Care to make a guess? When does someone in the main stream media (MSM) like the New York Times, or Newsweek, for example, finally use the word "Hoax" in a headline to describe the Duke case?
One more requirement, the word hoax must be used without a qualifier or question mark, in other words, saying something like "Duke Case a Hoax?" does not qualify. Saying something like, "The Duke Rape Hoax," is a winner.
The Johnsville News using some fancy guesswork will go out and set the over/under date for that big announcement and then let you put yourself on record.
But first, a few things to consider:
Will a MSM declaration of a hoax have to wait until sometime after all the formalities of a trial are digested?
Will someone in the MSM have the guts to step forward before a trial and label it as a hoax on a story headline? Many cable news pundits like Dan Abrams, Greta Van Susteren, Bill O'Reilly, Joe Scarborough, and Tucker Carlson, from what we know, have stopped just short of calling it a hoax.
These cable pundits are essentially saying the case has no merit and should be dropped, unless Nifong has one hell of a smoking gun (which he does not). It's still a fair jump from that position to calling it a hoax. So we wait.
Would someone in MSM finally use hoax in a headline, once all the evidence is formally put forward at trial, but before the verdict? Our bet would be, no. If the case goes to trial there will be no MSM declaration of a hoax until after the innocent verdict is rendered. Who, would want to risk getting blindsided by some twisted run-away jury, reverse OJ verdict.
The Johnsville News first called this case a hoax in a story on June 16th - Duke Lacrosse Scandal: The Innocence Equation, and first used the word in a headline on July 7th - Duke Case: The Politically Correct Hoax or "Po-Ho".
Michael J. Gaynor on June 28th wrote one of the first hoax headlines: From Duke Rape Case to Duke Rape Hoax.
But, Sensible Mom was way out front on this one back on April 10th - Duke Rape Hoax.
Other factors effecting a hoax headline: does the Durham November election offer a possible fast track to getting a quicker hoax brand stamped on this case?
Any wildcards like a 60 Minutes story in September offer an early tipping point? Will Oz (Judge W. Osmond Smith) wipe out the prosecution's case with a ruling or two favorable to the defense? Now that Judge Smith is on board will the pace to a jury trial accelerate? (Note: We won't call Judge Smith "Oz" anymore unless he screws up)
Does it help any to look back at the last great big rape hoax, the Tawana Brawley case, to get an idea?
Brian Mahoney said this regarding the Tawana Brawley scandal:
Ironically the book, Outrage: The Story Behind the Tawana Brawley Hoax, was written by six reporters who covered the story for The New York Times. It covers a great deal of the grand jury testimony and its findings. The special grand jury convened to look into the matter in 1988 heard testimony from 180 witnesses but not Ms. Brawley, and based its conclusions on the testimony from medical and scientific experts as well as eyewitnesses. The grand jury concluded that the story Tawana Brawley's advisors (for no one has ever heard Tawana's version of the events) told the press and the police was false: "Based on all the evidence that has been presented to the grand jury, we conclude that Tawana Brawley was not the victim of a forcible sexual assault by multiple assailants over a four-day period," the grand jury stated. "There is no evidence that any sexual assault occurred."
The Tawana Brawley hoax started in November 1987 and the above mentioned book was published in 1990.
One more consideration, will the MSM just decide to never call this case a hoax? Instead, will they wimp out and try to use the bogus, but less judgemental word "scandal" to describe the mess. This probably depends on how much evil doing Mike Nifong gets away with before the legal system itself or MSM says enough.
As you can see handicapping this hoax question is not easy.
However, The Johnsville News will step forward and draw a line in the sand. The goal, if you are making book on an over/under, would be to get a nice 50-50% split on the date portion of this poll.
Poll Question: Will the Main Stream Media use the word "Hoax" to describe the Duke case before May 25, 2007?
The 53-47 split ended up being between yes and no/never. It will be interesting to see if the case collapses quickly or if it drags on for months. It seems like a house of cards.