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Monday, January 8, 2007

Duke Hoax: Day #265

Updated - today's items:

Susan FilanSusan Filan, sr. legal analyst, MSNBC:
What’s left to say in Duke rape case? — Filan: Accused could become poster boys for justice - I am writing yet again about the Duke lacrosse rape case. Can you believe we are still talking about this case? What could possibly be left to say? The reason I think people are sick of hearing about it is because most people have now made up their minds about this case, conclusively in favor of the players. There seems to be no case left against the three accused.

Initially, this case grabbed us by the throat and we glued ourselves to it because it appeared to be a shocking case about rape, class, gender, privilege, imbalance of power, rival schools, and stunning abuse by spoiled athletes at a prestigious school. Only now, perhaps we feel a bit ashamed because it sounds like the three young men accused have been falsely accused.

The real problem now is that the prosecution’s case has completely crumbled and appears to be a complete hoax. If the accuser cannot testify as to whether she was raped because she cannot remember, then the damage to her credibility is so severe it warrants all the charges being dropped....

Public opinion seems to be wildly in favor of the three young men, although how permanently tarnished their reputations are remains to be seen. They could ultimately end up heroes if they can prevail in their quest to prove they were falsely accused and they are not simply “not guilty,” but they are actually innocent. They could end up being the poster boys for justice, and become an icon for our criminal justice system, reminding everyone that the presumption of innocence is one of the most valuable jewels in our Constitution, and our rush to judgement — and our tireless discussion of criminal cases — must be refreshed to include that sacred cornerstone...

It seems a shame that this case has done so much harm to so many. It is my hope that in the end, it will come to stand for something good. It will become a reminder for all those who work in the criminal justice system that we are here to serve the greater good, never ourselves, and that our oath is to administer justice in a very careful and deliberate search for the truth. Always. No matter what. We must never ever violate the public trust.

disussion:
LieStoppers forum: Filan calls it a Hoax!, is she the first MSM to use the term?
TalkLeft: Susan Filan Article MSNBC

related: Johnsville News (8/21/06) — Duke Case Tipping Point: When does the Main Stream Media call this case a Hoax? — Poll Question: Will the Main Stream Media use the word "Hoax" to describe the Duke case before May 25, 2007? (53% yes, 28% no, 19% never) comment: "Hoax" had to used in a headline.

Richard 'Rat' BrodheadEmail/letter from Duke Univesity President Richard H. Brodhead, duke.edu:
A Letter from President Brodhead to the Duke Community — I write to greet you at the start of a new year. I also want to address some important developments that have taken place while the University was on break, and to offer some thoughts as we go forward.

Last spring, this community became embroiled in a major controversy arising from a party held by members of the men's lacrosse team. It is universally acknowledged that the behavior at the party was inappropriate and unacceptable...it is essential that we separate the legal case from the larger cultural issues and give each its separate, appropriate response.

Just as important, we must work together to restore the fabric of mutual respect. One of the things I have most regretted is the way students and faculty have felt themselves disparaged and their views caricatured in ongoing debates, often by individuals - sometimes anonymous - outside the Duke community. In the age of instantaneous worldwide media coverage, members of the lacrosse team were judged around the world on the basis of highly selective, highly prejudicial coverage last spring. A number of them were subjected to vile abuse. More recently, a group of Duke faculty members (including a number of African American faculty) have been widely attacked in blogs and emails - and in some cases personally attacked in highly repugnant and vicious terms - based on caricatured accounts of their statements on the lacrosse event.

We want to see an end to these destructive assaults....Turning conflict among divergent points of view into the basis for mutual education is at the core of the university's work....
related:
KC Johnson: Brodhead's Apologia (see comments) — Brodhead continues to reinvent the past....The University appears determined to ignore its faculty’s rush to judgment last spring....The lacrosse players and the faculty who rushed to denounce them are equally “victims” of this affair....

comment: Many great comments on KC Johnson's blog regarding the Brodhead letter, like this one:
...Had there turned out to be lots of -- check that, any -- evidence against the Duke three, Brodhead would right now be using his earlier statements and actions to prove that he (and the 88) were on this thing hard from the beginning.

This is a decent man? This is a craven, hypocritical, opportunistic liar. Duke needs to be shed of him.
John in Carolina: Brodhead reveals himself — Did you ever think you’d see the day a President of Duke University would so shamelessly play the race card? Did you ever think you’d see the day a President of Duke University would play the race card in a letter to the faculty?...

discussion:
LieStoppers: Letter from the President
LieStoppers: KC Johnson on Pres. Brodhead's Letter
Mary Katharine Ham, ABC News:
Are No Lessons Being Learned in Durham? — The Real 'Social Disaster' at Duke - It's official. "Nifong" is now a verb. The journey from mere person to Urban Dictionary verb is always an ignominious one, and Durham D.A. Mike Nifong's lexical fall from grace was shameful indeed. Nifonged is a verb that describes the railroading or harming of a person with no justifiable cause to do so, except for one's own gain. It can be used as a substitute for "screwed" and many other similar words...

The Durham activists who banged pots and pans and hung wanted posters of the Duke lacrosse team have put up their own "wall of silence," refusing to talk to press as Nifong's case has fallen apart and their sympathetic victim has become a liar...

Want to know the real "social disaster" at Duke? It's not that the "larger truths" this non-crime revealed trumped the presumption of innocence....It's that, even now, they're not ashamed of it. And, until they are, I'm afraid Durham, Duke, future athletes, future rape victims, the local justice system and race relations are all — what's the word? — "Nifonged."

Ben Mankiewicz - 'Young Turks' radio show, Air AmericaOpinion - Ben Mankiewicz, ABC News:
Duke, Deceit and Rehnquist — Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Underscores America's Deep Racial Divide - Nancy Grace has no idea what happened in the Duke lacrosse sexual abuse case. Neither does Tucker Carlson. Ditto for Rush Limbaugh. And neither do I. Nor does anyone else, save the lacrosse players or the strip…er, exotic dancer, though they appear to disagree. Was it rape? Did she lie? Was there another kind of assault? Is she looking for attention?

Don't know. Can't possibly know. Wish everyone — from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough to CNN's Wolf Blitzer to District Attorney Mike Nifong — would stop talking about it.

But conservatives emboldened by Duke case prosecutor Mike Nifong's apparent ethical lapses should not deny one aspect of the case that rings resoundingly true: There almost certainly were racial taunts that night. And those black Duke students who came forward afterward to talk about feeling uncomfortable on their overwhelmingly white, wealthy campus were certainly telling the truth too...

discussion: Liesoppters — Duke, Deceit, and Rehnquist by Ben M.

comment: Shhhh...Quiet, no one mention the blight on the American justice system. Let's focus on the slurs that were started by Ms. Roberts, the second performer, and some unattributed reference to "feeling uncomfortable" on the Duke campus. This is not a liberal or conservative issue - it's about injustice. Just ask the Gun Toting Liberal (see below).
La Shawn Barber:
Reade Seligmann: ‘Mom, she picked me.’ — Reade Seligmann, one of the Duke lacrosse players indicted for “raping” a stripper, is going through what countless others have gone through. Falsely accused of a heinous crime, he’s had to face the possibility of prison, see the disappointment and worry in his family’s faces, and endure negative media attention, all because an egomaniac race-baited his way against a brick wall.

Seligmann didn’t rape, assault, or kidnap the stripper-accuser, and he has the paper trail to prove it. But for almost a year he’s lived under the curse of a rogue prosecutor intent on making an example of him...
related:
Susannah Meadows, Newsweek: In Scandal's Shadow
LieStoppers forum: LaShawn Barber
Editorial, The Pilot (Southern Pines, NC):
Nifong Has Caused Enough Damage — Mike Nifong needs to step away from the Duke lacrosse case before he brings any more shame on himself, North Carolina and the law.

Not to mention three young men who have had their lives ruined by a bafflingly wrongheaded course of prosecutorial conduct -- or misconduct -- that seems incompetent at best and actionably reckless and self-serving at worst...

Melanie SillMelanie Sill, executive editor, News & Observer Editor's Blog:
Journalism AND blogs — Though some of us thought the "bloggers versus journalists" debate was long over, from recent comments I see it still has life. I've never looked at the wide-open world of Internet communication this way. Like Sarah Davies, who posted comments recently, I see the Internet as a medium, not a source of information, and a blog as a form of communication. The substance of a blog, not the form, determines its value. There are good blogs and bad blogs, reliable sources and gossip-mongers. Among local sources mentioned in recent posts, KC Johnson's Durham in Wonderland blog is notable for the research he puts into some of his posts; he writes from from a point of view, but he is a named and accountable source of this reported commentary...Good journalism is labor-intensive, which means it's often expensive to produce. This kind of journalism is practiced mostly at newspapers and magazines, and among some broadcast sources...

The N&O's exhaustive and comprehensive reporting on the Duke lacrosse case; many of those who have been reading the coverage (rather than reading about it) have noted the results of our commitment to original and verifiable reporting.

The N&O’s long commitment to this kind of work, and to the everyday reporting of community life, remains. The Internet extends and supports it; beyond that, if the Web becomes home to more serious journalism from other sources, so much the better.
discussion:
LieStoppers forum: Journalism and blogs
Todd Andrew Barnett, BlogTalkRadio.com
An Interview with Wendy McElroy (recorded Jan 5th) — Todd interviews Fox News columnist Wendy McElroy on Duke rape case...

Joan Foster, LieStoppers:
Gone to the Dogs — The Editors at the Asheville Citizen-Times took action this weekend and issued an apology...This editorial is entitled "An Apology For Assumptions and Being Played Like A Fiddle." Care to wager when Editor Ashley of the Herald-Sun will have the moral courage to write something similar? I believe he is still pining for a trial, only because, despite the tremendous emotional and financial burden to these beleaguered families, Ole Bob wants to give the falsely accused a chance to "prove their innocence." That kind of faulty logic apparently plays well in certain parts of Durham, but I fear it may hold up Ashley's MENSA application....Nancy Grace has taken a new approach to the bombshell developments in the case - feigned amnesia....

The NY Times would rather talk about dogs now too....

LieStoppers:
Our Collective Voice - RodNReg — Dear Ms. Davidson, I want to believe you. I want to believe that the Listening Statement you and 87 others signed was just about the racial and gender attitudes and not about the lacrosse incident. I want to accept what you call an explicit statement that the ad was not addressed to the police investigation or the rape allegations. Parsing the statement out now, in today’s emotionally sterile environment wiped clean of the presumption of guilt, one may be able to do just that. But the Listening Statement wasn’t issued today. It wasn’t issued in a clean room free of opinion. Instead, it was issued at a time when one of the ugliest images of our history – a privileged white man raping a poor black woman – contaminated public reason and objective thought was tossed aside in favor of a lynch mob mentality.

LieStoppers:
Our Collective Voice - Brand — I feel compelled to respond to Duke University Professor Cathy Davidson’s recent guest column published in the News & Observer, and I’ll start with a quote from the Group of 88’s “We’re Listening” advertisement...

Katti GrayKatti Gray, Newsday:
Gender and race touch raw nerves — The most incendiary topics tackled in this column tend to be those touching on gender and/or race. Take a contentious stand on either topic, and the columnist might as well hang a lighted Molotov cocktail out her driver's side window and zoom at lightning speed into a tractor-trailer packed with dynamite. Writing last April that those Duke lacrosse players and that stripper-for-hire were, by their premeditated activity, dumb, my e-mail box exploded with messages from the affronted. The offending column had concluded nothing on the question of whether a rape had occurred, only that strippers-for-hire and their paying audiences are reckless; that hormones, at a certain concentration and surge, are combustible, and that is bad for the culture....

At least some of what the stripper alleged about that all-boy house party seems not to have happened. The wayward North Carolina prosecutor apparently knew this, too, and his cover-up may have killed his career. His vow to see his work through to the end is fodder for the on-running story, the what-next of this sordidness.

So, too, are the gender politics. In the ongoing battle of the sexes, I've long joked to my men friends that women stick together - even when we're surely wrong - and that trying to penetrate such a wall is a fanciful endeavor....

Michael Gaynor:
Reverse racism and obliviousness - I applaud the Dowd family suit as a public service. It is much needed, not nonsense, if professors are to be held accountable for grade abuse. As an American, I am fed up with political corruption and racism of whatever kind and I loathe abusive prosecutors and scapegoaters...

Craig R. SmithCraig R. Smith, WorldNetDaily.com:
Revs. Jesse and Al: Shameless charlatans — Far be it from me to say, ''I told you so'' but I told you so. Back on April 21, 2006, I wrote a column titled "Revs. Arrive, Truth Dies." I went out on a limb and predicted the alleged rapists from Duke University were innocent and would be proven so in a court of law. Have you read a newspaper recently?...The Revs. had poured gasoline on the flames of hatred and the fire was out of control....People from all walks of life commit crimes. When a crime is committed we all must assume innocence. That goes for Jesse and Al as well. In this case the reverends should be sued. Sued for big money until they realize that their thirst for the camera can not take priority over one of the most basic tenets of our legal system – innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of skin color.

KC Johnson:
John Bourlon: Legal "Analyst" - Among the most ironic aspects of this case: the site of members of the Durham defense bar regularly prostituting themselves on national television, defending a prosecution that represents the highest-profile case of prosecutorial misconduct in recent memory. It’s not hard to discern their motives: the defendants aren’t from Durham, and praising Nifong now will accumulate chits for later. The most outrageous of this group is Nifong campaign contributor and traffic court lawyer John Bourlon....

In short, the cable shows are being used by Bourlon to troll for business in Durham at the expense of the defendants in this case. The "journalists" who give him the forum should be ashamed of themselves.

KC Johnson:
Curtis-gate — The scandal that could be called Duke’s “Curtis-gate” is showing signs of intensifying....As a professor, there are few sins greater than grade retaliation (although making unfounded, written allegations that your students are accomplices to rape would clearly be worse than deliberately lowering their grades). In any case, this issue isn’t a hard one to understand. The grades of two of her students plunged after [Kim F. Curtis] accused them, in writing, of being accomplices to rape—all while she was seeking “research” to impeach an accusation filed by another Duke student against NCCU students. Perhaps Curtis would be happier teaching at NCCU?

Yesterday's Items (1/7):

Percy Allen, Seattle Times:
A night we'll never really know about — In Durham, N.C., for instance, the accounts of the rape accusations involving a 28-year-old African-American female stripper and three white Duke lacrosse players became one of the biggest news events in 2006 when the story broke in March...Meanwhile, a similar story in the Northwest has gone largely ignored by comparison, even though it contains the same explosive elements.

This week in Portland, four Utah Jazz players accused of raping a Portland woman at a downtown hotel were cleared of any wrongdoing.

One could argue that the absence of evidence, perhaps proven by the prosecutors' decision not to pursue criminal charges, suggests that this is a non-story and it got the attention that it deserved, which is little to none.
discussion:
TalkLeft: Responsible Handling of "Rape" Accusation by Stripper in Portland, Oregon
Michael Linn Jones, Gun Toting Liberal:
Why Not Move The Duke Lacrosse Trial to Scottsboro? — Why [Nifong] even retains a license to practice law is a mystery. He is supposed to represent the state of North Carolina in the pursuit of justice. Instead he violated common sense and several ethics in order to carry out a Star Chamber of swift injustice. But, he got re-elected. And his own political career was more important than anything else.

More of a mystery is where all those who oppose injustice went? When 25 people died in a 1991 fire at the Imperial chicken processing plant in Hamlet, NC, Jesse Jackson came to town. He gathered the funds so that those poor people could at least be buried in some decent clothes. It was probably one of the most decent things the good reverend has done in his life.

He could do something decent here, too. But he won’t because the defendents in this case are to be judged by the color of their skin; the economic station they hold in life, not their character. And certainly not within the realm of justice. My , how hypocrisy has risen.

John in Carolina:
Maggief and Dowd suit comments — Maggief, as far as I know, has no direct connection to the Dowd suit but when the news first broke that the Dowd’s are alleging Curtis unfairly gave Dowd, a member of Duke’s lacrosse team, a failing grade Maggief reminded readers at Free Republic that a commenter here at JinC had some weeks back said her son [Duke ROTC student] had been a victim of grade retaliation by Curtis in 2004, and that Duke had mishandled the matter...

KC Johnson:
More Only in DurhamN&O columnist Jim Wise scoffs at Mike Nifong's latest bizarre idea--that he is the figure uniquely qualified to lead Durham's healing process...The first item of "misinformation," it appears, is that the rule of law applies in Durham.

KC Johnson:
Sunday Roundup — “Shame,” “sleazy,” “appalling”— these are the adjectives that Cathy Davidson uses to characterize the lacrosse players in her impassioned apologia for the Group of 88’s statement. “Hooligans” is the noun she employs to characterize on-line supporters of Reade Seligmann....Susannah Meadows’ Newsweek article...Betsy Newmark's column...Group of 88...Kim Curtis...Mike Pressler dismissal.

LieStoppers:
Mike Nifong Seminars Inc Presents (humor) — The Basic Facts - TV Justice is Entertainment. (1) Telling the truth is not important, the ratings are!...

Susan IhneSusan Ihne - executive editor, Ashville Citizen-Times:
An apology for assumptions, and for being played like a fiddle — Did we jump the gun with an April 8 editorial about the Duke lacrosse incident? It appears we did, even though we waited more than three weeks to comment. We made a mistake, because even after three weeks — and now nearly 10 months — people still don’t know what happened. Near the end of the editorial, we said: “We hope to see a thorough police investigation into this matter so that the guilty — the attackers and those who covered for them — can be punished.”

Our mistake was in saying “the attackers and those who covered for them.” That phrase assumed there was a rape, even though earlier in the editorial, we referred to it as an “alleged rape.”

It now appears there may not have been a rape at all. We should have considered that possibility and not included that phrase. Letter writers have called for an apology, and one is due. We apologize for assuming there was an attack. Many people want to blame the media for what has gone wrong with this case.

Michael Gustafson (Duke Engr. Prof.) blog:
A Poll, With Any Other Wording ... (1/7/07) - would have smelled better. The Chronicle at Duke is holding a poll to check agreement with President Brodhead's lifting of administrative leave from Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty. The results are surprising in a sad way. The wording of the poll is, too, so I wrote in to the Chronicle...

Chronicle reply: We noticed the issue with the poll last night and have been working to correct it. It should either be taken down or fixed in the near future. Thank you for bringing this to our attention." At present, the poll is gone and replaced with one asking about the legitimacy of Kyle Dowd and family's lawsuit.
related:
Duke Chronicle: Poll Question - Is former lacrosse player Kyle Dowd's lawsuit against Duke justified? (currently - 31% yes, 32% no, 37% need more informaton)
----------------------------
Letter by Robert Miller (Durham), Herald-Sun/FODU:
A stained reputation - The Duke lacrosse case has left serious stains on the reputations of Duke University and Durham County. Duke's administration, faculty and students almost immediately abandoned any semblance of a belief in innocent until proven guilty and threw their own to the wolves.

Durham has approved, through an election, what may well prove to be one of the most egregiously flawed, malicious prosecutions in history. How sad that it has taken the State Bar, the Association of North Carolina District Attorneys and the scrutiny and condemnation of the national press to begin the process of correcting this travesty.

Much of the world now has the image of Durham as a lawless backwater where citizens can, for political expediency, be railroaded by haphazard investigations, ignoring of evidence and incredibly weak charges.

These stains will not soon fade.

Letter by Michael Brady (Hillsborough, NC), Herald-Sun/FODU:
Reinstatement of players doesn't square Duke — Duke has not covered itself in glory on the lacrosse allegations. Last spring, when the three lacrosse players were indicted, they were, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty [wink, wink]. But Duke wanted to get ahead of the story and decided to kick the two returning players out of school...Duke did the wrong thing last year by caving in to public outrage fomented more by District Attorney Mike Nifong's comments, magnified by the press, than by any other factor. (And Duke took the opportunity to clean out the stables by firing the coach, too.)

Now, even though Duke has taken the right corrective step, the university still seems to be reacting to public pressure by reinstating them when very little has changed except the widespread perception of the DA's damaged credibility and integrity rather than the students' ostensible innocence.

Letter by Peter Bove (NY, NY), Herald-Sun/FODU:
The real Nifong - I find it entirely fitting with what we, the public, have learned of District Attorney Michael Nifong's personality and conduct that he arranged his swearing-in as a public officer of North Carolina to occur in private...he ensured that the public would literally be locked out of the ceremony by which he accepted the office they granted him. Was he too afraid that there would be laughter in the courtroom as he reaffirmed his pledge to faithfully discharge the duties of his office at the same time as he faces a State Bar complaint resulting from his failure to honor that very pledge?
----------------------------
John in Carolina:
Thank you, Beth Brewer (1/6) — I hope you all know about Beth Brewer, the Durham citizen with no political experience who led the fight to defeat Durham DA Nifong in the November election. Brewer wasn't looking for campaign work. But no one else among all Durham's "leaders" was willing to step up and take on a rogue DA. So she added defeating Nifong to her work and family activities.
related:
LieStoppers (10/25/06): Our Collective Voice - Joan Collins
Thomas Sowell, Detroit News:
Hang tough in Duke cases to prevent more lynch mob antics (1/6/07) — As predicted in this column last May, District Attorney Michael Nifong will not take the Duke University "rape" case to trial -- at least not as a rape case. His latest ploy has been to drop the rape charges and keep related charges hanging over the accused Duke students' heads...

An atmosphere of mindless reactions will always be exploited by demagogues. Our gullible vulnerability to such manipulation is the larger tragedy in this sordid and painful episode. District Attorney Nifong was neither the first nor the last demagogue to take advantage of that gullibility.

Forum topics of note:


LieStoppers: Post on Sam Hummel - pot banger organizer discusses his motives...

Cpl. David Addison - Durham PD spokesmanLieStoppers: Revisiting the comments of enabler David Addison — Durham Police Cpl. David Addison, the spokesperson for Crimestoppers and the first (and only?) police spokesperson who appeared on television to talk about the [alleged] crime...Addison’s comments over the crucial March 24 through March 28 period, and especially his comments on local television which were replayed in the national media, are truly extraordinary. He says, as an official of the police department, that A BRUTAL CRIME TOOK PLACE, it happened folks, there is REAL EVIDENCE that it happened, and THESE 46 LACROSSE PLAYERS ARE THE POOL of SUSPECTS. And we need the ones who know what happened to come forward (i.e., THEY’RE NOT TALKING.).

Here’s a sampling from Addison's comments and also includes claims attributed more generally to "investigators" and "police"....
related:
LieStoppers blog: Meet The Enablers - Cpl. David Addison
LieStoppers: 60 Minutes Again — Leslie Stahl was in the Triangle last week doing a follow-up on the Hoax. She interviewed Meehan at DNA Security...

LieStoppers: The Nifong E-Mail, In Hindsight — I was just looking at Nifong's June e-mail to Newsweek, and find it amusing in light of what is now known...
related:
The Johnsville News (6/19/06) : Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Nifong v. Newsweek — email exchange between Susannah Meadows of Newsweek and Mike Nifong
LieStoppers: Defendants' Evidence: A Comprehensive List...

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