The Herald-Sun editorial page—wrong so frequently on this case—continues to get it wrong. In an editorial today, it suggested that, “In trying the misconduct case against Mike Nifong, the N.C. State Bar had a choice—it could serve justice, or it could be consistent. Given its past performances, doing both wasn’t possible.”
This claim, of course, was wrong, as DHC chair Lane Williamson pointed out in his closing statement (which the H-S editorial board appears to have missed). The DHC’s finding in the Nifong case (intentional misconduct) differed from its finding in the Gell case (no intentional misconduct established) or the Honeycutt case (dismissal on a technicality). It can be argued that the DHC’s rulings in one or both of those cases were not harsh enough, and even that the reaction to these rulings paved the way for the DHC to act forcefully when confronted with misconduct as massive as Nifong’s. But that, of course, was not the claim made by the H-S, which clucked, “Don’t be too quick to hold up the State Bar as a paragon of justice.”
That the Herald-Sun could lecture anyone on what constitutes a “paragon of justice” is the height of hypocrisy. This is the same editorial board which, after Nifong dropped the rape charges but retained the other two, mused, “It’s possible that Nifong and police investigators simply gave credence to the accuser’s story. Don’t we want our law enforcement officials to be attentive to accusations of crime victims, no matter who the victim is or who is being accused? Yes, she may have changed her story in the days after the incident, but that is not uncommon with traumatized rape victims and is not in itself evidence of dishonesty.”
And then, after Nifong recused himself, the H-S dismissed those who “say Nifong Nifong should have stepped down long ago,” praised him for acting with “appropriate” timing, and affirmed that the “broader issues raised by the case” did not include prosecutorial misconduct—but instead were “race, class, town-gown relations, student partying.”To paraphrase its own editorial, don’t be too quick to hold up the Herald-Sun as a paragon of justice.