Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Times' Party Line?

In October, former Times public editor Dan Okrent remarked, “The only thing we can look forward to now is what the Times will say to the accused once the charges are dropped, or once acquittals are delivered.”

Does Selena Roberts’ Sunday column preview the paper’s party line? If so, what we have to look forward to is ominous indeed. Defending the Times’ previous coverage by rewriting the past, Roberts minimized Mike Nifong’s misconduct, endorsed the Group of 88’s agenda, and maintained the character assaults on the lacrosse players—only now for behavior typical on virtually every college campus in the country.

Roberts’ March 31, 2006 column asserted that “something happened March 13” that “threatens to belie [the players’] social standing as human beings.” Roberts compared the players’ behavior to that “of drug dealers and gang members engaged in an anti-snitch campaign.” She bizarrely called a search warrant a “reported court document.” She praised the “heartening” protests of the potbangers—people, it’s worth remembering, who carried signs reading “Castrate” and “Measure for Measure.” She falsely stated that none of the players “have come forward to reveal an eyewitness account.” She falsely contended that a “court document” described the accuser as “the victim of a hate crime.” She noted that the accuser was “reportedly treated at a hospital for vaginal and anal injuries consistent with sexual assault and rape.” The reports, alas, were false; no correction ever appeared.

Basic human decency—if not a desire to uphold journalistic integrity—would suggest that a columnist with such a record would issue some sort of mea culpa, an admission that she got the story horribly wrong.

Instead, last Sunday, Roberts remained as intense in her criticism of players’ character as she had been in March 2006. Now that the case against them has collapsed, she criticized those who linked the case’s outcome to a critique of campus culture—even though, when it looked as if the players were guilty, she herself had enthusiastically made such a linkage. She mocked the “lacrosse pipeline to Wall Street” even as she herself has chosen to live in a lily white Fairfield County suburb whose median household income is more than $100,000 above the national average.

Of Mike Nifong, meanwhile, Roberts could say nothing worse than he is “one part clueless Columbo.”

Perhaps most outrageously, Roberts left the impression that her basic assertion from last March—“something happened March 13”—is now and will remain valid. She quoted an unnamed Duke professor (Orin Starn? Grant Farred?) calling for dismissing the case because the investigation “has been so screwed up”—as if what occurred in Durham were a version of Floyd Landis’ Tour de France drug test, with strong evidence of guilt accompanied by the lab having “screwed up” by mislabeling part of Landis’ B-sample.

And just to make sure everyone got the message that it’s still possible that “something happened,” Roberts noted, “As the father of the accuser recently told The Herald-Sun, of Durham, he still believes in his daughter.”

In that interview, Travis Mangum asserted that the accuser had swollen eyes on the night after the “attack.” Yet, as this March 16, 2006 police photo showed, the father—to whom Roberts gave credence—was not telling the truth.

It’s convenient, of course, for Roberts to pretend that this photo never existed. On August 25, it was similarly convenient for Duff Wilson to do so. Wilson’s 5,600-word magnum opus has been widely, and correctly, faulted. It bizarrely treated Sgt. Gottlieb’s “straight-from-memory” notes as credible. It falsely contended that the accuser’s story had been largely consistent after the first few hours. It contained four outright factual errors, each of which tilted the story in a pro-Nifong line. It erroneously left the impression that no evidence existed to determine what occurred between 12.04am and 12.50am on March 14. It excluded the assurance from Nifong’s own office that DNA results would exonerate the innocent. It repeated Nifong’s speculation that the attackers might have worn condoms, even though Wilson claimed to have examined “the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution” and therefore knew Nifong’s claim to be false.

As Stuart Taylor observed shortly after it was published, the article “highlights every superficially incriminating piece of evidence in the case, selectively omits important exculpatory evidence, and reports hotly disputed statements by not-very-credible police officers and the mentally unstable accuser as if they were established facts.”

Taking Wilson at his word—that he examined “the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution”—we know now his performance was even worse than Taylor had suggested. Wilson had access to two pieces of information that all but proved Nifong’s case was a fraud. And he never even mentioned them.

First, Wilson—who examined “the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution”—saw the same results that Joe Neff did for an October article: that the accuser made enormous errors (outside of the three players she picked) in the April 4 lineup. She said she was 100 percent certain of recognizing people the prosecution knew weren’t even at the party. She misindentified the person who made the broomstick comment, picking a player with a different hair color and body build. She no longer recognized people she was 100 percent certain of seeing when she first did a lineup on March 16.

How did Wilson characterize this information? He withheld it, and instead raved at how the “full transcript shows some precise recollections, three weeks after a relatively brief encounter with a large group of white strangers.”

Second, Wilson—who examined “the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution”—saw the same March 16, 2006 photo that all readers of this blog did last week, showing an accuser wholly without facial bruises or swollen eyes, despite the claims of her father.

How did Wilson characterize this information? He withheld it, instead noting, “Sergeant Gottlieb writes that the accuser appeared to be in extreme pain when he interviewed her two and a half days after the incident, and that signs of bruises emerged then as well . . . During that [March 16] interview, the woman, who is dark skinned, said bruises were beginning to show from the attack. A female officer took photographs and confirmed that 'she had the onset of new bruises present,’ Sergeant Gottlieb wrote. (The female officer’s report does not mention bruises.)”

Basic human decency—if not a desire to uphold journalistic integrity—would suggest that a news division with such a record would issue some sort of mea culpa, an admission that the Times got the story horribly wrong. Yet, incredibly, Wilson remains on the story. Just like Roberts, then, he’s in a position to end the case by maintaining the Times party line while also minimizing his earlier journalistic failures.

It’s na├»ve, I suppose, to expect a paper that has been so unfair in its coverage to date to change its approach now. Given what we saw Sunday from Roberts, Times readers should dread what we will see from Wilson if and when charges are dismissed.

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

What The New York Times has done is libel the lacrosse players.

Anonymous said...

The terrible truth of the matter is that people who clearly understand that nothing happened, will continue to proclaim that these boys got away with something terrible, even after the charges are dropped. They will do this for their own personal gain or gratification and not because they have any ideals they are standing up for. What they fail to realize is that they embarass themselves and the organizations they work for. I have come to the realization that the NY Times is nothing more than a second rate rag which has lost a lot of credibility. None-the-less, it provides a good value--if you roll up it tightly before reading it, it will burn very nicely in the fireplace for almost 20 minutes.

Dodi said...

If you don't want to admit that you made a mistake, then it's much easier to say it's all Nifong's fault, either for exaggerating the facts or blowing the case. That way you can claim that your reaction was appropriate based on the information you had available, or (much worse) conclude that the players are getting away with something because Nifong didn't do his job right. It's much harder to admit you rushed to judgment, didn't look at the information critically, and that you ignored the growing proof that the case was a sham. That goes for the members of the group of 88 and the NYT, both of whom should be able to think critically. There's a saying in Spanish that nobody is more blind than someone who doesn't want to see, and that goes for both groups.

Anonymous said...

When this case is finally dismissed, I hope that the AG's office specifically indicates that the three young men are innocent and that no crime occurred. Otherwise the NYT can continue to say that something happened but Nifong let them get away with it, or worse yet the accuser's family can still insist that they got off because they had money.

Deklan Singh said...

The father still "believes in his daughter"? Are you f%cking kidding me? That's worthy of the NYT?

This is the nonsensical rhetoric that has become the last refuge of closet racists, much like white supremacists have become fond of worthless, unstandardized IQ data.

"The lacrosse are 'no angels'" NOT "We want people to be more upset about underage drinking and hiring strippers because the boys are white"

"The father believes in his daughter" NOT "The father believes his daughters story to be true in every detail"

Something that only leaves open the possibility, through careful omission of facts and logic, for the lax players to be at fault for anything NOT a reasoned assessment of the known facts with a logical, supported theory of any possible crime.

KC, I have to be honest with you. Given the structure of your posts, I'm surprised that you can even understand the writing style employed by Selena Roberts. It seems like an entirely different language.

Congratulations, NYT, your columnist is living in a fairyland of bogus, passive implications and ignorant, backhanded assertions! Your paper is a joke...except for the sports and the arts and leisure sections.

Anonymous said...

Count me out of those who dread reading what the NY Times might have to say at any time. I would rather sit in a bed of fire ants than open that so-called newspaper.

Joe T. said...

K.C. : I understand it's deep in our heads that the NY Times must have some kind of credibility left, or something...as the highbrow newspaper of sophisticated NYC, etc. But its Duke coverage is just one of the many factors about that "newspaper" that woke me up to the hardcore reality that it's a rag for out-of-touch (many of them Manhattan residents I've known personally) elitist fantasy-world readers. It's another seemingly topsy-turvey fact I've come to accept as reality: as sure as some Catholic priests turning out to be child molestors and some medical doctors turning out to be murderers.

Anonymous said...

I honestly do not understand why anyone with sense would take that national security compromising, agenda driven (as in this case and others) rag seriously. When people quote from the NYT I think to myself, "Oh great, you are one of those people!"

Shouting Thomas said...

I sense a certain exasperation, Professor Johnson, as you realize that truth will not win out.

The Duke hoax is part of a larger game. The hoaxers are not people of good will. They are evil. Evil does exist. Often, those who do evil are unaware that that is what they are doing. In traditional religious lingo, they are tempted by the devil.

This case is the culmination of 50 years of lies by feminists, black and gay activists. Those lies now confer prestige, power and money on the liars.

White hetero men (including me) fell into a mistaken assumption in the 1960s. We assumed that those who sought to dismantle male authority were people of goodwill who were seeking to redress a legitimate grievance.

We were wrong. Very wrong.

Anonymous said...

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. ~Matthew 15:14

Anonymous said...

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/220572.php

Selena Roberts Angling To Become "The Amanda Marcotte of the New York Times"


Who? Well, she's a nobody, a sports columnist you've never heard of.

But in the pages of the New Yor Times, she's still arguing the lacrosse players should be prosecuted because of their "white skin privilege" and yadda yadda yadda.

Anonymous said...

JLS says...

I know it is a local paper, but Professor Johnson serious people no longer read the New York Times. The current publisher is devaluing the brand. Serious people have already caught on to that in a number of areas and that paper is basically ignored.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

What a marvelous example of history repeating itself as farce. This article, supposedly so critical of media coverage of the affair, then goes and makes it's own equally inappropriate comment on the Landis case.

Landis defense is not that the sample number was screwed up.

His defense is that there was a negative test that was improperly reported as a positive by a messed up laboratory, then pursued by an agency that couldn't admit that any mistakes might have been made. Sound familiar?

The only thing we have to look forward to is the backpedaling here.

More details on the Landis case can be found at trust but verify.

TBV

Bakerman said...

RE: "...I hope that the AG's office specifically indicates that the three young men are innocent and that no crime occurred." - Mar 28, 2007 12:29:00 AM

I seriously doubt they'll go that far, certainly not without qualifications and caveats; i.e. "It appears... may not have occurred... she said, they said... justice, integrity... therefore..."

They replaced the fox with a fox, and never has a fox willingly regurgitated a chicken.

With that, a certain complicity lingers over the land, gutless, guiltless - the white male has been defeated.

Anonymous said...

I have finally (after 18 years) cancelled my NYT subscription. I no longer feel its "necessary" to begin my day. A political slant is one thing, deliberate lies are another. It is perhaps the most dishonest and arrogant newspaper in the US.

Much of the NYT reputation is based on past achievements. Occasionally, it is still first rate (i.e the science section)--but not nearly as often as in the past.

Selena Roberts last column read like something that should get a C+ at best in a decent college level course. It just might be the worst newspaper column of the entire Duke case.

Anonymous said...

as if what occurred in Durham were a version of Floyd Landis’ Tour de France drug test, with strong evidence of guilt accompanied by the lab having “screwed up” by mislabeling part of Landis’ B-sample.

Whoah! Bad example. Floyd isn't guilty, either.

Anonymous said...

I read the NYT everyday, because I think that it is important to read a few publications which have views that are diametrically opposed to mine.

However, anyone who is not cognizant of the ideology and agenda of the NYT has either bought into that ideology or has had his head in the sand.

Everyone is aware of the Jason Blair fiasco. However, I notice that much of the daily content of the NYT is either unresearched or is researched and intentionally misleading.

For example, two weeks ago the Times did a piece on Halliburton moving its headquarters to Dubai. The article stated that there are apparent tax savings. A fifteen minute discussion with a first year tax consultant would have discovered that there are no federal tax saving to moving Halliburton's headquarters. However, that fact would not have fit into the its agenda. And, so, it prints this rubbish.

More recently, the NYT Magazine did a piece of sexual assualt in the military. It included the story of a women who was raped in Iraq. One week before the magazine went to press, the Times discovered that the woman had never been in Iraq, but the NYT decided to publish anyway with the stated intention that it would publish a correction one week later. I wonder how many readers will read the correction.

Oh, and my God, I wish that the rag hadn't disclosed the NSA snooping policies. Now I go to bed worried every night that GWB may be personally reading my email. Who cares if our subways and buses are bombed.

DIW and other blogs are the nemesis of dishonest journalism. The NYT is complaining bitterly that its advertising revenue and subscription rates are in free fall.

Well, Duh!

Mike in Nevada

Anonymous said...

Bang On the Drum All Day - Original Lyrics By Todd Rundgren

"The Potbangers"

CHORUS
I don't want no facts
I want to bang on the pot all day
I dont want to play
I just want to bang on the pot all day

Ever since I was a racist tool
I don't want no expulatory evidence
I don't need no rules
I took a stick and an old coffee can
I bang on that thing til I got
blisters on my hand because

I don't want no facts
I want to bang on the pot all day
I dont want to play
I just want to bang on the pot all day

When I got older I'm still such a fool
The G88 teacher told me I should stay after school
She caught me pounding on the desk with my hands
But my PC licks was hot
I made the teacher wanna dance
And that's why

CHORUS

Every day when I get home from work
I feel so frustrated
"The Man" is a jerk
And I get my sticks and go out to the shed
And I pound on that pot like it was a LAX player's head
Because

I don't want no facts
I want to bang on the pot all day
I dont want to play
I just want to bang on the pot all day

CHORUS 3X

I can bang that pot
Hey, you wanna take a bang at it?
I can do this all day

Lonetown said...

This is the way the "new liberals" work.

No coorections, no apologies, this is war!

You may win this one but they will move on to fight another day.

Anonymous said...

The New York Times aka Pravda West !

"Just The Agenda that's fit to print"

Shocking, truly shocking...round up the Usual Suspects !

Anonymous said...

KC: I think it's time for you to admit that this coverage of the Duke case by NYT is not any different from the way the paper covers any story. The left-wing editor decides what slant to take and the "reporters" follow the leader; kind of a latter-day Pravda. For some years, the "newspaper of record" has been an unabashed purveyor of left-wing propaganda. If anyone is serious about being informed, there could be no worse source than the once-great New York Times.

bill anderson said...

I think you nailed the Times as well as anyone. Good work.

Sports Illustrated recently claimed that "despite the evidence," Crystal's changing stories could kill the case. I wrote the magazine to ask "What evidence?" but, alas, they did not print it. Not surprisingly.

Michael said...

Glad to see that you're calling out Travis as essentially a liar with the implication that the NYT is as well.

Kilgore said...

I am looking forward to the day when KC's book is a New York Times best seller. Wouldn't that just get under their craw? Advertising and promoting someone who is calling their cards.

Go KC!

Anonymous said...

Surely The New York Times has a death wish. The reporting coming out of that rag is no longer laughable, it's down right libelous. We have a story coming out about the raping of a female soldier in Iraq only to find out a few days later that the woman had never served in Iraq and the times knew it all along and still printed it. How can anyone take these people seriously. As to Roberts lifestyle - it is typical of liberals to condemn everyone's success except their own.

gak said...

the NYT is the journalistic equivalent of (to be polite) bathroom tissue. It would be nice to see them put in their place after this is all over

Anonymous said...

Where is the commentary on today's drivel by SR, wherein she extols a canadian team of girls for showing loyalty to their hijab wearing teammate who was not allowed to play?
Is it just me, or would this "loyalty" be seen as "brainwashed naive young women suffering under the spell of the patriarchal sociocultural construction of authority" if the young women showing loyalty happened to be, i dont know, perhaps, the duke female lacrosse team?

Anonymous said...

Selena was raised in Live Oak, Florida (Crackerland), attended Auburn's journalism school (in the heart of redneck Alabama) and now lives in Westport, Connecticut (the Peyton Place of the New York bedroom communities) while employed by the Pravda of Manhattan. No wonder she's all screwed up! My inclination is to flat out ignore her and her tree guzzling rag as they both sink into the quicksands of journalistic oblivion.

Howard said...

One thing we can thank that pig for is this: proof that these guys lives are ruined; people like her (feminists and hard Left) people will bring it up everywhere. They are dead in any corporation where any feminist works and they have zero chance to succeed in any endeavor that is in the public eye. Can any litigious fearing business risk hiring them, when pigs like Roberts are in wait everywhere, checking business rosters and mastheads? The 88 will never go away...their agenda is destruction of "white privilege" by destroying whomever and whatever suits their fancy at the moment.

AMac said...

Newspaper editors have always had the option of treating their infelicitous stories and columns like surf pounding on a beach. One the moment is past, who distinguishes this wave from that breaker? The microfilm readers in the basement are dusty and hard to use. And cause eyestrain.

In this manner, The New York Times elided the journalistic crimes of its Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty for seventy-two years.

The limousine liberals and useful idiots of the Upper West Side, The Hamptons, and Westport are working as hard as they can to spin the Times' performance in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax in just the same way.

It's a damn shame that we don't have to trudge to the basement and sign out those spools to check out what Prof. Johnson is claiming. Really: how many people would bother? Worse yet, readers of this blog talk to friends and acquaintances about this case; the phrase "Google 'Durham in Wonderland'!" comes up in nearly every such conversation.

1) All too often, truthfulness and the demands of the Times' Illiberal Left ideology are in conflict.

2) Computer technology has led to the creation of a distributed "digital archive"--a persistent memory bank that is accessible via hyperlinks.

3) The Times' circulation is dropping and the NYT Co.'s newspaper earnings are dismal.

Query to reporters, editors, publishers, shareholders: Are there any connections among numbers 1, 2, and 3?

Anonymous said...

Y'know all this attention to Serena is beginning to sound like a KC screed. What's up with the obsession KC? There's a heck of a lot of column space here. What happened, she didn't answer your email?
Methinks you protest overly much. Or perhaps (gasp!) you have succumbed to the delusions of your own influence. But it is overdone, and it shows.

bill anderson said...

Selena was raised in Live Oak, Florida (Crackerland), attended Auburn's journalism school (in the heart of redneck Alabama) and now lives in Westport, Connecticut (the Peyton Place of the New York bedroom communities) while employed by the Pravda of Manhattan.

Hey! I resemble that remark! (But I don't live in a posh neighborhood. Cumberland is a relatively poor city, and my neighborhood is a real mixed bag.)

After all, I did my doctoral studies at Auburn -- War Eagle -- but still am most loyal to Tennessee. But Auburn University is not a "redneck" university by any stretch. It actually is a pretty good public university with a heck of a lot of talent. The old head of the J-school was one of my friends, and a damn good journalist in his own time.

Don't blame Auburn for Selena; she did this on her own.

Anonymous said...

Is Selena Roberts an african american?

AMac said...

anon 9:03am wrote --

> But [KC Johnson's attention to Serena Roberts] is overdone, and it shows.

Anon 9:03, is Johnson's focus overdone because the NYT has recognized their mistakes and corrected them?

No?

Perhaps, then, it's because you are not wholly comfortable with Johnson's emphasis on facts, context, and accountability.

Ah. My condolences.

For that matter, Johnson's discussion of the New York Times shouldn't obscure the sorry fact that they have plenty of company in the hoax's Hall of Shame.

John in Carolina writes about the continued journalistic misconduct of N&O Editor Ruth Sheehan in yesterday's eloquent post.

The Baltimore Sun's "that's our story and we're stickin' to it" response to queries about their reprint of Duff Wilson's calumnies is recounted in this 9/06 post.

A stroll through the D-i-W digital archives will reveal an embarrasment of similar riches.

Anon 9:03, why not question a few of your preconceptions, or find a more ideological blog to read? Either way, you'll be better company.

Stanley Feldman said...

Selena Roberts has an axe to grind. Why and with whom I couldn't tell you. Some experience in her life has caused her to be incapable of objective journalism. As the father of a former Division 1 college athlete I attest that Roberts' characterizations are unfair, incorrect and just plain malicious.

At the same time, I am disappointed that a story/column written by the King of Plagiarism (NYT) would make me take time out of my busy day to respond.

Michael said...

Since the end of 2004, NYT stock is down around 50%. The S&P 500 is up about 35% since that time.

When you get stuck in a hole, stop digging.

Jamie said...

Some facts are too good to check, but here the New York Times knew the facts very well, it just didn't like 'em. At all. So it tossed them.

Think the paper simply "made a mistake" (the same one, again and again?), and now, out of pride, refuses to admit it? Then you misunderstand the conception of socially-responsible "reporting" at the NYT.

This was no blunder, it was calculated...and it wasn't the brain-child of dorks like Duff Wilson and Selena Roberts, either. This came from above those two.

Anyone who doesn't believe that, wait and read the NYT's "official" post-mortem when this dog of a case has finally stopped twitching and even the fleas have deserted it.

The NYT will stay with the corpse.

gak said...

re:Anonymous said...
Is Selena Roberts an african american?

Mar 28, 2007 9:12:00 AM

No she isn't.

Anonymous said...

Here is a picture of Selena Roberts. I don’t know how to post it here, so I posted it on FODU. Selena Roberts Photo

Anonymous said...

KC,
I think you have reached the David Horowitz moment. David as you know worked for the Times and won a Pulitzer prize for his writing. After his brother was killed by a thug in DC he saw the PC crap a little clearer.

Now he fights the fight against the PC crowd, knowing their corruption having been a part of it.

It appears you are beginning to see that it is not a "vast right wing" conspiracy, it is a vast left wing conspiracy. Seeing is believing and hell has no fury like a believer lied to.

As Ingrid Bergman's husband said in Casablanca, just before he got on the plane , "Welcome to the club, this time I know our side is going to win"

Kemp

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the statements made by the AG's office when these charges are dropped, I cannot imagine that Dave, Reade, Collin, and their families (especially Rae Evans) are going to rest until the naysayers can no longer say "something may have happened."

I would assume that means that Ms. Mangum will be forced to take the stand in a civil suit. I would be surprised if the player's attorney's haven't started work on these some time ago.

Anonymous said...

The NYTimes is still very widely read and influential, and their coverage of the Duke case has been appalling. This really shows that the notion that somehow these kids could ever be completely exonerated in the public eye is false, because media outlets like the Times will always be there to sow doubt about what really happened and, failing that, disparage the character of the team in general, innocent of this particular crime though they may be.

However, suing for libel, as some on this board have been calling for, has its problems. Libel is notoriously difficult to prove in court. I am not a lawyer but I believe you have to prove that:

a. The article contained falsehoods
b. The author of the article knew that it contained falsehoods
c. The author of the article knew that these falsehoods would have the effect of damaging the complainant

It would be tough to prove those things in court. I think the LAX families have bigger (and easier) fish to fry in this case.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, I hope you have sent this column to the NYT Ombusman.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we just say it: Selena Roberts has a sub-par intellect and is not fit for dialogue with reasonable men and women. She is only worthy of patronization.

rod allison, detroit said...

This seemingly minor point about Jayson Blair went unnoticed.

When Blair did a story on the Ford recall of factory installed Firestone tires, he had a stringer go see how the recall was going. She saw that it was going well, and interviewed a customer at the dealership who had his tires changed painlessly.

Ford had tracked down the run of bad tires, and could have recalled only the bad ones. But they replaced all Firestone tires, ereasing customer doubts, and they executed it rather well. It was an honorable, stand-up course of action for Ford.

But the 25 year old twerp in New York knew better. Ford is corporate America, so that means that they are bad. He knew big companies like Ford always screw the little guy. So he just changed the story. He said the guy was having difficulty getting them to change his tires, but he would stay there "all night" if he had to, and force them to give him safe tires.

The stringer who did the original interview called the Editors to protest, and they blew her off. Couldn't care less.

Why is this important?

Because, as usual, the misrepresentation of the facts was consistent with the Times political ideology, which includes a negative view of corporate America. And it wasn't just the rogue reporter Blair, it was the editors.

Inadvertant mistakes are one thing. But at the Times, you have continuous distortions that try to move public opinion toward the Times' world view.

The Duke case is another in a long line of distortions that fit this pattern.

Gayle Miller said...

I keep wondering - if we cannot believe anything we read in the newspaper or hear on television - how do we know what is really happening in this world and how can we respond rationally? It's just not the lacrosse team idiocy, it's everything we read and hear it seems. It is terrifying how much we are at the mercy of these people: people we did not choose, nor elect, nor can we change them if we find them to be corrupt.

Fast Pete said...

11:11 "...the misrepresentation of the facts was consistent with the Times political ideology, which includes a negative view of corporate America."

How truly absurd. Do you READ the Times business pages?

Anonymous said...

10:28 IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) either, however I know this much about defamation law in the US.

to be defamatory, a statement has to meet the following three criteria:

1. it has to be stated as a fact, not an opinion (eg. "X is a thief", not "I think X is a thief")

2. it has to harm the subjects reputation.

3. it has to be false.

Knowing that the statement is false, I think, would constitute proof of Malicious Intent.

Georgia Girl said...

shouting thomas, you mentioned that, in the 1960s, you had fallen into the mistaken assumption that some people sought to dismantle male authority. You said your assumption that these people were of "goodwill" was very wrong. I wish you would expound on that ... why do you feel these people were very wrong?

gayle miller, yes ... it's a struggle trying to sort out the truth, period!

rod, allison said...

fast pete,

"How truly absurd. Do you READ the Times business pages?"

Not any more. I will say that when I gave up on the Times, during Howell Raines' Editorship, the day to day reporting in the Business Section was still fine. Maybe they have an autonomy that prevented the Editorial Page from creeping into their reporting as it had in Section A and elsewhere.

However, in election years, the Times did obviously overplay economic news favorable to their endorsed candidate, with minor news moved to the Front Page. But I don't think the Business Section was responsible for that.

The Business Section may still be alright, as are a few other parts of the paper. The problem is, you have to buy the rotten part to get them. The WSJ is a much better option.

Thanks for asking,

Rod

jamil hussein said...

The limousine liberals and useful idiots

The NYT crowd and limousine liberals have moved on. They are now Learjet liberals and very, very conserned about global warming. That's why they consider carefully if they really have to use Learjet. That's commitment!

The NYT abortion article 2 weeks was also fabricated and funded by pro-abortion group. It seems NYT is broke, it cannot even finance its propaganda anymore.

Duke case is standard NYT quality.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious. How does Selena afford a home is Westport? Family money, marriage to a wealthy businessman who travelled the pipeline to Wall Street, salary from the times? We have learned from news reports so much of the family background of the three accused players, where their families live, how the parents derive their income. It makes me curious about the backgrounds of those who dump on them because their parents earn good money.

SPQR_US said...

So what about legal liability for the Times?

I would love to seem them punished for publishig all these lies.

If they don't pay the price more crimes like this wil follow.

Hey said...

Now what we have hear is a little something called ACTUAL MALICE. This ind of ignorant commentary could have sated in March 06, but March 07 has a very different fact pattern. This was not a wise publishing decision. That wonderful woman Mrs. Evans just got one more target who happens to have VERY deep pockets. The LAXers loo to have a good chance of owning some prime Manhattan office space that was just built!

Anonymous said...

This case is now beyond ridiculous. The masses need to write to The State of NC AG and Senators. How this HOAX continues to be perpetuated is truly absurd, a miscarriage of justice so big that only aggrssive Federal intervention and severe civil penalties can begin to right a wrong.

The people who lied and obstructed justice need to pay, and pay dearly. Not just Mr. Nifong. No reasonable person would now believe that this case is nothing but a farce.

BDay

Georgia Girl said...

KC, on the legal definition of a defamatory statement, would the 3 criteria (see anon 12:15) apply to a "book" as well (a tell-all book)?

If that's the case, let's say the writer was guilty of #1 and #2, but let's say on #3 the writer claimed the accusations were true.

If the writer got sued, would he then counter-sue to prove the accusations were true?

Is that the way it works?

KC Johnson said...

Libel law applies to all publications; slander law applies to the spoken word.

I've rarely seen countersuits in libel cases, but, theoretically, it would be possible.

Anonymous said...

In the case of a newspaper it is more difficult to succeed in a defamation action because the plaintiff cannot prove malice from falsity but must show that the malice was actual; e.g.the paper knew it was false and dmaging and went ahead recklessly despite those facts. Ultimately the jury makes the call after instruction by the judge on the applicable law.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

The NY Post just commented today on the NY Times. "IT'S about time The New York Times went to a bank and borrowed a clue. The fading old, liberal gray mare ain't what she used to be."

Apparently the Times did a "Selena Roberts" twisting of facts in their story of how NY cops tried to prevent violence at the 2004 Republican convention.

Makes me wonder. Did Selena teach the Times how to twist facts to suit agenda - or did the Times teach it to her as she sat hiccuping at Pinch Sulzberger's knee? For sure, KC doesn't twist facts on his blog - or teach his students how to do that in his classes.

Which explains why Selena writes for the Times and went to Auburn U.

Anonymous said...

Subterranean Homesick Blues
Original Lyrics By Bob Dylan

"Subterranean Durham Blues"

Broadhead is in the basement
Mixing up the medicine
I'm on the pavement
Thinking about the Durham government
Sgt. Gottlieb in the trench coat
Badge out, laid off
Says he's got a bad cough
Wants to get it paid off

Look out kid
Its nothing you did
Nifong knows when
But he's doing it again
You better duck down the alley way
Looking for a new friend
The man in the bathrobe
In the big pen
Wants a eleven dollar bills
You only got ten

Potbangers come fleet foot
Faces full of black soot
Talking that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phones tapped anyway
Selena says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A.

Look out kid
No matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't talk to street hoes
Better stay away from those
That drag you down to their lows
Keep a clean nose
Watch for plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

Get sick, get well
Hang around in Durham hell
Ring bell, hard to tell
If any truth is going to sell
Try hard, get barred
Fantastic lies from Crystal Gail
Get jailed, post bail
Dead man walking, if you fail

Look out kid
Youre gonna get hit
By losers, cheaters
Six-time users
Hanging around the theaters
Crystal lies as a rule
She's looking for a new fool
Don't follow community leaders
Watch your Durham parking meters

Ah get born, keep warm
Short rants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don't steal, hang low
Twenty years of schooling
And they frame you with a cheap ho

Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't talk stay mum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work
cause the vandals took the handles

duke09parent said...

georgia girl,

Here is a pretty good overview of libel law and the first amendment. Defamation and
First Amendment


Scroll down to the Gertz case discussion which deals with the standards applicable to private persons who may be considered public persons for a particular subject. The defendants would likely be considered public figures for the hoax topic, and therefore they would likely have to prove the writer published the libel with actual malice toward the players.

Truth of the statements is an absolute defense, which would be a showing of the writer in presentation of evidence, not in a counterclaim. "Counterclaim" in a civil case is when the civll defendant says the plaintiff owes him money instead of what the plaintiff alleged.

Anonymous said...

Quasimondo on Liestoppers Hot Topic has a topic, "Have You Written Your Email Today?," that provides web contact forms for Attorney General Cooper and Governor Easley and gives the NC legislators' e-mail address (messages go to all legislators).

other said...

shouting Thomas said...
"I sense a certain exasperation, Professor Johnson, as you realize that truth will not win out.

The Duke hoax is part of a larger game. The hoaxers are not people of good will. They are evil."


A few weeks ago the weather was nice so I went out for a long 2 hour walk into some pleasant woodland and found myself thinking about all of what I have read on this blog.

I came to the same conclusion as you, that what we are seeing here is the concept of 'evil' at work.

Not just a corrupt DA.

Not just a bunch of slack police officers who want a 'result' just to boost the conviction statistics.

Not just a judiciary system that is always told to favour female 'victims'.

Not just a bunch of loony left supporters.

Not just a bunch of feminists who think the 'patriarchy' is 'oppressing' them and needs to be torn down.

Not just a bunch of media pundits who are trying to boost ratings and advance their careers.

But pure evil at work.

And I don't even follow any religion.

Thank you and please keep up the good work KC. The world needs more honest, just and critical thinkers like you.

jamil hussein said...

"Have You Written Your Email Today?," that provides web contact forms for Attorney General Cooper and Governor Easley and gives the NC

This is waste of time. Unless the Duke boys turn out to be illegal immigrants, Gonzales and DOJ couldn't care less what happens to them.
Gov. Easley is only interested in protecting Dem power base ie white dailykos liberals and black racists. Based on the recent elections results (Nifong, Alcee Hastings, Freezer Jefferson) black racists consists about 70-80% of african-american voters. This is something that every NC politician with the letter D attached must be aware of.

Anonymous said...

@ all those discussing defamation

About 35 years ago, I studied the law of defamation in some detail. I may have forgotten something or the law may have changed, but

(1) Truth is (or at least used to be) an absolute defense to a suit for defamation. So if you say a certain FA is a whore and a liar and she sues you for defamation, you can defend yourself by proving by the preponderance of the evidence, rather than the higher standard of beyond reasonable doubt, that she was in fact a whore who lied.

(2) Mere belief by the speaker or writer as to truth is irrelevant except for public characters, where, absent actual malice or a reckless disregard for the truth, belief is a defense. So if I say, as I do not, that my next door neighbor is a mass murderer fleeing justice, my state of mind is irrelevant if I cannot prove the assertion to be true.

Finally, and I am really reaching back into memory, the law of defamation required proof of actual damages with four exceptions. I cannot remember all four exceptions (and of course the law may have changed) but I seem to remember that a (false) accusation of a crime did not require proof of actual damages (nor did false accusations of suffering from a "loathsome disease" or, in the case of a woman, "unchastity." As I said, I studied defamation a very long time ago. Those exceptions may well have been replaced, with respect to either sex, by false accusations of chastity.)

If some lawyer would be kind enough to bring this up to date, perhaps we could all benefit from something less fallible than my memory.

JeffM

Anonymous said...

Carolyn says:

People, I offer a sincere thank you.

KC: for everything you write.

Bill Anderson: Everything YOU write.

"Subterranean Durham Blues" (Wow.)

"The Potbangers" (Ditto.)

Mike in Nevada: "DIW and other blogs are the nemesis of dishonest journalism." (Nailed it.)

rod allison, detroit said: (Wow, hadn't heard that Ford story.)

Other said: 5:36: (Exactly!)

Anonymous (a few days ago) who said he'd chew off his right arm to escape if he woke up in bed with Crystal. (I needed that laugh!)

Everyone else: (Even Georgia Girl who makes me proud I am a high school graduate).

People - the most depressing thing about this Duke rape case has been its revelation of the impervious contempt of powerful entities for the truth. That's been real hard to take. If it hadn't been for your outrage, humor, refusal to back down, it would have been even harder going. I now rely on the kindness of strangers like you for comfort. For that, I thank you sincerely.

Anonymous said...

the most depressing thing about this Duke rape case has been its revelation of the impervious contempt of powerful entities for the truth. That's been real hard to take. If it hadn't been for your outrage, humor, refusal to back down, it would have been even harder going.

I agree. But I'm glad to know what the real situation is. Let's make the best of this broken world and do our best with the tools we have to make it better.

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070328/ap_on_re_us/dna_exoneration_suit;_ylt=Ago.g8riDsyjcXP4AGAZQqJvzwcF

wow, this looks familiar !!

BDay

Georgia Girl said...

JeffM and Duke09Parent, thank you both for discussing in clear detail the subject of "defamation"!

Anonymous said...

Libel is libel. Those who don't understand the law should quit advising that libel would be hard to prove. Not in this case. Bring on the lawsuits.

Gary Packwood said...

Other Said 5:36 said...

...Thank you and please keep up the good work KC. The world needs more honest, just and critical thinkers like you.

----

Yes, KC is a great systems thinker and he just wades into those interrelated sub-systems without so much as a missed step.

I am beginning to imagine how KC and his partner are going to draw those system charts for his book!

Every time I think I have identified a major system node, KC slides in another layer that I did not think about.

Lots of good learning here. Suppose College Presidents across the country and following this most important case?

Anonymous said...

http://www.expertlaw.com/library/personal_injury/defamation.html

The link above is a reasonable discussion of the definition of Defamation (already well delineated on this blog), as well as common defenses and discussions of "Public Figures".

I think the bottom line is that when pursuing litigation for defamation, choose your targets wisely. There will be many other ways to reconcile the wrongs that have been done.

BDay

Anonymous said...

I think someone has a crush on Selena

wegl wegl said...

I have to concur with Bill Anderson on this. I am also an Auburn grad and ashamed that Selena and I share the same alma mater.

Though they strive to fulfill different type missions, both Duke and Auburn are great schools. Both have their share of issues in the leadership area. Both schools certainly have their strengths. Auburn like many universities struggles to attract and retain a diverse student body.

Auburn has maintained its commitment as a State Land Grant institution to serve a specific need. It would not be uncommon to find students at Auburn who are the first in their families to have attended college. Many students come from modest financial backgrounds. While Duke and Auburn are different, both strive to greatness in their own ways. Auburn's historical mantra is applying knowledge to create practical solutions to problems. Their Ag School tends to focus on issues of food and hunger. Their Business grads tend to gravitate to entrepreneurship and starting small businesses.

Millard Fuller who founded Habitat for Humanity is an Auburn graduate. Auburn's School of Architecture is known for its Rural Studio, an initiative to provide creative building solutions in some of the most crushingly poor communities in America. [By the way, a great book on this initiative is Amanda Oppenheimer Dean & Timothy Hurley's "Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an Architecture of Decency."] One of the few high profile African Americans to publicly say they disbelieved CGM's claims was Auburn grad Charles Barkley.

While Auburn students tend to categorized in the conservative to moderate spectrum, most of the campus social issues that "trouble" the G88 are just as common at AU as at Duke.

Auburn is obviously known for its football program. John Heisman was one of its early football coaches. It also has one of the nation’s pre-eminent swimming programs. Selena would probably not be happy that Auburn even has club lacrosse.

Ms. Roberts was Sports Editor of the campus newspaper during her tenure as a student. A position that easily would have provided her with contact to national sports journalists. This obviously provided her with some type of springboard in her career. How privileged she was to have had that opportunity.

A couple of years ago Selena did a NYT "expose" on a football related issue at her alma mater. You may remember about this same time there were many reports of rapes involving football players at many universities across the US. Selena had a hissy fit over Auburn's football team chaplain. The chaplain is an African-American preacher who many of the football players have credited with helping them with positive life decisions. Apparently, Selena did not think mentors guiding a first generation minority college student athletes to make positive life decisions was good campus culture. I suppose situational ethics does not mandate consistency in values.

Sad that in the corpus of Selena's journalistic career there is nothing visible that would honor her alma mater's core value of using her education to find practical solutions to problems.

Selena is just another shallow hypocrite and an embarrassment to Auburn.

Go Duke Lacrosse. War Eagle.

Nifong's hat trick said...

Slenea Roberts, The G88, Brodhead & Nifong are all characters in Naked Empress Crystal’s court. Out of fear(of being called racist) they proclaim that the Empress is wearing beautiful new clothes!

It’s a lie, they know it’s a lie, but the lie shows loyalty to the cause, the lie hides Nifong’s failures, the lie conceals evidence of the truth (DNA), the lie destroys trust & creates social agitation.
When Solzhenitsyn spoke of the LIE in relation to communism, he said “In our country, the lie has been incorporated into the state system as the vital link holding everything together, with billions of tiny fasteners, several dozen to each man. This is precisely why we find life so oppressive....When oppression is not accompanied by the lie, liberation demands political measures. But when the lie has fastened its claws on us, it is no longer a matter of politics! It is an invasion of man's moral world and our straightening up and refusing to lie is also not political, but simply a retrieval of our human dignity.”

Anonymous said...

When they call us "racists" and "Nazis", I hope we have learned that the last thing they want us to recall is that racism was just a feature of Naziism; the substance of it was ideological totalitarianism, just like theirs is.

Anonymous said...

Ironic that former Times owner Arthur Sulzberger had a daughter, Cynthia, that attended and graduated from...Duke University.

disgruntled said...

Anonymous said 11:09:00 PM ...
"When they call us "racists" and "Nazis", I hope we have learned that the last thing they want us to recall is that racism was just a feature of Naziism; the substance of it was ideological totalitarianism, just like theirs is."

Indeed.

And it's also worth noting that the full name of the Nazi party was "The National Socialist German Workers Party".

They were SOCIALISTS and Churchill, who took up the challenge of stopping them murdering Jews, Gypsys and gays was a right-wing Conservative.

It's interesting that anytime a political party is formed which has racist values it is immediatly labeled as being a "right wing extremist" party. This is a 'shaming tactic' employed by the left which has been repeated so often now even right wing supporting news sources use the term wihtout a thought.

The fact is that a parties policies are what determines whether it is right or left and not whether they are racist or not. And a racist party is more likely to be Socialist or Communist because peoples rights have to be trampled on to enable racist policies.


Socialism = social engineering, loss of freedom


Conservatism (not Bush) = freedom, peoples rights

rod allison, detroit said...

"Ironic that former Times owner Arthur Sulzberger had a daughter, Cynthia, that attended and graduated from...Duke University."

Would that be Pinch's sister? She must be the smart one.

Is there any hope that she could assume control of the Times and restore it to the great paper it once was?

I really miss early Sunday mornings with the Times.

Anonymous said...

Three things for all the Times bashers here to remember.

1) Fox Cable News and other right wing outlets have been moving down faster. (The Post has never made money so it is a bad yardstick: it is subsidised.)

2) NYT has published a large number of factual pieces on Duke that no-one here would take exception to.

3) Premier sports columnist George Vecsey has published two pieces very sympathetic to the, ah, real victims and their families.

Anonymous said...

Oh and the Times is widely considered by its readers to in recent years have moved to... the right.

Simultaneous with its move to distribute nationally.

It was then that it lost readers.

With a majority of the population seemingly now moving left (see David Brooks today) presumably the Times will follow them.

By the way I have a REAL problem seeing Duke as a left/right issue.

Anonymous said...

8:46 Considering the Nazi took on the Communist,Socialist and labor Union members first - sinding out they were really Socialist (Inspite of the name) would come as a huge surprise.

halides1 said...

"Trust but verify" might well be on to something with respect to the Landis case. There is a paper by Robert Blackledge in Clinica Chimica Acta, Volume 406, pp. 8-13, 2009 called "Bad Science: The instrumental data in the Floyd Landis case". I am a chemist, and I can follow most of the arguments without being able to pass judgment on many of them. But I think it is fair to say that this paper raises doubt in my mind about the quality of the analysis. On the other hand the same journal published a rebuttal, "Advocacy versus impartial scientific review: A problem for scientists and the courts," by Larry D. Bowers, which was itself criticized by a letter now in press to the same journal.

I cannot say that Mr. Landis did not dope, but I am not certain that he did, either.

Chris