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Friday, August 18, 2006

Duke Case: Got "weak, anonymous bullies"

The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. - Martin Luther King Jr.
The main stream media, journalists, reporters et al in North Carolina have so far certainly not distinguished themselves in covering this Duke rape hoax. Robert Johnson nicely described it this way:
—most have seemed content to follow the lead of the Herald-Sun’s Bob Ashley or the N&O’s Dennis Rogers, whose recent column explained why he, as a journalist, shouldn’t be expected to know anything about the case or to undertake any independent inquiry into matters. Know nothing, have no desire to learn, and then get paid for writing about your lack of knowledge: sounds like a pretty good job to have!
But, make no mistake, many of these North Carolinian media types are secretly hoping Nifong can somehow pull a rabbit out of his evil hat and crucify the three young Duke lacrosse players.

That would make their day, giving them the fire and brimstone to shower down on the piss ant bloggers, New York cable news pundits, and anyone else who looked cross-eyed at their coverage of the case.

Professional journalists working in North Carolina do not like hearing that nobody bloggers are saying they're doing a lousy job covering the Duke rape hoax. They do not like the harsh, judgemental, and condescending tone coming out of blogs.

They look at many blogs (like The Johnsville News) and internet message boards that focus on stories like the Duke case as weak, anonymous bullies, who spew error riddled trash at a story hoping something will stick.

Here are snippets of feedback from one professional main stream journalist in North Carolina evaluating the coverage by this blog of the Duke case:
...you are in no position to be criticizing the reportage of others . . . WHO USE A BYLINE

...You're being a bully. A weak, anonymous bully.

...you need to watch your tone.

...it does get my dander up when someone who truly has no idea what it's like takes such a judgemental tone

Again, think what you want. Be judgemental, we encourage it, just stop expressing it so condescendingly...don't lecture us...

As journalists, we have to be objective, see the gray and investigate using TOOLS, not just cutting and pasting from other's news accounts that happen to agree with you.

You're not just pointing out reporting problems...you're being nasty about it in the process. So yes, watch your tone.
Okay. Yes. Let's just assume this criticism is all correct. The Johnsville News is a weak anonymous bully blog that uses a judgemental and condescending tone. It's very tempting to make that the new tag line under the blog title.
The Johnsville News
"the weak, anonymous, bully blog that uses a judgemental and condescending tone"
But, in this particular Duke case that mild name calling doesn't hurt one bit. No problem with that label being hung on this blog. Individually, blogs are weak, no one gives a damn about any one blog unless you have one in the Technorati - Top Favorited Blogs.

However, an injustice like this Duke rape hoax brings out a good number of bloggers who feel something has gone very wrong with the system in North Carolina. Not just the legal system, but with the local main stream media outlets that are supposed to serve as journalistic watchdogs.

The question is who wakes up the watchdog when he's fallen asleep. These days it can only be the blogs. Remember how effective letters to the editor were back in the good old days.

One blog isn't enough. However, a number of blogs have a better chance of being heard and conveying the message - a Greek chorus effect.

Every blog plays a different role and adds a different voice to the chorus. A blend of different voices works best and adds the most value to a particular issue.

We would argue that every blog chorus in order to be effective needs at least one weak, anonymous bully.

William L. Anderson also had some thoughts recently on what blogs have brought to the Duke case:
Fast forward to the Duke affair. As I pointed out earlier in this piece, the N&O and other mainstream newspapers and broadcasters worked exclusively with Nifong and the authorities, giving sympathetic coverage to the accuser and painting the lacrosse players as hooligans hiding behind their lawyers. After three players were arrested for this "crime," however, things began to change, thanks to bloggers and the Internet...

Thus, if you wish to see the timelines, pictures of Reade Seligmann standing at a bank teller at the same time Nifong claims he was committing rape, or find information about the accuser’s past, or see the mainstream journalists being dissected story by story, the blogs have it all. There is no doubt that these powerful informational entities have forced the N&O (not to mention Newsweek and other media outlets) change the direction of their coverage...

As I have stated before, I have no doubt that in the pre-Internet and pre-blog age, Nifong would not be on the defensive, as most people who followed the story would be convinced that the players were guilty. After all, people reason, an indictment itself is near-proof of guilt. Instead, we see a D.A. on the defensive and his core group of supporters dwindling.
If you were falsely accused of a terrible crime and had your reputation dragged through the mud, wouldn't you hope that a few people got upset and perhaps even outraged enough to write blogs about it. Especially if the main stream media was ignoring or even enflaming the situation. Right.

So here are a couple of good questions to ask yourself:

Would you stop someone from writing a weak anonymous bully blog to get the word out about the gross injustice you had suffered? Would you set a limit on how many weak anonymous bully blogs could support your cause?

So, The Johnsville News is pleased and proud to be a very small, weak, anonymous bully blog doing whatever minuscule bit of good it can to see that three innocent young men keep their freedom and have their good names restored. That is the bottom line and no we will not watch our tone.

Blogs and the Mainstream Press [William L. Anderson | lewrockwell.com, Aug. 12, 2006]

Duke Lacrosse Case [TJN Archives]

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