Sports Illustrated has an article on the return to lacrosse to Duke. It summarizes the case, and then obtains a quote from one—and only one—outside legal source: Irving Joyner. The article does not identify Joyner as the NAACP case monitor, and therefore a party to the case.
Joyner’s unsurprising analysis? “I think the odds are good that it will go to trial . . . But I think there is enough to go forward -- and I think they will go forward.” The article contains no mention of what evidence Joyner offered to substantiate his assertion.
Ironically, just a few weeks ago, the article’s writer, S.L. Price, was asked, “If it eventually comes out that the alleged victim’s allegations are untrue, how do you think the media will respond? Do journalists have a duty to apologize and/or try to rectify the situation?”
Here was his reply:
If mistakes were made, they should be corrected and responsibility should be taken. But the coverage—and the apology—will never be as spectacular as it was last spring. Some outlets leaped to conclusions, but let’s face it: They were following the DA’s lead in many cases. If the DA says something, especially publicly, it’s hard not to report it.
No one is following the DA’s lead any longer. How, therefore, could any responsible reporter not balance Joyner’s legal perspective with that of another observer, given Joyner’s demonstrated biases about the case?
To use Price’s terminology, I’d say that “mistakes were made” regarding the article’s fairness.