Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Responding to Marcus

Steven Marcus’ attempt to use the pages of Newsday to channel Selena Roberts and demonize the lacrosse players has generated quite a few comments at the Newsday website. They include:

Recall Nifong leader Beth Brewer:

Did Mr. Marcus read the Coleman report on the LAX team? Did he purposely avoid saying anything positive? Despicable ... these young men have been falsely charged with rape/sexual assault for over a year now. Does Marcus have no shame? “Whatever they did was bad enough” Brodhead needs to be thrown under the proverbial bus himself. He’s not man enough to apologize.
Pitiful.

Bill Anderson:

These truly are despicable comments. On one side, we have some young people who had a party where there was drinking -- hardly a surprise in today's college atmosphere.
On the other side, we have evidence of massive lawbreaking by prosecutors and police. We have individuals falsely accused of rape, and we have families forced to pay millions of dollars to fight against false charges.

So where does Mr. Marcus direct his ire? He directs it at the people who had the party. Apparently, he has no problem with representatives of the City of Durham and the State of North Carolina literally attempting to destroy the heart of a system of justice by using lies. That, apparently, is OK.

If it is Newsday's position that some 20-year-olds drinking beer is worse than an entire state justice apparatus being used to railroad people with false convictions, the God help this newspaper.

I won't even go into Mr. Marcus' slanderous comments about Mr. Pressler, except to say that Mr. Pressler (and the Duke Three) are much better people than Mr. Marcus ever could hope to be.

Case expert Bob in Pacifica:

Having gone to college in the late sixties and early seventies I can attest that students back then played music loud. Having also served in the military I can testify that men who drink beer, and that category would include both students and soldiers, may urinate behind a bush when a bathroom wasn’t handy. In fact, I would venture to say that young men who never get a college education, even without benefit of paying $40,000 for tuition at Duke, may have urinated without benefit of a toilet. Even choir boys have on occasion publicly urinated.

As I recall Duke’s Coleman Report, which came out last year, cited that the last lacrosse player to be cited for public urination was four or five years ago. And what a member of a team may or may not do does not mean that a teammate, or someone who plays on that team years later, should be castigated for it. The report overall was quite positive of the lacrosse team. Funny that Mr. Marcus missed that.

These silly side arguments are the best that can be made to distract from the fact that the local DA, using a mentally ill sex worker, filed false charges against three innocent men in order to get himself reelected. At the time campus groups led by professors with an agenda used the false charges to demonize the players.

I don’t suspect that the three accused would ever go back to Duke. But after the remaining charges are dismissed I suspect their lawyers will, to file a civil suit against the university, as well as the city of Durham, the district attorney and those who have helped to perpetrate this fraud. If Burness is still clueless about why Duke is going to be sued, he’ll soon get his education.

A New Jersey lawyer:

Given the gross miscarriage of justice perpetrated against the three Defendants in the Duke Lacrosse incident, I am amazed at the venom that continues to be spewed against them. Facing an indictment for a year for crimes that clearly were not committed is more than enough punishment for the minor offenses the three defendants may have committed. Indeed, with respect to Reade Seligmann (who as continued his education, is doing charitable work and is coaching), whose disciplinary record at Duke is clean, the continued venom can reflect only a deep and abiding prejudice. Although Reade may not be a choirboy (whatever the standards for being a choirboy may be in a culture that has so few rules or guides to behavior), I have yet to see any reasonable basis for the venom and censure that people still heap on him. My guess is that people like Mr. Marcus are angry that he was not the demonic rapist that he was made out to be.

A Duke J.D.:

Who is the unnamed “one administrator” who said that “they are no choirboys”? When did he say it, and to whom? If that’s a quote from a year ago, that’s one thing. But if Duke administrators are still badmouthing their students in the press now, they’re idiots.

Fred Smathers:

It is clear Marcus hasn’t got a clue about the real issues of the Duke rape hoax and the true character of the LAX players. Duke, Brodhead and the group of 88 aided and abetted the false charges against their own students and tried their best to help Nifong and the DPD deny due process to the defendants. Burness, Brodhead and the trustees of Duke will beg to settle when the federal civil suit discovery proce ss begins. Duke can not face a public institutional review of the role it played in this hoax.

Randy Hughes:

This article would be laughable except for the chance that someone who has read as little as Mr. Marcus apparently has might actually believe it. The reason Duke has fallen in reputation over the past year is not because a non-revenue sports team hired strippers for a spring break party, but because lead administrators of the university abandoned their students when they came forward, took responsibility for and apologized for what they did do, and steadfastly denied the allegations of an accuser who had little credibility with the police officers with the accuser when the accusations were first made. It is the university administrators and a large group of faculty members who have brought the real shame on the university.
A small point, Mr. Marcus, but it proves you have read little about the case: one of the three defendants graduated from Duke last year and has no reason to return. The other two have said they would not make a decision until the legal case is resolved. If your quotes from Mr. Burness are accurate, they now have another reason NOT to want to return.

The timing of the decision by Duke administrators to return to the spring/summer 2006 party line and publicly denounce the lacrosse players mystifies me. I am even more mystified by the apparent decision to go after Reade Seligmann as well--an approach not taken by any Duke administrator since the April 20 comments referenced by Beth Brewer.

It is difficult to see how such a strategy serves either Duke’s short-term or long-term interests.

[Update, 9.54am: A thoughtful commentary from DBR, noting that the time has come for a hard look at alcohol policy.]

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard from one of the
demonizers-in-chief, Wendy Murphy.
Where's she been lately? Is she
still on Fox?
Wonder why Greta doesn't keep
working on this issue, too,
since it contains:
1) DNA
2) Semen
3) Race

I can assure you that she was appalled at Nifong's misconduct.
What's so baffling is the silence!

And Gonzalez? Not to mention
that he's now a spineless, neutered
do-nothing, but why isn't he'they
all over this?

Someone's trying to fix this -
worse than it is - from much higher up. Otherwise, they wouldn't trot their own dupes
out there to try to continue
the smear.

Mac

Anonymous said...

Burness has put the players, the parents, the alumni, the bloggers and all the "blog hooligans" on notice. His message: Give up, because we aren't listening to you.

Anonymous said...

"His message:
'Give up, because
we aren't listening to you.'"

That's called "whistling past the
graveyard," I think.
Once the defense's discovery
process is revealed, the whistling
will stop - and the squealing will
begin.

Mac

Gary Packwood said...

K.C. 8:30 said...

...The timing of the decision by Duke administrators to return to the spring/summer 2006 party line and publicly denounce the lacrosse players mystifies me.
::
It is time for admission officers across the country to send letters of introduction to Duke students who have survived the hostile environment at Duke...and invite them to transfer.

Our nations best and brightest who have survived such abuse deserve better.

It may be appropriate for other universities to offer Duke students transfer credit for surviving life in a blender.

bill anderson said...

I just posted the following remarks on that page:

These truly are despicable comments. On one side, we have some young people who had a party where there was drinking -- hardly a surprise in today's college atmosphere.

On the other side, we have evidence of massive lawbreaking by prosecutors and police. We have individuals falsely accused of rape, and we have families forced to pay millions of dollars to fight against false charges.

So where does Mr. Marcus direct his ire? He directs it at the people who had the party. Apparently, he has no problem with representatives of the City of Durham and the State of North Carolina literally attempting to destroy the heart of a system of justice by using lies. That, apparently, is OK.

If it is Newsday's position that some 20-year-olds drinking beer is worse than an entire state justice apparatus being used to railroad people with false convictions, the God help this newspaper.

I won't even go into Mr. Marcus' slanderous comments about Mr. Pressler, except to say that Mr. Pressler (and the Duke Three) are much better people than Mr. Marcus ever could hope to be.

Anonymous said...

It should be no mystery who was the anonymous Duke administrator in the Marcus column. It was clearly Burness.

Why?

One: a "journalist" as unprofessional as Marcus is too lazy to try to get more than one source on a topic, so there's no reason to believe he spoke with more than one administrator -- Burness.

Two: Burness did not hold back in his on-the-record comments; his quotes are completely in line with what the anonymous source said.

Three: It's very common for a spokesperson, like Burness, to insist that some of his comments to a writer be kept "not for attribution" while others are "on the record." Such spokespersons routinely go on and off the record during a single conversation.

So take it from me, Burness was the source of all the quotes from Duke for the Marcus piece.

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

re: The timing of the decision by Duke administrators to return to the spring/summer 2006 party line and publicly denounce the lacrosse players mystifies me. .

Some of this I suggested on another thread:

1. Burness was talking out of school. He may well have thought he was glibly talking off the record.

2. Burness is being set up to be one of the fall guys in this mess. And he was stupid enough to go out and say these things.

3. The writer took the old quotation about "not choir boys" from an unnamed source and used it with the newer and tamer comments from Burness to smear thee guys again in an attempt to curry favor with the NY Time to seek his ultimate newspaper position.

It certainly also could be a combination of the above.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, with the competitive atmosphere surrounding college admission these days, Duke will always have lots of applicants. But those (like Reade Seligman) who can choose schools like Princeton, Yale, and other Ivies will almost certainly consider the faculty reaction to this mess.

Anyone who is curious about Reade Seligman's character should read the motion Kirk Osbourn filed to have his bail reduced. A finer young man would be hard to find.

There are only 2 ways to read the comments of Mr. Burness-
1) He really doesn't think the University owes the players an apology. (doubtful)
2) He is willing to lie and do the wrong thing to protect the school. (likely)

If Burness wanted to come across as someone who doesn't give a damn about his own students, mission accomplished. There seems to be a lot of that going around Durham these days.

Anonymous said...

Wondering if Marcus will be
held accountable, and in what
ways?
Also wondering how many attorneys
have offered their services to
the accused?

Mac

Anonymous said...

Neither Burness or Duke has repudiated a single thing from the Newsday article. Face facts folks, he meant to say everything he said and has no remorse.

Bill said...

From the post...

"I am amazed at the venom that continues to be spewed against them. Facing an indictment for a year for crimes that clearly were not committed is more than enough punishment for the minor offenses the three defendants may have committed"

Indeed. What's happened here is that a lot of gah... I hate this word... "culture wariors" on the left hitched their cart to this case. It is now the ONLY rape case out there that matters since it has everything and everything that fits their metanaratives and higher truths. The UM case is just not there. And the other Duke case, definitely isn't there since it doesn't fit their mold, and if it did, why bother? They have Duke Lacrosse in their sights!

Now that the charges have fallen to ashes, there is nothing but the "lesser" charges -- the "whatever it was that was bad enough." And they have to hold onto this like a yappydog feels the need to hold onto a porkchop. It's all they have. The post-December statements from the Madame DeFarge Patrol have cited the whatevers over and over and over again as a reason to keep their CCI agendas going and to keep punishing the team for nothing more than a wild party (for which they have already been formally disciplined) that happens on every campus.

It's all they have left. There are no more wild drinking parties of which to speak. No more rapes or attacks on women. And all of the vestiges of white athletic culture have long turned to dust save for those three boys. Their opportunistic tunnel vision on which they invested their entire reason to be shows them no other world. A world at the end of the day that will revolve around them if they wish hard enough.

Chicago said...

It is getting comical that every slanderous quote sited by those using the case for their own agenda is by an "unnamed person."

The theme is obvious, say an unnamed Duke student or administrator said it, and then make up what ever you want. Wahneema would be so proud.

becket03 said...

The timing of the decision by Duke administrators to return to the spring/summer 2006 party line and publicly denounce the lacrosse players mystifies me.

Now that almost all observers agree that dismissal is imminent, Burness' remarks could be a shot across the bow of potential litigants, a warning that Duke will vigorously defend itself, to the inclusion of nasty namecalling in public, should Rae "Wrong Families" Evans and company choose to invade Brodhead's office with an army of attorneys.

beckett

Anonymous said...

What makes you think that duke will vigorously defend itself? None of the current administration have shown any spine yet!

Steven Horwitz said...

Gary Packwood wrote:

It is time for admission officers across the country to send letters of introduction to Duke students who have survived the hostile environment at Duke...and invite them to transfer.

Just so everyone knows - actively recruiting transfer students is a huge ethical no-no in the world of higher ed Admissions. Any school that did that would rightly draw Duke's ire.

bill anderson said...

So far, all we have seen are lies and more lies. We have not seen anyone at Duke with a backbone!

jamil hussein said...

And Gonzalez? Not to mention
that he's now a spineless,


Unless the accused players turn out to be illegal immigrant from mexico, Gonzales is not going to do anything.

On the other hand, if they turn out to be illegal immigrants, committing drug dealing, identity theft, and other felonies, then all hell will break lose. Nifong, Brodhead and Karla will be thrown to jail for 30 years. Evidence will be manufactured, if needed (see Border shooting case, in which rogue prosecutor made a pact with drug dealers who continued to import drugs to US under the agreement. Homeland security lied to congress ("forgot to tell")).

Anonymous said...

Burness and Marcus have show their absolute lack of integrity and charachter. They will lie and slander to make themselves look good. It looks like Duke is preparing for the onslaught of civil suits. Marcus just left Newsday open for slander suits. Duke take your battle stations becuase they are going to wipe the earth clean of your garbage, hate filled, racist agenda driven professors and spineless administration. Brodhead you are out and will be lucky if you ever work again. Revenge will be sweet and justice sweeter.

Gayle Miller said...

One thing I know for sure is that trying to keep young people from behaving in a randomly dumb manner is nearly impossible. So a review of "alcohol policy"? Good luck with that one.

As to the rest of this - I don't know why people keep flapping around with this thing. These boys are not tied to any wrongdoing by even the most miniscule scrap of evidence. The reason is that THEY DID NOTHING WRONG. But it's costing each family roughtly $80,000 per month to defend these young men. That's $2,880,000 in the past year ($240,00 per month for 12 months). And I'm sorry - someone has to reimburse these families because this entire nightmare was wholly and completely avoidable.

As to the spineless and "politically correct" administration at Duke - I wouldn't send my 6 year old cat to that school! Why Brodhead and all the rest of the enabling administration and faculty aren't jobless is a total mystery.

When is this nightmare going to start coming to an end for these innocent young men and their families?

miramar said...

I think it all comes down to the fact that Duke's attitude is simply "That's my story and I'm sticking to it." It is also clear that the university would really prefer Seligman and Finnerty to go elsewhere so that they can sweep the mess under the rug as soon as possible, preferably during the summer (which starts in a just few weeks). If we can go back in time, we can contrast the university's reaction towards these young men to how they reacted when they found out that Shelden Williams had been (falsely) accused of rape while a senior in high school. Nobody said anything negative about him, and as soon as the charges were dropped, he was admitted to school. Nobody made snide comments or said that he was no choirboy, or even asked why he and his frieds had an older woman in their hotel room while at an away basketball game. The university maintained a diplomatic silence, something that Burness should learn how to do. If Burness is doing just the opposite, it is no coincidence, as the administration seems willing to destroy these young men in court a second time.

Anonymous said...

Resist the attempts to turn this article into a piece on drinking on campus. It's about much more important issues.

jamil hussein said...

Brodhead you are out and will be lucky if you ever work again.

I would love to believe this, but I really doubt it. Brodhead has done this before (at Yale, where one unlucky white male teacher was railroaded by Brodhead and law enforcement) and he will do it again, if given a chance. This episode only strengthens Brodhead's resume among other left-wing PC racists. He will be prime candidate for top positions in academic world, including president of Harvard or Princeton or top dem White House advisor (sec of education?) in 2008.

rod allison, detroit said...

JLS brought up an interesting point.

This may be an attempt by Marcus to gain favor at the New York Times by echoing the Times' official party line on the case. The party line that the Westport Wonder shifted to a couple of weeks ago that downplays the specific charges in favor of the larger issues and general boorish behaviour.

If this article was nothing more than an application for a job at the Times, then Marcus has joined the list of sick people who sold out innocent kids to advance their own career or selfish interests.

Georgia Girl said...

"Case expert Bob in Pacifica", having gone to college in the 60s/70s, implies that only "mild" infractions existed back then, specifically referring to loud music and public urination. The choirboy picture he paints of "boys back then" is entirely misleading and incomplete

Anonymous said...

If Duke admin thinks that apologizing would increase civil liability, they are wrong. There is significant evidence in the med malpractice area that apologies decrease litigation and facilitate settlement. Dr. Albert Wu of JHU has written extensively on this issue. Burness' comment that there is nothing to apologize for is a red flag that will inflame the families. If Burness et al are acting on the advise of lawyers, then they should seek new counsel. MDEsq.

Anonymous said...

At this point, any high school coach who does not steer his athlete away from duke would be derelict in his duties. Duke athletics across the board should and will suffer for this.

Anonymous said...

to 11:51

Isn't that the whole idea? To gut or remove athletics from Duke?

G

Anonymous said...

Georgia girl - tell us about your story again - we haven't heard it in weeks. Come on, please! It is so relevant to this case.

KT said...

This is what Marcus had to say in his April 4th column:

Not the crown Duke

As charges are about to be dropped in the Duke sex case, let's not affix haloes to the Duke lacrosse team of 2006, the frat brats who clearly displayed a sense of entitlement and boorish behavior. Underage drinking and carousing cannot be condoned. Nor can hiring questionable entertainment. The lessons of Duke lacrosse and the inappropriate party time behavior changed a lot of other programs for the better. That is the only worthwhile legacy of the events of a year ago…Chaminade didn't even wait for the changes to be dropped before giving a coaching opportunity to one of the central scalawags in the case. No lesson learned there.


Yet, earlier in the year (Jan. 18th, "Danowski: Duke of spoils"), Marcus had this to say:

Are you ready for some lacrosse? It is just a month away and all eyes will initially turn to Duke, last season's headline grabber for anything but the sport itself.

The first story goes to coach John Danowski, who now has a charmed life. The man who never was paid his worth at Hofstra is now reaping his rewards, financial and otherwise, at Duke, where just the name of the storied university made everyone cringe when the rape scandal that shortened the season and imperiled the sport surfaced last season.

Turns out, Duke was a stock worth owning. While the case against three players seems to crumble by the day, only positive publicity has filtered out of camp Danowski, where he never employed a bunker mentality in displaying his new team for everyone to see. The scandal, such as it was, doesn't fall on Danowski, who has swept it away with a breath of fresh candor. He has a clean slate and expect him to make the most of it.


Interesting.

In his more recent columns, Marcus is openly painting Reade, Collin, Dave, Coach Pressler, as well as the entire lacrosse team, with a derogatory brush. However, there was a point in January where he appears to know that the guys and the team were in the process of being exonerated, due to Nifong's recusal. He seems to say that Duke was also viewed well ("Duke was a stock worth owning") because of good PR ("only positive publicity has filtered out"). He even notes why the perception is favorable toward Duke and the lacrosse team. Referring to Danowski he says, "he never employed a bunker mentality in displaying his new team for everyone to see." Marcus has obviously paid some attention to the Hoax, so we cannot assume that his most recent column is the result of ignorance.

My take on this change in attitude by Marcus is that Burness has actually spoken to him recently, and is purposely sending PR signals that indicate Duke's "bunkering down" on the mis-applied perception that Duke's woes were caused by the lacrosse team's behavior instead of the other way around. Sounds like good ole pretending to be the victim to me.

Duke and its spokespeople would do well to emulate the behavior of the lacrosse team, and especially Pressler, Seligman, Finnerty, and Evans rather than the gang of 88. Burness and his buddies really ought to have learned by now that not standing up for the indicted young men and Pressler is what has tarnished Duke's image. Seems to me that the lacrosse team have acted more like "choirboys" than any of the administration at Duke. Shame on Duke. They've had an opportunity to apply some salve to these wounds they've inflicted (by abandoning the indicted players, their former coach, and the team), yet all they are doing is inflaming the situation. Haven't they been paying attention? I'm giving them a D- for their performance in this real world classroom.

Anonymous said...

JLS say....,

You are correct the 88 gangsters and allies would like to gut Duke's athletic department. But they are still at Duke and very influential.

So I think the point made by the prior poster is apt. Any high school coaches that did not warn an athlete about this environment would not being doing their job.

Deklan Singh said...

I can tell everyone, once and for all, why every single male student at Duke throughout history hasn't been charged and convicted of public urination. The reason is AMPLE AND EXCELLENT LANDSCAPING ON AND AROUND THE DUKE CAMPUS. The really big benches in front of the dorms help as well. I'd be fine with paying a class action settlement along with all Duke males throughout the years in order to settle our debt to the community.

scott said...

KT @ 1:08 PM said --

I'm giving them a D- for their performance in this real world classroom.

Maybe if you only consider their performance at the very beginning and you are wont to give them the benefit of the doubt during the first few days before the real story started shaping up. Considering their actions after that and especially Burness' remarks in this Newsday story this APRIL (not a year ago), they have earned a big, fat "F".

The model for how to respond to a crisis was demonstrated by Johnson & Johnson during the Tylenol scare in 1982. J&J took full responsibility, offered no excuses, and immediately scrapped millions of dollars worth of product. Logically, only a fraction of 1% would have been tainted, but they weren't taking any chances. The result was that J&J's image as a quality company that manufactures quality products remained intact and still does today. Chances are many people who heard about the problem at the time (it was MAJOR news) wouldn't be able to tell you today what the product was or who manufactured it.

Contrast that with what Duke has done during the last year and is doing right now. Brodhead, Burness and selected others are ruining the Duke brand.

Anonymous said...

Forget the apology and go after the money, It is easier to remember which paper(NYPost)to buy than who I am boycotting. No magazines please. Burness and Marcus were at Stony Brook U together. Between ANS baby father and this case, I am exhausted. Stil have enough fight in me to order a second KC book when the charges are dropped.

Anonymous said...

In the bad old days, when we had the Beach boys at the Washington Monument on 4th of July, the guys were lined up for miles(including on the bridges) to pee in the water, bushes, trees and grass.

Anonymous said...

Burness makes correction to his statements today!!!! Hell has frozen over!