Black [the Stanford registrar] repeatedly confirmed that Daniel Lee the English major was a graduate in good standing but that only seemed to create more agitation. Some emailed to question Black’s integrity, suggesting that he was colluding with Lee. Black got angry. “These people don’t want the truth,” he says. “They dismiss everything that doesn’t align with what they already believe.”
Lee continued to fight back. On August 5, 2010, he released his Canadian citizenship certificate to the press. To his astonishment, he was promptly sued by four anonymous Koreans who charged him with forgery.
“I was doing everything they asked and it was never good enough,” Lee says. “That’s when I realized that they weren’t looking for answers, they just wanted to destroy me.”
Korean media widely reported the suit, which only served to further sow doubt about Lee’s identity among the general population. Gossip-oriented celebrity sites pored over every detail of the charges; the mainstream press even covered the case. The fact that Stanford had officially confirmed Lee’s diploma did not seem to check the flow of articles. By midsummer, Lee’s travails had become one of the biggest news stories in the country.
When is humanity going, like, to wake up and realize that it is part of our nature to generate claims that comport with what we want to believe, and then refuse to admit any contrary evidence, often becoming even more sure of ourselves the more the factual refutations come in?
This part of human nature isn’t just irrational–it can be destructive, and the Internet compounds it. We need to see it for what it is, and broadly acknowledge that it is part of us.
Read the rest of the story here.