It’s never good to be the last one to arrive at an outrage party. Actually, it can be downright embarrassing: Just ask Fox News anchor Brit Hume.
On Monday, in his “Political Grapevine” segment, Hume took up the cause of the latest conservative to be oppressed by unhinged liberals, Princeton student Francisco Nava. “Conservative students and faculty at Princeton University are questioning the absence of campus and community outrage — following the beating of a student leading a morality movement at the school,” Hume said. “The New York Sun reports Francisco Nava was attacked by two men last week and told to shut up. The beating came two days after Nava received death threats by e-mail.
“Nava — who is a Mormon — wrote in the student newspaper that a school campaign to distribute free condoms on campus was a ‘tacit sponsorship of hookup sex.’ Three other members of the morally conservative Anscombe Society also received the threats, along with a conservative professor.”
But there was a good reason for the lack of outrage. Nava — who had a history of faking threats, having done so while in high school — made the whole thing up. By Monday afternoon (we put it at no later than 1:50 p.m. Eastern, based on the time stamps at blogs covering the story), hours before Hume went on the air at 6 p.m., the campus newspaper and the conservative New York Sun were reporting that Nava had confessed to local authorities that he had faked the attack and was responsible for sending the threats.
We caught the rebroadcast of Hume’s program, which ran at 2 a.m. Eastern. The segment remained. Tuesday morning, Fox’s Web site carried an update to the print version. “Here’s a quick update on our Grapevine about The New York Sun story concerning the Princeton student who alleged he had been beaten — after coming out against the school distribution of condoms,” the update reads. “The Daily Princetonian says Francisco Nava has admitted he made up the story and fabricated e-mails threatening his life and those of other students and one professor.
“Nava reportedly confessed to police on Monday. He has been released with no charges so far. The school says its investigation is ongoing.”
As of this post, however, Fox’s Web site still listed the segment as its top video, with the description: “Questions at Princeton University about why more people aren’t defending a student who was beaten.”
Update: In comments, reader johnnydollar points out something we hadn’t noticed in reading the transcript originally posted to Fox’s Web site or in watching the rebroadcast, which is that Hume corrected the story on-air shortly after initially reporting it. Our apologies.