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March 22nd, 2013
12:27 PM ET

Finding humor in college 'Admission': Actors Wallace Shawn and Gloria Reuben talk about their new comedy film

Wallace Shawn and Gloria Reuben can both be seen in the new film “Admission." They sit down with John Berman on "Starting Point" to talk about their new movie, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

The premise of "Admission" revolves around the competitive college admissions process. Fey plays a college counselor competing with another admissions officer, played by Reuben, for a job as dean of admissions at Princeton. Shawn plays their prospective bosses.

Shawn says the humor lies in the competition for the role of head of admissions. Fey was “great, obviously highly intelligent and so easy to work with. It was a great, fun experience all the way around,” he says.

Reuben has had some pretty serious past roles on the hit TV show “ER” and Steven Spielberg’s Oscar nominated film “Lincoln”. She is very “proud of the work on both”, but says that acting in a comedy “was a relief.”

Shawn, who many know from his role as the iconic villain in “The Princess Bride,” says he's glad people have an emotional connection to the classic. "It's nice that people have had a nice moment out of” the “Princess Bride,” but he admits the response to the movie has been “odd” for him.

“Admission” opens in theaters nationwide today.


Filed under: A little fun • College • Entertainment • Movies
January 17th, 2013
11:46 AM ET

Should the media have done more to check on Manti Te'o's girlfriend? Howard Kurtz and Lauren Ashburn weigh in

There are millions of questions this morning regarding the mystery involving Notre Dame's star linebacker Manti Te'o and his girlfriend. In September and October, Te'o told interviewers that his girlfriend and his grandmother had died within hours of each other. Te’o was then inspired him to honor them with sterling play on the field and ultimately led his team to a 20-3 routing of Michigan State.

Deadspin.com, acting on an anonymous e-mail it received last week, started poking around. Wednesday night the site released a report dismissing as a hoax the existence of Te'o's girlfriend, Lennay Kakua. This morning host of CNN's Reliable Sources Howard Kurtz and Daily Download Editor in Chief Lauren Ashburn join “Starting Point,” to discuss whether the media should have done more fact checking on Te’o’s supposed girlfriend.

"As this became a bigger story and as CBS was doing it and then 'Sports Illustrated' and ESPN and the others, you know you look back...it would have taken one phone call to discover that there was never any death notice," Kurtz says. "There was never any record of her birth...she didn’t go to Stanford.”

Kurts says the university’s role is "pathetic." "Notre Dame officials said they found out December 26th it was a hoax [and] allowed other news organizations to go forward without saying a word and to perpetuate this myth, this piece of fiction as if it was a real story," he says.

Ashburn points out that “the role of social media reporting in the Deadspin article is fascinating.”

"All of the pieces started to come together and...as reporters learn more about the functions of social media the opportunity for doing real reporting on via Facebook accounts and Twitter accounts exists,” she says.

Ashburn admits that the story of Te’o and his girlfriend was a “puff piece” and not “Enron, it still journalism. You still have to get the facts right.”


Filed under: Article • College • Football
January 17th, 2013
10:38 AM ET

Deadspin editor on Te’o girlfriend hoax: ‘I don’t believe Manti Te’o could be that dumb’

What started as a story of heartbreak leading to a college football star overcoming tragedy is now being called a hoax riddled with questions.

The story which defined a college football team's season was originally about Notre Dame's star linebacker Manti Te'o, losing his grandmother and his girlfriend within 24 hours of each other and going on to lead his team to victory and an undefeated regular season. That inspiring story quickly fell apart after a report that came out Wednesday night by sports website Deadspin.com dismissing as a hoax the existence of Te'o's girlfriend, Lennay Kakua. This morning on "Starting Point," Deadspin.com's Timothy Burke weighs in on his report and the reactions and statements that followed.

Burke was originally tipped off by an email Deadspin received last week regarding Kakua, and says he and his colleauges started researching the story on Google. Burke says after searching for “Lennay Kakua,” they could not “find any evidence of this person that isn't attached to stories about her being Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend – she did not exist.”

Shortly after the report went viral the university held a press conference saying Te'o was the victim of a "elaborate hoax." Burke says he is not surprised and “Notre Dame has to stand by Manti Te’o. That’s what Notre Dame does.” He adds, “It would not be accepted by their community, by their boosters to throw him under the bus. They’re going to stick by him.” On the other hand, Burke says if he could have offered advice to Te’o and the university he would have told them to not respond to the report and “ignore it because anything that they say is going to be evidence to be used against him.” He says, “Either Manti or his father were lying about how he met her in the first place.”

The Deadspin report also focuses on Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who Burke describes as “a former star quarterback in high school who was supposedly offered scholarships to play in college and never did.” Burke says friends and relatives of Tuiasosopo said he was “doing the Lennay Kakua fake online profile for several years and that he’s caught other people in his trap but that they caught on way earlier than Manti Te’o did.” Burke says this information in addition to the fact that Te’o and Tuiasosopo knew each other and spent time together made him question, “how dense would Manti Te’o have to be to realize this was his friend who was behind the account the entire time?” He concludes by saying, “I don’t believe Manti Te’o could be that dumb.”


Filed under: Article • College • Dating • Football • Manti Te'o
January 8th, 2013
09:58 AM ET

Beverly Kearney, Fmr. UT-Austin Track & Field Head Coach, speaks out since stepping down after admitting to relationship with student

This morning, a story that has shocked the college sports world. Hall Of Fame track and field coach Beverly Kearney announcing she is stepping down from her position at the University Of Texas after 21 years and six national championships. This after the coach admitted to what she calls a "consensual intimate relationship" with a student athlete on her team in 2002. The student athlete reported the relationship to the university in October 2012.

The coach says UT asked her to resign or she would be fired, and that the punishment does not fit the offense. Kearny feels her punishment was unjustified because she claims other professors and administrators at the school have not had the same repercussions after engaging in relationships that violated policy. Our team at “Starting Point” invited a representative from the university to appear on the program, but the invitation was declined. The legendary former coach, Beverly Kearney, joins us live from Austin, Texas this morning.

Kearny says she's finally come to embrace not knowing why she was treated this way by the school, especially at a time when she was negotating a contract with a raise. “I’ve always tried to live my life in a manner that I did not want to do harm," Kearney says. "And it’s always been easier for me to forgive others. But this was a challenge for me to forgive myself for making a poor decision.”

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Filed under: College • Sports • Women at work • Women's issues