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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nifong/Mangum Hoax — Media Mud Wrestling

Updated - today's items:

miniscule protest at Duke lacrosse houseABC11-TV/WTVD:
Protest Held at Duke LAX House -- A week after state Attorney General Roy Cooper dropped all charges in the Duke Lacrosse case about a dozen people are protesting that decision.

Thursday morning they gathered outside the house on North Buchanan Street, where the infamous party took place, calling for justice. They say the Attorney General made the wrong decision...

Protestors believe the accuser was denied the right to have her case hear in court. "We want to make sure that the victim receives a fair hearing. We want to see justice prevail through a jury trial," one protestor said.

comment: Where did they hide the box of free Glazed Chocolate Cake Munchkins that drew this crowd?

LS forum: WTVD Covers 12 Person Protest @ Buchanan Today, While refusing to name Crystal
Attorney Wants Nifong to Resign, Probe of Lacrosse Case -- A New York attorney representing former Duke lacrosse player Collin Finnerty wants North Carolina's governor and attorney general to publicly call on Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong to resign immediately from office...

Some legal experts have suggested waiting for the State Bar's decision before proceeding with any other action against Nifong.

But Cornacchia says in his letter that the State Bar will only determine if Nifong violated ethics violations. It cannot address the conduct of Nifong, members of his office or other involved parties...
related: WRAL-- Cornacchia Letter to Easley, Cooper [3 pages, Flash] -- Dear Governor Easley and General Cooper ....

comment: The engine's runnin' but nobody’s driving in the NC legal system.
David S. Broder, Washington Post:
The Media in the Mud -- It pales in comparison to the carnage and loss of life this week at Virginia Tech. But last week the tattered reputation of journalism in this country saw severe damage. The role of the media in the phony Duke lacrosse rape story and the Don Imus firing left large parts of the so-called establishment press embarrassed and besmirched...

Rereading some of the coverage of the case is a painful journey into journalistic excess -- and one-sidedness. Early on, before charges had even been filed, Selena Roberts, a fine sportswriter at the New York Times, wrote that "players have been forced to give up their DNA, but to the dismay of investigators, none have come forward to reveal an eyewitness account." The reason, she said, is that "the stigma as a traitor -- and the threat of repercussion and isolation -- is more powerful than the instinct to do what's right, a pattern perpetuated on every level of sports, from prep to pro."

The real reason, it turns out, was that the rape story was concocted and the lacrosse players were telling the truth when they said no such crime occurred.

The Times was not alone. In The Post, reporter Lynne Duke wrote a story that began: "She was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air. But whatever actually happened that March 13 night at Duke University -- both the reported rape and its surrounding details are hotly disputed -- it appears at least that the disturbing historic script of the sexual abuse of black women was playing out inside that lacrosse team house party."...But the claims of innocence that were made from the beginning were given little weight.

When will we start to think about the people who are hurt by our coverage? And when will we take our responsibilities seriously?
Lynne Duke, Wasthington Post, May 24, 2006:
The Duke Case's Cruel Truth -- Hateful Stereotypes of Black Women Resurface -- She was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air.

But whatever actually happened that March 13 night at Duke University -- both the reported rape and its surrounding details are hotly disputed -- it appears at least that the disturbing historic script of the sexual abuse of black women was playing out inside that lacrosse team house party...

In the sordid but contested details of the case, African American women have heard echoes of a history of some white men sexually abusing black women -- and a stereotype of black women as hypersexual beings and thus fair game...

Howard Kurtz, Washington Post:
Media Backtalk (discussion of Duke case, etc. - see comments)
John in Carolina:
N&O Public Editor Scams – Post 1 -- The Raleigh News & Observer has a public editor, Ted Vaden, whose job is to watch out for readers’ interests. He likes readers to think of his as their “watch dog.”

Vaden writes a Sunday column. His April 15 column was titled, “Assessing The N&O’s lacrosse coverage.”

A more accurate title would have been: “Scamming readers about The N&O’s Hoax coverage.” Vaden's column contains a few grudging admissions of N&O errors which he minimizes. But most of his column is a mix of air brushing, factual errors, and blame-shifting...
Melanie Sill, Editor's blog, News & Observer:
Revisionist history -- A lot is being said and written about "media" coverage of the Duke case over the past year. A couple of thoughts. First, "media" is a big bunch. We didn't all do the same things. (TV and Nancy Grace bore little resemblance to The N&O's coverage) That was true in the beginning and became even clearer as the weeks and months wore on.

I invite you to go back into The N&O archive (using our search, you can search by date to isolate the first few weeks of coverage). As I told Jon Ham, who wrote a particularly inaccurate column for Carolina Journal Online, The N&O's coverage picked up on questions and problems with the case fairly early on. Ruth Sheehan, who wrote a much maligned column in those first days, expressed her changing view over subsequent weeks in several columns. The first of those ran April 13, 2006. Our first in-depth coverage revealing problems with the prosecution's case also came in April 2006. Ham's swipes (and others) overlook these facts.
LieStoppers blog:
Revisionist Hypocrisy -- the News & Observer has demonstrated both the best and the worst of the media's coverage of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax. From the Hoax busting reporting of Joseph Neff to the examples above which fail the Nancy Grace test, the difference is night and day. For those of us who have appreciated the efforts of Neff and others at the N&O, it's disappointing to see Ms. Sill add the News & Observer to the long list of Hoax enablers unwilling to recognize, or apologize for, their role in fueling the Nifong/Mangum Hoax.

LS forum: Melanie Sill takes a swipe at Ham, Who are the Haters?
Carey Roberts, NewsByUs.com:
Lynch Mob Fever at Duke University -- "Outrageous” is the word that comes to mind that describes what happened to the Duke Three, accused of gang-raping Crystal Gail Mangum during the early morning hours of March 14, 2006...

When the books are closed on this case, history will recount the role played by Duke University president Richard Brodhead. It was Brodhead who incoherently remarked, “if they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough,” and fueled the hysteria by canceling the rest of the team’s season and suspending two of the players from the university.

People will long wonder why the “Group of 88” professors printed a defamatory letter on April 6 proclaiming that certain unnamed students “know themselves to be the objects of racism and sexism …regardless of the results of the police investigation.”

Regrettable, too, were the actions of Duke professor Houston Baker, who openly indulged in sexism and racism, denouncing the “drunken white male privilege loosed amongst us” and calling the players “scummy white males.”

And hopefully one day we can forget the specter of the Take Back the Night mobs who chanted death threats, eventually forcing one of the defendants to move out of his home...

One day, perhaps USA Today will explain why it opened its pages on March 30, 2006 to malicious rants, one writer claiming the players belong to a “culture of rape” and “exercise their privilege on the bodies and minds of those of us in their environment.”

With luck we won’t be hearing again from Wendy Murphy... more deplorable was Wheelock College professor Gail Dines... A pox on New York Times columnist Harvey Araton...

Most of all, shame on serial rape accuser Crystal Gail Mangum...
NYTimes Apology Petition -- New York Times Duke Apology -- We, the undersigned, urge the New York Times to issue a public apology for its erroneous, inflammatory and irresponsible coverage of the Duke Lacrosse Case. We further appeal to the three Times journalists most directly involved in that coverage – Duff Wilson, Selena Roberts and Harvey Araton – to individually apologize for their reckless reporting and account for the harm it caused... Sign the Petition
Gary North, LewRockwell:
High Tech Lynching: From Clarence Thomas to the Duke Lacrosse Team -- I used to live in Durham. It was a wonderful place to live. I used to drive to Duke University and use its twin libraries – main and theological – as a glorious free rider. It was the finest library system I have ever used.

Yet I am glad I left in 1979. The lacrosse team case has reinforced my opinion. The miscarriage of justice in that case will stick for decades on both the city and the university. Both will be remembered as places where justice was at risk, where three young men were not treated publicly as innocent until proven guilty...

The media went along with this from day one. I knew what their perspective was when the accuser was identified by the media as an exotic dancer. What is an exotic dancer? A stripper. Only when the young men were officially cleared by the state's highest judicial officer did the media accurately identify her occupation...

The Duke players were the victims of a false witness. So, what will save her from justice? The state's attorney general has already greased the skids of justice away from justice. He implied that she is mentally disturbed. She is therefore not guilty of false witness. Not really. And so the healers can do what they will with her: lock her up forever or let her roam the streets. It's all a matter of mental health, you see...
comment: Did the NC Attorney General really have the right to make a medical decision regarding the "false witness," Crystal Gail Mangum? Shouldn't an opinion of mental illness come from a doctor? How emotionally disturbed do you have to be to get away with a crime?
Forum topics of note:
LS: A Duke Conversation-Chicago, I went tonight -- I went to ADC tonight. I will have a complete summary in the near future. Have tons of notes I need to type up after writing furiously the whole time. I will likely forward them to KC and he will use them or I will post them here if he does not have a need for them.

One comment I wanted mention that was made by Brodhead: "The Group of 88 are a group of professors who signed a petition to assist students who felt threatened."

He made it very clear he was not going to apologize or demand an apology from the G88 or any of the ringleaders. Since when has the ad been a petition? Am I missing something here? Additionally, he danced around every tough question and engaged in extreme stuttering when confronted.
LieStoppers blog: He [Brodhead] Didn't Really Just Say That, Did He?
LS: Sports Illustrated article (print), Rick Reilly defends Mike Pressler
LS: Blog and Media Roundup, Thursday 04/19/07

LS: Tara Levicy, Dr. Manly and the non victim, Warning, long post -- Until she [Nurse Levicy] can learn compassionate investigation, dispassionate factual statements and the difference between right and wrong, she should have no part in nursing. I am guessing she missed the required ethics portion of Nursing School.
KC Johnson: Understanding Levicy
Duke Magazine Letters, March-April 2007 Issue:
More Lacrosse Lessons by George St. George -- is there not a single member of the Duke Magazine staff, the administration, or faculty that is critical of President Brodhead’s conduct concerning this matter? Because hundreds of alums I talk to feel strongly about all these events and are disgusted by the official Duke reactions or lack thereof. Is there not a single man or woman of strong conscience or opinions left at my dear old alma mater?

More Lacrosse Lessons by John F. Reiger -- As an alumnus of Duke who cares about the future of the university, I am writing this letter to protest the mishandling by the administration of the accusations by a single woman against three students of the Duke community. One opportunity after another to take the high ground and be supportive of these students according to the Constitutional principle of presumed innocence until guilt is proven was lost...
Friends of Duke University:
Fund Raising Event -- Help the Defense Fund by Entering to Win a Chevy Tahoe!
Victor Davis Hanson, RealClearPolitics:
Imus, Nifong Meet Their Match in God Nemesis -- In the past week, Don Imus was fired, all charges against the Duke University lacrosse players were dropped, and almost everyone has offered a sermon about the racial and class issues involved in both cases. But we need look only to the Ancient Greeks for the best insight.

The Greeks believed that insolence naturally leads to bullying, or hubris. This arrogance induces a mad behavior called ate . Finally, that recklessness earns well-earned destruction unleashed by the god Nemesis .

In other words, what goes around comes around - big time...
KC Johnson:
Neff's Scoops -- All told, a phenomenal job of reporting by Neff—capping off a phenomenal performance throughout the case.
The Joe Neff/N&O "Rush to Judgement" series:
Part 1 (4/14): Quest to convict hid a lack of evidence
Part 2 (4/15): A case starts to unravel
Part 3 (4/16): Nifong ignores clues from DNA tests
Part 4 (4/17): Undisclosed DNA results go public
Part 5 (4/18): To the end, the account continues to change

Neff (4/17): Many reasons given for not offering data -- Mike Nifong's 13 excuses for not turning over exculpatory DNA evidence
(4/18): Wilson's actions shape the case
(4/18): Source Notes
Joseph Mallia, Newsday:
Finnerty seeks investigation of Duke DA [with video] -- Collin Finnerty wants to turn the tables on the North Carolina district attorney who pursued wrongful charges against him.

The former Duke University lacrosse player, through his attorney, has asked top North Carolina officials to order a criminal investigation into whether Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong broke the state's public officer law during the Duke lacrosse case.

Several Durham police officers and the director of a private DNA lab should also be subject to criminal inquiry, attorney Michael Cornacchia of Manhattan said in a letter, which also asked Gov. Mike Easley and Attorney General Roy Cooper to "publicly call on Michael B. Nifong ... to resign immediately from office." ...
KC Johnson: Finnerty Lawyer: Criminal Investigation of Nifong
FreeRepublic: Finnerty Seeks Duke DA's Resignation
Newsday: Finnerty Seeks Duke DA's Resignation
Michael Gaynor:
Duke case: North Carolina's criminal justice problems and the heroic attorneys -- Let's briefly review Mr. Nifong's egregious ethical downward spiral... Could Mr. Nifong have done all that (and have alibi witness Moez Elmostafa (unsuccessfully) prosecuted on a baseless charge) without knowing cooperation from persons in the Durham Police Department and the Durham County District Attorney's Office?...

False accuser Mangum is not the only North Carolinian who may be deranged...

Both the Durham Police Department and the Durham County District Attorney's office need thorough investigation...
Kevin Armstrong, Sports Illustrated:
Keeping it together - Interim coach kept Duke lax alive on recruiting trail -- The phone call came around midnight on July 6, shortly after Kevin Cassese, the 25-year-old interim coach of the Duke men's lacrosse team, left the locker room at Boston University's Nickerson field. Having just earned MVP honors in the Major League Lacrosse All-Star game, he showered and assumed his role as the face of the Duke team.

On the phone was Tom Rynn, a star midfielder from Fairport (N.Y.) High, whom Cassese called before the game to say that Duke's admissions office had declared him eligible for a scholarship. Afterward, Cassese checked in again with a post-game text message, to which Rynn responded with a phone call. Over the course of Rynn's recruitment, the two had developed a good rapport, exchanging brotherly barbs over the phone and in person, but this started off serious...
Bob Geary, IndyWeek.com:
What of those who can't afford expensive defense attorneys? -- The Duke lacrosse case, which ended last week with state Attorney General Roy Cooper's declaration that the three student-athletes charged were "innocent," was marked by a rogue prosecutor, unreliable testimony by the alleged victim, inept police work and media racing to convict somebody before an all-star team of defense attorneys finally stepped in and turned things around.

When it was over, the defendants thanked their families, who paid large legal bills, and wondered aloud: What happens if a prosecutor like Mike Nifong comes after you and you're not rich?

That's the question we all should be asking, says Ken Rose, senior attorney with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham. Do poor folks get railroaded in North Carolina for crimes they didn't commit?"

It happens all the time," Rose says, "even in capital cases." He ticked off a list of men convicted of murder and sentenced to die in Raleigh who were later acquitted (Alan Gell, Charles Munsey) or are awaiting a second trial (Jerry Hamilton). The common denominator in all these cases was evidence gathered by the prosecution but then suppressed—and withheld from the defense—that pointed to the defendants' innocence...
Duke Chronicle, April 18, 2007:
Editorial: New grade appeal policy a positive step
G. Holman King, letter: From a proud lacrosse grandparent

Shadee Malakloux: Duke University, Inc.
LS forum: Duke University, Inc. - Shadee Malaklou, One last cacaphony of banging pots...
Jon Ham, JohnLocke.org/Right Angles blog:
Duke lacrosse witness says he’s not gay -- How’s that for Google bait in a headline? Seriously, there’s a thread on the LieStoppers Forum in which Jason Bissey, the man who lived next door to the Duke lacrosse house, joins the gang in a discussion of his expeerience. This is what makes the internet, blogging and Web interaction so great. All in all, it’s a very convivial conversation, with LieStopper denizens asking questions and Bissey answering...
Doug Manners, Quinnipiac Chronicle (CT):
Editor Speaks Out: Where is the outrage? -- The lacrosse players were treated like criminals even though the DNA tests on all 46 of the team's white members failed to match any evidence taken from the accuser. For the members of the Duke lacrosse team, this scandal was far more damaging to their futures than some ignorant words from Imus.

So I ask, where is the outrage over what happened to the three Duke lacrosse players?
Tyneisha Bowens, Workers.org:
Duke rape case; Blaming the victim, again -- The infamous “Duke Lacrosse Rape Case” has once again taken the media forefront and divided the U.S. Last week’s decision to drop the sexual assault charges against the three Duke University men has rattled communities and weakened the survivor’s support system. Here in North Carolina the responses and effects regarding the decision are the most extreme...

Since the enslavement of African people became an industry, women of color have been subjected to sexual and racial exploitation by white men in this country. It is evident that the justification of this behavior is still present in our society.

This tradition of white male supremacy has created a culture of rape in which women and our bodies are regarded as property and therefore up for grabs by any man. And though this rape culture existed long before this specific case, the decision to drop the sexual assault charges has worsened the situation.

Since the dropping of charges last week the media has been engaged in what can only be called a modern day witch hunt, labeling the survivor a liar while raising the three previously accused white men to sainthood. Both local and national media are printing articles exposing the survivor’s identity and exploiting her past. Irrelevant information about the survivor can be found on almost every media outlet...
comment: There is an alternate reality out there that is incomprehensible. This is America, so they are entitled to live in their cave, so long as they pay their taxes.

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