Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Sports Reporters

In a thrilling championship game yesterday, the Duke men’s lacrosse team fell just short of a national title, losing to Johns Hopkins, 12-11. The performance in the NCAA tournament brought the team back into the national spotlight, although this time for its athletic accomplishments, and so it tended to be covered exclusively by sports reporters.

Some of this coverage was first-rate:

  • The AP’s Aaron Beard continued his extraordinary work on the case in general, with daily updates from Baltimore, including exclusive interviews with Mike Pressler and Rae Evans.
  • cnnsi’s Kevin Armstrong went off the beaten path in pieces about Kerstin Kimel and the Chaminade-Delbarton game.

But the last few days featured embarrassingly poor pieces by sports columnists in major newspapers: the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the San Jose Mercury News.

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In a column Friday, the Post’s Mike Wise complained about people who wore “INNOCENT” wristbands—overlooking, apparently, the fact that the Attorney General said the three accused players were innocent. And, he fumed, “This isn’t ‘To Kill a Mockingbird II.’” The reasons that he gave to sustain his viewpoint, alas, did not correspond to the plot of the book.

When a DIW reader wrote to Wise to point out his biases, the sports reporter was not amused. He ridiculed those who claim that “nothing bad went down that night, that these were just three random guys picked off the street.”

To that argument, Wise had an articulate response: “Uh, no.”

Does Wise have a theory he’d like to share with Post readers to show as to how Crystal Mangum’s selections were not random? If so, he should publish it—since such a column would be an important journalistic advancement in the case. Does Wise have evidence that something “bad went down that night”? Again, if so, he should publish it— since such a column would be an important journalistic advancement in the case.

It appears, however, that Wise prefers to deal in rumor and innuendo to justify his attacks on those who wore wristbands proclaiming that three innocent people were, in fact, innocent.

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At the Chicago Tribune, Olympic sports reporter Philip Hersh confided, “The idea that the Duke lacrosse team’s success is a feel-good story makes me ill.”

The “team,” he stated, was guilty of “outrageous behavior, even if that behavior did not include the sexual assault three Duke players had been charged with committing.” And what, exactly, was this “outrageous behavior”? A spring break party “at which alcohol was served to minors.” (Hersh makes it seem like the lacrosse players were handing out vodka to 10-year-olds; how many other journalists refer to 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds as “minors”?) The players “hired exotic dancers” for this spring break party. (College students partaking of sexually raunchy entertainment over spring break: who has ever heard of such a thing?!) The McFadyen e-mail. (Hersh claims that McFadyen was expelled, and seems not to know that the e-mail played off a book assigned in no fewer than three Duke courses.) The fact that “some players allegedly yelled racial insults at the women.” (That one player yelled a racist insult to one woman after that woman yelled a racist taunt to him appears not to have crossed Hersh’s radar screen.)

In other words, much like the Group of 88, for Hersh the world appears to have stopped on or about April 6, 2006, with no facts that emerged after that point in any way affecting his interpretation of events. No wonder he’s ill.

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Then there’s Mark Purdy from the Mercury News—generally considered a first-rate paper. Purdy complained that “the exonerated Duke lacrosse players (supported by many of their fellow athletes at the school) said . . . that they felt aggrieved and targeted when they hadn’t done anything to deserve scorn.”

One of the exonerated players—Dave Evans—joined his fellow captains in apologizing publicly on March 28, 2006. He repeated that apology in an October interview with Ed Bradley. Did Purdy know of Evans’ apologies? And a Lexis/Nexis search reveals no quotes from Evans, Collin Finnerty, or Reade Seligmann saying anything remotely resembling an assertion that “they hadn’t done anything to deserve scorn.”

The implication of Purdy’s comments appeared to be that the three accused players had done something to “deserve scorn.” Seligmann and Finnerty attended a party they played no role in organizing, perhaps drank some beer, and left quickly after the party became uncomfortable. Is that, according to Purdy, behavior worthy of scorn?

In evaluating the three players’ character, Purdy cited “my colleague, author John Feinstein, a Duke alum and one of our country’s estimable journalists.” (The last I looked, Feinstein didn’t work for the Mercury News, so it is unclear in what way he is Purdy’s “colleague.”) And what aspect of Feinstein’s argument did Purdy find particularly appealing? That Feinstein “expressed his disgust that the players were portraying themselves as martyrs and said, 'I think they’re guilty of everything but rape.’”

Again, a Lexis/Nexis search reveals no quotes from Evans, Seligmann, or Finnerty in which they described themselves as “martyrs.” And does Purdy—like Feinstein, a man who makes his living by being precise in the language that he chooses—believe that the three players are guilty of sexual assault and kidnapping, which surely would come under the heading of “everything but rape”? [emphasis in original]

Does Purdy endorse the March 2006 argument of “one of our country’s estimable journalists” that Duke should have terminated the scholarships of any lacrosse player who did not immediately agree to speak with Sgt. Mark Gottlieb outside the presence of counsel?

And, I wonder, exactly what evidence does Purdy possess to prove his claim that Reade Seligmann was guilty of “everything but rape, sexual assault, and kidnapping”?

I e-mailed Purdy to ask him the questions above; he did not reply. Perhaps, like Hersh, he was ill.

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What, exactly, would Mike Wise say to Evans, Finnerty, and Seligmann if he had the chance to address them personally? “Your [sic] guilty by association of bad judgment and real stupid, insensitive behavior. At the least.”

Wise might want to take a look at the work of Jason Whitlock, who writes for the Kansas City Star. Whitlock was right on this case from the start: on May 4, 2006, he joined Stuart Taylor as the first two significant figures in the media to question Mike Nifong’s case--in a stunningly prescient article that referenced none other than To Kill A Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch, a character with which Wise appears to be unfamiliar.

As Whitlock concluded in today’s Star,

The Blue Devils are to be congratulated for surviving the past year and advancing all the way to the NCAA title game. The Duke lacrosse program and its players were demonized by overzealous media representatives, academics who hate jocks and racial opportunists. Typical, irresponsible college behavior (underage drinking) was used as an excuse to paint the Duke players as potential skinheads.

Their 2006 season was stolen. Three Duke players faced criminal charges for a year. Many students and faculty member on their own campus turned on them and staged protests. The Blue Devils, 17-3, not only survived, but they thrived. They didn’t wallow in victimhood. They took the field and went about the job of debunking their critics.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don"t get it KC - I am a Mother and Grandmother. I don't find the party outrageous, beyond human decency and the other stuff these folk tout. I think Wise and other reports are trying to get in on the act - and in yur book. They are dopes. My disappoint is with the WP, that has allowed this paper to go to h^^^^.Fine game - either team could have won.

Anonymous said...

12:07, you are exactly right. Many of these media types just want attention. They will do anything to get it.

Anonymous said...

As for the non-responsive reporters, it may be blogaphobia.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson: Have you ever looked into banning some commenters? If there is a way to do it, you would be widely applauded.

Anonymous said...
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KC Johnson said...

To the 12.20:

Unfortunately, the blogger software doesn't allow the banning of commenters. I try to monitor and get rid of bad comments, but I agree, it would be much better if the software had a banning feature.

Anonymous said...

Great article containing compelling logic from Whitlock (especially the juxtaposition with Imus). The Duke team does not get enough credit for persevering with dignity over the last year (in spite of their young age).

Anonymous said...

2nd in the country in 2005 and 2007, season cancelled in 2006... Who knows what might have been, and this damage is just the tip of the iceberg.

Meanwhile, Nofing is still being paid and heading up an office that is still involved in underhanded tactics, while crime statistics in Durham trend in the wrong direction (even if you don't count false prosecutions that apparently don't qualify as crimes).

I couldn't help wondering how many of the G88 and others were rooting against Duke today just out of spite. As many supporters as there are, I fear that we are outnumbered -- at any rate, the bad actors here are very vocal and get more attention.


The team handled itself as it has for the last year -- very well, with class and maturity that far exceeds most of the sports writers and other adults who still can't allow that such a huge wrong was done in the name of the false idol of PC, in a monumental display of hypocrisy.


Today's contest was so close that I think changing any of a number of very small things might have altered the outcome. These students have had to contend with many things that are not at all small.

Anonymous said...

12:20 The Nazi's did the banning thing with great success. Of course, they killed twelve plus million people and burned a lot of books. Even though Nifong did not, I support civil rights. Who are you to judge who should be banned?

Anonymous said...

Jason Whitlock is a terrific writer and I am a great fan of his.
KC - 12;20 is advocating banning some commentators, not inappropriate comments. Are you supporting his/her effort to ban folk? I find that hard to believe/

Anonymous said...

12:20, lately there has been a whole array of people coming here expressing anger because most of us praise the three innocent guys. I don't think they will stop at anything to try to shake things up.
Who they are is quite clear.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it's quite easy for Professor Johnson to know who should be banned.

Anonymous said...

12:25, this whole day there have been lots of commenters attacking and disparaging the lacrosse team. Who would spend the time for such an exercise?
I think we know. And I think we know who at Duke is very happy that the championship slipped by narrowly.
My, how I wish there was a way to fire the G88. They are a destructive bunch.

Anonymous said...

12:25- KC is deleting vile postings by authors which he and others wish could be banned by computerese instead of being manually edited out. Please try to understand that KC is the EDITOR of this blog. Deletions by him have nothing whatsoever to do with a vulgar or vile poster's putative "civil rights". Invoking Nazism whenever you encounter someone or something with which you disagree entitles you to membership in the Vile community, in my opinion.
Tom

KC Johnson said...

Several months ago, I instituted a very loose comments policy, which I try to enforce--namely, I do not ban on the basis of a commenter's stated positions (I don't care if the Group of 88 wants to comment here every night, or if every commenter disagrees with my positions).

I will, however, delete comments that are either (a) unrelated to the topic of the post; or (b) personally vile. One or two commenters repeatedly ignore these guidelines; I would ban them if I could do so.

And, of course, I invite all readers to email me if they see a comment that I should delete. I obviously can't monitor the comments section 24/7.

Anonymous said...

I was frosted when I read the Mike Wise column, and I thought about sending a letter to the editor saying, more or less, "give it a rest." But, really, there is no point bothering to engage with these people, who don't really care about the truth when it gets in the way of their preconceptions. Some, I imagine, are still locked in the schadenfreude of seeing the "rich white boys from elite Duke" taken down a peg, and don't want to let them back up. Others, perhaps more sympathetically but still unfairly, can't stand to consider the possibility that life truly is unfair, and sometimes randomly and unpredictably so; to preserve their own illusion of control, they need to think that the lacrosse players somehow "deserved" what happened--otherwise it could happen to them just as easily.

Maybe Mike Wise never drank underage (or drank too much when it was legal to drink at 18). Maybe he never went to a strip club or attended a bachelor party or other event with a stripper. Maybe he has never associated, or been associated, with anyone who made a foolish, crude or racist remark when provoked in an argument or angered by being taken advantage of. (Or maybe if he did know such a person, he immediately and permanently stopped speaking to them.) If so, okay--he can pontificate about the unworthy behavior of the Duke lacrosse team and how it should prevent them from ever being respected or praised for anything again. He'll still be wrong, but he won't be a hypocrite.

Either way, he will never have a clue what these guys went through and what maturity, focus, and determination they have shown in accomplishing all that they have this year. Does it make them "perfect"? Of course not. But it makes them a lot more impressive than two-bit sports columnists who take pot shots at them just because they can.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!!!

Anonymous said...

KC, can you tell us who those few are?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't KC just openly ask them not to use his blog? Nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

When apparently the same person makes numerous inappropriate comments, why should that person be allowed to attempt to hijack and/or divert Professor Johnson's blog?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant to KC - not the haters!!!

Anonymous said...

who those few are?

KC Johnson is referring first, and foremost, to Polanski, who continually attempts to edit the board his way by ignoring Professor Jihnson's posts, or using them to forward his own agenda.

Polanski

Anonymous said...

Everyone who is ticked off at Wise's column should write WaPo's ombudsman. She wrote a good article about the Duke case, and I suspect would be sympathetic to the idea that Wise should have disclosed his views on whether "something went down".

Her email address is:

HowellDC@washpost.com

Fill up her email inbox with well-reasoned responses.

Anonymous said...

12:25--
Really, the lacrosse part of it is even less than the tip of the iceberg when it comes to damage. As Coach Danowski said this afternoon, they just lost a lacrosse game. (And when you think about it, given the pressures, given the spotlight they had to play under, given the fact that they began the season rustier than anyone else, their sophomores were effectively freshmen in terms of experience, and they had only 3 of their 7 recruited freshmen, it's a monumental accomplishment that they got within a goal of the championship once again.) Compared to the other things they've lost, it's a pretty little thing, though I'm sure it doesn't feel like it right now. But it's also a pretty little thing compared to what they have gained--in maturity, in achievement on and off the lacrosse field, in bonds of deep friendship that come from shared adversity, in strength of character and self-knowledge. Succisa virescit--true with or without an NCAA championship.

Anonymous said...

Polanski should have been banned long ago.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Professor Johnson, for all your efforts. D-i-W is simply extraordinary. You have introduced a new, improved form of journalism to the Internet — informed commentary based on actual reporting, research and knowledge. You deserve great plaudits; Joe Neff and your co-author, Mr. Taylor, also deserve high praise. Major newspapers ignore your accomplishments at their own peril. You have shown us the future; major newspapers will continue to decline if they perform similarly in other cases. Lazy, imcompetent and biased reporting won't be accepted by many readers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, meant incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Because of this whole situation, I got into college lacrosse this year specifically to cheer the Duke team. I watched several games on ACC select, kept an online "play by play" game tracker for a couple of others, and excitedly watched yesterday's championship on ESPN. I was surprised how easily I got into a game I was previously unfamiliar with. It truly is an exciting game to watch ... if not a little nerve-wracking. I was disappointed Duke didn't win the NCAA championship; but more than anything, I was impressed by the players ... *all* the players. I have heard numerous comments throughout the season by those in the know that the LAX community is a close knit one. Players who played together in high school play against each other in college and vice versa. And at the end of this game, while the John Hopkins players were clearly celebrating and the Duke players were clearly disappointed; I saw Duke and Hops players embracing each other with genuine emotion. It sickens me how the Duke players were vilified last spring for standing together with solidarity and loyalty. The brotherhood and sisterhood that exists between LAX players is very real. And no matter what ugly spin small minded people with agendas wish to place on it, it's only a positive thing. None of these people made a dent in breaking up this solidarity. They only made it stronger. Congratulations LAX players on all teams! It was a fine season!

Anonymous said...

Thanks KC for your clarifying yur position. I find the vile comments offensive also. I find nothing wrong with invoking the Nazis - particularly about banning. Of course, KC knows who the commentators are he would like to ban. It is his blog and his right. Us common folk should not be taking that privilege upon ourselves. There are some who write here that make me nuts, but I am a grown up and can defend myself.

Anonymous said...

Those more informed on this case might know more than I do, but I'm sure I speak for others when I ask, "When do more of the lawsuits begin?" There are so many guilty parties in this case, on so many levels, and I would personally relish the guilty getting what they deserve. I also feel the Duke lax players have a moral obligation to do so, to prevent these frame-ups, witch hunts, persecutions, and lies against other innocent people in the future. If other guys their age can be making the ultimate sacrifice getting killed, tortured, and maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan, it can't be too much to ask the Duke players- living otherwise comfortable lives- to suffer through the nuisance of pressing lawsuits to ultimately make this country better.

Anonymous said...

1:21

Please explain what you mean by "vile"? I've been around this blog for a few months, and I rarely see anything I'd remotely label vile.

Thanks for your consideration.

Anonymous said...

Tom - My position had nothing to do with disagreeing with someone. My comment was about the practice of banning people.

Anonymous said...

In the past we have had cursing, discussion of body parts and fluids. Outright racism, insulting other commentatiors and a continuing discussion blacks and the Bell Curve. Just about anything a normal person would consider "vile." At one time, KC had to put up the moderator control as some of the comments were so awful.

Anonymous said...

Other than Durham and Duke maybe - the lawsuits are in people's heads. I sure wish we could get the NYT. the Duffer, Selena, Gail Dines and AG Rud.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:34 : I know the law can be complicated, and different types of lawsuits might be required. But let's add to your list Nancy Grace, Sam Hummel, Bryan Proffitt, the N & O, that goofy marcotte blogger, and Wendy Murphy.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

1:41 You are so right - how could I forget the N@O and Ruthie.

Anonymous said...

KC - I have to take exception to your comment: "Then there’s Mark Purdy from the Mercury News—generally considered a first-rate paper......."..

Here in San Jose - we refer to the San Jose Mercury News as the "Murky News"..

There is hardly a more leftist/PC agenda driven paper on the West Coast..

It got bad enough 20 some years ago - I was forced to cancel my subscription to avoid "funding the enemy".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 1:42 AM wrote:

As to body parts, I find Polanski's occasional scatology humorous. I don't understand why everyone wants to ban him (assume he's a man) as he writes well and appears to be well informed, creative and otherwise polite.

Then I suppose you support this "well informed, creative and otherwise polite" entry Polanski made in the "Unfortunate ESPN comment" blog earlier today:

"wooppity woop
hippity glee
Panties done gots admits
to a near-Ivy

chubbity hubba
whatz da fucks
iz gonna studies
with dat dumb nigga Wahneema

Crystal Gail Mangum
Trinity '11"

Joe T. said...

To put it simply: K.C. is doing important work with this blog. Those leaving purposefully trouble-making posts should really knock it off. Why take up more of K.C.'s time, or make him work even harder, with all he does? If you have strong, but controversial opinions, start your own blog. You'll have more than enough of an audience.

rrhamilton said...

Just two things:

1. Isn't there some way we could petition the Pulitzer committee to award KC a prize? If not, then can we advocate an award-by-proxy, either by giving one to a direct-proxy KC's co-author Stuart Taylor or to an indirect-proxy like, say, Joe Neff or the Duke Chronicle staffers?

2. Is it too far-fetched to think about yesterday's championship game that if Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann had been in uniform, that might've been the difference (as it was only the tiniest difference) in the score? If Finnerty and Seligmann hadn't been run off campus by a PC-crazed administration? Doesn't it seem that the Gang of 88 has won another victory -- preventing Lax from winning the championship?

R.R. Hamilton

gwallan said...

Anybody who feels KC is worthy of some recognition can vote for him at Bloggers Choice

He's been nominated in the Political, Education and "About Stuff" categories.

scott said...

Sorry, KC, but the San Jose Mercury-News (called the "Murky News" by those who can distinguish fact from fiction) is not a first-rate newspaper in my book and as a former SJ area resident for 13 year (1990 to 2003), I read it regularly. It was the last paper I subscribed to before I gave up my bad habit of paying for a biased point of view.

As to Mark Purdy, he made me ill about 90% of the time I read his columns. At one time he left San Jose to go to Cincinnati. At the time, my reaction was "good riddance." A few years later, he was back, none the wiser.

It surprises me not at all that Purdy would take the point of view of his "colleague", John Feinstein, who should be mightily embarrassed by his "they're guilty of everything, but rape" comment. And it surprises me not at all that the uber-PC San Jose Mercury-News would be proud to join the fraternity of "news" outlets that haven't done their homework on the Nifong Scandal Case.

bill anderson said...

Jason Whitlock really has been good on this subject, and one thing I like about him is that he writes with authority. I'm glad that he put his talents to work in giving us a good perspective on this story.

As for banning certain comments and posters, remember that DIW is K.C.'s site and his banning people is NOT censorship in any meaningful sense. Please do not compare this to the Nazi banning of books.

Let me put it another way in the form of a question: If someone came to 12:25 and demanded that he be able to put up a racist billboard on 12:25's property, would he be committing an act of "censorship" if he said "no"?

THAT is the perspective here, not some convoluted comparison to Hitler.

Anonymous said...

If malpractice insurance was required of journalists, the premiums would be so high most of them could not afford it. That would help in keeping the truth in print.

Tawny said...

Okay, this is too much. Just read the truly vile 05-29-07 columns of Mike Wise and John Feinstein, both of whom could not wait to trash the Duke lacrosse team in their latest bottom-of-the-barrel entries.

Wise begins by asserting: "This is where we are in our backward-logic, little world of sport: Johns Hopkins winning the national championship in men's lacrosse was thought of as a spoiler story, the one angle that could ruin the pixie-dust run at redemption by Duke."

He quotes Landon School Senior Jake Bryne to wit: "This was about a lacrosse game, not off-field events that happened a year ago. If anything, it brought us negativity and didn't make people in the sport out to be the right kind of people."

Wise, of course, knows who the right people are and unsurprisingly Duke lacrosse players don't make the cut. He pompously asserts: "The right kind of people, that's what this tale unfortunately became about. It should have been a tremendous matchup between elite lacrosse teams. Period. Instead, the entire weekend became a moral referendum on student-athletes, namely Duke's. In a sport fed by America's private-school system (read: predominantly white kids from families with disposable incomes), the Blue Devils went from being called "hooligans" by an ambitious and misguided district attorney to being cast as vindicated heroes after charges were dismissed for their wayward, off-campus kegger." So Mike Nifong was merely misguided! Does the NC Ethics Committee know about this? Enough.

In his article, Feinstein trumphets the same party line as always: "It is almost pointless to argue with the Duke loyalists who have bought into the notion that the lacrosse players were guilty of nothing more than, "boys being boys," (and it should be noted here that I am the holder of a Duke degree)." I'm sure that many at Duke would revoke it if they could.

He then gets down to his real gripe: "Enough apologizing and enough martyrdom. It was a known fact on the Duke campus for years that the lacrosse team overdid it when it came to partying. There was a written report in 2004 that said just that.."

Feinstein then goes after others at Duke including the football team he says is lousy. However, he's soon back on track, pontificating that: "The apologists argue, everybody graduates. Trust me when I tell you graduating from Duke isn't all that hard. What's hard is graduating AND representing the school well. The lacrosse team represented the school poorly off-the-field and the football team is an embarrassment on the field." I'm sure the Duke alum magazine would love to print that story, "John Feinstein Says Graduating From Duke No Sweat."

According to Feinstein, all would be well at Duke if they would humbly admit their mistakes and accept the fact that he is as omniscient as the Oracle at Delphi.

He saves his most shameless bit of hypocrisy for his ending, where he lectures us all on the real meaning of the Duke case. This is how Mr. Feinstein describes his alternative reality: "There is a lesson in all this: It isn't about over-zealous prosecutors or media running amok. It's a lesson about a society in which no one ever admits they're wrong (see G.W. Bush and R. Cheney as exhibits 1 and 1A), especially allegedly smart people. Smart people make mistakes too. Mistakes are forgivable -- but only after you admit them."

Well, now I see where I went wrong. Mr. Feinstein has made it, how shall I say, Crystal clear. Glad we got that cleared up!

Anonymous said...

***If malpractice insurance was required of journalists, the premiums would be so high most of them could not afford it. That would help in keeping the truth in print.***

This might be the most idiotic comment posted here since the blog started.

Premiums would only be high if lawsuits succeeded against them in our free society that puts a particular emphasis on the importance of free speech.

You might disagree with them and kick and scream into your pillows at night because people write things you disagree with, but the thought that purchasing "malpractice" insurance for writers makes sense is ludicrous. Where's your brain? [why'd you hit me?] WHERE'S YOUR BRAIN!?!??

Anonymous said...

tawny--
Well, I see your point about the Mike Wise column today, but on close reading I think it is much less offensive than his earlier one.

The quotation from Jake Byrne reads a little differently when you realize that he is a senior lacrosse player at Johns Hopkins who attended Landon, not a senior at Landon. Understandably, the Hopkins players felt a little eclipsed by the continuing media frenzy for Duke (as well as the attention given undefeated Cornell and Cinderella Delaware). And the lack of attention to Hopkins was the main point of Wise's column.

The throwaway reference to the "wayward, off-campus kegger" and the completely gratuitous invocation of "the right kind of people" (which, thankfully, Wise didn't really follow up on) were admittedly cheesy. But at least he went on to include this paragraph: "John Danowski, Duke's stand-up coach and Matt's father who took over last July, wept openly in the postgame news conference. He rightly praised his kids for not taking a single misstep this season while essentially being put in a national petri dish for inspection."

A more significant problem with Wise's column today, I think, is that it argues that "people" have overlooked Hopkins and its excellent lacrosse program because they are paying so much attention to Duke without acknowledging that the media--most definitely including himself--are the "people" that he is talking about. Had not the media absurdly and unfairly vilified the Duke team in the first place, there wouldn't have been such a large cohort of people who wanted to see them triumph. And it was, after all, the media (including the sports news story in the Washington Post next to Wise's column) who continued, to the end, to make the story not "Hopkins wins" but "Duke loses." I was at the game and was disappointed, but not surprised, to see the vast majority of reporters and camera operators head straight for the Duke players, not the Hopkins team, at the end of the game.

As for Feinstein, I don't usually like to engage in ad hominem arguments, but this one is hard to resist--it should be clear enough that it's not hard to graduate from Duke if Feinstein could do it!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Collin Finnerty wasn't convicted in the gay-bashing incident in D.C.?

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 1:25 said...

...Please explain what you mean by "vile"? I've been around this blog for a few months, and I rarely see anything I'd remotely label vile.
::
Vile?
I knows it when I sees it!
::
GP

Anonymous said...

Probably because the so-called "victim" in the D.C. case was NOT gay, and because he was NOT "bashed" by Finnerty -- who never actually hit anyone in that much overhyped, misrepresented (in the media) non-event.

Anonymous said...

***Does anyone know why Collin Finnerty wasn't convicted in the gay-bashing incident in D.C.?***

He got what in New York is called an "ACOD". That means that you don't assert your innocence, but you agree with the Prosecutor on a deal that sets forth the following:

(1) Defendant agrees to stay out of trouble for a period usually of 6-to-12 months, in exchange for
(2) If Defendant gets in no trouble, whatsoever, over that specified period, the charges are expunged; if he does get in trouble, they are brought back in full.

As attorneys, we always advise our clients that during the ACOD period, they should stay out of trouble at all costs. Don't even put yourself in a situation where other people might be doing something wrong... any little charge against you, even a beer ticket, might bring back the original charges in full.

Anonymous said...

9:11's description of the Finnerty prosecution in DC is correct--the man was not gay and no one thought he was. That part of it was just dumb adolescent name-calling (which I'm familiar with having had to work hard to teach my own children why the use of "gay" to describe anything lame or uncool was not a good idea). And Collin Finnerty didn't actually hit anyone.

However, he was actually found guilty of assault (which, legally, requires only a threat of physical harm, not actual contact). If I remember correctly, the conviction was set aside or otherwise erased from his record after his exemplary completion of probation. The fact that it had become increasingly obvious that there was no substance to the Durham charges that caused him to be removed from DC's first-offender diversion program in the first place probably helped.

Anonymous said...

The reason rape is a crime is that we , as a society , do not want it to occur . We use the force of law to discourage it by punitive measures applied to the guilty . It seems that so many are disappointed that a rape or other such crime did not occur. They are disappointed that there is no victim of the lacrosse team . The more profound the crime ,the more impact on a victim , the happier the PC crowd would be.

Richard Aubrey said...

Some years ago, in the Tank McNamara cartoon strip--usually found in the sports section--there was a series of 'toons run on the theme of a fantasy camp for wannabe sportswriters. In one, after a couple of back&forths with an instructor, the student says, "This really isn't all that important, is it?" To which the instructor answered, "Bingo."
IMO, most sportswriters eventually figure out that what they do isn't all that important. IMO, this explains the excessive energy they put into non-sports subjects, the ostentatious seriousness, the preening as someone who Gets It.

Anonymous said...

I always liked that Jason Whitlock.

Observer

Anonymous said...

Actually Feinstein is quite correct in stating that it is not difficult to graduate from Duke, or from any highly-selective school for that matter. Its infinitely harder to be admitted than to graduate. These shools have what I call an "inventory problem" and they need to have the inventory, students, turned over as quickly as possible so they bend over backward to facilitate graduation.

I earned a joint MBA/JD from a university where both professional schools are ranked in the top five nationally and from what I observed you'd have to literally do something criminal to be kicked out of either programs. These schools are quite aware that an individual dismissed from a program is unlikly to ever donate to the school. donor.

Gary Packwood said...

Richard Aubrey 9:27 said...

...Some years ago, in the Tank McNamara cartoon strip--usually found in the sports section--there was a series of 'toons run on the theme of a fantasy camp for wannabe sportswriters. In one, after a couple of back&forths with an instructor, the student says, "This really isn't all that important, is it?" To which the instructor answered, "Bingo."
IMO, most sportswriters eventually figure out that what they do isn't all that important. IMO, this explains the excessive energy they put into non-sports subjects, the ostentatious seriousness, the preening as someone who Gets It.
::
Thanks

I never thought about a pecking order for journalists.

I wonder if any of these folks graduate to covering national news?
::
GP

Anonymous said...

9:33--of course you are right, and this has been so for a very long time. When I was at Wellesley College in the dark ages (class of '71), we met lots of guys from Harvard and also many from nearby Babson Business Institute. It wasn't hard to figure out that Harvard was almost impossible to get into and almost impossible to flunk out of. Babson, on the other hand, though much easier to get into, was very hard to stay in--those students worked hard, and if they didn't they fell by the wayside.
I don't know that it's just about future donations, however (though I'm not naive enough to believe that they are irrelevant). Elite schools already enjoy strong reputations, and because they can be so selective in admissions they know most of their graduates will ultimately be successful (whether through ability, connections, or a combination of the two) regardless of how hard they work in college. Other schools have a greater need to build their reputations and prepare their graduates to be successful by actually challenging them--and some choose to do so.

Anonymous said...

GP--
Well, Bryant Gumbel started out as a sports reporter--which, I think, he is doing again now in his semi-retirement. Of course, TV is a little different from print because so much of it is about the appearance, voice, and persona rather than the actual reporting.

Anonymous said...

KC:

I don't know lacrosse from field hockey, but I was delighted to see Duke do so well after the last year of adversity.

There's always next year.

anonymous said...

Here's what I wrote to Michael Wise today:

Mr. Wise,

While Coach Pietramala and the JHU team are to be commended for their victory yesterday, your commentary on the tournament both Saturday and today is not.

Self-righteousness is not becoming in a sports columnist, especially in one who doesn't bother to get his facts straight before writing. You fault the fans in the sports world for taking to Duke, yet it was smear jobs over the past year, like yours on Saturday, that directed myself and many I know with no affiliation to Duke whatsoever to pull for them.

You dismiss that the accused were declared innocent, you continue to indict the team for its mistake in holding a party, a party for which they apologized. Apparently college students drinking, and drinking to excess offend you. If that is the case, I recommend you stay away from JHU's Homewood Field during home lacrosse games, especially ones on weekend nights. It would be hard to find more drunken and loutish college students in a venue of 5,000 than I have witnessed at Homewood.

Please, for all of us Washington Post subscribers, in the future stick to commenting on on-field issues. You have made it clear you are unwilling to do your homework when it comes to off-field ones.

Thank you,

Anonymous said...

***You fault the fans in the sports world for taking to Duke, yet it was smear jobs over the past year, like yours on Saturday, that directed myself and many I know with no affiliation to Duke whatsoever to pull for them.***

This is the classic case of the sheet of looseleaf calling the lacrosse player white (a variation of "the pot calling the kettle black"). I came here in full support of the boys, but the blatant racists like Polanski and the other posters who associated the bad acts and actors in this case with just about anyone and everyone who isn't a Republican made me realize that its not really about these 3 boys so much as it is about venting about non-Repubs.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone know why Collin Finnerty wasn't convicted in the gay-bashing incident in D.C.?"

Rather, does anyone know why he WAS convicted?

Simple: justice in DC is political. Cynthia McKinney was allowed to skate (for the technically far more serious charge of disobeying and striking a police officer). Finnerty shouted at someone and got a federal case made out of it; his principal witness ordered to step down from the stand and not testify; and a crony judge gave the verdict the US attorney wanted/needed (he was up for confirmation to be deputy AG at the DOJ).
About a dozen scuffles like his happen every night in DC; his is unique in that a) it was prosecuted; and b) it required the services of 8 federal attorneys plus 9 additional staff--that's more people than were used in the OJ prosecution.
In 2000 a drunken student in Georgetown struck and killed another student. His punishment? He had to write a 10-page paper about the event.

Anonymous said...

7:02 Well Bill, the only thing you missed in your pious reply was "Trust Me." Hard as it is to believe, even us dopes who are not Professors have a right to our own opinion,

Teach1975 said...

A GREAT article by Dan Wetzel on yahoo sports "A team of their own" KC is even mentioned. I cannot stress enough how this is a must read... he "gets it" (and he reads DIW). Thanks KC for all your work- can't wait to read the book.

Anonymous said...

This is what I emailed Mike Wise. I hope it is relevant. It's almost as if he is blaming Duke Lacrosse for the shortcomings of his own profession.

Mr. Wise,

Duke Lacrosse doesn't need to redeem itself. Duke University, the N.C. Criminal Justice System, the N.C. NAACP, and Journalists like yourself need to redeem themselves.

You come across as blaming Duke for the lack of media coverage John Hopkins received. Just remember that it was YOUR profession who decided to report on Duke instead of John Hopkins. Don't blame Duke LAX for that, blame yourself.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:41 said:
"not everyone has bought coopers declaration of innocence; only a judge or jury can declare innocence anyway. all a prosecutor like an attorney general can say is not enough evidence to proceed. period."

A judge and jury can only declare guilty or not guilty, they have no choice of innocent. It is almost unheard of for someone on the prosecution side to declare "innocent", which is what really shows how overwhelming the evidence of innocence was.

Bill Alexander

Anonymous said...

oops, posted on wrong thread.

Bill Alexander

Anonymous said...

10:56 says.. I came here in full support of the boys, but (I) realize that its not really about these 3 boys so much as it is about venting about non-Repubs.


Is that right, 10:56 ? You don't feel so sorry for them anymore because you dont like who supports them? Wow, youre sincerity is overwhelming!

By the way, this whole case makes institutional liberals (ie NAACP, Faculty 88, Nifong, Bell, et al) seem like pretty dirty character. Thus , the venting of those on the right saide of this particular issue and those that arent (with obiouc exceptions like Coleman, KC ,etc) So.. grow up. Sometimes youre right and sometimes youre wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ward Churchill is being fired for "research fraud". Can the Duke BoT learn something from this?

Anonymous said...

1:41pm

Agreed. There is no way getting around which side of the political aisle (in general) supported due process in this case, and which side (in general) did not.

Facts are facts and many in the liberal category, politically, are still attacking the boys from Duke.

Why? Who knows? That question is only for them to answer. I do tire of people coming here attacking others for just telling the truth about what has happened.

Anonymous said...

***Is that right, 10:56 ? You don't feel so sorry for them anymore because you dont like who supports them? Wow, youre sincerity is overwhelming!

By the way, this whole case makes institutional liberals (ie NAACP, Faculty 88, Nifong, Bell, et al) seem like pretty dirty character. Thus , the venting of those on the right saide of this particular issue and those that arent (with obiouc exceptions like Coleman, KC ,etc) So.. grow up. Sometimes youre right and sometimes youre wrong.***

I don't see my statement to be unlike most people during the whole Imus controversy. Many people I spoke with indicated that they thought maybe his comments went way over the line to the extent they saw it rational for the company to fire him... but the fact that Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton were involved made them resent the cause they originally thought was or may have been right. Their involvement made people say "Screw those hypocrites, they said x, y and z", rather than analyzing the comments themselves to see if they merited a firing.

My opnion with regard to the Duke case hasn't changed. I think all the bad actors are... bad actors and that Nifey should lose his law license, etc. Regardless, the "venters" here who try to make this about so much more than a criminal matter to which a portion of the community jumped the gun (which, by the way, happens all the time, not just in the case of the defendants being "privileged whites) turned me off to the cause. Sorry, its just the way it is. You don't have to care, but its my opinion.

Anonymous said...

2:10pm--
So did the gross behavior of the Faculty88, potbangers, etc... turn you off as well?

Anonymous said...

2:09...

Your statement may be true regarding conservatives in this particular case saying more about due process rights.

That is about the only time I've ever seen due process rights associated more with conservatives than liberals. It is almost uniformly the other way around.

Clearly, this is due to the fact that the boys were privileged and white (on both sides of the aisle, liberals defending the minority and conservatives jumping to defend the lax players). No surprise there.

Thinking as hard as I can (insert derogatory joke here about that not amounting to very much), the ONLY other time I hear conservatives talk about due process other than the Duke case is in the context of being taxed too much and/or improperly, and a little bit during the overblown takings clause litigation in Connecticut (a/k/a "Eminent Domain"). Otherwise, civil rights and liberites of the accused are almost uniformly liberal, in terms of their champions.

Good to see you good ole' boys on board, please stay on the boat. I agree with the conservative position regarding due process and the takings clause... now maybe for once you agree about the importance of due process rights.

Anonymous said...

2:12...

Absolutely... there is nothing I hate more than campus liberalism.

To the extent that these professors themselves, Mike Nifong, and other bad actors directly involved (or who inserted themselves in it via journalism, etc.) are being criticized, I have no problem with it. On the other hand, the conspiracy theories about liberals generally, and the condemnation of Demoractic village trustees in Peoria for not speaking up about a Durham criminal matter are ridiculous.

I even heard people not praise Cooper for helping the boys the way he did, but condemn it as a political ploy, as if supporting the Duke 3 will somehow get him elected.

So, coming here as a Democrat, I was naturally not happy with anything and everything Democratic being associated with this case, whereas conservatives don't seem to like being lumped in with evil actors like Ted Haggard or Jerry Falwell.

Anonymous said...

2:15pm

I enjoy your sarcasm, especially when such a flawed argument is put forth. The stereotypes you used to respond to me are also indicative of the gross hypocrisy liberals are all about. "Good ole boys"? What?

You believe that you guys are always for the underdog, but that argument is the biggest joke of your post. The "minority" cause is the biggest extortion outfit in the United States. Nothing "underdog" about it. Look how powerful.

That liberal "minority" cause is so powerful that it can get three young men indicted without having to put forth any evidence at all. And when an accuser is shown to be insane or an addict or a prostitute and a criminal, they still go ahead without any evidence because she is a part of the "minority" cause.

Don't ever think you will be able to get by with your hypocrisy any longer. Most of you aren't good enough actors to even try.

The Democrats have a poison pool of misfits and third world constituents whose mentality is akin to banana republics around the globe. They want to extend their way of life in this country.

Many Democrats I know do not think that those people should be taken seriously, but many in this Duke case sure gave them a load of power.

You're operating on all the old stereotypes which are no longer valid in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

re> blogger 209's remarks. Don't speak for anyone but yourself as to why so called due process caring liberals missed the boat on this one. If you were truely who you suggest you are, where you in rally the troops to stop this disgusting railroad job by your liberal associates. As this has unfolded I as a liberal have had to look deep inside and although I don't go for many of the opinions here which boarder on racist at times and have their own agenda, I thank god they were on the case with KC to make things happen. I find it ironic that it actually took a liberal to rally those interested in the truth in this case. He was brave and alone most of the time. Liberals should be ashamed of this moment in time. There are many fair minded conservatives I have come to know who disagree more in the economic realm than the social realm with their conservative friends. This was wrong from the beginning and everyone agrees that they weren't choirboys. Most college students girls and boys these days aren't. No sane person should think it would ok if they spent 20 years in prison for poor judgement and bad behaviour. Go find some of the black press blogs on this case if you want to see the real other side of it. It's been quite revealing. There are extremists on both sides who have muddied the waters> but the powerful media machine has abused it's role.
Disillusioned liberal on the edge.

Anonymous said...

2:19pm

Question for you. If the liberals are so interested in speaking out for justice and we all know that most of the MSM are very liberal, why have they not spoken out about the horrible rape, mutilation, and tortured deaths of a young white couple somewhere in Kentucky (iirc), by a some rampaging black men?

Are they really always for due process? I have read only small and scant articles on this case and this was murder!

Those black men even poured household cleaning liquids and disinfectants down their victims' throats after they were forced into oral sex and sodomy. You see, these murderers didn't want any evidence of their semen detected when the bodies were found in a dumpster.

Where are the liberal due process lovers on this one? Is it not as attractive to them because the horrible murders were perpetrated by black men?

Also, the only crime in the Duke lacrosse case was perpetrated by a black woman. Don't forget that. If she were not black, she'd be in jail right now, and you'd better not forget that.

So don't try that false piety on anyone until you start walking the walk.

Anonymous said...

(2:52pm)
I read something about that case and it was definitely a hate crime. The evidence reported was clear.
No one wanted to report that story it appears and this is the kind of real racism that is now considered business as usual.
Do I feel that black people need more passes? Hell no.

Anonymous said...

***2:19pm

Question for you. If the liberals are so interested in speaking out for justice and we all know that most of the MSM are very liberal, why have they not spoken out about the horrible rape, mutilation, and tortured deaths of a young white couple somewhere in Kentucky (iirc), by a some rampaging black men?

Are they really always for due process? I have read only small and scant articles on this case and this was murder!

Those black men even poured household cleaning liquids and disinfectants down their victims' throats after they were forced into oral sex and sodomy. You see, these murderers didn't want any evidence of their semen detected when the bodies were found in a dumpster.

Where are the liberal due process lovers on this one? Is it not as attractive to them because the horrible murders were perpetrated by black men?

Also, the only crime in the Duke lacrosse case was perpetrated by a black woman. Don't forget that. If she were not black, she'd be in jail right now, and you'd better not forget that.

So don't try that false piety on anyone until you start walking the walk.***

Do you know what due process means? Supporting due process in this horrible hate crime/murder would mean making sure that those prosecuting the defendants who committed the murders aren't overstepping as did Nifong in the Duke case.

So, technically, if YOU were to be consistent, YOU'D be going to that jurisdiction and supporting the accused murderers as you supported the Duke 3.

Due process means the rights and processes conferred upon all American citizens by the Federal and State Constitution(s).

Although their crime was horrific, I nonetheless support their rights to due process... these rights are essential so that what happened (and more particularly what COULD HAVE happened) to the Duke 3 doesn't happen to American citizens. If the accused murderers are guilty, they are guilty, but we need to know through the proper PROCESSES, which are governed by DUE PROCESS RIGHTS, not by violations of same by conduct like Nifong's.

I'm sorry, tough to have a discussion about due process when it doesn't seem that you know what the term means.

"Speaking out" and "due process" aren't the same thing. As for why they haven't "spoken out" about the murder, I'd imagine its for the same reason that conservatives "spoke out" on behalf of the laxers... people tend to pay attention to the "sexy" cases that grab (albeit temporarily) the nation's collective interest.

Why weren't you blogging about the Brady decision or the decisions that originally established that lineups done improperly can be unconstitutional? At least I knew about those cases... do you even know what "Brady material" is?

Anonymous said...

4:02

Are you that same freak who has been attacking anonymously using (*****) symbols when quoting a referenced post?

If so, I have nothing to say to you. Thanks for revealing yourself as the liberal scum that you are. Why do you hate those who are not banana republic types so much?

You must be a little ambulance chaser who depends on liberal "due process" to win your cases. Stick with the facts. In general, due process means a fair and impartial road to justice.

Stick your double talk back into your pie hole.

Really, have you been on this website the last few days using the asterisks (*****) to quote others when you respond?

Let us know.

Anonymous said...

Actually, no, the phrase "due process" is legal in nature. It doesn't refer to what is written about a crime, although it can be in certain situations (think of cases where you heard the jury was "sequested" in order that they not be exposed to excessive coverage of a case). Advocating for due process in the Duke case is limited to the lineup, public statements by Nifong, not providing the defense with BRADY evidence (exculpatory evidence), etc. It doesn't refer to idiotic professors jumping the gun when they saw a case that they thought represented everything that is wrong with society (ironically, the posters here have assumed that illogical role as the facts of the case became clear).

In the end, though, its just one case involving only those who... were involved.

Anonymous said...

4:16 - How interesting. Thus, according to you, due process is limited to governmental actors and their influence on the criminal justice system.

Thus, one must have governmental agency/powers to affect due process. Tell mw, does Duke University accept governmental funds?

Do you really want to walk down this road fantastic? Or would you like to run away while you are (not really) ahead?

-Esquire-
-Maryland-

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, you are referring to the "entanglement" doctrine, are ya? (Sorry if my Con Law vocab isn't what it once was).

If there is sufficient governmental entanglement, then Duke could be the functional equivalent of the government in certain respects.

I don't think it rises to the level of control that would satisfy the requirements. I believe there is a large body of Con Law decisions on this particular doctrine, as there are on 1st Amendment issues which rule out the vast majority of the lawsuits people here advocate, like suing Nancy Grace, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that Esquire showed up. That fellow @ 4:02 certainly has a strange view of due process. No wonder liberals think it's ok to frame the lacrosse players.

Anonymous said...

Um, I'll dance on your wedding day if you could show me where I didn't condemn Nifong & Co.'s trampling of these boys' due process rights.

Nowhere did I say that; quite the contrary, actually. I will not, however, allow my emotions to supercede rational, legal analysis.

Anonymous said...

4:50pm-
Don't backtrack now. A real lawyer (Esquire) showed up and you settle down a bit, don't you?

Anyone who has never been inside a courtroom knows that due process is generally a fair and impartial road to justice for all involved.

I know who you are and I know how vile you can be. You represent those who live in the same world as Mike Nifong.

Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I didn't "settle down", nor did I have to. Esquire (if a real lawyer, then he/she is a FELLOW "real lawyer") made a LEGAL ARGUMENT regarding due process, which is a LEGAL concept.

I believe Esquire was invoking the entanglement clause (or whatever the technical term is) in an effort to establish that Duke was in essence a government actor (due to accepting Federal funding).

Not sure how I "backed off quite a bit". I do not believe that the body of constitutional law regarding entanglement and governmental funding would make Duke a governmental actor.

Anything I say is based on the law, NOT on these Duke boys. I have a lot of respect for them, and am very thankful they were declared innocent.

My problem is with the crazy posts here that try to connect the bad actors with the majority of Americans that voted Democratic.

Anonymous said...

5:01pm-

I'm well aware of what bothers you. Quite a lot bothers you. Your posts have been very childish with playground attacks on a few commenters here.

I have absolutely no respect for you at all.

And it wouldn't make any difference to me how you feel about the lacrosse case. When I compare your comments to someone like Esquire's, it's like night and day.

Please try to contain yourself and if you hate so many people here who have supported the Duke 3, you can certainly exercise your right to go elsewhere.

Those asterisks (****) give you away, dummy.

Anonymous said...

10:56am

Polanski here:

I don't comment on politics or lacrosse players. I must have corrected your poor grammar at some point, so you take this opportunity to smear me.

Well done, Chip.

GP: there is aa editorial hierarchy at newspapers. Sports is 1 notch above obits.

Polanski

Anonymous said...

10:56am identifies himself as a little lawyer of some sort. You can see him all over this website using childish ad hominem on anyone to the right of Michael Moore.
This guy hates the sad truth and has been calling people "morons" and "bad writers" when they discuss those who supported due process and those who did not.
That's his right, but this poor frustrated fellow has replaced self-respect with namecalling.
And yes, the liberals need to take a look at themselves in the mirror. No one on this website made them behave the way they did. If anonymous @ 10:56am wasn't such a coward, he'd discontinue attacking others and work to make things better.
You'll know him by the way he frames quotes from other posters with asterisks (****).
This little self-identified lawyer was responsible for a whole lot of bile on these threads for the past few days.
The liberals seem to be very frustrated with themselves.

rrhamilton said...

First, for everyone: Remember what Lincoln said about not getting into a fight with an idiot, because someone might see it and get confused as to which was the idiot.

Second, the point that some like 10:56 AM seem to miss is this: We aren't here because of what Nifong did. Heck, if it were all about Nifong, there wouldn't be a "here" here! KC, like the rest of us, became keenly interested in this case only at the point when the Duke faculty and administration launched THEIR attacks on the boys. THAT was the "man bites dog" of THIS story.

So, you see, 10:56, we are not here primarily to bemoan what ("non-Repub") Nifong did, but rather what other (true, mostly, "non-Repubs") actors did -- actors who should've have been expected to be supportive of the boys (Duke faculty and administration) or at least neutral (media).

Thus attempts to limit the condemnation to Nifong and other official actors will always get short shrift at this blog.

R.R. Hamilton

Anonymous said...

Hamilton-

Very, very well said.

Anonymous said...

KC wrote he does not care what folk write as long as it is on topic and not vile.