Wednesday, March 21, 2007

March Madness, IV: Soundbites

The first three editions of DIW’s “March Madness” looked at the 10 worst op-eds, the 10 worst “news” articles, and the 10 most outrageous faculty publications of the case. Today’s bracket features the 10 worst case-related soundbites. As with yesterday’s bracket, the worst of the worst ranked is #1. Reader nominations are welcome in the comment thread.

A few guidelines: Nifong soundbites are excluded; otherwise, the “minister of justice” would have all 10 seeds. I have defined soundbite as a statement no longer than a paragraph. I also have tried to evaluate the outrageousness of the soundbite with the status of the speaker (i.e., a college student can be held to a lower standard than a lawyer who’s commenting on TV, or a University president).

The DIW versions of Drexel and Air Force—two teams that appeared to have the credentials to make this year’s NCAA tournament but were left out—probably will fall into this bracket. There have been hundreds of outrageous soundbites at various points in the case. Neither Nancy Grace nor Victoria Peterson, for instance, made the list—in part because Grace’s comments tended to be sophomoric and spiteful while Peterson’s have generally been incoherent—which gives a sense of just how bad the top 10 are.

Without further ado:

10) “I’m not sure I understand the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ statements that have been put forward.” (Anonymous potbanger, March 29). A totalitarian whiff has existed throughout this case, perhaps best captured in this statement. If the accusation is politically useful, principles of American jurisprudence are abandoned. The accused is guilty until proven innocent—or, judging by the rhetoric of some “victims’ rights” advocates, simply guilty.

9) “[Chan] Hall said he wanted to see the Duke students prosecuted ‘whether it happened or not. It would be justice for things that happened in the past.’” (NCCU student government leader Chan Hall, quoted in Newsweek, May 1, 2006 issue). At the time, many people probably thought this comment came from a stray campus extremist. That was before it came out that Hall chaired a key committee in the NCCU student government, and had narrowly missed being elected the Speaker. Or that in one 17-person class at NCCU late last fall, long after the case had imploded, not one student believed that the indicted players was innocent. I’ve spoken to two people who attended the April 11 NCCU forum; both have said that Hall’s comments reflected the general sentiment in the auditorium that day.

8) “I’m told by a professor [Peter Wood?] who teaches several of the lacrosse players that between the rape and when the story broke, his students kept having to break meetings because they had newly scheduled team-bonding activities they had to attend. Needless to say, this is exactly the opposite of what should have happened—team unity should have been undermined, not built up!” (Duke History graduate student Jacob Remes, March 29, 2006) This soundbite illustrated the bankruptcy of the Duke far left last spring. Start with an untrue, hearsay allegation. Then abandon the traditional approach of the academy (defending due process) to transform the University into an arm of the state. Amazingly, given his definitive statement that a “rape” occurred and his stunning claim that the University should have sought to isolate its own students, Remes asserted in a February e-mail, “I have had no role in any criminal case against Duke undergraduates, and I have expressed no public opinion on the guilt or innocence of any accused individuals.”

7) “No.” (Group of 88 member Paula McClain, July 13, 2006). The newly elected chairwoman of Duke’s Academic Council responding to a July e-mail asking whether she would endorse a public statement demanding due process for the three students at her own institution targeted by Mike Nifong.

6) “The self assurance in the statement issued yesterday by the team that they will be exonerated by the results of the DNA testing makes me wonder if we’ve gotten the full story about who was at the house that night. Were there others present who in fact carried out the rape and who are being protected by everyone else who was there? How do we know who was there?” (Group of 88 member Kim Curtis, March 29, 2006). With that statement, a Duke professor (and political science colleague of McClain’s) had suggested, in writing and without any evidence at all, that two students in her own class were accomplices to rape. “Coincidentally,” after Curtis made this allegation, the two students’ grades plummeted: both received a C- on their second course paper, and both received an F on their third and final course paper.

5) Mr. Rosenberg said he did so because he was concerned with the prevalence of alcohol on campus and bothered by ‘affluent kids violating the law to get exploited women to take their clothes off when they could get as much hookup as they wanted from rich and attractive Duke coeds.’” (Group of 88 member Alex Rosenberg, quoted in New York Sun, October 27, 2006). So spoke the holder of an endowed chair at Duke (in philosophy). His assertion that a frustration with alcohol explained his decision to sign the Group of 88 statement might have made more sense had the statement even mentioned alcohol. And his “hookup” comment gave a revealing sense of how he really views many of the female students that he teaches. Along these lines (5a) would be the statement of anti-lacrosse fanatic Peter Wood, who told the New York Times that, unlike the lacrosse players, football players were good for his classes. In a statement oozing with condescension, he remarked, “The football players here are often rural white boys with baseball caps or hard-working black students who are proud to be at Duke.”

4) “Those lacrosse players met the profile; why weren’t they arrested? Is there a double standard of justice, law, and order without justice?” (Harris Johnson, at April 11 NCCU forum, after noting that, in the past, innocent black people had been arrested who met a profile.) This statement appalled even Mike Nifong—not an easy thing to do. The former Durham Democratic Party official reappeared in the news the day after the election, when he rejoiced that Nifong’s victory showed “that justice can’t be bought by a bunch of rich white boys from New York.”

3) To suggest [the indicted players] were well behaved: Hitler never beat his wife either. So what? (Wendy Murphy, June 5, 2006) Debaters often cite the “Hitler rule”—the first side to employ a Nazi analogy automatically loses, since such a move shows that the debater has no legitimate argument to make. This certainly was the case on May 3, when Murphy informed CNN viewers, “I bet one or more of the players was, you know, molested or something as a child.”

2) If our students did what is alleged, it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn’t do it, whatever they did is bad enough.” (Duke president Richard Brodhead, to the Durham Chamber of Commerce, two days after the indictments of Reade Seligmann and Colin Finnerty.) In recent weeks, the Duke administration has maintained that the president consistently upheld the presumption of innocence. That claim is difficult to reconcile with the above statement. “Whatever” Seligmann and Finnerty “did” was to attend a party they played no role in organizing, and perhaps drink some beer. To suggest that behavior in any way is “bad,” much less could somehow justify the treatment they received, is heartless.

1) “There was evidence of DNA of Seligmann [sic] who lived in that house [sic]. (Legal “analyst” Georgia Goslee, August 7, 2006) This case has been characterized by the state's willingness to change the theory of the “crime” to fit the evidence. Goslee didn’t bother with such trivialities—she simply changed the “evidence.” But what else could be expected from a figure hired to comment on a case in North Carolina, where she is licensed to practice law, who nonetheless conceded, “I’m not familiar with the North Carolina statutes.”

This case has featured a race-to-the-bottom element. That such a list could exist--pairing prestigious academics with know-nothing figures like Georgia Goslee or Jacob Remes--can only depress.


bill anderson said...

What a brood of vipers! I am just glad you did not receive any bites from these snakes as you were going through their words.

This case truly is a sorry example of modern American jurisprudence. I have lost all confidence in the "justice" system of this country, and in the people who represent the various government agencies in helping to carry out "justice." One wishes that at least one honest person in that system would "stand in the gap" and speak out. I suspect I might have to wait for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Yeah KC - I had two out three - Woods and rosenver. Got to agree with Goslee. She is dumb as a rock and mean spirited to boot. The funniest part was watching the rest of the "panel" try to look attentative like she was saying somethig. Yale Gardiner (a bright guy)always looke like he ws swalling his tongue. Have not seen Goslee, Murphy Guilfoil gives a good imitation) and Graces time seems to be reduced.

Anonymous said...

New York Post circulation has gone up while everyone else has gone down. To date, they appear to be writing the news and not agenda driven. Besides, the paper is fun.

Anonymous said...

Wendy Murphy was on Glenn Beck the other night. That prompted me to send him 2 emails (which I hope he reads) expressing my displeasure for using a person known to lie, deceive and distort as much as she does on his show.

The less people like herself, Goslee and Nancy Grace can put there face in front of a camera, the better.


Anonymous said...

JLS says....

I would have to make McCain and her one word response number 1. Anyone can get caught up in hyperbole and suggest things that imply doing away with due process.

It is another thing all together when directly asked do you call for due process in this case, to say, "No." That is not getting carried away with hyperbole, rather that is an admission.

It is really telling about McCain that she could not even bring herself to say something like of course I support due process on the criminal matters, but the reported racial taunts are a serious matter to me by themselves. But alas all she could do was say, no, I don't support due process for my students facing the criminal justice system?

How could any soundbite be more outrageous than that NO?

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson's book could be called Media Malpractice. He could collaborate with blogger John in Carolina, ex-Durham editor Bob Wilson and/or Jon Ham, another ex-newspaper guy who writes the terrific Right Angles blog at the John Locke Foundation. Special focus could be on the Raleigh and Durham papers plus the New York Times and other influential national media. Could be a great book and wouldn't conflict with what Professor Johnson and legal expert Taylor are planning.

WhyteRain said...

No, no, no. This time there MUST be a place for Tim Tyson.

According to Tyson, the three lacrosse captains did not live at the buchanan street house. No, it was 3 others, named "Rape, Racism and the spirit of the lynch mob".

This has got to be in the top five, it's so full of both micro- and meta-narrative bullshit:

"The spirit of the lynch mob lived in that house on Buchanan Boulevard, regardless of the truth of the most serious charges. The ghastly spectacle takes its place in a history where African- American men were burned at the stake for "reckless eyeballing" -- that is, looking at a white woman -- and white men kept black concubines and mistresses and raped black women at will."

After Eugene Robinson wrote his bullshit op-ed about the *cough* "history" of white men raping black women, I asked him to provide some backup. Of course, he didn't and couldn't.

I wrote to Tyson and mentioned in passing that "hundreds" of white women are gangraped by blacks in America every year. It's more likely thousands, but Tyson called me a liar for saying "hundreds".

KC Johnson said...

Tyson got listed under 2(a) in faculty publications!

But there's going to be an individual post on him coming up within the next week.

Anonymous said...

At least #10, the unnamed potbanger, was frank enough to admit being hazy on the whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing.

It is a tricky concept. As this case has shown us, people can study, practice -- even teach -- the law for years and never grasp it.

Of course there are regional variants of the principle, and NC seems to spawn a particularly rich harvest. Chan Hall's version ("guilty even if proven innocent") appeals to many, but true connoisseurs prefer Brodhead's patrician "if proven guilty, appalling; in any event, not innocent".

Brodhead should be pleased to reflect how close this stance placed him, philosophically, to that other great educator: Cash Michaels.

Anonymous said...

Anyone here remember ESPN's commentary in March and April a year ago? I recall that there were some very strong and very wrong opinions expressed by talking heads. Is there a place to search media content that was over the air and not in print?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see Brodhead appear high up on the list. While his comment is not itself the most odious of those uttered in this case, the fact that he said what he did, when he did, stands as a severe indictment of him, given his position. Perhaps even more of an indictment is what he did NOT say, but should have. He ought to have proclaimed--loudly and unambiguously--that the three LAX players are innocent until proved otherwise by a court of law. He prevaricated and trimmed at the very moment he should have stood firmly on the side of his students. He is, as a consequence, the biggest disappointment of them all.

Anonymous said...

JLS 12:42--

I agree: McCain's "no" is deeply chilling and merits a high rank on the list. But what words can adequately describe those who elected her to the Academic Council AFTER she said THAT!?! Not sure which is worse: saying it, or voting for someone who said it.

Anonymous said...


I don't know if you plan to write a book, but Damn, what a book this would make!

I would buy it in a minute.

This entire episode is one that should not be forgotten. And you've got the whole thing documented.

Incredible! Great work!

Anonymous said...

Just a nit, but something bracket based should use powers of two, i.e., Elite Eight or Sweet Sixteen rather than your Terrible Ten,

What boggles me most in all this is how these people so blithely discard the concept of "Equality under the law!"

How can they not realize that inequalities in legal settings cut disproportionately AGAINST the very groups they seek to protect!

Feeds the argument that they don't want EQUAL treatment at all ... but rather preferential treatment. Heaven help those who do not fit into their protected classes.

There is indeed a sad parallel with Jim Crow era lynchees here. The irony is that it's the LAXers who are the lynch-ees here and the potbangers are the posse gone mad!

Bakerman said...

Where I may be too subtle in my condemnation of prosecutors across the board - by her very presence Nancy Grace is not.

If I ever get a call from Gallup, Nancy Grace is all I watch.

Also by default, Ms. Grace makes a fairly compelling argument for repealing habeas corpus.

While still others may question the wisdom of the 19th Amendment.

Howard said...

This was pulled from YouTube:
On Tony Kornheiser TV program he interviewed big time writer (and Duke graduate?). Now both of these guys are media savvy and both well educated, and in the case of Feinsteing, rich. They piled on in the worst possible way, Feinstein was especially vicous. If somebody saved that tape, it should be worth a couple of mil in a law suit.

Anonymous said...

I don't think #6 should be on the list because there is as ironic element of the truth in it.

"The self assurance in the statement issued yesterday by the team that they will be exonerated by the results of the DNA testing makes me wonder if we’ve gotten the full story about who was at the house that night."

Kim Curtis was on to something here: we were not getting the full story. She was wrong about the full story centering on who else might have been at the house, but right to conclude that things weren't adding up. Instead Curtis takes the team's statement of innocence as proof that they are actually guilty. Within the group of 88 agenda-driven bias always trumps reason.

WhyteRain said...

Prof. Johnson,

I'm sorry. I remembered that you had mentioned Tyson in the "Faculty Articles" bracket, but I failed to realize that it was substantial enough to rate as "2a". Btw, because you didn't provide a citation and just so everyone else can read Tyson's piece, it can be found here:

But as long as we're on the subject, there was an ESPN writer whose name I no longer recall who wrote about this case. I think his piece deserves some consideration for seeding in one bracket or another. If I can find it again, I'll provide the citation.

scott said...

How about if we float the story that “There was evidence of DNA of Goslee at the house so she is the one who committed the sexual assault"?

The actual fact is that there is the same amount of DNA evidence about Goslee as with Seligmann (i.e. NONE), but as the entire case proves, many of the people involved had and still have no use for actual facts.

So I'm going with the belief that Goslee is the guilty party. How dare TV news put someone on the air to comment on a sexual assault case who committed a sexual assault herself. Have they no shame?

This mindless attacking of people is kinda fun. Now I know what Nifong was feeling. Let's see, what story can I make up about Kim Curtis or Jacob Remes?

amazingcroc said...

Posted on a blog today:
Mark Anthony Neal. He is an Associate Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Program in African and African American Studies and Director of the Institute for Critical U.S. Studies (ICUSS) at Duke University. More and more I'm thinking less and less of Duke University, a backwater southern pretender to intellectual royalty seeking to place itself along side of Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and so on; differing from them only in that they have a good basketball team. This clownish fakir has written four books nobody has heard of. He uses Duke as a platform to promulgate his opinions, the latest of which regards the "rape" of the stripper at a party held by the Duke Lacrosse team:

If these young men did in fact rape, sodomize, rob, and beat this young women [sic], it wasn’t simply because she was a women [sic], but because she was a black woman.”

Anonymous said...

The Duke professors act without regard to their students in the safety of tenure and hide behind intellctual freedom, which for them is blind ignorance. The DBR has an excellent article that concludes:

We mean no disrespect to Bob Harris when we say this. He is a wonderful man and very bright and accomplished. But: for all the academic firepower Duke has, for the amazing intellects and formidable accomplishments, why is it that a sports announcer nailed this case, absolutely pegged it, and the geniuses who sneer at him and the world he represents can’t even admit they were wrong? They don’t have to apologize. But why is it so hard to admit they were wrong?

Harris was right when he told Nifong it’s about honesty. But he might have also said it’s about character. And for highly intelligent people, who are entrusted with young students and their intellectual growth, for them to perpetuate lies, to accept and encourage prosecutorial misconduct, is just an unbelievable abdication of character. And Duke deserves better.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the "Hitler Rule" is called "Godwin's Law" on the Internet

or in logic, Reductio ad Hitlerum


madder than a hornet said...

Brodhead at #2 is an excellent reminder of his words last Spring. Now as he and Burness work to "recreate" history it will be harder. I am very angry that Brodhead didn't stand up for his students' constitutional rights.

The NC Bar is going after fong in a well deserved manner. Who is going to police Brodhead/Steel? (remember tweedledee and tweedledum speak as one)

I encourage all Duke grads and parents of students to make their outrage known. Some good has to come out of this horrible hoax.

Anonymous said...

The whole lot is utterly pathetic and disheartening, but the most utterly amazing is Broadhead's statement. I am aghast that a prestigious University President could say such an incredibly stupid thing shortly after an indictment. It's a sorry reflection on his state of mind around the time he cancelled the LAX season, fired Pressler, and worse, enabled Nifong.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when its brought up during the University's multiple and serial settlement negotiations.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:30 a.m. wrote:

***Anyone here remember ESPN's commentary in March and April a year ago? I recall that there were some very strong and very wrong opinions expressed by talking heads. Is there a place to search media content that was over the air and not in print?***

Yes, this is quite easy, if you are referring to television.

Just the other day, in fact, I was searching for quotes about how long the Administration said the Iraq War would last, how much it would cost, who would pay for it, why we went in, etc. I found TONS of video clips from administration officials and acquiecsing Democrats alike, saying all sorts of silly things. All were on YouTube.

Give it a try re: the Duke allegations and what was said.

Anonymous said...


I believe there must be numerous soundbites more worthy of mention than Brodhead's.

Notice that he actually drew the distinction between an allegation and a fact. That alone should exclude him from consideration.

Perhaps if you were to start a category on the most hypocritical comments, you would find the proper niche for Brodhead's. Let's consider what are the UNDISPUTED facts about the night in question. There was underage drinking. There was a stripper. There was a racial taunt in response to a racial taunt. Let's admit that none of these are particularly admirable behaviors (though I suspect Brodhead himself may have drunk a beer or two while in college.) Yes, a real horror show of moral turpitude.


hman said...

There is a special kind of irony in the Media response to this case: Media People live and die in the search for a compelling story-line. Right under their noses was the stunningly bad and dangerous behaviour of the DA the Police, for example. The glogosphere has done the lions share of analyzing and publicizing it. And it has been a vivid, attention getting, stomach turning story - which is precisely why so many people continue to read the blogs.
Mainstream media simply gave away a truck load of ratings-building stories. Blog-treatment of this story would have stayed off the screen if msm had been remotely diligent and balanced in the way they handled this and so now the made-reputations and best seller book tours are going to their competition.

duke09parent said...

I would put Brodhead's statement as #1 because of all the folks saying stupid things, he knew better. Particularly with the timing, the statement is indefensible at any level. I had wondered if it was a statement that was referring to the two game forfeiture (before the season was cancelled), that the behavior was "bad enough" for the foreiture of two games. But following on the heels of the indictments it was inexcusable.

Also, it can be said that the statement was inconsistent with the neutral stance he was trying to take until he finally came over in December to condemn the prosecution. It has been argued well before that this supposed neutral stance was an abandonment and gave the appearance of an endorsement to the prosecution, but I never thought it was intended that way.

For the rest of his life people who have followed this case will thing of that phrase, "Whatever they did was bad enough," when engaged in a conversation or meeting with him. I positively itch to sneak it into a conversation with him to see how he reacts.

Gary Packwood said...

JeffM 9:19 Said..

...though I suspect Broadhead himself may have drunk a beer or two while in college.

Jeff makes a good observation. As a former CEO of a health care organization and college administrator and faculty, I used that type of phrase often when talking about behavior of young people.

However, I always followed up with a statement that ...This is what we are all about!

Broadhead on the other hand, seems to think that he is running for political office and 'at the ready' to deal with a mysterious Junta that is about to orchestrate a Dukedom coup d'éta.

That is really a bad mistake.

If the leader behaves as if there is a Junta in the making...then you will have a Junta in the making!

Broadhead reports to the Board of Trustees and his very presence in a room of people should clearly state for everyone to 'see and hear' that he is the representative of that board.

To that end, as a university president, you support your students until you have heard from your board that you are no longer expected to support the students. If you disagree with your board then you move on to your next job.

If you behave as if you are running for political office, you will have an infinite number of groups on campus trying to stoke your ego.

A politician as president will surround himself with vice-presidents and directors while a manager as president will show up at the fraternity sections and sport team meetings and say loud and clear ...this is what we are all about and ...then follow up!

Broadhead's name should stay on the list as the Duke politician without a real constituency.

becket03 said...

I'm surprised Wendy Murphy didn't make the list. It was her commentary on Tucker Carlson's Fox show that impelled me to look more closely at the case. She is absolutely brilliant at concocting infuriating, baseless accusations and going for the juggler. One of the many lies she told should qualify as an outrageous soundbite.

How about the one where she said (paraphrasing), "Nifong probably has a player or two to corroborate Precious."


Anonymous said...

My favorite :

" We had no way of knowing that what he ( Nifong) was saying , could have been anything but the truth ".

Richard Brodhead on the first 60 Minutes piece with Ed Bradley .

Besides the probability that this statement was a flat out lie and that the Duke administration in fact did have a " way of knowing " from the very start that the claims were incredible , it so well captures the flavor of Duke's approach to this situation . To label it further would deminish its perfection .

Anonymous said...

Question for lawyers:
Can the LAX players sue Goslee for her statement that Seligman's DNA was found? I am not thinking about winning money, but rather to demand a public retraction and apology. I would ask for a hand written apology.

Anonymous said...

The last sentence of the post begs comment.

What exactly defines a "prestigious academic"? Is it an automatic assumption: the tautology academic = prestigious?
If so, this paradigm has self-destructed in billows of spewing racist venom and libel.

Is it accomplishment? How many of the "presitigious academics" have demonstrated accomplishment - or even a modicum of production? More tellingly, how many have generated anything considered productive by intelligent people outside of their self-congratulatory mutual-support peers?

I think the time has come to grade "prestigious academics" by the standards they deserve: the ones I apply to the garbage collectors in my city. If they do a good job of cleaning up the trash on time, they are prestigious. If not, they are just another cabal of useless municipally-funded parasites.

Think about this: who is more contributory to the conduct of a well-functioning society? The "prestigious academic" - or the competent garbageman?

Anonymous said...

Notice that he actually drew the distinction between an allegation and a fact.

Brodhead blurred that distinction, stating that either was "bad enough".

Brodhead was not speaking of the party in general, he was speaking specifically of his two indicted students. Neither of them hired the stripper. Neither of them uttered a racist taunt.

Brodhead's behavior was consistent with someone eager to have the indictments, to get that 3rd indictment issued too, to shift all blame to his appalling students, and to return to his tower.

Anonymous said...

Jeff M at 9:19--

Is your post re. Brodhead intended seriously? If so, may I remind you that these young men are... well... young men, and university undergraduates. Although the US was colonised by Puritans, you may find that underage drinking occurs on every US campus every day now. That is entirely incidental to what MATTERS in this case. Brodhead mentioned it (and the hiring of a stripper and the racial epithet) to demonstrate that he was not taking their side. But he should have taken their side, as they were entitled to be presumed innocent and it is his job both to give his own students that status and to make it publicly clear that's what he is doing, without any ambiguity or prevarication. What he said, or didn't say, matters more than most in this case, given his position. He failed to show leadership, and therefore failed to do his job. He should resign or be forced out.

Anonymous said...

"Being tarred and feathered is the language of lynching, and the practice of lynching was rarely one that eventuated in a court case of any kind, let alone one in which the defendants claim 10 minutes on one of the most important television programs in the United States."

Robyn Wiegman

Margaret Taylor Smith Director Women's Studies

Professor, Women's Studies and Literature 10/25/06

This should make the list.

memomachine said...


Glenn Beck is ok though he sometimes goes off on tangents.

But whenever Wendy Murphy shows up I simply change the channel. Life's too short to waste on her.

Anonymous said...

I think Goslee confused Reade with Dave. The fact someone puts her on TV when she doesn't even know who is who is ridiculous.

Another great Goslee soundbite was when she went on a tear about the players drinking JACK DANIELS. This was HARD LIQUOR, FOLKS. And they drank it ALL DAY.

Who knows. Maybe they did. That might explain the vegetative state most of them appear to be in in the photos. Well, that and boredom from seeing two not very attractive strippers. As Kim said, "the fellas appeared ready for the night to be over". Yeah, they sure were.

Gary Packwood said...

Audited Financial Statements for Duke
Cash Reserve

I just re-read all of the winning comments and sound bites from the Duke crowd.

After reading and taking notes I decided to try and imagine me writing the management report section for the 2007 Audited Financial Statements for Duke.

I think I would advise that the financial committee of the Board of Trustees re-think their investment strategy in such as way that will allow them to 'Go To Cash' for about $50M.

The current management practices at Duke, or lack thereof, has demonstrated the need for a larger cash reserve in order to quickly hire legal representation to protect the institution.

That one recommendation if adopted, would throw the Duke Medical School into a near panic with respect to qualifying for federal grants along with payments from federal programs (e.g. Medicare).

Vendors that serve Duke and institutions that loan money to Duke students would have a question or two also.

sonny said...

howard and anonymous 1:30 both mentioned my #1 pick. john feinstein certainly set the standard for a rush to judgement on march 30, 2006, when on the tony kornheiser show he pronounced the lax team guilty of rape and covering up the crime. he finished off his tirade with stating that not only should the season be cancelled but all lax scholarships should be rescinded. i guess that included the scholarships of players who weren't even at the party. i wish i could listen to the entire show again but like howard i found out that it is no longer available on youtube.

i've also read some of feinstein's later statements about the lax team and the duke administration. even though he realized within 6 weeks that the evidence was very shaky, he still was extremely vitriolic towards the lax team for the temerity of having a drinking party with exotic dancers. boys-will-be-boys was not an acceptable defense for their terrible behavior and they should pay the price for those sins. he actually seemed angrier at the duke administration for failing to take the lax team to task before the hoaxtress made her allegations. according to feinstein, the laxe team "has been guilty of immature, idiotic, out-of-control behavior for years" and the administration was negligent for failing to take appropriate reprisals against them.

this same duke alum was once quoted as saying, "everything in the media today is exaggerated, both the good and the bad." perhaps the reason his on-air comments and writings about duke lacrosse have been so 'bad' is because he believes controversy, good or bad, sells. he is, first and foremost, a writer/commentator interested in selling his wares. if this means others have to pay with years in prison or millions of dollars in legal expenses that is their problem. he'll still get his check from npr.

of course, the fact that he seems to have a personal agenda against the duke ad joe alleva, his not like acc sporting events because he "knows too much" about their history, and his belief that colleges should de-emphasize sports (sound like any 88er we know) all might have had something to do with him jumping on the bandwagon early on to crucify the lax players.

k.c., please reconsider and at least give this man honorable mention on your list.

Anonymous said...

***Question for lawyers:
Can the LAX players sue Goslee for her statement that Seligman's DNA was found? I am not thinking about winning money, but rather to demand a public retraction and apology. I would ask for a hand written apology.***

OMG! This is a ridiculous idea and insanely ill-informed. What are you going to state in the Complaint as damages sought? "Plaintiff assets that he is entitled to a genuine, heartfelt apology, with fingers in plain sight, so as to prevent them from being crossed during the aforementioned apology"?

Even putting this ridiculous request for damages aside... they ain't going to sue her, and they wouldn't get a penny if they did. The worst, most vile villain in this case, Nifong, and those jerks in the G88, in my legal opinion, will never be successfully sued. The Nifong assumption is based on governmental immunity... and the G88, well, as vile as they are, they are certainly allowed to say what they said, sure as Nazis are allowed to hold parades.

Nifong's hat trick said...

What about AL SHARPTON on Bill O'Reilly?

"...where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there is a lot of racism that's in the air. Having said that, I commend a lot of the blacks and whites who stood vigil and to come together in that community to stand up for this girl. So I think in the midst of this, there is some good."

Yes, Mr. Sharpton, you're right, there is some good in the midst of this, it is the Duke Lacrosse players.

Anonymous said...

“...that justice can’t be bought by a bunch of rich white boys from New York.”

First, that's funny.
Second, doesn't the foregoing statement admit that an injustice is being worked? It says manifestly that the "rich, white boys" were unsuccessful in buying "justice" (i.e., changing the status quo), and their failure to change the status quo means we default back to the status quo, which, according to the speaker, is something other than "justice."

Uhm, okay.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead should be #1, because his statement caused the most damage to the students and the school.

Anonymous said...

FYI Nifong's bar hearing is set for June!

It will be REALLY telling if the AG's office drops all charges before he has his hearing, that would be the clearest evidence yet that the North Carolina legal community has decided to cut bait on this one.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:22 pm

I suggest you learn to read with a bit more discrimination. I was trying to make two points, one serious and one sarcastic.

First, and seriously, Brodhead's statement is to be distinguished from most of the rest cited by KC because it overtly expressed the possibility that the allegations might not be true. Accusations are not convictions. As much of a slug as Brodhead appears to be, that is the fundamental issue in this whole case: it is what is behind "due process" and "presumption of innocence." I thought readers of this blog understood the significance of that issue. I see I was mistaken in assuming a universal understanding of its overriding significance. Because most of the soundbites proposed by KC completely ignored this critical proposition, I truly believe that Brodhead's smarminess does not come close to matching the totalitarian evil of a statement like "No" in response to a request to affirm the right to due process.

Second, and expressed with a bit of sarcasm, was the point that Brodhead's proviso is quite ambiguous. It does not specify who "they" are, it does not specify what "they did," and it does not specify what "bad enough" means. Bad enough to be castrated, for example? So I pointed out what is undisputed about the behavior of some or all of the team and thereby gave Brodhead the same presumption of innocence that people are rightly demanding for the three accused. The team watched a stripper for example. Gee, that means millions of men are "bad enough." The team had some beers though some were legally underage. I am shocked, simply shocked, that college kids drink beer. Someone answered a taunt with a taunt. Wow, I never heard of anything like that in my born days. (This is known as ironic sarcasm.) So my point was that Brodhead's statement was no doubt vile because self-servingly hypocritical, but it is far less egregious than those premised on a presumption of criminal activity without trial and judgment.

We can certainly survive hypocrits; we may not survive totalitarians. I feel sorry for you that you do not see the distinction.


Anonymous said...

For 12:30 PM and 4:05 PM on the question of whether libel suits could be brought in this case:

If I recall correctly, the elements of cause of action for libel are:
(1) Publication;
(2) Identification; and,
(3) Defamation.

There are no questions of privilege here (this is legalese shorthand for noting that the lacrosse players are not public-officials or public-figures -- for whom a cause of action would include a heightened state of mental awareness (i.e., "actual malice")).

So, the questions are simple: Was there a defamatory statement (a statement which if believed would tend to harm the plaintiff)? If so, was the plaintiff sufficiently identified? For instance, saying "all lacrosse players are rapists" would not support a cause of action by one player, but saying "all lacrosse players at Duke University are rapists" probably would. Finally, if the plaintiff was identified and defamed then the final question is simply, "Was there publication?" This usually means fairly widespread publication, not, for example, a comment in an e'mail to one reader.

Anyway, for all the non-attorneys, I hope this (dreadfully redacted) framework for analysis of a cause of action for libel will prompt further discussion.

faculty said...

7) “No.” (Group of 88 member Paula McClain, July 13, 2006). The newly elected chairwoman of Duke’s Academic Council responding to a July e-mail asking whether she would endorse a public statement demanding due process for the three students at her own institution targeted by Mike Nifong.

This one is the most embarrassing -- no reason, no courage, no "Iron Duke" here.

Anonymous said...

Re. Libel Suits:

I almost forgot: The damages in a libel suit are always money, though the plaintiff and defendant may come up with some other agreed settlement which could include, as 12:30 suggested and 4:05 derided, a formal apology.

Anonymous said...

JeffM @ 8.36--

THank you for the pompous clarification of your earlier message. And thank you also for pointing out the so-called "ironic sarcasm" that you now tell us you were using. I know what that is, I just didn't recognise it in your original posting. Even now, having re-read it, I fail to spot your linguistic nuances. I guess my doctorate from Oxford didn't prepare me for such cleverness and wit. Perhaps you should just say what you mean in the clear if condescending manner of your second posting for the idiots here like me.

You have again bent over backwards to show Brodhead in a more favourable light than he deserves. That is because you have not acknowledged what I and others here have pointed out: that as President of Duke Brodhead occupies a special position in this matter, with special obligations and standards. THe content of what he says must be held to a much higher standard than some blustering academics. That is the assumption behind the harsher criticisms of Brodhead, I believe. His prevarications have done much more damage than the rantings of some cultural studies professors.

Also, Brodhead enjoys the wealth and power of a university president. He is paid for his good judgement, leadership and integrity. The reality is that he is a politician and a trimmer, and he was trimming when he should have been taking a clear stand on the side of his students and in the name of the presumption of innocence. Merely acknowledging that they MIGHT be innocent isn't enough. The presumption of innocence requires that you recognise them as INNOCENT until the courts have ruled otherwise, not the reverse.

Anonymous said...

Brodhead was to escalate Dukes name to the Ivies. He has brought shame. Duke will be lucky if it comes out of this as a nice regional school again. Duke needs a dukie.

Anonymous said...

8:36 I am not an educational high flyer, but I have been hanging out pn this site with some very educated and smart people. Folk who can really write and get their point accress simply in an essai (Thanks again Rud for the word.) Uf nist ghere did not understand your point, the fault lyes in your writing.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:08 pm

Let's see. You failed to notice on REREADING that "There was underage drinking...(though I suspect Brodhead himself may have drunk a beer or two while in college.) Yes, a real horror show of moral turpitude" was ironic.

You should demand your money back from Oxford, probably from your high school too.


duke09parent said...

JeffM @8:36 0n 3/21:

Valid points re Brodhead, but the reason I put his in the really bad category is the timing. Two days after the indictments puts the "bad enough" context into bad enough to be indicted, not bad enough to have a couple of games forfeited. He already made that point in his 3/28 press conference. Without explicitly saying what they were bad enough for, it had to apply to the most recent event on the case, i.e. the indictments.

I've been called a Brodhead apologist myself, but this comment by him this time I found indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:22 and 9:26 re: libel:

I took torts in law school, and had to brush up on it once again for the NYS and NJ bar exams.

You state the RESTATEMENT definition of "libel" and/or "defamation" (don't remember which of these IRRELEVANT tort actions it would fall under)... but stating the elements of a cause of action for these torts, plus having GREAT facts to fit said elements... will not get you a small cup of coffee at Starbucks unless you have $5.00 on you.

I don't think it matters whether they are public figures or not, and which accompanying standard ("recklessness" or "actual malice) applies (and lacrosse players playing Division I sports, even if it is a lame, JV sport may fit the definition of "public figures", or, for the purpose of this case against them "limited purpose public figures", but I digress).

What really matters is REALITY. There are personal injury attorneys who can make a fine living solely on medical malpractice... some even limiting themselves to birth defects and so on. But if you were to hang a shingle as a "libel/defamation" attorney, and get every single libel/defamation case in your State... you'd be out of business soon.

It almost never works, no matter the facts.

So while I commend your knowledge of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, the fact that a cause of action exists really means quite little, if nothing at all, when the suits don't work when the rubber meets the road.

But maybe you know of a personal injury lawyer that wants to spend thousands of hours digging around for all the facts about Nifong, the Group of 88, Broadhead, and these meaningless television commentators, and commence a lawsuit that is likely to end up getting them nothing at all.

Anonymous said...

@ duke09parent

I completely agree with you that "bad enough" is utterly ambiguous. Brodhead may even be clever enough to have intended to imply that underage drinking etc deserved to be treated as seriously as rape while pretending to recognize the presumption of innocence as to the claim of rape itself. But that assumes a malevolence on Brodhead's part that I am not willing simply to assume without additional evidence. As I said, even presidents of universities ought to enjoy a presumption of innocence.

Your other point is more subtle. Perhaps he did not intend to do anything more than deplore underage drinking, etc, while condemning rape if it occurred. If that was intent, his failure to be clear at such a time was unbelievably inept. Under that
interpretation, maybe KC is correct to include it in the most egregious soundbites though I still lean to the position that any statement that includes recognition of the presumption of innocence just cannot compare with those that ignore it if they do not repudiate it outright.


Anonymous said...

JeffM @ 9.27--

Rather than address the specific point I (and others here) made, you have confined yourself exclusively to insults now. (And crude ones at that. Where's all that clever, subtle "ironic sarcasm" that is your hallmark?) I interpret this as an admission that you are wrong, but too arrogant to say so. So, to repeat: ambiguity (if that's what it was) from the President of Duke at that particular moment is WORSE than most harsher comments from tenured radicals on the faculty. A pedantic focus on what "bad enough" means is just missing the point. You seem well qualified for employment as a prosecutor in Durham.