Flood of misinformation leaves journalist drained


POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2009

He's happy with a plate lunch once in awhile, so I call him Cheap Throat. He called yesterday morning with the name of Hawaii's new women's basketball coach.

“;Dana Takahara-Dias,”; he said. “;Done deal. Write it.

“;The mayor's pushing for it,”; said CT, who is always money.

But the day ended with Mr. Throat, every other reliable source in my little world and, finally, Dana Takahara-Dias herself, telling me a report elsewhere that she is a finalist for the job is wrong. She said no one from UH had contacted her after her initial interview last week.

“;The stars are not aligned,”; she said. “;I've had no correspondence (with UH), so I take it that I'm not a finalist.”;

Leaks are fun when they're right. But how about fixing bad leaks?

» 8:27 a.m., Source 1 (the aforementioned CT): “;Not only is Dana a finalist, she's a done deal for the job. A done deal.”;

» 2:17 p.m., Source 2: “;The (other paper) really messed up. They're not finalists, they're out!”;

» 2:34 p.m., Source 3: “;I talked to Dana. She's very embarrassed. She said it's not her job. She's not a finalist, not even a candidate now.”;

» 3:05 p.m., Source 4: “;The committee is going in different directions, doesn't know what it wants to do. They keep adding candidates instead of subtracting. I hear George Wolfe is back in the mix.”;

» 4:13 p.m., Dana Takahara-Dias: (Wow! The actual subject of the story, imagine that!) “;There's a lot of talk that I was a finalist. I was not one of them.”;

» 4:47 p.m., Back to Source 1: “;What I told you this morning was accurate then. It was set up for Dana, the mayor's favorite. But something happened between last night and now. Maybe Dan Inouye decided he wanted somebody else. There's talk that (Chancellor Virginia) Hinshaw has a candidate.”;

So there's no story, except to point out the buffoonery on lower campus as it continues to try to fill a position while plugging its porous rumor raft.

“;Somehow, incorrect information is getting out, so be careful,”; was all athletic director Jim Donovan would tell me when I asked the ringmaster for a report on the clowns.

I told him a lot of people think he's the leak.

He took that pretty well, and put his stonewall muscles to use on me through 15 minutes of verbal gymnastics, showing how unleaky he can be. Transparency not an option now, all he told me was he couldn't tell me anything because of an investigation.

Investigation? Now we're getting somewhere ... oh yeah, upper campus trying to figure out who gushed personal information to a reporter about since-fired coach Jim Bolla, possibly in violation of the law.

“;For all I know, the phones are bugged,”; Donovan said, in jest (I think).

“;If they are, you did it,”; I said, in jest (I know).

Then I suggested he rent “;Frost/Nixon.”;

Not bizarre enough for you yet? Gavin Petersen, also reported as a finalist, posted on his Facebook wall that he is not.

If I were forced to write a straight piece on this trainwreck or be the subject of waterboarding, here's how it would start:

Multiple sources confirmed yesterday that the University of Hawaii is moving farther away from naming a women's basketball coach to replace the fired Jim Bolla.

Ah, forget it. Gitme to Gitmo.

Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “Quick Reads” blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon