Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Squaring the Semi-Circle

Friday afternoon, Duke Law School will host a panel discussing the media and the lacrosse case. The session will provide an opportunity for one panelist, Herald-Sun editor Bob Ashley, to introduce himself to another, Duke Law’s James Coleman. This professor from the hometown law school has received prominent national (60 Minutes, New York Times) and local (N&O) attention explicating Mike Nifong’s procedural misconduct. But the Herald-Sun—which touts itself as giving news with a hometown flavor—has never once mentioned Coleman’s comments about Nifong, nor about the dubious procedures employed by authorities. By contrast, the Herald-Sun five times (April 9, April 19, June 15, August 1, October 16) has quoted NCCU law professor Irving Joyner, who has taken a resolutely pro-prosecution stance.

Joyner’s latest appearance in what Liestoppers has derisively termed the “Durham Snooze Room” occurred Monday, as the H-S launched its desperate bid to revive Mike Nifong’s case. In an article sure to join the ranks of other H-S “news” stories that subsequently appeared as fluff pieces on the Nifong campaign website, Ashley assembled a “roundtable” to discuss the 60 Minutes story.

The gathering was actually a “semi-circle table”: all participants believed that a trial must occur, regardless of how much procedural misconduct Nifong has committed, or the amount of exculpatory evidence the players present or other media outlets (not, of course, the H-S) uncover.

The only problem any of the four indicated with Nifong’s performance? The D.A.’s early public comments. Ordering Durham police to violate their own lineup procedures; refusing to meet with defense attorneys to consider exculpatory evidence; Nifong’s announcing that he made up his mind as of March 27, even though mounds of evidence was yet to arrive—none of these procedural violations worried members of the H-S semi-circle.

The four participants in the “semi-circle table”: Joyner; African-American minister Durham minister Carl Kenney, a regular Ashley tag-team partner in commenting on the case; and two Duke students whose opinions on the case mirrored Ashley’s. The students were hardly representative of campus opinion, as the Duke Chronicle pointed out. But it’s been H-S policy for months to exclude views from its pages that strongly condemn Nifong’s decisions.

The “semi-circle” panel set the stage for yesterday’s H-S editorial, which was eviscerated in a post from Liestoppers. In the editorial, Ashley, editor of a declining local newspaper whose coverage of the case has generated ridicule, offered a lecture in proper journalistic practices to Ed Bradley, winner of:

  • nineteen (19) Emmy Awards;
  • three (3) Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards;
  • the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists;
  • the Radio/Television News Directors Association’ Paul White Award;
  • the Damon Runyon Award;
  • the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards grand prize;
  • the George Foster Peabody Award;
  • the Overseas Press Club Award;
  • the George Polk Award.

The editorial itself betrayed flashes of desperation. In Ashley's imagined world, Collin Finnerty committed a hate crime—he was, opined the editor, convicted of “assault . . . with strong homophobic overtones, against a gay man.” Perhaps Ashley can nominate this clause for the Duff Wilson Award for the most factually incorrect statements in a news or propaganda article. (This way, Ashley can have an award that Ed Bradley has never received.) In contrast to Ashley’s incorrect version of events, Finnerty actually was convicted of a misdemeanor in a bar fight in which he never struck the victim—who, at least in the hundreds of articles I’ve read on what must be the most widely reported bar fight in American history, has always been identified as straight. Except, of course, by Ashley.

Ashley, meanwhile, ignored Kim Roberts’ outright refutations of the accuser’s description of the crime, and noted that “Roberts was separated from the accuser for at least two periods of 10 minutes or more. We still haven’t heard why an assault couldn’t have occurred during those gaps.” If Ashley hasn’t heard, it’s only because he hasn’t been listening: Reade Seligmann has documented electronic proof that he was either on the phone or away from the house during those periods. Collin Finnerty (in a portion of the 60 Minutes broadcast Ashley must not have “heard”) informed Bradley that he has multiple witness statements for these same time periods.

And Ashley concludes by wondering, “Does Durham really want a prosecutor who won't stand up for an alleged victim, even if she ranks near the bottom of society? Do we really want a prosecutor who is cowed by pressure—and this is enormous pressure—into dropping charges he believes should be pursued?” I would hope that Durham, just like every other city, would want a prosecutor that upholds state bar ethics guidelines, rather than one who instructs police to violate their own procedures in multiple ways. But, it seems, Ashley wants otherwise.

If Ashley seems intent on serving as a government propagandist rather than as a journalistic check on a figure in power, how can he be reached? It appears as if about the only thing to which Editor Ashley listens is the almighty dollar. In the spring campaign, Nifong flooded the Herald-Sun with advertising, spending more than $7,500 on various Herald-Sun ads. (Freda Black, though better funded, spent scarcely half as much on the Durham newspaper.) It would seem that this sum was the best $7,500 that Nifong ever spent.

If Ashley chose to be so receptive to one big advertiser, perhaps he’d listen to others. Here’s a list of the advertisers from one recent edition of the H-S:

To readers who have a few spare minutes today: why don’t you e-mail each of the first six businesses above and say that you noticed the business advertised in the H-S? (Those with a few more minutes might want to call the other four businesses.) Urge the business representative to contact Editor Ashley ( with a request that he publish a newspaper rather than a propaganda sheet. Surely few business owners want to remain associated with a newspaper that so blatantly distorts the news to favor a candidate in a hotly contested election, lest doing so discourage Cheek supporters from patronizing their businesses in the future.

A final note: when he wasn’t lecturing Bradley in yesterday’s editorial, Ashley sanctimoniously lectured the players for underage drinking. I wonder how Ashley reconciles his moralizing with his accepting a recent ad—about three inches high and two columns wide—from MAXXX Adult Emporium. Situated less than a mile from Duke’s West Campus, this local establishment's ad touted its 8,000 DVD’s, “adult toys,” and “100-channel All-Digital Private Viewing Room.”

Could it be that Editor Ashley doesn’t hold his own newspaper to the standards by which he judges Duke students?


wts said...

"Could it be that Editor Ashley doesn’t hold his own newspaper to the standards by which he judges Duke students?"

That would require intellectual honesty....

kbp said...

Thanks KC

I like that idea of hitting the paper in their pocket book.

For some reason, I doubt if Ashley cares.

Anonymous said...

KC says "he was, opined the editor, convicted of 'assault . . . with strong homophobic overtones, against a gay man.' Perhaps Ashley can nominate this clause for the Duff Wilson Award for the most factually incorrect statements in a news or propaganda article." Fact: prior to the assault Finnerty and his buddies taunted the victim with homophobic names and accused him of being gay. I'm sure you know this fact and you know what the editorial was trying to say. Yet you purposefully misrepresent the statement.

KC says "The only problem any of the four indicated with Nifong’s performance? The D.A.’s early public comments."
Gronberg writes "Most criticized Nifong's conduct, particularly his public statements early on about the case and the conduct of the lacrosse team." The qualifier "particularly" indictates that the panelists had other critiques that were not mentioned. Your assertion is completely misleading.

KC says "The students were hardly representative of campus opinion, as the Duke Chronicle pointed out."
The internet poll he cites warns "This Chronilce Poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole." Q. What kind of academic cites an internet poll? A. One who does not understand survey research.

KC says "Collin Finnerty (in a portion of the 60 Minutes broadcast Ashley must not have “heard”) informed Bradley that he has multiple witness statements for these same time periods." Finnerty may have multiple witnesses. However, he has not made any evidence public. Until he does so, it is merely heresay.

KC says "Ashley sanctimoniously lectured the players for underage drinking. I wonder how Ashley reconciles his moralizing with his accepting a recent ad—about three inches high and two columns wide—from “MAXXX Adult Emporium.” Newsflash: Underage drinking is illegal. Selling pornography to 18 years old is not.

I have no idea why you so purposefully distort the record and take such cheap short cuts in pushing your agenda. You would be a much more effective advocate for the players if you were honest.

Anonymous said...

The HS editorial was not trying to say anything, it flat out said Mr. Bloxsom was gay, which he is NOT. Finnerty has not struck Mr. Bloxsom. Furthermore, 60 Minutes did not mentioned anyone's criminal pasts. It did not talk about the accuser's or Kim Robert's problems with the law either, as I recall. It's incredibly disingenuous for Mr. Ashley to accuse 60 Minutes of not mentioning Finnerty's misdemeanor conviction, but not complain about them not mentioning accuser’s problems with the law. I noticed Ashley didn't complain about 60 Minutes not mentioning accuser's criminal history, which included her stealing a cab and going on a joy ride-for which she did not get any serious punishment. I believe 60 Minutes simply did not have enough time to talk about every aspect of the case, or perhaps they could have mentioned the fact that accuser made rape accusations against three other men before.

Locomotive Breath said...

"Finnerty may have multiple witnesses. However, he has not made any evidence public. Until he does so, it is merely heresay."

Point me to any instance in which statements made by the defense have been subsequently contradicted by hard evidence. It's a short list - zero items - so it shouldn't take long.

Meanwhile. If you have enough time, go ahead and make up a list of statements made by Nifong and various other law enforcement that have subsequently been contradicted by hard evidence. It's a long list - I'll wait.

Short form:
Defense - perfect credibility
Nifong - zero credibility

KC Johnson said...

To the 12.45: My apologies. I meant to link to this editorial:

whose title was the 60 Minutes program "reflects campus sentiment."

EC said...

Is Anon 12:45 am, Ashley or Nifong? LOL

Pathetic that entire comment, really. The two commenters following that piece of tripe did a good job refuting the many of the false assertions of 12:45.

I would like to also add about this...

Finnerty may have multiple witnesses. However, he has not made any evidence public. Until he does so, it is merely heresay.

He does not have to make any of it public until trial. It would do him as much good as Seligmann who has an airtight alibi for his innocence. Colin's attorney is 100% correct in letting that piece of dung, Nifong, twist in the wind to try and fabricate a way for Colin to have been a perpetrator in this hoax.

Anonymous said...

I don't read the Harold Sun but I do have a suggestion for disgruntled readers who own pets. The paper makes an excellent liner for the bottom of the bird cage and holds up fairly well when training your puppy to poo poo on paper instead of the floor.

Anonymous said...

12:45, get real! Talk about carefully selecting the items to address! Point by point:

1) How about OTHER criminal backgrounds? Say what you want about Finnerty, but the AV has a more relevant criminal history. But that's secondary to there being a homophobic overtone to Finnerty's prior. Is this a case with gay prejudice in Durham? No. So the entire mention by the panel is pointless.

2) "...particularly his public statements." Are you serious? That is supposed to show that the panel had other serious critiques? The fact that the "particular" concerns the panel had were over the early public statements tells all. Nifong may have opened himself up to a civil suit with those early statements, but the far, FAR more problematic conduct has occurred and is continuing to occur out of the direct public light. The misuse of the power (some authorized and some not) of his office should be what the local paper is really concerned about.

3) Ah, but drawing two students who both believe the case is valid and should go forward is scientifically representing student opinion. Never mind the articles being written in the student newspaper, or the students being interviewed over the course of the fall, or the student groups that have sprung up in defense of the players, all stating that this case should end. Very scientific. This is a Bill Clinton style lawyer attack - when you can't refute directly, attack the periphery and make things appear untrue by eroding the definitions and credibility of the ancillary items. Well done!

4) Merely heresay. Unlike, say, the multiple, uncorroborated (and in many cases refuted by other witnesses and photographic evidence) stories from the AV. As another poster points out: Defense credibility to date, 100%. Prosecution credibility to date: 0%. So let's mention every element the prosecution wishes were true, but call any defense statement that is not 100% backed up immediately heresay.

5) This is great! So it's OK to upbraid 18-20 year olds for consuming alcohol, but not OK to call out a business that supports the pornographic industry by selling it to the entire reading population. Think only 18 and over receive and read the Herald Sun? Underage drinking and pornography (used by both over and under 18) are part of our society, like it or not. But it's disingenious of Ashley to call out the drinking issues of a small but VERY representative group of students (there are stats on underage drinking at Duke and other universites - suffice it to say these lax players are very much in the majority in terms of alcohol use) while also running ads for pornography that he knows full well will be seen by readers under 18. Morality to fit the moment, by Bob Ashley.

And selective refutation of carefully defined points by 12:45. Let's start looking at the definition of "is". Or maybe we should start looking at the real issue - a prosecutor gone wild who can violate the rights of individuals in such an egregious way, and NOT be called on it by his own local journalistic control! So much for the press as a watchdog against abuse of power in government. Bob Ashley should see if Hugo Chavez needs a new National Paper editor. 12:45 could be his Opinion Page editor.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anonymous accuses K.C. of lying, promoting heresay, and the like in his defense of Bob Ashley and the Liefong House Organ, the Herald-Sun. Now, since Mr. Anonymous condemns what he says is "heresay" evidence on behalf of Colin Finnerty, but he apparently has no problem with Ashley's speculation that maybe a rape could have occurred during the few minutes that "Precious" and "Nikki" were apart.

Does anyone really buy the tripe that had a rape occurred in that short a time, that the DNA of the rapists would not be all over the "victim"? If a woman was brutally assaulted, as Ashley is trying desperately to make us think happened, would there not have been other evidence besides the ever-changing stories of both the accuser AND Mike Liefong?

The only way one can believe that these three men raped "Precious" and beat her up is to suspend belief about everything else. I guess Mr. Anonymous belongs in that category.

As for K.C., no one -- no journalist, blogger, no one -- has done a better job of shooting apart this dishonest prosecution. If Mr. Anonymous wishes to endorse lies and gross prosecutorial misconduct, so be it. The rest of us believe that the truth is a better option.

William L. Anderson

Anonymous said...

To anon 12:45
What strikes me about your comments is how narrowly focused they are and how small are their targets.
One of the truly big stories in this depressing drama is the extreme degree to which news organs have sat on or ignored highly relevant, undisputed facts which would help the defense.
The examples are endless. If you have been lurking around here, you have already learned of this. And your retort to KC in regard to this big, vitally important matter is extreme nit picking over peripheral items.
I mean, guys in bars sometimes get drunk and get in each others faces and call each other faggots. Even if CF actually did all of that, what should we make of it? What does it weigh in the scales of credibility along side the problems with the AV (the sole source now of Nifongs case) who has lied about gang rape before, who was falling down drunk that night, etc.}
One gets the impression that 60 minutes ended the discussion about the main question - rape/assault. So now, rather than openly admit that, the gang of thugs around Nifong want to shift around to saying, "But those guys are not completely perfect." Dude, are any of us? Were any of us at 19???
If you are not M. Nifong, why are you doing this? Seriously. You must know by now that no rape occurred and the Nifong has no other evidence (apart from what he has to keep hidden to try to stay out of jail himself).

Neil Sullivan said...

Each October, a newspaper must publish circulation statistics. Has anyone noticed if the H-S has published their numbers and how they compare to one year ago?

I can't find any information online as the website does not have pdf's of the actual paper - this might need someone local with access to the actual published papers (library, microfiche)

A more time consuming project would be to measure the column inches of ads in one of this week's papers to the same day of the week and month in the paper pre-acquisition.

AMac said...

anonymous 9:43am:

> [the alleged victim], who was falling down drunk that night...

I don't think "drunk" is the right term to use at this point. My recollection is that the AV appeared to be sober on arrival, that right after midnight there's a photo of her face-down on the house's porch, and that she appeared to be under the influence of some substance when the police first encountered her in Roberts' car in the parking lot.

This might have been the effects of alcohol, or it might have been due to some other agent. Whether the alcohol or other agent was consumed prior to the party or during the party would seem to be an important unresolved element of the case narrative.

Presumably this is addressed in places in the discovery material, and presumably the SANE trainee's exam would have shed some light on this as well. But I don't know what reasonable conclusions can be drawn at this point.

Anonymous said...

The woman has admitted she was drinking before the party. She claimed at one time she was drinking so much, she was drunk and didn't feel pain. She also admitted she took muscle relaxer Felexeril. That drug should not be taken with alcohol. You can make any conclusions you want from this, but reasonable people already made their conclusions.

Anonymous said...

By that stripper's own admission, the "other agent" she voluntarily took was Flexeril. Are you pretending you didn't know that?

AMac said...

anonymous 10:49am and 10:52am--

Thanks for the information.

> Are you pretending you didn't know that [the AV stated that she took Flexaril before the party]?

No need for me to pretend.

I'd hadn't understood why the AV appeared sober on arrival and then seemed to be very intoxicated less than an hour later (without drinking a lot at the party). Having imbibed alcohol and then taken Flexaril right before the party would explain that piece.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I assumed you knew but pretended not to. This information is old news and was also repeated on 60 Minutes.
The woman admitted she drunk before the party and took muscle relaxer Flexeril.

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment this morning on the long criticism of K.C's article, but there is no need. Others have gotten there already and pulled it to shreds.

I am still curious about the author. Obviously, KC is not just preaching to the choir; the Nifongers are reading it carefully, praying to find errors.

The critic focused on minute details in a way that made me wonder if the author were a lawyer; but I realized the minutiae were distorted and likely beneath the attention of even a zealous lawyer.

Besides, the author misspelled 'hearsay' as 'heresay.' No lawyer would make that mistake. The author must be a journalist or one of the modern language types in the Group of 88.

Nifong's crew of lawyers may know how to spell 'hearsay,' but they seem to be weak on ethics. Megyn Kendall of Fox News seemed to imply the other day that even members of Nifong's team of attorneys were admitting privately that they have no case. If true, those lawyers know that Nifong is well outside the accepted standards of ethical conduct and they have an obligation to quit rather than assist or further what they know to be wrong. Either they are themselves devoid of ethics, or they are hunkering down, hoping the Nifong will lose the election. I suppose they want to keep their jobs, but sometimes the price is too high. this is one of those times.


Anonymous said...

Why, exactly, is the matter of the AVs source of impairment an important element in this narrative? She was not raped or assaulted, at least not in a way that left DNA, latex, or bruises.
She admits to alcohol plus flexeril which is a solid explanation and the drug screen was negative.
How close to "nothing at all" do you guys have to get before giving it up?

Howard said...

This was a racist prosecution from day One and it continues, as the old time KKK continued, with the urging of local news papers.

Anonymous said...

You guys so miss the point of the critiques of Johnson. He diliberately misrepresents comments to advance his agenda. The sad part is Johnson could make almost the exact same points, albeit with sensationalistically, if he would just be honest. I know a lot of you are relatives of the lacrosse players and see Johnson as a savior of sorts. However, he comes off as a demogogue willing to ignore inconvienent facts to advance his agenda, whatever that may be. The evidence is scattered throughout his blog in critiques that he either ignores or his readers blindly attack, ridicule, or mock. Of course, let someone mention the term "KCoolade drinkers" and people get all indignant and throw out accusations of flaming.

Anonymous said...

To 2:06 PM.
I am much more interested in what your agenda is. Are you related to Brodhead by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Not his wife- she's a LAWYER-so she knows how to spell hearsay.

gc said...

2:06 I'm not a relative nor have I ever met them. W

We certainly do want a prosecutor that abides by ethics guidelines, problem is Nifong has not done so. That why I say vote RN-VC.

EC said...

To Anon 2:06,

I am not an Dukie, LAX relative or friend, or have any association with KC. I hate idiots and liars and find this travesty to be on par with that of the OJ trial.

You sir, are an idiot and/or liar to accuse Professor Johnson of some "hidden" agenda. His agenda is quite clear. Right a terrible wrong done by Nifong, Durham Police, and Duke with its Group of 88 by not staying silent and "hoping" a trial will prove the young men "not guilty". As if we need to put it in writing so some of these confused folk can understand.

AMac said...

anonymous 12:39pm--
Thanks for the clarification.

anonymous 1:05pm--
> tO AMAC...How close to "nothing at all" do you guys have to get before giving it up?

You've lost me there.

Anonymous said...

The tones of the responses to aMAC and the anonymous poster who dares to question KC's accuracy trouble me. Someone tried to rip aMac apart, when he only seemed to be asking a question (i.e., he's on your side!!!.) Anonymous has said that he thinks KC could make his point without being so selective in what he discusses and what he leaves out--the very criticism KC is launching at the HS. Why must we always assume these people, who dare to question what we believe is true, are evil? I think KC's analysis is excellent, but I don't mind someone questioning it--responding to questions and criticisms lends more credibility to the work he has done. And there probably (no definitely) are times when he is selective about what he pulls out of an article--just like every journalist is. If his selectivity makes someone question his objectivity, I would think he would want to know and would want to address it. Anon makes some legitimate points about KC's analysis--many I don't agree with, but it's still worth discussing them. And accusing anon of being related to Brodhead is ridiculous. You have the right to criticize Brodhead, but KC's article had nothing to do with Brodhead, and anon's comments had nothing to do with him either. Why not save the anti-Brodhead rhetoric for legitimate criticisms--using it without restraint lessens its effect. Demonizing everyone who disagrees (or who we feel made a mistake in this case) could make people question whether we are biased in this case....

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe you didn't notice
this statement by anonymous
"I know a lot of you are relatives of the lacrosse players and see Johnson as a savior of sorts."
So,accusing someone of being related to Brodhead is ridiculous, but this isn't?
I am not related to any lacrosse players by the way.

LearnedHand said...

have no fear people - these "anons" are very transparent. as one said before, they are simply trying to throw us off the case (which is all but lost to them) by ranting and whining about such gigantically important and earth-shattering matters like kc's alleged "hidden" agenda (on his own website, btw) and equality and fairness when it comes to viewing the sensitive duke administration (never mind that THEY seem to be less concerned with these two items than us).

i love reading these entries because they remind me that there will always be those that refuse to see the big picture; that get so obsessed with defending their earlier version of events or misguided support, that they will never back down at all costs.

so, instead, we get to read the wonderful ravings by these brave anon souls who are out to EXPOSE the ruthless kc and his quest to white-wash the truth and push the all-important lax players' families' agenda. horrors!

anyhoo...for those wanting to ignore these buffoons and get back to reality...check out THIS piece now up on John-in-Carolina.

"Duke lacrosse: Brodhead exposed
Blogger Tom Bevan posts: “What Duke's President Should Have Said”"

EXCELLENT post on the poor leadership of Broadhead...sorry anon, you are simply alone on your misguided defense. maybe one day you will acknowledge your fear that he actly weakly, has yet to support the students, and has about as much spine as a pint of jello.

Anonymous said...

They are totally different--every discussion, every issue in this case is related to the lacrosse players. Not every issue is related to brodhead (and this was certainly wasn't.) And, maybe it's just me, but I didn't hear any snideness in his statement "I know a lot of you are related to the lacrosse players, and see KC as a saviour of sorts." However, and again maybe it's just me, but ever time some says "you must be related to Brodhead" it seems to be an accusation, and often is followed by pretty nasty rhetoric.

I'm just saying discussion is a good thing (and I thought the purpose here)--and tolerance of other's perspectives only enhances one's own credibility, especially with those who are still analyzing the facts. complete disregard for another's view (not to mention name-calling) can only do the opposite.

AMac said...

anonymous 6:31pm--

A note on your comment. Like some commenters and, I suspect, the great majority of "lurkers," I return to D-i-W because KC Johnson has earned my trust as far as his overall view of the case. He documents statements and assertions with links to primary sources, and his links always say what he claims they say.

I am not on anyone's 'side,' except as it comports with the truth. In that regard, I appreciate pro-Nifong commenters' efforts. If they offer facts that favor the prosecution and properly source them, then we have learned something about shades-of-gray that is not readily apparent. If all they want to do is express feelings of animosity or disdain towards the patriarchy, whites, athletes, fellow commenters, or Prof. Johnson--well at some point, that becomes revealing as to the quality of the underlying reasoning.

Up until now, pro-prosecution commenters have mostly argued at the level of "I think the accused should prove their innocence at trial." They have ignored or taken offense at requests to organize and document their assertions as to the facts of the case, and as to why the record of prosecutorial and police misconduct shouldn't lead to its immediate dismissal.

By the way, an easy lesson on using HTML to embed links in comments is available here, under the heading "The Anchor Tag and the Href Attribute."

Anonymous said...

I see now. Who would admit they are related to Brodhead? If I was related to him, I might be ashamed to admit it, so of course it's an accusation. Now it all makes sense, thank you.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct, 7:02. But understand what the KC Critic on here is trying to do. He is working to undermine the credibility of all that KC writes by attacking peripheral points and attaching KC to an overall biased view of the case (that of Lax parents). While this in no way makes the reverse name calling and attachments to Broadhead or Nifong by other posters replying to Critic reasonable, it is important to directly address Critic's issues. I attempted to do this in my 9:05 AM posting in a systematic way, without name calling. Well, other than to say Critic could be the Opinion Editor of a state mouthpiece newspaper in Venezuela run by Bob Ashley. I suppose that is name calling of a sort.

(Sorry for my own misspelling of hearsay - but I guess it means I am not a lawyer, which works for me!)

Anonymous said...

Why is Johnson so concerned about the Duke lacrosse players? Did he go to Duke? No. Is he an acquaintance or relative of a locrosse player's family or friends? I doubt it. There are thousands of grave injustices all across the country every year, has Johnson ever blogged extensively about any of those? Doubtful. Is Johnson a journalist trying to break a story? No. Why is Johnson obsessed (must be nice to have tenure) with the Duke case? It is hard to believe it is simply the injustice of the case because there is so much injustice in this country about which he has never previously blogged. He must have a motive. What is it? Is that question so wrong to ask?
I have never ever seen anyone list the outcome of a promotion vote on her or his c.v. Is someone still harboring resentment?

Anonymous said...

Johnson is extremely biased and selectively interprets the facts. Everytime someone points that out, he rarely addresses the critique and most of the posters here get completely bent out of shape.

EC said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While I am in full agreement that civil discourse is a must in these blog situations otherwise they can and do degenerate into complete chaos. I am in full agreenent only up to a point. I have been a visitor of this blog for some time and nearly all the commenters here have been superb in quality and quantity until of late. As people may have noticed, these "dissenters " are simply instigators and obfuscators that only attempt to detract the topics at hand and the message at hand onto KC himself, primarily. I have seen many commenters try and explain how these dissenter's reasoning is erroneous or simply misguided only to get repetitive posts of the same nature. Case in point are the two above at 10:33 pm and 10:41 pm.

What can one say about a person who "just does not get it" as is the case with 10:33 above? Having to explain it multiple times and having to write this comment does nothing for this blog nor for the 3 falsely accused boys. Does the motivation of KC really have ANY BEARING on the issue at hand which is: primarily Liefong's abuse of power and lies, then the DPD, followed by the Duke administration and select professors. Let's not forget incompetent and corrupt local rags. The evidence against these main players, especially Liefong is enormous and this person wants to know why KC is doing it? LOL

There has to come a point where you tell people who are exhibiting contempt for you, which these people (person) clearly is by this behaviour, just exactly what you think of them. It doesn't take a genius to determine who would benefit if KC decided to stop blogging due to a complete disruption of this blog and constant personal attacks where his character and motivation is questioned. That list of beneficiaries is pretty short, to say the least.

KC Johnson said...

To the 10.33:

I discussed some of my reasons for an initial interest in this case in a May 1 article for Inside Higher Ed: (1) I have been concerned for some time of the growth of academic groupthink, and saw the Group of 88's statement as a chilling example of the pattern; (2) My sister was a three-year starter and two-year captain for Columbia basketball: I have a sense of how hard it is to be a good student and athlete at an elite school, and I was deeply troubled by the reflexive anti-athlete bias by the faculty in the initial weeks; and (3) I'm a historian of Congress who has spent the last 15 years of my life celebrating procedure, and was appalled at Nifong's blatant disregard of standard procedure.

I continued to write on the case in part because I felt that my profession--a college professor--let down Duke students in this case. I've no doubt there are greater injustices in the world. But this particular injustice is one where, because of my particular academic background, I've felt I could make a difference.

To the 10.41pm:

I'm sorry you feel that way. However, I've found that using denunciatory adjectives that lack any specific reference points usually says much more about the person leveling the charge than the one receiving it.

KC Johnson said...

To the 11.02:

Yes, I'm a bit concerned at the emergence in recent days of the occasional comment that's more characteristic of the Court-TV thread than this blog. I don't have a particular inclination to moderate the comments more so than I do (I usually check in a couple of times a day), and in the past have only deleted a handful of comments, all of which involved extreme unfounded denunciations of the accuser.

But perhaps I will be a bit more vigilant over the next few days to ensure that extraneous attacks or unfounded speculation don't clog the discussion.

duke09parent said...

Prof. Johnson does have a bit of an obsession about the case, but I'd call it a magnificent obsession. I think *I* am spending too much time on it by reading his and FODU's blog every day and occasionally writing a paragraph.

Sometimes I think he overanalyzes comments leading characters have made, giving them much more thought than the characters gave their comments themselves. But the analysis is worthwhile because it gives us all an opportunity to think about how to say what we mean and about what we let out of our mouths or off our fingertips really means.

Regarding how people have perceived CF's "assault" conviction: Sometimes people, media and others, use "assault" to mean an attack where bodily contact is made. So "assault" is taken to mean the perpetrator punched somebody or made some other contact. But legally an "assault" means an attempted contact ("battery" meaning unconsented contact) or placing the victim in reasonable fear of imminent contact. So, while CF was convicted of assault, he never actually hit the complaining victim. Also, as I recall, CF's waving his fist at the complaining victim occurred after CF was hit in the back of the head,either by the complaining victim or one of his companions. It was a travesty that CF was convicted in the context of the whole controversy but he might have committed a technical "assault".

Anonymous said...

7:22 PM, you say that the people who post messages on this website which are critical of KC are trying to undermine the credibility of everything he has to say by attacking him on peripheral points. That is not true. KC does not seem to regard Brodhead as a peripheral issue. In fact, he seems to have an obsession about Brodhead and takes shots at him almost every day. I agree with the main points of this website, that the LAX players are innocent and that Nifong has abused his authority as a prosecutor, and I have no desire to undermine anything KC has to say about those points. However, I do not agree with the constant criticism of Brodhead, and I believe that many of the things KC has said about Brodhead are based upon distortions of the facts. If KC thinks that Brodhead is just a peripheral issue, then maybe he should stop taking shots at him every day. If KC thinks that Brodhead is a central issue, then he is obviously free to continue posting about him, but he should not object if people who disagree with him continue to focus the spotlight on the way in which he distorts the facts.

KC Johnson said...

It's rather easy, I believe, to accuse someone of "distorting the facts" without providing any specifics.

The focus of my criticism, it's worth noting, has been far more Nifong, followed by the Duke faculty and the media, rather than Brodhead. That said, I've become increasingly critical of his performance, as more facts about it have emerged.

Anonymous said...

KC, I have provided many examples of your distortions of the facts regarding Brodhead and the Duke Administration in the posts I have left on this web site, as you know.