Friday, December 08, 2006

The Calame Thesis

This case has dramatically changed how I view the New York Times. A glance through the footnotes of any of my books shows how I have relied on the Times as the paper of (historical) record. But it’s hard to retain that view after witnessing the paper’s performance in this case, when it has accompanied over-the-top columns with biased “articles,” and even refused to print corrections when it misstated facts.

In this week’s public editor’s column, Byron Calame (who has been silent for months on the paper’s Duke coverage) rejects general claims of political or ideological bias against the Times. “Reporters and editors in the newsrooms of major newspapers,” he concludes, “are not motivated by a devotion to any political party or cause. It just isn’t in their DNA.” Instead, Calame identifies six other factors as guiding journalists:

  • making a difference, which one reporter defined as “holding those with power accountable as to how they use it.”
  • solving mysteries, in which reporters, wrote Calame, seek to “get to the bottom of a confusing or complicated situation and find patterns that help explain it to readers.”
  • impressing sources.
  • getting on the front page.
  • competitiveness, especially for “intellectual scoops,” which one editor described as being the first to connect loose strands in a story “in a meaningful and convincing way, that’s something.”
  • winning prizes, with knowledge that “the criteria for many journalism contests . . . favor stories that cause change or make waves.”

The Times’ faulty coverage of the lacrosse case has directly contradicted two of Calame’s items.

1.) The Times has gone out of its way to avoid holding Mike Nifong accountable. Even as the paper has printed dozens of stories on the case, the editorial page has made no mention of Nifong’s procedural misconduct. Articles, meanwhile, have minimized the issue to the greatest extent possible. In his 5,604-word magnum opus, published in late August, Duff Wilson ignored the arguments and even the existence of Nifong’s most intellectually gifted critic, James Coleman. (In June, the Duke Law professor had publicly urged appointment of a special prosecutor, since “up to now, virtually everything that Nifong has done has undermined public confidence in the case.”) Wilson, for his part, described Nifong’s critics as “defense lawyers, amplified by Duke alumni and a group of bloggers who have closely followed the case.”

Times readers learned about Coleman only after an October interview in 60 Minutes, when he explained how massively Nifong had violated the photo lineup procedures that Coleman himself, as a member of North Carolina’s Actual Innocence Commission, helped design.

2.) Wilson’s article also testified to the lengths to which the Times has gone to avoid explaining this “confusing or complicated situation” to readers. Wrote Wilson:

  • “The files, of course, cannot settle any arguments about the case.”
  • “The reference to five rapists has not been explained.”
  • “Investigators say that does not explain why the woman seemed so profoundly intoxicated.”
  • “The difference in the police accounts could not be explained.”
  • “More DNA results have been made public in the case, but their relevance is unclear.”
  • “The Times could not trace the other two, who have common names.”
  • “Mr. Nifong has never explained his refusal to meet with the lawyers or review their evidence.”

Wilson’s apparent lack of intellectual curiosity reflected the general Times approach to the case. For instance, a May column from Harvey Araton leveled the serious (but inaccurate) allegation that “a [Duke] basketball team with a majority of African-American women was in effect censored while the lacrosse gals [sic], 30 of 31 of whom are white, are apparently free to martyr their male lax mates.”

Araton concluded by noting, “There are still many more questions than answers. Today, if I could ask just one, it would be directed at the Duke basketball women. What do they think of those sweatbands [sympathizing with the players that Nifong was targeting] the women’s lacrosse team was planning to wear?”

To answer the question, Araton merely had to ask the women’s basketball players. But he declined to do so. His remarkable passivity (laziness?) would seem to disprove Calame’s suggestion that Times writers really want to “get to the bottom of a confusing or complicated situation and find patterns that help explain it to readers.”


Two other items mentioned by Calame (impressing sources, getting on the front page) have negatively affected the Times’ Duke coverage, as Stuart Taylor pointed out. Calame’s fifth factor (competitiveness in getting the story out) appears to have played little role for the Times in this case. At least I hope that’s so, since the N&O has consistently scooped the Times.

What about the sixth factor—winning prizes? Bad behavior by college athletes certainly has formed a theme of the 2006 Times sports section.

Some of this work has been impressive, notably a string of articles on diploma mills—institutions designed to allow talented prospective college athletes to receive high school diplomas with little or no academic achievement. Some has been predictable: since January 1, Selena Roberts has penned no fewer than seven columns (apart from her Duke writings) on the topic. And some was almost laughable, chiefly an article that appeared the same day as the 60 Minutes broadcast, which contended that “months after the off-campus party at the heart of the unresolved rape case involving the Duke University lacrosse team, colleges across the country have profoundly changed how they respond to even the most minor indiscretions by athletes.”

Calame’s thesis might help explain why the Times initially chose to flood coverage of the case—Sports editors, no doubt, saw events in Durham as a potential showcase for prize submissions examining the paper’s year-long attention to college athletic excess.

The prize angle perhaps offers insight why the Times has made the otherwise inexplicable decision to retain Duff Wilson as the paper’s lead reporter, even as the story has veered more into legal, political, and even academic issues rather than sports.


The Times, obviously, is going to win no prizes for its Duke case coverage. And in the end, Calame’s thesis falls short. Jack Shafer, Slate editor at large and author of Slate’s “press box” column, doubted that a search for prizes alone could explain the Times’ handling of the story. He wrote:

I think newspapers create series—“How Race Is Lived in America” or “The Vanishing Middle Class”—with prizes in mind, but I don’t think they put a story from North Carolina on page one to win a prize.

I think the story had the precise resonate frequency needed to make a Manhattan newspaper adopt a crusader stance on the issue of Privilege vs. Non-Privilege, but not in New York where it would make us uncomfortable.

Calame might want to believe that devotion to a cause “just isn’t in their DNA” at the Times. Before making such a blanket assertion, however, he should take a hard look at why the paper has gone so badly astray on the Duke case. Sometimes, it would seem, devotion to a cause does explain a newspaper’s actions, especially when the paper has exhibited the kind of stubborn refusal to re-examine its initial conduct that we’ve seen in recent months from the Times.


Jim McCarthy said...

Brilliant post. Just dead on the money.

Keep up the outstanding work. It is terrific.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson produces first-rate interpretive journalism — far superior to the typical editorials and op-ed columns found in the country's biggest newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson produces first-rate interpretive journalism — far superior to the typical editorials and op-ed columns found in the country's biggest newspapers.

rabbi-philosopher said...

Prof; was the bail/bond ever reduced or is it still sitting at $400,000 or so? What's the word on that.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with you on the NYT--much to my great disappointment. I had not focused on the fact Duff Wilson is a sports writer and outside his area of expertise on legal, political and academic issues. That certainly helps explain his Aug. 25 article. Do you know much about Glater (I think he or she was the co-author)? Very few people I speak with have any inkling of what is happening now in the case. Many think it was a confirmed hoax and has been dismissed. If only that were so. Almost total failure--NY Times (I was interested to know what was in Sgt. Gottlieb's report) and abdication-WSJ (have they printed a story on this, yet) would describe the NY papers' performances on this extremely important story.

Rabbi-Philosopher, My understanding is that bond was reduced to $100,000 for all defendants.


Anonymous said...

I should add that David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof (both of whom I enjoy very much) have at least resoundingly corrected their initial incorrect assessment of the LAX team. I just wish they had used their columns to highlight further for their readers the gross injustices perpetrated in Durham.


Anonymous said...

The bonds were reduced for all three too 100,000 $ each a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) this case has made me skeptical of all MSM. From outright lies, to slanted, agenda-driven reporting I'll never view MSM the same. I think the Durham H/S is the worst but perhaps thats because it is the local paper, closer to the events of this case and they've failed the public so miserably.

Anonymous said...

What is disappointing is that the newsrooms of the Times and the Washington Post as well have been unwilling, despite the mounting evidence, to shift from their original cause (exposing abuse by privileged lacrosse players), to the cause of exposing misconduct by an unethical prosecutor. Columnists at both papers (Kristof, Ruth Marcus) recognized the reality quite awhile ago, but the folks in the newsrooms seem to prefer to ignore the story (or, as did Wilson, perpetuate the myth) rather than pursue a theme of official misbehavior that under other circumstances one would think they would cover aggressively.

Anonymous said...

Another insightful take on one of the most disturbing aspects of this event. Beyond the horrors being imposed by Nifong's perversion of justice against three innocent defendants, the MSM experienced total failure when it immediately bought into the DA's story line because it fit perfectly into their political/cultural world view. It has fallen to KC and a few other faithful bloggers to point out all of the factual contradictions and procedural defects which are at the source of this hoax.

bill anderson said...

Something bothers me in the Times' coverage: Who gave Duff Wilson a copy of the Gottlieb's report? Because all parties were under a gag order, the leaking of this document expressly violated the judge's order.

I seriously doubt that this came from the defense for two reasons: (1) The defense did not gain from it; and (2) The way that Wilson slanted the information tells me that he was working hand-in-glove with Nifong's team. No one has asked any serious questions about this breach.

Earlier this year, a colleague and I published a paper in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology on what we called the "Statist Quo" in journalism. Our point was that mainstream journalists are so heavily dependent upon government-related sources that they come to identify with the state itself.

Clearly, that is what happened in this case, especially in the beginning. All of the mainstream journalists at the start pretty much were parroting the Nifong line. Some, like Ruth Sheehan and Joe Neff, now realize that Nifong was putting something over on them. Others, like Duff Wilson and his boss, Tom Jolley (who disgraces our high school alma mater, Baylor School), still pretty much do what Nifong tells them. They simply will not think independently of their puppet master.

One huge difference between the blogs and the mainstream press has been the sources of coverage. The MSM still depends upon the prosecutor and police for stories, while people like KC and Liestoppers go "outside the box."

Anonymous said...

KC--Good analysis. But I disagree with you on your first point--I think "making a difference...holding those in power accountable" WAS the primary, driving force behind the Times coverage. It's just that the Times doesn't view Nifong as the one in power. There is no question that many (if not most) of the "journalists" at the more liberal newspapers view white, male, privileged athletes as the ones who are in power. (They are too PC to view black athletes the same way.) And it is no secret that many of these same journalists, and especially the sports writers, have long resented Duke--an institution they also view as being "in power." So the Times reporters jumped on the chance to hold these powerful, privileged Duke athletes (as well as their institution) accountable. There was no time to investigate the facts, as demanding accountability was paramount. And as facts emerged that contradicted the Times' reporting, they were deemed irrelevant, because the overarching mission was to hold those in power accountable....

Anonymous said...

The Times is just a bad paper.
The 4 or 5 times, I had first hand knowledge of a story the Times covered, I found the Times got very little of the story right.
It's not hard to discern where Wilson and Aaraton stand politically.
I got a big laugh when Duff Wilson said he didn't have an opinion of the Duke 3's guilt or innocence. If that's true after presumably going over the evidence to write his article, the man must be an idiot.

Anonymous said...

KC (or anyone else),
The link to the Newsday article regarding the censor of the women's b-ball team doesn't work. How was the B-Ball team censored as compared to the women's Lax team and the wristbands?

Thanks for your great work on this story!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. But it’s not just the Times or the print media, its ALL MSM! I never realized how bad it was (at least locally) until my wife became very active on the school board and we attended most all board meetings. It always amazed me to watch the coverage of the meetings by the local news as most times I couldn’t believe it was the same meeting I attended. At one particular meeting they had a public forum to discuss a proposal and nine people spoke. Eight people were for the proposal and one was vehemently opposed on the issue. The news “teaser” was “public outraged over school proposal” and the story only showed video of the opposed speaker! From that point on I have never trusted any ONE source for information, whether it’s the MSM, bloggers, or the local grapevine.

HMan said...

I think that the part of this story that gets written about the most in the future will be the peculiar actions of Duke and some in the MSM. I mean, there is nothing especially unique about drug abusers and small town DAs acting in unethical ways. That a large, prestigious University and the NYTs should bascically take the side of a small-time southern DA who obviously trying to convict some innocent kids - that is a story that is interesting, or should be interesting.
I agree with those so have said that the mainspring of this actions has been the way that the initial image of rich white jocks abusing poor black girl was so delicious to them that they could not give it up - at least not in print.

Anonymous said...

fyi: the possessive of Times is Times's (see Chicago Manual)

good post on the times

i've been reading the times a long time (and i have some good friends who work for the paper, so i know how they make "decisions"). i know when to close my eyes and start laughing: Duff Wilson is not respected at the paper. He comes from Seattle where he won a bunch of awards as an investigative reporter (think he was nominated for a pulitzer, and i have reason to believe he's an affirmative action case); to my knowledge, he became a sportswriter when he joined the times. he cannot write, and he is an untalented investigative reporter

the times has a dual editorial and newsroom policy of not reporting anything negative about blacks: that is common knowledge, and, quite frankly, this policy obtains at most mainstream media

the nyt won't report on the following: black-on-white crime (1 element in the duke fiasco); the cost of affirmative action; affirmative incompetence (they had to report on jayson blair); and black political demagoguery (see also duke hoax)

the NYT is no longer a very good paper: the poster who cited the no-talent David Brooks as a worthy writer is the perfect Times reader

its cultural coverage now features writers who specialize in rap; serious stories are given to numbskulls like duff wilson; the editorial page, with the exception of paul krugman, is a joke; the times gets its ass kicked by the ny post on metro; the book review is boring and PC--and u wonder why it's losing money

the principal architect of its current mediocrity is that little punk sulzburger jr (mr nepotism)

bottom line: don't expect responsible journalism from the times (like woody allen, i read the times for the lingerie ads)

jim clyne

huesofblue said...

7:44 A.M.

I suspect a pretty high percentage of the editors and staff at the NYT graduated from schools pretty similar to Duke (i.e. Harvard, Columbia, Yale Princeton, Cornell, ect). So I'm not sure if "resentment" of elite schools is really what's driving this. But I do think that Duke's elitness and the generally sterling reputation of its athletic department makes the story a lot more fascinating. If this had happened at NC State, it would have never made the front page.

I think Duff Wilson’s use of the Gottlieb report is pretty interesting. Obviously, someone at the DPD or prosecutor’s office breached the gag order to give the NYT an exclusive on the report. Wilson could have definitely slammed the report, but doing so would have definitely cut off his exclusive source. I think that had to influence the way he reported.

Anonymous said...

One large movitator for most of the reporters I've worked with over the decades is to impress their peers. The backslaps at the bar after deadline are most of the psychic reward the average the journalist will ever receive and they're eagerly and regularly sought.

That being the case, no liberal-minded journalist is going to do anything but pander to the prejudices of his friends. The liberal reporters hang out with other liberal reporters (the opposite is of course true for conservative reporters) and they just play to the sentiments of their own crowd.

When they see a story that resonates with their friends they jump on it. If the story does not play to that crowd, they leave it alone rather than go after it. That's why so many who jumped on the white male athelete privilege angle of the early rape accusations have failed to pursue it since contradicting information has appeared. The truth about the case doesn't match their worldview, so they have no interest in it at all. It's like a basketball reporter being told of a nice human interest story at the local grade school. "That's just not what I do," is the spoken or unspoken response.

Of course that's what editors are for -- to make the decisions about what gets covered. If you want to fault the Times, fault the editors who hire and assign these writers. Blaming the writers is like blaming hyenas for eating carrion -- it's just their nature.

Anonymous said...

To Jim Clyne,
That would be me who likes David Brooks. Definitely, I WOULD cancel my subscription if I thought Paul Krugman's twisted, predictable columns were the best the editorial page had to offer. Opnion pieces by outside experts are almost always worth reading, for example. Some of the indepth series reporting (Africa, China, child porn) still seems very valuable to me. But THIS case should have been an indepth series with lots of input from experts on constitutional issues, and the paper just blew it, completely.
Also, I think you are too hard on the Book Review. Is there another paper you could recommend to us? Just curious.


huesofblue said...


It's my turn to agree with everything you just wrote. I read the times pretty regularly, and while it's far from perfect, on most things it's pretty damn good. I agree that the letters and expert columns are often excellent.

Anonymous said...

to Hues of blues--many Duke grads (and especially basketball fans) honestly believe that the Times and some other papers are biased against Duke--not against elite schools in general, but specifically against Duke. We believe it is because they resent the coverage Duke gets for being a top sports school AND a top academic school. Reporters who graduated from other elite academic schools (that don't get the press for top sports) are just as biased against Duke as the reporters who have graduated from lesser academic schools with strong sports programs. We feel it is very evident in the coverage of Duke sports. While they have to cover the success of the basketball team, for example, there is almost always some slant to the feature pieces.

In addition, the NYT planned to do an "expose" a few years ago on race relations at colleges--they wanted to feature Duke, and did interview many minority students for the article. The piece never appeared, as far as I know. But clearly they have been chomping at the bit to to expose some sort of race problem at Duke.

Anonymous said...

CAVEAT: There's nothing really wrong with Paul Krugman's article today discussing coverage of the arguments leading up to the war. Probably there should have been more coverage of the arguments opposing the war. Ironically, Tom Friedman and Kenneth Pollack have pieces in the paper today, too. They were two of the most persuasive supporters of the invasion. Wish the NYT could get James Coleman and possibly Irving Joyner to do a piece for them on Duke LAX. The paper is still a crucial forum for a national conversation on important issues, but obviously constitutional protection for rich white defendants is not important to them--terribly short sighted on their part.


Anonymous said...

Chicago writes:

I continue to be amazed by how the HS and the NYT refuse to point out the obvious. I am not sure what is driving their agenda but it is silly. HS circulation is way down and NY has TONS of Duke alums. Why do you think Duke Men's basketball has at least one game at MSG each year? So the NY and NJ alumni base can see them there.

On another note, what was the women's basketball team censored from doing? that is news tome.

Anonymous said...

KC: Where are the Senators from NY, NJ and Maryland. Isn't it their job to see that citizens in their state are protected by the Constitution and each citizen in this country has intrinsic rights. The rights of these young men have been trampled. Alkida terrorists in Iraq are given better treatment and at least interviewed. Nifong to date has not interviewed Crystal or the 3 defendents. I think the Senators silence has let America know exactly what our elected officials are doing for this country. Nothing. If I was in public service, I would stand up for what is right. Be damned with upsetting the AA community. This is about humanity and taking a stand for truth and justice. Not politicall gain. So Senators from NY, NJ and Maryland get your lazy asses into Durham on December 15, 2006 and stand with the families of the falsely accused. For something right and good for a change.

Dan said...

“Reporters and editors in the newsrooms of major newspapers,” he concludes, “are not motivated by a devotion to any political party or cause. It just isn’t in their DNA.”

I would like to add: Absence of DNA evidence does not exonerate those under suspicion (per Mike Nifong!).

Anonymous said...

to Observer:

agree that the case was miserably handled by the editors, but i covered why in my post--also agree that some of times's national and international coverage is good--i forgot to cite its excellent science coverage

newspapers/magazines i recommend:

ny review of books; the independent; the guardian; le canard enchaine; private eye; de morgen; expresso; new criterion; ny observer; wired; the economist; reason; science; the american scholar; commentary; american prospect; wall street journal; city journal

jim clyne

Anonymous said...

"Where are the Senators from NY, NJ and Maryland. Isn't it their job to see that citizens in their state are protected by the Constitution and each citizen in this country has intrinsic rights"

You are so right about that...but doesn't one usually have to request help from one's senator??? And if Collin, Reade, or Dave (or their attorneys) have requested help from their senators, I'd guess their respective senators are afraid of backlash from their black constituents....

Dan said...

Pinch's stepsister is a Duke graduate...wonder if that had anything to do with the paper's reportage?

Anonymous said...

if the accused were black, "victim" white, all your politicos would be all over this case----------------------------------guarantee it

Anonymous said...

10:07--the six senators from New York, New Jersey, and Maryland are all Democrats. For them to support the lacrosse players would mean taking on a fellow Democrat, and appearing to support white males against a black female. That's just not in their DNA!!--Buddy

Anonymous said...

pinch is a stupid pc bitch--he has no taste and no balls

he'd make a good social studies techer on the upper west side


Anonymous said...

I long ago cancelled my subscription to the NY Times. Those who say they still read it for science, book reviews, or outside columnists amaze me. Don't they realize that they're supporting the incredibly biased output of that paper by keeping its base numbers up for advertising? They are the reason the Times is able to continue its agenda-driven assaults. I find I'm able to get excellent info on all topices from other sources.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter whether you are Democrat or Republican. This is about the humanity of the situation, about right and wrong. Are you saying all democrats are corrupt, all democrats will sit quietly by and watch attrocities of injustice. Elected officials are put in office to do right by the citizens of this country no matter what your political party. Once again who is running this country, a bunch of ignorant black people or people who follow the Laws and ethics of office and the Constitution that this country is founded on. The excuse the Democratic Senators don't want to get involved then proves my point that they took office to fatten their own pockets and for their own agendas and they can rot in hell with Nifong. If humanity and doing what is right is not in their vocabulary they should not be in office. The Senators in NJ, NY and Maryland who have not stood up for their constituants in those states and have stood silent to these injustices and atrocities is tatamount to them walking by a train wreck with battered and bloodies bodies and saying "sorry can't help you, you are Jewish, or Catholic or you are white, or you are hispanic and if I help you it won't be good for my career. That my friends is bull and the American public be they Democrat or Republican should not stand for it. In particular citizens in NY, NJ and Maryland you have a responsiblity to the rest of the country to see that your Senators and Congressmen do their jobs and uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Because to date they have not.

Anonymous said...

great post, 10:51

the fact that the ny times refuses to seriously report on this story is borderline criminal--but if they were to report on it, they'd have to:

--address the prostitute's background
--report on the affirmative incompetents
--report on nifong's agenda
--report on legitimate concerns over jury composition

the times is a cowardly organization, and therefore should be shunned


Anonymous said...

Hit the NY Times where the feel it, in the pocket book. They don't care about truth, just selling their own jaded, untruthful point of view.

Anonymous said...

KC, i checked out your publications

if u were black, you'd be earning $500,000 a year and be a university professor at harvard

r u tenured?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the suggestions. Several of those publications are completely new to me--le canard enchaine, expresso, private eye, de morgen. I will keep an eye out for them. But if the admittedly cowardly NYT does not offer the best forum for national conversations on important topics via the editorial page, what does? The WSJ seems a little too narrow for that role.


Anonymous said...


u ask a good question--i'm an editor/producer who is still mulling the idea of a documentary based on this national embarrassment--i'm leaning toward making a black comed out of the source material: that way i could get it marketed--jim carrey would make a great nifong--let's see: what would i call it? "We'll Always Remember Precious" has the right "gravitas"; then there's "That goddamn Gay Basher Finnerty Got Me in All 3 Orifices"--that's not bad; or "Goddamn, those honkies arn't gonna like what i have got in store for them, but who wants to get arrested"--

bottom line, this story has its moments

the pubs u r not familiar with originate in france, belgium, portugal, great britain (i like satirical publications)--

let's have the conversation on this site--i think we hv the brainpower to cover all the bases

remember, nifong is never gonna feel comfortable in a good durham restaurant ever again: i would not want to be he: he's a fat punching bag that all of us can enjoy

1 last shot at a title..........

"Do Not Eat the Yellow Snow"


Anonymous said...

Another superb offering by KC.

Also, Bill Anderson's letter was published in the Herald Sun today .

Debrah Correll

don t. said...

A number of posters have got it spot on: the nyt and their ilk (also the Duke administration) have gotten themselves so convoluted by pc and the liberal guilt-barers that they are not going to publish or say ANYTHING to offend blacks, even if they deserve critisism. How ludicrous is this??? We have about 15% of the population governing what is printed or spoken in this country.

Anonymous said...

don t.,
You are correct. the left has learned that the most effective way to shut down any discourse on a subject is to accuse the speaker of RACISM/BIGOTRY. therefore, we cannot discuss immigration, affirmative action, welfare, etc., etc., because to do so you are espouing bigotry and/or racism.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what exactly Nifong did, except indictment against three rapist. Why is everyone here picking on Nifong for doing his job?

don t. said...

to 4:13

Why don't you go back out behind the barn and continue to do whatever you were doing out there!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You people here are in for a big surprise, as Cash says earth shaking news. Nifong will announce in court that he has 2 witnesses, it will be part of his new discovery. Let's see how many of you keep posting after that earth shaking news.

K.P. said...

Does anyone know if the lawyer and Nutfong are still under a gag order? If they are then 5:24 and cash have information that was leaked by Nifong or the DPD and the DOJ relly needs to be informed, right along with the N.C. State Bar.

Anonymous said...

K.P. the DOJ can't do a thing down here in Durham. Nifong has a case and these three will be spending a lot of time in jail.

K.P. said...

6:11 How would you feel if this rape victim came to Durham and testied for the defendants and really tell what a rape victim goes through, and how that LYING DANCER is just telling one very bad story that is all she knows how to do, is lie and tell wild story's.

This time she has conned an entire city and you all fell for it. Instead of law she should become an actress, sorry she already is.

Don't forget that there were other people at the party that were not Duke Lacrosse Players. Maybe one of the is the witness for Nutfong and I don't think anyone would want to commit perjury for Nutfong and face prison themselves.

Retired P/O said...

Are there any lawyers out there that can answer this question. What ever happened to the "Right to a Speedy Trial" as writtne in the US Constitution? I read that North Carolina does not have that provision, but does that not revert back to the US Constitution? I thought that by being in the US Constitution, every citizen of the United States has that right. Is that the case unless you happen to be a US citizen that lives in North Carolina?

retired P/O said...

K.P. I agree with you that a real rape victim could tell her experiences, but would that convince a jury with jurist that have already made up their minds, that a rape occurred. The fact that there were other people, besides the LAX players, that were at the party and were not part of the DA's or the DPD' investigation, could show prejudice towards the LAX team members. The DA never considered the non team member suspects, but then again their were no DNA samples, from the victim to match with them. They could have raped the AV using condoms, as Nifong says, but it is highly unlikely. I have always wondered why he never pursued anyone other then LAX team members, unless he knew all along that this was a hoax and he was pushing this for public exposure, so he would be elected as the DA.

Anonymous said...

You may have noticed that NOTHING Nifong has claimed as evidence thus far has checked out. How do you suppose he found "witnesses" so late in the process? It is very difficult to imagine how these "witnesses" can overcome the fact that the semen/DNA matched the boyfriend and not the defendants. The presence of DNA that does not match the defendant is how the Innocence Projects exonerate those wrongly sent to prison on the basis of faulty IDs and witness testimony. I am not sure how we can exonerate some on the basis of DNA and yet send others to prison despite the DNA--as you so badly hope to do. Perhaps someone else can explain this; it is beyond me. If we ARE able to do this, the Innocence Projects, who primarily exonerate minorities, might as well close up shop.


Wayne Fontes said...

For those of you advocating that the DOJ or congress get involved with this I would simply state that the government that governs the least governs the best.

bill anderson said...

Here is the problem with Nifong's supposed "earth shaking" announcement: First, if he has two witnesses, he is supposed to put that out in discovery, and if he did not, he is in violation of North Carolina law. (Heck, he already has violated a bunch of laws.)

Second, the way that Nifong himself has framed the evidence is not going to allow for any of the Duke 3 to have participated in a rape. I can guarantee you that at the end of the day, that the two witnesses are going to be bogus.

Remember, Cash is the guy who gave us "Jakki" and the phantom two-million dollar payment. Cash also assured us in print that there had been (in his words) a "brutal rape" committed.

As for K.P., you understand this issue much better than your detractors. More power to you!

Anonymous said...

So, who are these two witnesses and what did they supposedly witness? Why has Nifong been sitting on this big news for so long?

I guess these witnesses just suddenly remembered something or suddenly came forward. Sorry, but this sounds alot like BS to me if in fact these witnesses exist at all.

KC Johnson said...

Re the 5.24:

It's good to see that we have the "minister of justice" himself now posting on DIW. Welcome to the blog.

HMan said...

Regarding "Witnesses"
Maybe Nifong is slightly worried that his line-up evidence will be tossed out. After all, even Durham judges do not like being blasted by courts of appeal (or the history books). That would leave his cherished case drop-able. What to do?
Produce a new outcry witness or two. Like, another sister stripper who will claim that Precious told her the next day that 3 guys fitting the exact description of the actual defendants did exactly to her what Nifong wants to present at trial. Heck, if Gottlieb - a police official- could be induced to lie on the record imagine the leverage Nifong would cheerfully apply to someone more vulnerable?
And it does not have to pass a smell test, it just has to forestall a premature collapse of his case.

Anonymous said...

Cash Michaels is a racist, an incompetent writer and pathetic idiot. Anything he writes should be immediately disregarded. Just like his black audience, he WANTS the accuser to be an innocent victim, and he WANTS the LAX players to be guilty, for no other reason than their race. The fairy tale about "two witnesses" is laughable, just like Cash.

AMac said...

Re. KC Johnson's 8:36am comment:


Anonymous said...

You're right, and yet so is Calame. I'll explain, mostly for the benefit of your unimpressive commmenters ...

Though the supposed watchdogs would have you believe otherwise, media bias is seldom political in nature. Journalists are biased in the senses that Calame describes. They want the scoop. They want the front page. They want the *sensational* story.

There's far less incentive to go back after the fact and show how the original stories relied too heavily on sources that have been proven unreliable. For one thing, it's a little embarrassing. Also, it's usually a boring story.

That's obviously not much of a defense of the Times' reporting in this case, though I'd agree with others that perhaps 90 percent of Times content is excellent.

The problem is that people who assume a journalist's specific bias are invariably wrong. I've seen rabid Republicans accused of "liberal" bias. I've seen reporters and editors accused of carrying out orders from shady characters they've never met. When you're in a newsroom reading most bias accusations, it's laughable -- at least, it would be if there weren't so many spin-peddlers convincing so many gullible people that it's all true.

So my advice would be to continue to hold journalists accountable, but give Calame a fair read.

(On another note -- has the Herald-Sun's coverage dipped? I was impressed in the early days of the coverage because they were doing much more to get the "other" side of the story than the N&O. Next to The Chronicle, I thought they were doing the best job. But I'll admit I haven't been reading recently.)

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, judging the entire MSM -- or even one newspaper -- on the basis of a few mistakes in judgment is roughly the same as judging a team or a university on the basic of their decision to hire strippers and make the odd racist comment.

Just saying. I'd think those of us (and yes, I include myself in that) who think the three players are victims of injustice would have learned not to cast stones wildly.

Anonymous said...

jim clyne, "unimpressive commenter," to 11:25:

doofus, i don't think u hv the foggiest when discussing "journalistic bias"

let's not talk BS generalities

if i were the exec editor of the times, i would hv thrown long to my best receiver. here's how i would hv handled the reporting:

1. send my best reporters to durham to fact-find, concentrating on the ethics of the prosecutor and the demagoguery of the 88 and the black faction in durham

2. assign a profile on crystal mangum (eg, why she wasn't given a poly, etc)

3. assign a legal analysis on 2 important aspects: a) remedying prosecutorial misconduct; and b) frank assessment of rape-shield laws

4. assign an education reporter to report on the cognitive deficiencies of duke's pathetic affirmative incompetent "professors"

5. assign a psychologist to report on the psychological trauma false accuers wreak on innocent males

6. (in an ideal world, the following would get me the pulitzer, bitch): assign my best reporter to interview hillary, barack, et al on why there is no law in the US to punish precious thugs whose crime is tantamount to rape

7. assign a separate story on jury nullification, focusing on blacks' overwhelming "partisanship"

the times did nothing; its bias is as pellucid as your meretricious persiflage

Anonymous said...


You are absolutely correct: journalistic bias is measured by what stories editors assign--AND WHICH THEY DON'T.

It's amazing how naive some commenters are.

Mr. Clyne, I loved your book "Exquisite Creatures."

Anonymous said...

thanks, i'm working on a follow-up book with william ropp, alvin booth, joy goldkind, antti viitala, paolo roversi, and elizabeth opalenik--focusing on dancers--lots of nude ballerinas (egsallllllent)--ciao, jim

Anonymous said...

1 question: how did u know which jim clyne it was? most people think i'm that hack who works for spielberg--JC

Anonymous said...

My wife owns a Manhattan-based production company. She's familiar with your research interests, and then I saw the reference to the film. Pretty easy.

Anonymous said...

To 11:04---

I agree that Cash Michaels is not a good writer and that his enthusiastic and incessant support of "Precious" makes him look unprofessional and silly; however, one must cut the guy some slack.

Whatever else he does, it's obvious to anyone that he spends most of his time eating.

And shows the same lack of discipline in his chosen profession as he does at the dinner table.

Never trust gluttons. They can't keep a clear head.......always waiting with bated breath (literally) for that next big meal. LOL!

Cash Michaels is a blowhard and wouldn't last a moment writing for a top MSM newspaper. He caters to a small segment of the local population for whom accuracy is way down on the list of priorities.

Debrah Correll

Anonymous said...

debrah, i guess you're not familiar with jayson blair and his ilk. tell cash to give bill keller of the NYT a call. he might hv to wait a week before he writes a national story. he could bond with duff wilson, and have Pinch kiss his ass. debrah, r u jealous of cash?

admit it--u think he's hot--and talented

i'm getting a woody just thinking about it


Anonymous said...


You're a nut!

Yeah, the Jayson Blair saga slipped my mind. Don't blame the little Pinch urchin for that, though. Hiring and keeping Blair was the work of the former editor who resigned a few years ago. He is the guy who is from the Deep South and turned himself into one of those do-gooders with a guilt-ridden heart.......leading him to hire anyone....anyone, I tell you!.....who was black and could speak and write English on a high school level.

Yeah, that was a bad moment for the Times. Even Maureen Dowd lambasted her former mentor for keeping Blair.

Oh, well....... :>)


Anonymous said...


Howell Raines was the editor who hired Jayson Blair. You remember him, no?


Anonymous said...

you're referring to howell raines, a fabulous writer--and ghastly editor--just terrible

but i digress:

how long hv u bn a chubby-chaser?


Anonymous said...


It's best not to digress. You're off topic.

However, in the interest of humoring your plaintive calls for disclosure.......I'm into hard bodies.........not chubbies.



Anonymous said...


u've bn reading jay mcinerney and brett ellis--jc

Anonymous said...

re calame:

i'm convinced that the NYT created this "public editor" position EXCLUSIVELY for PR purposes

the times isn't stupid: it'll get its money's worth from this ruse--jc

Anonymous said...


My favorite writer is the luscious and take-no-prisoners Christopher Hitchens.

I know....I know.....he's not a hard body......but I make allowances for brilliance and a sexy British accent. He's also an Oxford grad.

(McInerney is excellent, but somewhat of a cad.)


Anonymous said...

he's friends with martin amis (highly recommend "money") whom i'm asking to write the intro for a book i'm working on--

AMac said...

anon 11:25am & 11:41am --

You wrote,

> You're right, and yet so is Calame. I'll explain, mostly for the benefit of your unimpressive commmenters ...

Monday morning, when you punch the clock in the Daily Planet newsroom, show Perry White your two comments and ask him about "sourcing." Maybe he'll say this:

"Anon, some arguments stand on their own, but the worth of others depends on their provenance. The value of your comments on newsroom culture depend entirely on the unimpressive readers at D-i-W appreciating your expertise and long experience as a journalist. Since you posted anonymously, they have no idea if you're Jules Crittenden or a freshman at Peoria High. As a grizzled newshound, you should have sussed that out!"

One thing's for sure: even without deigning to discuss any of the specifics that KC Johnson brought up in his critique of Calame's thesis, you've conclusively shown that there are no consistent biases at the NYT. None.

Anonymous said...

Me again -- the 11:25/11:41 guy.

OK, never mind. I thought you all were having a serious discussion here. I can see that's a waste of time in this space.

Pity -- I think the blogger here raises interesting points, even if he's not quite up to speed on media bias issues. But you don't always get the audience you deserve.

Anonymous said...


How fascinating!

You and KC should get together and create a magnum opus about the lacrosse case.......then shop for a film producer.

I see Michael Moore (with a grey wig) in the role of Mike Nifong. It'll be his vehicle into acting.....although, he's already equipped with Nifong's self-righteous facade and mendacity.

About Hitchens.....Amis was the friend who stood by him when Hitchens went against the Clintons and his old friend Sidney Blumenthal (Hillary's former lapdog)......exposing the disgusting corruption and cover-up in the Clinton White House.


Anonymous said...

We must have two "KC's".

In the last post, I should have said KC Johnson.

You are not the same KC.....are you?


AMac said...

11:25am /11:41am /3:13pm guy --

Here's the problem. Your comments raise good points, and they are suffused with a sense of superiority that you haven't earned. Re-read, and the instances (e.g. "unimpressive commmenters" (sic)) should be apparent. When you get a substantive response with similar snark, you pack up your toys and leave ("I can see that's a waste of time in this space... But you don't always get the audience you deserve.")

You might be more successful in engaging in interesting conversations if you edited out the sarcasm before 'publishing.' Or if you're willing to take what you dish out.

The substantive issue remains--you write with assurance about newsroom culture, without giving readers any context for these opinions.

"No liberal bias in the newsroom" coming from Bernard Goldberg is different from the same sentence uttered by Maureen Dowd.

Anonymous said...


My apologies. I'm multi-tasking this afternoon and just now realized that I made an error......simply forgot your moniker (initials).

Got you confused with the master blogger, KC.

Then thought you had the same initials.

Sorry. You're JC. It's all so confusing.

And apologies to KC.


Anonymous said...

debrah, i'm a bit confused--my name's jim clyne--kc johnson is a professor of history at brooklyn college

i am a producer, and i'm mulling things over right now--i don't know if this is a feature black comedy or a serious docu (the tertium quid of course obtains here--both could work)

given the censorship situation, think the comedy might work better

as a writer, i could love precious in a humorous way

what do u think? curious--jc

ps: did u see my post above re possible titles for film? check it out

Anonymous said...


Excellent points.

Excellent post.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I read those titles.

A comedy would only work after some time has past.....and the lacrosse players are out of this mess.

Looks as though the Feds are the only hope for justice right now.

Presently, I see this as an horrific thriller about how any of us can have our lives ripped away in a second by the scum and the sludge that exists among us and is cultivated by the ultra Liberals and the seedy factions of the black community.

It's more of a horror, IMO.


Anonymous said...

agrree: that's the "black" in a black comedy--i didn't consider the noir angle: that's very good, D

but the fact remains that censorship constraints are a factor

an "LA Confidential" approach could work--u c it? i thought it was a masterpiece--yes, i'd definitely want it shot in black and white

great suggestion--jc

Anonymous said...

4:14 p.m. -- Fair enough. I think in this sort of thread, it's easy to misfire a bit when making broad comments. In reading back over this, I should have qualified "unimpressive commenters." That's too broad a brush. I didn't intend to prove my own point about generalizing, but I apparently did. My apologies, and that's a fair criticism.

In my follow-up, I figured my comment would follow the series of comments about "chubbies" and so forth. It didn't, and I should've been more specific.

So I appreciate your willingness to take my points to heart despite my barging in here more awkwardly than I would have liked.

I'm anonymous, so I don't care about reputation here. But I hope the point I'm making -- that assumptions of specific media bias are usually wrong -- will stick.

Because, in the long run, it won't help these three kids at all if those who are defending them simply fight unfair accusations with more unfair accusations.

I'll keep an eye on this blog. I'm optimistic it'll do some good.

Anonymous said...


An "LA Confidential" approach sounds intriguing.

The musical score would have to be based in minor chords, also.

Very dark and foreboding shadows.

(If only you could get Russell Crowe).


Anonymous said...

let's dispense with the nebulous "media bias" and call a spade a spade--what we're dealing with is censorship regarding black-related issues

has it ever occurred to u that there has never been a credible film produced on the evils of affirmative action?

i urge everyone to read charles murray's brilliant essay, "the inequality taboo"--taboos cause censorship: it doesn't matter where its origins r--eg, editors, writers, producers, execs

maybe a film about this case could fly--lots of people r angry--i know--hv done a lot of research--some of my european colleagues hv read about it

so let's construct a simple declarative sentence:

taboo subject matter causes commercial censorship

to quote the wonderful ship captain in "jaws":

u folly?


Anonymous said...

To 5:12 pm--

Try to wash the dried paint off your broad brush. Your holier-than-thou attitude does you no good.

Another poster and I were having some much-needed comical moments as a sidebar.

Let me break it to you gently that your post was considered nothing more than a flimsy effulgence from an apologist for the horrific abuses and neglect by the print media.

To describe your post as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability.

To describe your post as a piece of MSM apologetic crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental.

Now, dear poster, I assure you that when I am not engaging in a light-hearted exchange about "chubbies" with another poster.....that I could leave you and your ill-informed attitude in the dust as far as writing goes......if I so choose.

Next time, leave your fantasies about how the world really works at the door.

Debrah Correll

Anonymous said...

trust me, dear poster: it can get a lot worse than chubbies

D, nice post, but to emphasize "writing" over analysis is ill considered, imo

did u notice that this poster didn't respond to my argument

pretty pathetic

AMac said...

11:25am /11:41am /3:13pm /5:22pm guy --

I'll dissent from the other post-5:22 comments and say 'thanks for returning to clarify your earlier remarks.' And also for apologizing for being overbroad.

On media bias: There are people from across the political spectrum (Michelle Malkin to TalkLeft) who are following the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax. For those on the right and in the center, I would say that the existence of a broad media bias that usually tilts left is pretty much a demonstrated phenomenon at this point. I could provide minor examples from personal experience (with the Baltimore Sun and the NYT), and there are a plethora of writers who have examined the phenomenon in broad terms. Earlier, I linked to 'Ranting Profs,' whose author has found the NYT's impartiality to be wanting, more than once. However, I don't think you are persuadeable on this point. Which is fine. Each of us brings his/her own perspective to the party.

My point earlier was that the value of your observations on newsroom culture and bias depends on what readers think of who you are, e.g. concerning your reporting and editorial experiences. If I anonymously assert that "12+12=24," readers should have no trouble evaluating my claim. But an anonymous expert... well, you see the problem.

Re: helping the kids--to the extent that truth, honesty, and decency help the indicted men, I'm in favor of it. To me, the goal is more to uncover and understand the ways in which the criminal justice system has become so vulnerable to corruption that a single actor can exploit its people and institutions to the extent that D.A. Nifong has done here.

A big part of that story is about those who have chosen to enable this Big Lie prosecution. Those who have been active in this effort include officers in the Durham Police Department, the Group of 88 and others on the Duke faculty, the university's administration... and many in the Press, notably the Herald Sun's editors and reporters, and Wilson, Glater, and the editors of the New York Times. (Calame's and your "nope, no bias here!" thesis just adds to the mysterious mystery of what ever could possibly have led to them printing yet another p.c.-slanted hit piece.)

It's good that the efforts of KC Johnson and others "help the 3 kids"--but (to me), that's not the point.

At any rate, I hope you do 'stick around' and contribute further.

Anonymous said...

re Observations of Newsroom Bias

amac, i don't get your logic: r u saying that u need to work for the media to determine media bias?

imo, the so-called "media" reflect the culture--the controlling concept here should be "reporting well, analyzing well"--focusing on media bias is a waste of time

eg, in the wilson article there were many pieces of evidence that were left unmentioned, as well as precious's despicable history [is she mentally ill? this should be addressed at some point. don't want to pounce on the ill. i think she could be a bipolar alcoholic, judging from her behavior]--i don't know if this is "bias," but it's certainly incompetent reporting

i don't like bernie goldberg's bias thesis--sure it works for political-related subjects, but for the duke case it seems a bit off--love to know how NOW interprets this case--jc

AMac said...

JC --

Suppose you'd told me, "There will be a developing story where the initial evidence fits a politically correct story line, but that as more becomes known, a narrative that is uncomfortable to the p.c. crowd will explain facts and context much more powerfully."

And then asked, "How will the NYT report this story?"

I would have ventured that the Times has experienced difficulties in handling stories that fit that description, and that institutional problems tend to handicap their reporters and editors.

Though I wouldn't have dreamed that the paper would disgrace itself as badly as it has, and for this length of time.

So, yes, I think it's plausible to suppose that press coverage of the hoax has been affected by p.c. bias among reporters and editors.

(That said, the NYT does have some great writers on its staff, notably John Burns in Baghdad and science writer Nicholas Wade.)

I haven't read Goldberg's book, only synopses; I brought it up to make a general point--so I won't claim his thesis is specifically applicable to the hoax.

Anonymous said...

agreed, this case brings up taboo subjects that the NYT would rather not examine, which is why blogs r so important

i'll list the "assumptions" about society the Times generally agrees with (btw,wasn't it wade who got in trouble for giving a favorable review to "the bell curve"?):

1. don't talk about the prevalence of black-on-white crime, but cry holy hell if a black woman claims she was gang raped by whites

2. all races r equal in intelligence; therefore, black failure is whitey's fault

3. overrate the accomplishments of "successful" black americans (the "brilliant like spike lee phenomenon")

4. never report about affirmative incompetents like houston baker

5. quotas r all

6. honky bad, african american good

u get the picture--jc

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