American Idol disqualification rumor, reason spreads despite lack of evidence

The rumor that Michael Lynche was disqualified from American Idol 9 remains that, but some members of the media have been making a connection where there never was one.

Today, multiple publications reported that there’s a definitive link between a story in the St. Petersburg Times by Eric Deggans in which Lynche’s father confirms his son made it to the top 24 and the disqualification rumors. Yet there has never been any evidence of that, and they’re simply mashing together what they’ve failed to read carefully. How embarrassing!

In my post Friday, I pointed out that there was no public evidence of Lynche himself violating his confidentiality agreement–I checked around, like on his MySpace page– and only linked to Deggans’ report as evidence that Lynche had made it to the top 24. Even the initial Joe’s Place report said nothing of the connection, although its post later added a link to Deggans’ piece.

But that didn’t stop the press, which can’t be bothered with nuance when it can create a link where there wasn’t one: The New York Post said he “was booted over the weekend” because “his father told a local newspaper that his son made the semifinals, a violation of the show’s confidentiality rules.” People said he “was reportedly told to pack his bags after his father revealed to his local Florida paper, The St. Petersburg Times, that Michael had made the top 24.” And then other outlets passed along the misinformation and kept the story going.

Perhaps it is true that that Lynche was disqualified, though that remains rumor, and while it may have had something to do with the confidentiality agreement, I can’t quite imagine Fox disqualifying someone because a relative of his talked to a newspaper. But Fox isn’t talking and neither is that relative: Deggans reports today that “Fox network has continually refused to comment on the status of contestants before it is revealed on the show and Marque Lynche Sr. has now disconnected his home phone in Sarasota, declining to comment.”

So without any facts to go by, let’s just make up stories and amuse ourselves with those.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.