THE BLOG
05/08/2008 01:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

WaPo Dodges Giving Credit in Academic Scandal Story

I just love the irony that the story in question is about a university giving credit where it most assuredly was not due. Yes, I know it's not unusual for one of the Big Boys in the national media to pick up a story broken and pursued by a news outlet in flyover country, but it's still irritating.

For months, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has followed the saga of Heather Bresch, West University University alumna, COO of generic pharmaceutical company Mylan Inc., and daughter of West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin III (D). The question was whether Ms. Bresch did indeed earn the MBA she had claimed (and swore to), and the answer -- determined last month by an investigative panel of WVU and outside academics -- was no, and that WVU officials had pulled credits and grades "out of thin air" to retroactively give Ms. Bresch her MBA.

The part of the story that I like best, as a journalist, is that the tale began with a routine factchecking call last October to WVU to confirm the MBA for the news brief about Ms. Bresch's promotion to COO. When WVU's registrar said there was no record of such a degree, the PG's Patricia Sabatini and Len Boselovic started digging.

But that's not how the Washington Post reported the beginning of the scandal that has led the Faculty Senate, alumni and some leader donors to call for WVU president Mike Garrison to resign.

The scandal began last October, when Bresch contacted Garrison to complain that the university had no record of a 1998 degree she claimed she had earned.

"She explained to me that she didn't know what the issue was, she believed she had a degree, she didn't understand why the university couldn't verify," Garrison said in an interview aired recently on WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, W.Va. "She was angry. She was upset."

Gee, the scandal just started by itself?

There's more muck for those who follow the links.

Disclosure: I keep regular company with several people who used to work at Mylan, and have since sold their stock. I also know many WVU alumni.