We have long dealt with the plague of fake news, a particular problem on the blogosphere where stories are picked up and replicated. Sometimes however questionable stories arise from allegedly false claims rather than false reporters. The Knoxville News Sentinel has suggested that it may have been hoodwinked in a bizarre and disturbing account by a professional “Santa” who recounted how he granted a dying boys heart-wrenching final wish: to die in the arms of Santa. Eric Schmitt-Matzen gave his emotional account of how the boy died in his arms as the family looked on in a hospital. The problem is that reporters have not been able to verify that the boy existed and Schmitt-Matzen has said that he is withholding the family name out of a concern for their privacy. The New Sentinel posted a warning that it could no longer stand by the story.
I watched as CNN got Schmitt-Matzen to recount the story this week (though it was bizarre when at the most emotional climax of the story the CNN anchor had to say that they were out of time).
He called the boy his “Number One Elf” in various emails and explained how he cried all the way home after the incident. He recounted telling the boy that “When you get to those pearly gates, you tell ’em you’re Santa’s No. 1 elf, and I know they’ll let you in,” Schmitt-Matzen recalled telling the boy.
Now the original reporter and News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy have issued a warning that “The News Sentinel cannot establish that Schmitt-Matzen’s account is inaccurate, but more importantly, ongoing reporting cannot establish that it is accurate. Therefore, because the story does not meet the newspaper’s standards of verification, we are no longer standing by the veracity of Schmitt-Matzen’s account.”
CNN also reports that it called all the major hospitals in the Knoxville area that treat children and none could confirm his account. Schmitt-Matzen told the Washington Post he stands by his account but would not name the nurse or boy.
It is curious that the family has not stepped forward to clear the name and reputation of Schmitt-Matzen but perhaps someone will step forward. It is hard to image a worse story is the account turns out to be a hoax. If so, Schmitt-Matzen will join Dave Grisham on the Christmas Super-Naughty list.
44 thoughts on “Newspaper Suggests That Touching Santa Story Is A Hoax”
I wouldn’t be too hasty to denounce this as a hoax, after all if the story is real no-one but the family can say that. Even though they’re keeping quiet that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, just that they don’t want to live in a goldfish bowl.
Hey Jack Ruby
Hmmm sooo there was no St Nicholas or Jesus or Mary. Want to prove they didn’t exist?
You do realize that other than Biblical Jesus and Mary references there are substantial historical accounts of all three persons. To deny their physical existence will allow me to say that you can’t prove to me that your 1800 era relatives existed even based on census records or birth certificates.
You may want to rephrase? Maybe, the present religious or sociological observations are based on fables or such? Any statements to the contrary are hallucinations etc?
You and I are strictly quanta packets…energy that seems to be self aware in a self-discerned existence. Would you like to address possible intersections of phasings?
By the way, how is it that your assembled packets have any awareness or ability to reason? There is absolutely no evidence of any similar extant off world activity. Indeed there is only evidence of cataclysmic formative and explosive events. Only hydrogen is the primal element. All others are results of stellar evolution. You, in other words are nothing but coalesced stardust.
You can’t feel, see, or hear cosmic rays or any of the atomic or subatomic particles…indeed any tracings are evidence of effects not the actual particle. But they seem to have an effect upon our particles which seem to start degrading in function for about 70+ yrs then become basic compounds again.
Oh yes, what you know as the Sun, is actually a third stellar iteration.
My point, your denigration of historical and traditional personages is based in a “reality” of which we just don’t truly comprehend.
Renegage — “Want to prove they didn’t exist?”
You are aware that the rules of argumentation, logic and evidence, require the person who claims that something does exist to provide the evidence. It is not incumbent upon a person to prove something does not exist. Rather the burden of proof lies with a person who claims that something exists. I reject the existence of an historical Jesus simply because to date the evidence presented for his existence has been insufficiently compelling or convincing to warrant accepting the claim that there was an historical Jesus. And there definitely is nowhere near a sufficiently credible body of evidence to justify acceptance of the existence of the Jesus as described in the bible, with all those supernatural abilities and being the Son of God, etc.
I reject the existence of an historical Jesus simply because to date the evidence presented for his existence has been insufficiently compelling
You’re an adolescent numskull. If the evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is not ‘compelling’, than scarcely any figure from the ancient world is to be regarded as historical. That isn’t ‘skepticism’, it’s lunacy.
The key to your argument is “…there definitely is nowhere near a sufficiently credible body of evidence….”
So you are arguing from your assertion that there is no credible evidence. Hmmm, so we have an “is” and a “no.” Thereby you are making the common mistake of intrinsically consequentialacating.
And, you rest solely on your own unproven conclusions…
Santa is similar to Jesus and Mary. Total fiction created so folks can make money. The Santa guy is exploited by Macy’s and all the stores. Jesus is exploited by the Pastors who pass the plate.
To tell a kid that either is a hoax will get you berated by other adults. Hey Zeus, full of juice, don’t let your meatloaf. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle the money all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride on a hooker all the way.
Jack Ruby – we know there was a historical Jesus and we know there was a historical St. Nicholas (our source of Santa Claus). They both existed.
Paul: Could you let me in on the secret of how you found the historical Jesus?
Steve – the Jewish historian Josephus (who you should read) mentions him as being the brother of James or the other way around. There are at least two other historical references (outside of the Epistles) but I do not know what they are. Renegade probably does though. Ask him.
Paul: Fascinating stuff, but the issue of whether the writings of Flavius Josephus are authentic is unresolved.
The Testimonium has been the subject of a great deal of research and debate among scholars, being one of the most discussed passages among all antiquities. Louis Feldman has stated that in the period from 1937 to 1980 at least 87 articles had appeared on the topic, the overwhelming majority of which questioned the total or partial authenticity of the Testimonium. While early scholars considered the Testimonium to be a total forgery, the majority of modern scholars consider it partially authentic, despite some clear Christian interpolations in the text.
The arguments surrounding the authenticity of the Testimonium fall into two categories: internal arguments that rely on textual analysis and compare the passage with the rest of Josephus’ work; and external arguments, that consider the wider cultural and historical context. Some of the external arguments are “arguments from silence” that question the authenticity of the entire passage not for what it says, but due to lack of references to it among other ancient sources.
The external analyses of the Testimonium have even used computer-based methods, e.g. the matching of the text of the Testimonium with the Gospel of Luke performed by Gary Goldberg in 1995. Goldberg found some partial matches between the Testimonium and Luke 24:19–21, 26–27 stating “the Emmaus narrative more closely resembles the Testimonium in [i]ts phrase-by-phrase outline of content and order than any other known text of comparable age.” Goldberg’s analyses suggested three possibilities, one that the matches were random, or that the Testimonium was a Christian interpolation based on Luke, and finally that both the Testimonium and Luke were based on the same sources.
Steve – one of the things you learn is academia is that you have to publish or perish. Often the publishing is hogwash.
Paul, you used a common but still uneducated and ill used inferential tactic.
“Often the publishing is hogwash.”
Quit using back handed statements. Say whether or not it is hogwash or you consider it hogwash. Enough of this gelatinous writing which can’t be nailed to the wall because it’s so slippery.
Renegade – is or is not some of academic research hogwash? BTW, why are you attacking me? I am on your side, I think there is a historical Jesus.
Paul — The Josephus reference is not compelling nor convincing evidence for the existence of an historical Jesus for any but those who have already deluded themselves of this belief and then cherry-pick the evidence that confirms their belief. It’s called confirmation bias and you are a big-time victim of it. It is pretty well established that Josephus was not reporting an historical fact that he had confirmed, but rather just repeating some claim he had heard without establishing the truth of the claim. The same is true of the other references you make mention of in your comment.
dogfightwithdogma – all history is written by people who take the word of other people that things happen. No historian writes a book on something they have experienced. If they have experienced it and they write about it, it is an autobiography. You are clueless about history.
Bachman Turner Overdrive, “Roll on Down the Highway”
“We rented a truck and a semi to tow
Travel down the long and divided road
Look on the map I think we’ve been there before
Close up the doors, let’s roll once more
Cop on the corner, look he’s startin’ to write
I don’t need no ticket so I screamed out of sight
Drove so fast that my eyes can’t see
Look in the mirror, is he still followin’ me?
Let it roll down the highway
Let it roll down the highway
Look at the sign, we’re in the wrong place
Move out boys, let’s get ready to race
454 coming over the hill
The man on patrol is going to give us a bill
The time’s real short, you know the distance is long
I’d like to have a jet but it’s not in the song
Climb back in the cab, cross your fingers for luck
We gotta keep movin’ if we’re going to make a buck
Let it roll down the highway”
Purge yourself of this BS fake news bacteria, stomp on the pedal and steer yourselves back to sanity.
Volume at 11
I agree with many of the posters above that accuracy has suffered greatly in journalism. In addition, everything seems to be an op-ed and politicized rather than straight reporting.
I can’t say if the Santa story was a hoax. But there are people who feel that their lives are just not exciting or meaningful enough, so they embellish. And sometimes they get really caught up in the story themselves. We’ve read many unfortunate new stories where people were red faced and caught lying about heroic deeds (or even victim status in a strange new twist.)
As long as you are still ambulatory, there is still time to have an interesting life, for real. Or, you could go help a community or child in need anonymously.
Oh how sick! Touching Santa! My goodness, who gets the hots for some old fat guy with a beard? Only some chick with daddy issues, or a freak. But come to think of it, I do remember a Santa “touching” me once, when I was like 19, or 20. But then again, I plopped myself in his lap, and pulled his fake beard. But that is an entirely different thing.
I agree with Squeeky this time. A gross headline! Or do I just have a dirty mind?
Just this time??? You ought to agree with me more often, because I am usually right, you know. Or at least, interesting.
Interesting, yes. But your claim that you are usually right is highly dubious.
As a 19-20 yr old, you plopped yourself on his lap? You actually put your fanny on a strange disguised guy’s thighs? Was there a later self realization about “some chick with daddy issues, or a freak”?
I think polls conducted by news organizations prior to an election is the ultimate fake news. I mean come on, they pay people to go out and ask questions, then they report on the results of those questions and make a prediction about an upcoming election based on their having paid people to go out and ask questions.
Polls, fake news, avoid at all cost.
I don’t understand why this station is trying to see if the report they put out is true! That’s not what journalists do. They really can’t be responsible for experts who tell them things or for fact checking anything. How bizarre.
I”m going to say that 16 intelligence agencies anonymously confirmed that this story appeared on TV. That’s all I need to know! How dare you question any MSM news and the CIA. You are traitors!!! Go away Putin stooges. Wait, no, was this Santa or Putin? Does Putin even celebrate Christmas?
Is the paper’s next move to confirm the actual existence of Santa? This sounds like a great sappy Christmas movie plot either way.
Let’s build a snowman. You can do the job when your in town…Until the other kid knocks him down.
Under HIPAA, the patient must request that certain information not be disclosed. Otherwise, the hospital can release information if the name of the patient is provided:
Name—Information can be released to those people (media included) who ask for the patient by name. Information cannot be released to an individual unless that person knows the patient’s name.
Condition—A one-word explanation of the patient’s condition can be released.
Location within the hospital—As long as prohibited information is not revealed, such as the patient being treated for substance abuse, the location can be released.
Religion—This information can be released only to clergy on request. Clergy do not need to ask for the individual by name. Hospitals are not obligated to collect this information. If hospitals collect this information, they should inform the patient why they are collecting it and inform the patient that it will be handed over to clergy if requested.
Not that I suspect his motives if he’s made up this story – Isn’t that what capitalists do to make a buck? – but I wonder whether Santa has a Patreon or GoFundMe account?
What you list is true to a degree. Please note the verb you used. “can”
Given HIPAA and policies which seek to avoid infractions and lawsuits, I can personally verify that people could not find me. At admission, I had to affirm release of any info. Just didn’t want any interruptions. Could even have cut out wife and daughter…at my great peril of course.
My admission info required specific affirmation as opposed to negation. Major Seattle hospital.
What Renegade said.
CNN verified that there is no proof or truth in the previous fake news reports that Hillary Clinton had sex with a male dog back in her high school days. Fox News verified that it was a female dog. And so it goes. If Trump would stay in the Tower we would be better off. We would not need a Josh to give Press releases in the White House. Donald could Tweet in the early a.m. each day and give comments to the media speedia as he goes in and out of the lobby on a daily basis. As long as the Tower does not lean then we are not in Pisa. And so forth.
CNN is consulting w/ Donna Brazile on how to handle this.
Don’t fret! Mark Zuckerberg w/ the help of Snopes and ABC is going to rid of us fake news. Cue Handel’s Messiah.
The news these days is like when you think the girl you met is the next best thing to being a virgin and then you realize after doing a little research she’s actually the town pump.
Let me get this straight, this is about a fake news story about a person acting as a fictional character fabricating an emotionally charged story of compassion about the death of a terminally ill child?
Maybe the LSD tripping, K-9 chew toy dude would be able to make some sense of this one.
How bout “the Today Show” when it recently announced the mistrial of the Slager case in Charleston? It showed a backdrop of angry blacks in Baltimore. What a complete joke the MSM is. I don’t watch the MSM, but became “acqainted” with them during the primaries. It’s totally nauseating to think that millions of Americans tune in daily to “The View”, “The Today Show”, etc. and that’s where they get their “newz”. They’d be better off IMO watching Jimmy Dore, Tim Black, DemocracyNow, and *gasp RT.com!
Yep. Seems like RT is the only one who actually does “reporting.” Interesting interview with Adam Curry on the last Max Keiser report Autumn. I think you would find it very interesting. Sounds like everyone reporting will soon have to get a very good state media badge do fine amerlycan repoooorting…
Autumn — “I don’t watch the MSM,”
You seem to think that the MSM is only the broadcast media. You are familiar with the print media, are you not? There are slightly more than 1,300 daily newspapers in the U.S. Are they not part of the so-called MSM? Are you as distrusting of all of them as you are of the broadcast media? I like DemocracyNow as well, but I find it hilarious that you actually think you are getting a journalisticly objective view of the news from this source. DemocracyNow, like so many news outlets today, has a slant to its presentation of the news. There are outlets that lean liberal and those that lean conservative. Don’t think for a moment that DemocracyNow or RT.com are truly neutral, objective observers and reporters of the news. If you do then you are deluded.
This whole “Fake News” mantra is phony itself. The fact is that MOST of the fake news comes directly from the Mainstream Media. Anyone who has followed trends in “journalism” has noted that standards have declined to sub-abysmal levels. The concept of “investigative journalism” is totally DEAD. Finished! The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and all the other journalistic trash today are just loaded to the gills with Jayson Blairs. But at least Blair knew how to put together a realistic appearing story. Today’s “reporters” can barely string together coherent sentences of their phony news, let along tell a real story in a compelling manner.
Today we just get total trash along the lines of the following:
“The New York Times and The Washington have confirmed today that sources have disclosed that a confidential informant of a confidential agency has released bona fide information obtained from a confidential source delivered by another confidential agency that promises to reveal explosive findings on Russia’s hacking of the DNC, according to unnamed sources.”
Wow, wasn’t that informative? No, it isn’t and the Mainstream Media IS the FAKE news.
Ralph is right. I don’t mean righty v. lefty kind of right. I mean correct. Look at the St. Louis Post Dispatch. It was founded by Joseph Pulitzer. Back in the 1970s they had a large staff of reporters and some of those were in Washington DC, some in NY, some even in Europe. They covered national and world news as well as local. Today it is only local. They have a section called The Wire where there are some articles of national or international interest gleaned from Reuters or someone else. In the nation as a whole there are a few newspapers remaining thgt are wide range and good. I like the Washington Post.
I recall a year or so ago when that jerk on NBC named Chuck Todd called Snowden “a traitor”. And he called Ferguson “a ghetto”. Now the networks will hire these dork Brits with their funky Brit accents to tell us about Cairo or Paris. Not talking Cairo, Illinois here. No Brit would go there.
Jack Ruby – the British papers did a better job of covering the election than the MSM did. They were at least neutral.
Neutral? Hardly, i read UK papers, including Scots and NI daily, they were united against Trump. They also miscalled the Scots election which brought down the Labor Party, Brexit, Nigel Farange, they have been saying that Northern Ireland is on the verge of Civil Breakdown for the last six years. Most of the so called British News sites you probably visit – The Guardian, the Daily Mail, BBC are actually American versions and owned by the same media conglomerates. BBC buys most of it’s American Coverage. RT news for instance has many different formats geared to different locals and languages. RT was much more neutral than the British Press.
To bring up that the hoax headline doedmt meet the content of the various news ststememts.
Did i miss the part where it was called a hoax?
The only concerning attribute to the Santa story is that it wasnt varifiable.
Now under HIPPA would a hospital be able to speak to what happened in a patient’s room? One cant even determine whether a patient is in the hospital without consent.
that’s the first thing I thought of. Guess maybe CNN is feeling a little personal identification when they here the words “fake news.”
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