Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Department of Non-Corrections

Jack Shafer, the press correspondent at Slate, had an interesting column last week. He commented, “The average newspaper should expand by a factor of 50 the amount of space given to corrections if [University of Oregon journalism professor] Scott R. Maier’s research is any guide.”

In a survey of 3600 articles from ten newspapers, Maier and his researchers discovered 2615 factual errors in 1220 stories. Yet, as Shafer noted, “Just 23 of the flawed stories—less than 2 percent—generated newspaper corrections. No paper corrected more than 4.2 percent of its flawed articles.” Even more alarmingly, Shafer suggested that the Times (which still hasn’t corrected the three factual errors, two of them major, in Duff Wilson’s August 2006 article) is actually more rigorous than most newspapers in publishing corrections.

Two recent, serious, and non‑Times non-corrections come to mind. In an August 1 article in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, reporter Tim McGlone profiled Michael Vick’s legal team, which included “Durham, N.C., attorney James D. ‘Butch’ Williams. He represented one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the Duke lacrosse team rape case, which ended in dismissals against all those accused.”

The term “unindicted co-conspirator” has a precise legal definition. Here is my colleague, Stuart Taylor, describing the term as it applied to the Whitewater case and former Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey:

The prosecutor is saying in essence in court—and they haven’t said it yet by the way--but they apparently will—that we believe this man was part of the criminal conspiracy, along with the people who are on trial. We haven’t indicted him but the relevance of that for the purposes of the trial is that lets them get in more evidence about the unindicted co-conspirator’s or the alleged unindicted co-conspirator’s out-of-court statements than they otherwise could. It’s a way around the hearsay rule . . . For example, if they want to--somebody, one of their witnesses, to talk about what Bruce Lindsey said to him, ordinarily that would be barred by the so-called hearsay rule. You can’t talk --you can’t testify in a trial about what somebody else said out of court. That rule has a lot of exceptions. One of the exceptions is if the person who you’re trying to quote, here Bruce Lindsey, is named by the prosecution as an unindicted co-conspirator, then you can talk about what he said out of court.

Mike Nifong never made such a determination about Williams’ client (Dan Flannery). In fact, Nifong said exactly the opposite, releasing a public statement last May saying that no charges would be brought against anyone other than the three (falsely accused) targets.

I brought this record to McGlone’s attention, and asked if he would be running a correction. He declined, noting that similar language had appeared in the AP wire-service story about Williams. Yet here’s how that story described Williams and the lacrosse case: “A Durham lawyer who represented an unindicted player in the now-debunked Duke lacrosse rape case is working on another high-profile sports case: the dogfighting investigation involving NFL quarterback Michael Vick.” [emphasis added]

A reader from Norfolk, John Deal, pointed out the problem in a letter to the editor about Flannery: “Unindicted yes, but clearly he was not a ‘co-conspirator.’ Instead of using a catchy but inaccurate phrase, how about referring to him as ‘one of the members of the Duke lacrosse team subjected last year to a false accusation of rape’? It just goes to show how difficult it will be to change public perceptions even after the attorney general of North Carolina went out of his way to declare the innocence of those actually charged. In the wake of one of the worst cases of prosecutorial misconduct, an accurate press could help."

Letters to the editor, of course, aren’t corrections; and as of today, the Virginian-Pilot archives reveal no correction of McGlone’s error.

Meanwhile, the Liestoppers discussion board has a lengthy thread on one of the most dubious articles from early in the case, the April 11 column from Eric Adelson.

That column stated,

A source has provided ESPN with a detailed account of the exotic dancer’s arrival at the hospital the night of the alleged sexual assault at a party thrown by members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, was present at the hospital on the night of the alleged incident and says the woman was “beat up” but would not immediately divulge to anyone the identity of her alleged assailants.

“She was hysterical,” the source said. “She was crying, she was pretty banged up. She said she was sexually assaulted, but she didn’t say by whom.”

The source says the woman entered the hospital well after midnight March 13 wearing a red nightgown and nothing on her feet. She was walking on her own, but there were bruises on her face, neck, and arms.

A triage nurse attended to her, but the woman did not want him to touch her because he was a man. She was then examined by a sexual assault nurse.

There were injuries to the woman’s pelvic area, the source said.

According to the source, the woman did not immediately inform either the police or the hospital staff who inflicted the injuries to her.

“She never said one thing about Duke, any athlete or anything,” the source said. “She just kept hollering and screaming. She never said who did it.”

The woman was discharged after approximately five hours.

The timing of Adelson’s article certainly raised eyebrows. The piece appeared one day after: (a) defense attorneys revealed that the DNA tests Mike Nifong’s office had promised would exonerate the innocent produced no matches; and (b) Nifong learned from Dr. Brian Meehan that not only did Crystal Mangum’s rape kit contain no matches to lacrosse players, but there matches to the DNA of multiple, unidentified males.

With the benefit of hindsight, all the italicized items in Adelson’s article appear unsustainable.

We know now:

  • Multiple photographs of Crystal Mangum taken between 12.00am and 12.41 am on the morning of March 14 showed no “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”
  • A 12.31am videotape of Crystal Mangum taken on March 14 showed no “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

  • The statement from Kim Roberts, who was with Mangum from 12.41am through around 1.20am on March 14 made no mention of “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

  • The statements of the first three police officers to see Mangum on March 14 made no mention of “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”
  • The statement of the Durham Access Center nurse, who saw Mangum around 1.40am, March 14, made no mention of “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

  • The written reports of seven doctors and nurses at Duke Hospital who saw Mangum between 2.00am and 8.00am on March 14—including the transparently biased Tara Levicy, who later would be willing to shift her story to accomodate the ever-changing prosecution tale—made no mention of “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

  • The written reports of the UNC medical staff, who saw Mangum on March 15, made no mention of “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

  • This and other police photographs made clear that, as of March 16, Mangum had no “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

  • The Attorney General’s comprehensive inquiry discovered no evidence that, on the morning of March 14, Mangum had “bruises on her face, neck, and arms.”

The logical conclusion from the above: Adelson’s source lied to him. At the very least, the source should be identified so his or her veracity can be tested. Yet Adelson has continued to stand behind the story; no correction has appeared.

Citing items from the discovery file, the Liestoppers discussion board participants have made a very strong case that Adelson’s source was Duke Police Officer Sara Falcon, a graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College who had joined the Duke force (as a trainee) five months before the lacrosse party. Falcon is the only person in the record who made the odd claim that Mangum refused treatment from a “male triage nurse.” SANE nurse-in-training Levicy, on the other hand, had suggested that Mangum had become hysterical when left alone in the room with an unnamed white, male rape crisis counselor who Levicy could not describe.

Falcon appeared in one other context in the case: the Bowen/Chambers report faulted Duke officials for not paying more attention to her version of events, and instead relying on the (truthful) recollection of Officer Christopher Day that he overheard a Durham police officer say that Mangum claimed to have been raped by 20 men. Bowen and Chambers did not explain why the Duke administration should have given such weight to a trainee officer who had less than a half-year of experience.

If, in fact, a Duke employee was the source for Adelson’s highly damaging article, it would raise further questions about the University’s bias against the lacrosse players.

And, if Shafer is correct, we won’t be seeing corrections from either ESPN or the Virginian-Pilot any time soon.

Hat tip: L.E.


Anonymous said...

Hey, KC, could you type slower -- maybe with ONE finger? I'm still trying to respond to all of Yesterday's comments.

Mucho gracias,

AMac said...

The Adelson case is another example of a class of misconduct that has recurred throughout the Hoax/Frame: reporters and editors continuing to protect the confidentiality of their sources who have turned out to be liars.

It's interesting because journalists seem to believe that honoring their parts of bargains struck with fabulists, manipulators, and con-artists is a professional and ethical virtue, rather than a vice driven by unabashed self-interest.

"I'll blow the whistle on sensitive conduct, but only if you protect my anonymity. The Public's interest will be served, and you get a great story!" This can indeed by a service performed by the Fourth Estate.

But what about when Sources turn out to be lying or misleading in pursuit of their own agendas? How does journalists' protection of their anonymity serve the public in those cases? Granted, zipped lips serve the reporter and editor, saving them from potential embarassment, and reassuring future dishonest sources that they won't be tattled on. But that's not the Public's problem--our problem is that we are repeatedly misled by agendaists who succeed in co-opting journalists and their institutions.

Why should Adelson get to hide behind Poynter's or Columbia's skirts and bray about his higher calling, when what he's done is to help screw the public by perpetuating a Hoax?

Adelman's peers should be calling him out on this selfish misbehavior. He's minding his own backside, at the expense of further diminishing the already-low esteem in which his profession is viewed.

Gary Packwood said...

KC said...

...If, in fact, a Duke employee (Sara Falcon) was the source for Adelson’s highly damaging article, it would raise further questions about the University’s bias against the lacrosse players.
Duke's newsletter made mention that Police Officer Trainee Sara Falcon has residences (plural) in Raleigh and Hope Mills.

Is Officer Falcon a members of the Falcon Publishing family in Durham who no doubt have residences (plural) in Raleigh and Hope Mills?

If so, is there a connection from Falcon Publishing to Eric Adelson?

Anonymous said...

I've finally finished commenting on yesterday's page. I've skewered or lauded almost everyone.


Anonymous said...

As a new academic year is about to begin:

The Duke Community Standard

Duke University is a community of scholars and learners, committed to the principles of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, and respect for others. Students share with faculty and staff the responsibility for promoting a climate of integrity. As citizens of this community, students are expected to adhere to these fundamental values at all times, in both their academic and non-academic endeavors.

I affirm my commitment to uphold the values of the Duke University community:

I will not lie, cheat, or steal in my academic endeavors, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.

I will conduct myself responsibly and honorably in all my activities as a Duke student.

It should be pretty obvious that many Duke students have standards that far exceed those of some of the faculty, not to mention that most famous and esteemed Central scholar, most in city hall, and at least some in the administration.

Anonymous said...

Another excellent piece from KC.

What a bombshell if it was found that a female Duke Cop right out of field training was the source of that huge story that conveniently had so much wrong?

Maybe Duke found out she was. I think that is possible. Her statements match up pretty close and something had to give Adelson the confidence to go with that information alone when other things contradicted it.

Thanks KC

Topher said...

As many of you already know, I write for a student paper, and I think this confidential-source narcissism is a bunch of garbage. Confidential/unnamed sources violate the transparency that forms the credibility of any newspaper report (namely the idea that you or I could investigate the sources and refine our conclusions).

David Brinkley's son (former NYT writer) came to advise the [Stanford] Daily one night, and he said some things about anonymous sources: first, they should be minimized. Second, the reader needs to know what their credibility is and why they need to be unnamed.

Then you get bizzaros like Judith Miller who claim some kind of constitutional right to not reveal who said what to whom about what. I thought citing her for contempt was appropriate

People's lives and livelihoods (and matters of national security) can't be put on a shelf because someone wants the thrill of being in on a chase without getting their name stamped on it.

This may seem reactionary, but in these anonymous sources I see too few 'whistleblowers' needing protection from true retribution and too many floppers who just don't want to make a wake in their office (and mendacious liars, as Falcon appears to be).

Anonymous said...

In my town's paper, the rules is, "In cases in which the use of unidentified/anonymous sources is essential, the names of those sources must be disclosed to at least one senior editor." Does ESPN have such a policy as well? If so, there are at least least two people who are keeping quiet to protect a source whose account is provably false.

rod allison, detroit said...

It is well worth hitting the link for Sarah Falcon and viewing her photo in the linked newsletter.

She looks like a guy. Read whatever you want into that.

Anonymous said...

As a subscriber to the Virginian-Pilot for twelve years, I can say without hesitation that the editorial policies of that paper would fit well in Pravda or Izvestia. Countless times I have written to them pointing out factual errors only to be answered with silence or "mind your own business and leave the newspaper reporting to professionals." The paper is going the way of the NYT. Actually, the basic difference between the NYT and the V-P is the V-P has a comics page (the NYT has no comics page because they wouldn't want to be accused of redundancy).

mac said...

KC's comment:

"Letters to the editor, of course, aren't corrections..."
Yet that is what nearly every newspaper in the country will tell you when you argue for a correction:

"Write a letter to the editor!"

It's usually uttered by people who have no respect for a reader's honest admonition to get the story right. I can provide too many examples - (and I'm sure nearly everyone here can as well) - that it would seem redundant: it's only redundant because it's systemic.
Most Ombudsmen are a placebo, BTW, for those papers who employ them.

There must be a way to challenge the "Fourth Estate" to do better. So far, even the threat of bankruptcy doesn't seem to be working. It might help if there was a great culture of integrity in journalism schools, and getting the story right was made a top priority - rather than merely getting the story attention: what we have in journalism is a bunch of attention-getters who don't care if the story is right as long as they get the headlines.

An admonition for those types to consider:
"When I was young, I dearly wished to be understood; when I grew older, I dearly hoped not to be." (or something like that.)

no justice, no peace said...

Where to start?

There are so many things wrong with the news business.

For me the errors and lack of corrections are expected.

What troubles me are the more benign forms of bias.

1. Photo selection and positioning

2. Story placement

3. Omission or stack-ranking of stories. (top of the fold vs. page 20)

4. Balance of Letters to the Editor. They present 50/50 implying there is an equal distribution of comments when there may be a 95/5 reaction to a story.

In short they are both overtly and covertly dishonest. That is not lost on readers and is why so many, so quickly, have found other sources of information.

As another aside, I can say that in stories I have been directly involved in 100% of the stories had at least one error of fact. I'm talking several stories, over several years, and broad topics. Simple facts are missed either intentionally or accidentally.

scott said...

Not only are corrections in newspapers few and far between, most of those few corrections are
1) placed in a section of the newspaper that many who read the original story on page 1 above the fold will never see;
2) of the variety that corrects something that is meaningless to the overall intent of the original story (e.g., In our original story Senator X was noted to have been wearing a blue necktie. His necktie was actually blue and red striped. We regret this error. Blah! Blah! Blah!).

Anonymous sources in a majority of
stories are part of an agenda of the reporter and the source and have nothing to do with reporting the truth.

AF said...

Thanks for letting us know about this disreputable newsrag

Journalism schools instilling the values of integrity and respect in their students. It's a really nice thought but the faculties in those schools are members of the faculties in general. As with Duke, we have seen far too many members of the faculty so far into left field that we have trouble finding them with binoculars. The print media seems to be including almost as much fantasy as fact in order to continue to exist. College/university faculties need to be cleansed of the leeches which have pervaded them. They were not meant to be havens for agendas nor were they meant to inflict their opinions on students veiled as facts.
It seems to me that the hypocrisy of the university is now firmly ingrained in the MSM. What it will take to clean up the image remains to be seen. They have already eliminated truth and integrity. Suggestions anyone?

you are spot on!

How right you are as well. Sometimes I suspect the "anonymous" source might be the reporter him/herself. What better way to inject your opinion without letting the reader know that what they are being fed is the author's opinion.

Reporter, heal thyself!!

Anonymous said...

Is Adelson a Communist?

Richard Aubrey said...

What, exactly, is the difference between an anonymous source and a made-up source?

The integrity of the journalist.

Sounds like a loser to me.

no justice, no peace said...

"...integrity is the most important thing..."

Why can't the Duke Administration and Faculty (or at least some fo the faculty) undertand a simple concept? Integrity counts, character matters...

The Dallas Morning News, Randy Jennings
High School Briefs
Duncanville, TX
August 23, 2007

“Volleyball coach Lyn Evans’ sense of fair play did not go unnoticed by an opposing fan in the Tournament of Champions her team hosted over the weekend.

On a crucial point in a Saturday morning match, Evans requested a call by a student line judge be over-turned. Had the call stood, Duncanville would have won the game and the match. Instead, League City Clear Creek went on to rally and win.

Jim Pendergast, a parent of a Clear Creek player, said the match’s outcome was overshadowed by the lesson conveyed by Evans.

“Coach Evans did not forget for one second that integrity is the most important thing not only in sports, but in life, and this was the best opportunity to teach her players just that.” Pendergast wrote in a letter to the UIL commissioner and Duncanville school district.”

no justice, no peace said...

I should point out that the DMN top of the fold this a.m. was split with...Vick and immigrant auto fraud (illegal does not define immigrant).

A story about the Holy Land terror funding trial has moved to page 3, section B, but only after a defendant screamed about a Zionist conspiracy. The lead paragraph characterizes the action as "...shouting in frustration...".

The integrity blurb is in the bottom corner of page 7, section c., adjacent to an article about a NASCAR rain-out.

miramar said...

This isn't exactly a correction, but a couple of days ago KC was commenting on the NYT column that suggested that Michael Vick was somehow victimized by his friends. Today's Washington Post indicates it's not quite that simple:

"The most prominent theory, espoused by Boddie and Reeves, blames much of Vick's troubles on his continued association with childhood friends who have questionable pasts. Those same friends were the ones who agreed to testify against Vick in exchange for more lenient sentences for their roles in the crimes.

Court papers, however, portray Vick as someone whose legal troubles are his own doing. They show Vick as the unquestioned leader of a vicious dogfighting operation. Not only did he finance it, but he also carried out some of its most heinous crimes, including the killings of dogs."

Since newspaper's won't police themselves, then perhaps the only solution is for them to police each other.


Anonymous said...

Newspapers, for all of their investigative journalism prowess, are remarkably reluctant to turn the spotlight on themselves.

BTW, is Duke U providing students with the H-S or the N&O this year?

Ralph Phelan said...

It's possible that Eric Adelson made this all up out of whole cloth (the unnamed source could be fictional. Remember Jayson Blair?)

It's possible that Eric Adelson is protecting his source in case he wants to use it again. This would imply that he will knowing quote proven liars as anonymous sources.

Either way, anything Adelson publishes from now on should be considered completely unreliable, and dismissed unread.

His paper's credibility suffers, too. I'm sure they have some honest reporters, but now I'd have to figure out which ones they are individually before I believe anything any of them writes.

AMac said...

Ralph Phelan 9:02am --

Your point about reporter Adelson demonstrating his own untrustworthiness, and that of his employer, is simple common sense.

Perhaps, some day, people other than bowtie-wearing academics and pajama-clad bloggers will achieve such insights. It will be unremarkable to see such instances of bad behavior discussed by the likes of Nicholas Lehmann in the New Yorker, by the CJR, and by Romanesko at poynter.org.

But for now, Eric Adelman, Duff Wilson, and their cronies are rewarded with the "nothing to see here" treatment from within their profession.

Roger said...

I too had contacted McGlone but did not receive the courtesy of a reply.
Roger W Lidman,MD
Duke '71

Anonymous said...

"She looks like a guy. Read whatever you want into that."

Holding people responsible for what they do is what this blog does and does well and should continue doing.

Trying to hold people responsible for what they look like is pathetic kindergarten antics and should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

A number of phrases are tossed about carelessly these days. "Commodity" is one that amuses me. Normally part of a phrase such as, "that player is a commodity," the meaning of the speaker is actually the opposite of the word's usual meaning (a mass-produced unspecialized product). Valuable players are unique and are from from being a commodity.

Correcting a person who misuses these phrases is difficult. It is not a case of telling them something like, "your directions say to turn left when you should turn right." Unfortunately, when you discuss it with them, you are telling them that they don't know left from right, which is fairly embarassing to them.

Steven Horwitz said...

Actually "commodity" has a specific meaning in the Marxist tradition: a good produced "for the purpose of exchange." Thus anything whose value is understood in terms of what it will fetch "on the market" is a commodity for Marxists and their latter-day heirs.

So "that player is a commodity" is perfectly fine usage if the speaker is using commodity in that Marxist sense.

As usual, explanation of that usage does not imply endorsement.

Ryan said...

I, too, emailed McGlone and the Virginian-Pilot public editor, mostly to encourage them to make public the conspiracy they must've uncovered in order to use that term (one can't very well be a conspirator without a conspiracy).

I've not heard back as of yet.

I took many journalism classes in high school and college, worked on the student newspaper and did some work for some weekly and daily papers. None of the professors or editors I dealt with would have condoned protecting an anonymous source who lied. As a matter of fact, very few of them would've let me use an anonymous source at all.

That's not to say these people I worked with/learned from were perfect models of integrity. It's just that protecting a lying source and refusing to correct those lies is just so egregious that these people wouldn't consider it kosher to do so.

Carolyn said...

I don't read newspapers and magazines anymore. I now rely on the Net.

Why? Okay, one example. The New Republic was caught (repeat, CAUGHT!) publishing Stephen Glass's lies about events that never happened in America. And how does the magazine respond to its mistake? It publishes Scott Beauchamp's lies about events that never happened in Iraq. Literally, catching the media in a lie doesn't faze it in the slightest. It just continues doing it.

So I'm continuing what I'm doing. Refusing to read any magazine or newspaper. At best, I'll use them to wrap fish in - and the fish will smell better.

Anonymous said...

Free speech is an important part of our society, culture, constituion. I would not want to see any specific controls on free speech. In general, this would apply to any of the news media.

However, when the news media blatantly prints unsubstantiated, and generally false news, that is harmful to an individual's or group of people's reputation--based on a so-called anonymous source--there should be sanctions. How about this: A 30-day suspension from publishing or reporting anything. Do you think Duff Wilson, ESPN, Nancy Grace, may do a better job of getting the facts when they know it may shut their operations down for a month.

Anonymous said...

Is Adelson a commodity?

inman said...


No Adelson is a commonality.

Anonymous said...

Duke is giving out a Durham edition N & O this year --- not the HS.

Anonymous said...

I contacted a reporter friend of mine (20 years experience) who said (off the record) that if he were to advise someone on how to get the article corrected, he would not contact the reporter but go to the public editor or ombudsman. He said reporters hate agreeing to corrections because it gets them in trouble. He said that his last correction was in 1999. Seems like with the internet and reporters' email accounts being accessible, that the system should change.

Anonymous said...

All who hold their breath waiting for a retraction from any of these MSM sources will die of anoxia.

It will NOT happen because it does not serve their political purpose.

The feminist movement is no longer about freedom for women. The civil rights movement is no longer about freedom for blacks.

Both movements, well-intentioned in their beginnings, have become anti-male, anti-white, and anti-truth.

Their agenda is no longer freedom, but revenge, and reverse enslavement. Their "enemies" are those who are white, wealthy, male, or conservative.

The published articles / syllabus etc. of the Gang of 88 are perfect examples of this distortion. In seeking to examine and learn from history, they have made the sad lessons of the past into a rallying cry for retaliation.

And just as those whom they have criticized ( some of it legitimate; much of it distorted) they have chosen not to become beacons of freedom through truth, but reverse-enslavers.

Shame! The lessons of history are being ignored. It is a terribly dangerous trend.


Anonymous said...

Gender-based PC police attack Northwestern University researcher

(Yes, I know its the NY Slimes, but the story is noteworthy and topical.)

Anonymous said...

Am I biased, or is there a tremendous difference in how the media has cautiously treated Michael Vick versus the almost immediate declaration of the Duke boys guilt...even after all the witnesses and the report that Vick will plead guilty?

Personally, I think Vick should not go to prison, but instead serve a worse sentence: A 5-year no-out contract to play for Detroit!

Steven Horwitz said...

1049 writes:

However, when the news media blatantly prints unsubstantiated, and generally false news, that is harmful to an individual's or group of people's reputation--based on a so-called anonymous source--there should be sanctions.

By the government? Good luck with that whole constitution thing. If not, then by whom and enforced how?

Ralph Phelan said...

Steven Horwitz

I think we could, with no risk to the Constitution, modify libel law to remove the special privileges courts have given the press in recent decades and hold them to the same standards of accuracy as everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Another great post.

Whether it be the media (mainstream and/or new) or the group of 88, Prof. Johnson's post reflects a decline of standards. No need for a reporter to verify an anonymous source's questionable facts - just print it; no need for a tenured professor to actually do research - just publish a theory as fact; no for a prosecutor to have evidence to support an indictment - just indict the most convenient (clearly innocent) defendants. When the goal is a front page article, rather than accurate and truthful reporting, advancing an agenda, rather than true scholarship or winning an election, rather than doing justice, the standard of "non-corrections" is THE standard.

I remember being taught, at home and at school, that there is always a right way and a wrong way to do any given task. The wrong way, typically the most expedient, is, unfortunately, the new standard.

mac said...

"Trying to hold people responsible for what they look like...should be stopped."

Wrong: people are responsible for how they dress themselves; their manner of dress is a personal statement about how they wish to be viewed...(a paraphrase from Wilde - I think?)

In any case, doesn't Vick look like an artist's conception of Beelzebub? I always thought so, but resisted saying it until now. (Now I'm guessing he WANTS to look like Beelzebub, since it has been demonstrated that he is in league with the same, who reportedly was in attendance at some of the entertainment.)
Michael Wilbon has a pretty good take on Vick, BTW.

Anonymous said...

American Heritage Dictionary -

com·mod·i·ty (kə-mŏd'ĭ-tē) n. pl. com·mod·i·ties

Something useful that can be turned to commercial or other advantage:

"Left-handed, power-hitting third basemen are a rare commodity in the big leagues" (Steve Guiremand).

An article of trade or commerce, especially an agricultural or mining product that can be processed and resold.

Advantage; benefit.

Obsolete A quantity of goods.

mac said...

"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I'm saying." (Oscar Wilde)

Could be a quote from most anyone in the 88. Or from Duff, Salmonella, the HS-SH...the whole crew!

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Many newspapers, and unfortunately a whole host of 'intellectuals', promote the emplacement of shield laws, specifically to shield journalists who use anonymous sources. They claim it's in the public interest and promotes the Public's Right To Know (which I have somehow never been able to find in the Bill of Rights, but that's a different rant).

As we can see, anonymous sources can be superb reinforcement for viciously biased, or wholly fictional, news stories. If we're going to defend the public interest, let's add to any such shield law a heavy penalty against any news medium whose anonymous sources can be shown to have provided false or misleading information.

After all, by McCain-Feingold the news media are exempted from the campaign finance restrictions. Therefore use its definition of who's part of 'news media', and add to the above heavy penalty for anonymously-sourced fake information all the penalties of McCain-Feingold when said fake data has the power to affect an election.

no justice, no peace said...

Thomas Sowell must have just taken a trip through Durham...

Hopelessly Devoted to Failure

"...Blacks are to the Left today what the working class were to Marx in the 19th century — pawns in an ideological game..."

"...Blacks who rise out of poverty are of no great interest to the Left, unless the way they do so is by attacking society..."

"...A whole mythology has grown up that the advancement of minorities and women in America is a result of policies promoted by the Left in the 1960s. Such claims are often based on nothing more substantial than ignoring the history of the progress made prior to 1960..."

What's not to like about this man? He even wears a jacket and tie in his photo and is smiling...

Anonymous said...

"'Trying to hold people responsible for what they look like...should be stopped.'

Wrong: people are responsible for how they dress themselves; their manner of dress is a personal statement about how they wish to be viewed...(a paraphrase from Wilde - I think?)"

The comment I was responding to, Mac, was "She looks like a guy. Read whatever you want into that." Not "she has chosen to dress like a guy", but "she looks like a guy."

Many of the group of 88 made unjustifiable, indefensible statements and then later tried to excuse them by claiming that the statement hadn't really said what anyone reading the statement knew it was saying. To pretend that out of all the things that fall under the category of "looks like", that only the one which can be considered reasonably under the control of the individual in question was being referenced in Rod Allison's statement is to lower yourself to the pathetic level of all those G88ers who try cravenly now to pretend that the phrase "what happened to this young woman" in the listening statement meant "drunkenness".

Debrah said...

"Wrong: people are responsible for how they dress themselves; their manner of dress is a personal statement about how they wish to be viewed...(a paraphrase from Wilde - I think?)"

Quite true.

I attempted to leave a similar post before I left this morning, but it didn't work.

Wish I had used Oscar Wilde. One should always quote Oscar Wilde.

Anonymous said...

to 1.08

I agree that since the MSM is interested not in just making money, but also in advancing a certain philosophy, they will not correct published stories unless they dragged into it.

The Washington Post has done this for years. One example was their story on the plight of a young black in DC. This is an old story, but it demonstrates they still suffer from the same pathology.

Janet Cooke wrote a completely fabricated story about an 8-year-old drug addict in DC. Even though problems began to arise with her story after it had been published by the Washington Post, (for one, the police department looked for the kid for 17 days and could not find him) Bob Woodward nominated her for a Pulitzer Prize. She pulled the wool over the best investigative reporter (Watergate fame) in the universe? Right. A few days after she had won the Prize, the Post had to state the story was a hoax. It’s hard to believe, but this is what Bob Woodward said:

“I think that the decision to nominate the story for a Pulitzer is of minimal consequence. I also think that it won is of little consequence. It is a brilliant story -- fake and fraud that it is. It would be absurd for me or any other editor to review the authenticity or accuracy of stories that are nominated for prizes."
I’m sure that the Post was furious to have gotten caught, but Woodward shows his arrogance by the fact that the story is what counts--not authenticity.

If you are not familiar with the hoax, it is fun reading. If you have an extra couple of minutes, read it. With her success on this story, Cooke had started on another hoax about a 14-year-old prostitute with a 20-year-old- pimp, both black. Just imagine what 2 young homeless blacks look like. Then imagine Cooke stating she was meeting them in a restaurant in Georgetown! Wild. And she had supporters on this story. I don’t know why they never made a movie about Cooke’s life.


Ralph Phelan said...

" It would be absurd for me or any other editor to review the authenticity or accuracy of stories that are nominated for prizes."

I can understand why noone in journalism wants to go there (*cough* Duranty *cough*) (And yes, Walter Duranty was a Communist.)

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 5:55 said...

...If you are not familiar with the hoax, it is fun reading. If you have an extra couple of minutes, read it. With her success on this story, Cooke had started on another hoax about a 14-year-old prostitute with a 20-year-old- pimp, both black. Just imagine what 2 young homeless blacks look like. Then imagine Cooke stating she was meeting them in a restaurant in Georgetown! Wild. And she had supporters on this story. I don’t know why they never made a movie about Cooke’s life.

Thanks for this reference and suggestion that we read. It is an important story.

I can't help but wonder if this was on of the first example of writers writing the formal version of the ranting's of various social alarmists and their incessant chants about what is wrong with America.

How can a young writer hope to compete with the nonsense espoused by the G88 for example.

I will watch my expectations closely.

I also recommend this article.

Anonymous said...

I may have to raise my opinion of the mental prowess of the G88. Brilliant, really! Make a snarky comment about somebody's picture, and the usually insightful posters here take off on a tangent that makes everybody look dopey.

I'm just sayin'


Anonymous said...

TO GARY AT 11.11

"I can't help but wonder if this was on of the first example of writers writing the formal version of the ranting's of various social alarmists and their incessant chants about what is wrong with America"
I don't think this was the first example, but the first hoax to get a Pulitzer Prize. I have read that the Post wanted more "black" stories, and at the time most papers were pretty white, so when Cooke,(black) applied for a job, and claimed she was a Phi Beta Kappa Vassar grad, they didn't even check, and gave her a key to the printing press. So who knows? It took the Post about 7 months to admit it was a hoax. And that was after the NYT, and LA Times, and others wrote countless articles about the hoax.

Ralph Phelan said...

" have read that the Post wanted more "black" stories, and at the time most papers were pretty white, so when Cooke,(black) applied for a job, and claimed she was a Phi Beta Kappa Vassar grad, they didn't even check"

This remind anyone else of the story of Jayson Blair?

But remember everyone, the quest for diversity does not entail lowering standards. The check is in the mail. And Islam is a religion of peace.

Anonymous said...

to ralph 8.12

I still do not get the quest for diversity in every human endevor.

I can see in television programming. You want a mix: sports, reality, comedy, sci-fi, history, etc.

I can see in restaurants: Chinese, fast foods, veggie, cheap, all-night, etc.

The same for colleges, home builders, political parties, music, movies, cars, magazines, etc.

I do have to admit that I have a problem with diversity when it comes to news and justice. Why does diversity have to be racial? That means that if I read about Vick, I first should be aware of the author's skin color? I can see the value in opinion pieces, but not in hard news. What happens is that we hear that so and so is an Uncle Tom becuase if he was really black, he would not feel that way. Then there is the question that asks if Obama is black enough? That Prez Clinton was the first black president. That Jeter is not really all black, so his opinion is not valid regarding the black experience. That the Duke lacrosse players deserve the harassement they got becuase the NAACP says so. Why include their opinion as valuable when reporting the FACTS?

Like I said, I'm not sure why diversity is so NOW. But, you are right, that's how we end up with the Jaysons and many of the G88 of the world.

Anonymous said...

This is unrelated to the topic, but it is always cool to google DIW from a hotel computer in Hong Kong and see from the autocomplete that I'm not the first to do so from this computer.