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Thursday, April 14, 2011 2:06 p.m.

Students express outrage over Fox News story

Updated April 14 at 6:09 p.m.

Students have taken to Facebook to express outrage over a Fox News story reporting that a student’s suicide coincided with President Barack Obama’s campus visit Wednesday. reporting that a students suicide coincided with

Fox News removed the story just before 4 p.m., and the link now goes to a “not found” page.

University spokeswoman Candace Smith said the University reached out to Fox News about the story.

“We contacted Fox News to express our concern that the story drew conclusions that were not accurate,” Smith said. “It was their decision to take the story down, and we believe it was a wise one.”

According to a Fox News employee, who spoke on background because they were not permitted to speak in an official capacity, Fox removed the story due to student and University reaction, even though nothing in the story was factually inaccurate.

The employee, an alumnus of the University, added that there were “several GW alums here who felt that it was the wise decision to remove it.”

The story, which appeared on FoxNews.com’s America’s Election HQ blog, said the student’s death “tragically coincides” with the president’s visit:

George Washington University students in Washington, D.C. learned of a tragic coincidence of timing on their campus Wednesday. As President Obama delivered a speech on deficit reduction in the Jack Morton Auditorium, university officials were learning one of their students had committed suicide in his dorm room across campus.

In response, students formed a “HOLD CHERNENKOFF AND FOX NEWS ACCOUNTABLE” event on Facebook, calling for the blog post’s author, Kelley Chernenkoff, to be fired.

In about 10 hours, the group amassed more than 1,060 members.

This article is disgusting even for FOX news standards. We should all stand together to support our fellow student and his family in making sure that this woman gets fired for this RIDICULOUS article. Spread this to all your friends. Let Chernenkoff and FOX news know that they cannot get away with this deplorable behavior. There is absolutely no reason to mention this tragic event in a political article

Danny Leimberg, the event’s creator, posted contact information for Fox News’ headquarters and implored students to call and complain.

“After reading the article I think it’s ridiculous they had that in the politics section in their page, much less implying the relationship between the two,” Leimberg said. “Members of the GW community should be outraged, and his family shouldn’t have to see something like that on the politics blog.”

Leimberg said he wants to see Chernenkoff and the blog’s editor punished.

“I think there should be consequences for the people who publish it,” Leimberg said. “We just need to stand around the student and his family.”

The original article is reproduced below:

GWU Student’s Suicide Tragically Coincides With Obama Visit

By Kelly Chernenkoff

George Washington University students in Washington, D.C. learned of a tragic coincidence of timing on their campus Wednesday. As President Obama delivered a speech on deficit reduction in the Jack Morton Auditorium, university officials were learning one of their students had committed suicide in his dorm room across campus.

Fox News has learned that the male student may have been a junior at the school and was described as solitary. He rarely left his dorm room, according to a source.

“I am deeply saddened to report that the university has been notified of the death of one of our students,” GW President Steven Knapp said in a message to his students, faculty and staff. “The student was found in his room this afternoon at the City Hall residence hall,” he said.

GWU officials tell Fox that police were notified about the incident around 2pm, which happens to be at the same time that President Obama was speaking. A source tells Fox that the incident may have occurred earlier, noting that police went knocking on the student’s door at 1:30pm. As of this writing, Fox has not been able to obtain reaction from the White House.

“The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the student’s death in coordination with the GW Police Department,” Knapp wrote. “At this time, we have no indication that the death was the result of a criminal act. We will release more information when it becomes available.”

DC police officials tell Fox that the death has, in fact, been ruled a suicide.

Knapp took note of the solemn moment, adding, “On behalf of the entire university community, I would like to express our sorrow and extend my condolences to the student’s family and friends.”

Fox News’ Jodie Curtis contributed to the report.


  • Nate

    How many students are in a facebook group honoring the (to my knowledge, still unnamed) student. Yes, the article was out of line but don’t let the fear, pain, and confusion of losing a fellow student let you leave behind your sense of tact.

    Losing a member of a community is hard. Allowing this article to politicize an isolated incident will not help calm the waters on campus.

  • Professorx10

    Fox is twisted and demonic. God does not like ugly and Fox is butt ugly. One of these days Fox you will reap what you have sown!

  • Pingback: Fox News Reports That GWU Student’s Suicide ‘Tragically Coincides’ With Obama Visit | eduJunction

  • SharonHL

    “Fox News” should be changed to what it really is, “Fox Conservative News”

  • TBL

    I still in Fox’s search results.

    http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/search?q=suicide

  • Darth Randall

    Do any of you understand the term “coincidence”?

  • Pingback: What Not To Do: Exploit A Student’s Suicide For Political Gain | Five Things At Once

  • GWU Alum

    Disturbing how such a tragedy turns into a lighting rod of cookie cutter political banter, even on the Hatchet blogs, especially when we don’t even know the student’s name.

  • GWUKID

    to occupy the same place in space, the same point or period in time, or the same relative position:
    Its just stupid to over react about this story. They did nothing wrong!! It is not like they said someone committed suicide because president Obama was on campus. Come on people be real here. Wonder if this was NBC if the same outrage would have taken place. Remind me how pathetic some GWU students can be sometimes. Tragic story of course and I find it a bit odd that a name has not been released yet. People may have lost someone they know but do not even know yet. GW? GWPD? MPD? Any information would be good to know.

  • Alex B.

    While what Fox did is deplorable, let’s not pretend like they’re the only news outlet who’s made implications like this.

  • GWUKID

    NO ONE made any implications! If you actually read the story people would see. Knowing GWU kids they just read the headline and went crazy. What is everyone getting so upet about is beyond me.

  • Alex B.

    But by including the two events (the suicide and Obama’s speech) in an article together and saying that they contacted the White House for comments, the author is implying a connection, or at the very least trying to associate the two events in the reader’s mind. Of course she can’t say directly that Obama’s speech caused the student’s suicide – there’s no proof to support that. But she can present the two of them and say, “What a strange coincidence, huh?”

    Basically – there’s no justifiable reason for Obama’s speech to be included in an article about the student, just as there’s no real reason you’d need to write about a student’s suicide in an article about Obama’s speech.

  • Ruth

    Why blame Fox News when the liberal News prints what ever they want. No where did it say the suicide was because of Obama..are you so liberal that you can’t see the truth…

  • Strider

    For a bunch of smart cookies, you sure are a dumb lot. Especially the professor, who should be ashamed to admit such blatant political bias.

    Keep your minds open, don’t let these people lead you by the nose. Stand up for yourselves. THINK. Fox news story totally innocuous, hardly newsworthy, but most of what news sources put out is not either.

  • Cheri

    “As of this writing, Fox has not been able to obtain reaction from the White House.”

    With all do respect, why would the White House have anything to say about this? Do they need to make a statement for every suicide, homicide, or car accident? Unless the columnist was insinuating a connection between the two… how distasteful and disrespectful even for Fox News.

  • Cassim Ginwala

    Do you understand what we going through? I am the father of the child you all talking about. Do you know I just returned back from D.C to CALIFORNIA and reading this false news ( or fox news)? Please let me allow him to bring back home. Let us send our final goodbye with peace and love. My child was ill. Thats all. He was a very bright students.. He was way ahead his age. He was not even 21 years old. Yet he had visions that most of us never dream of. He loves the president. He was a proud supporter of out president.
    May God rest him in peace Son.

  • ashley

    Cassim, if you really are his father i just want to say how sorry i am for what has happened. I didnt know Ismail extremely well but i knew him enough to know he was a bright kid with a lot of humor and was a good friend to many. He was a good kid. And i disagree when you call him ill. I dont believe he was ill but rather going through a difficult time. But he will always be remembered and known for being such a great person. Ignore what people say and dont feel angered but rather the love you have for your son. Good Bless.

  • Ashley

    Cassim, if you really are his father i just want to say how sorry i am for what has happened. I didnt know Ismail extremely well but i knew him enough to know he was a bright kid with a lot of humor and was a good friend to many. He was a good kid. And i disagree when you call him ill. I dont believe he was ill but rather going through a difficult time. But he will always be remembered and known for being such a great person. Ignore what people say and dont feel angered but rather the love you have for your son. Good Bless.

  • Ashley

    Cassim, if you really are his father i just want to say how sorry i am for what has happened. I didnt know Ismail extremely well but i knew him enough to know he was a bright kid with a lot of humor and was a good friend to many. He was a good kid. And i disagree when you call him ill. I dont believe he was ill but rather going through a difficult time. But he will always be remembered and known for being such a great person. Ignore what people say and dont feel angered but rather the love you have for your son. Good Bless.

  • Arturo

    Ruth, are you such a dimwit that you can’t read between the lines and see Fox’s obvious attempt to make a provocative and spurious comment at the expense of a student? Why NOT blame Fox? They print whatever the f*** they want too; that’s how they make their money.

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