Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Lacrosse Case, Law & the Media

Tuesday’s post looked at how law journals are treating—superficially, with the exception of Laurie Levenson’s work—the “Nifong effect.” To date, only one article has been published that focuses entirely on the case. Penned by Susan Kosse, an assistant professor at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law, the article (31 S. Ill. U. L. J. 243) asks, “Do race and class impact media rape narratives?”

Kosse’s basic argument: Based on what she observed of the lacrosse case, “media rape coverage leaves much to be desired.” The handling of Durham events confirms earlier studies that in “interclass rape cases, the victim is blamed more when she is from a lower class than the offender.” Also, Kosse chastises the media for expanding the rape narrative beyond the actual night by reporting many subsequent events.”

According to Kosse, “scholars argue that the media is more sympathetic to the victim when a rape occurs between an upper middle class white woman and an African-American assailant. In contrast, if the allegation involves a rapist who is white or from a higher class, the media tends to place more blame on the lower class, minority victim.” (In fact, she supplies only one article to substantiate this assertion, although it certainly sounds plausible.)

There was, however, no rape in this case, rendering it unclear how events in Durham help us better understand “rape narratives.” Kosse does admit, repeatedly, that the Duke case might not be a good case study for her purposes. She notes that “after I completed this article, the prosecutor dismissed the rape charges against the defendants.” (She says this decision didn’t affect her thesis, since the rape charges were in place for the months that she analyzed the media.) She concedes that the political motives of Nifong—a “Caucasian”—might make the overall case “difficult to analyze and decipher.” She understands that Crystal Mangum “gave apparently conflicting stories about the number of individuals involved, the timing, and the circumstances”—though, she hastens to add, because “no trial will occur, we may never know why she offered multiple versions of the happenings of that night.” And she acknowledges that at times the media was unfair to the lacrosse players, especially in the attention devoted to Ryan McFadyen’s e-mail.

Nonetheless, Kosse concludes that the Duke case could signal an alarming “trend” in which “the media favors the rich, white defendants.” This development could impact “true victims coming forward to tell their stories.” Her evidence? In the articles that she reviewed, a “20% difference” existed “between the sympathy statements for the victim [sic, Mangum] and the offenders [sic, the lacrosse players] in the Duke coverage,” which “actually shows an increase in pro-offender [sic] statements from the ten earlier cases [from 1980 through 1986].” Kosse never explains how favorably describing the personal characteristics of the lacrosse players should be classified as “pro-offender” given that Seligmann, Finnerty, and Dave Evans were innocent.


Kosse’s sources were Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated, and People. “I picked,” she writes, “the magazines based on their significant national readership,” and “since the previous [1980-1986] study used magazines, I also chose magazines instead of newspapers or television coverage.”

The media industry, however, changed dramatically between 1986—when national magazines were far more influential than they are today—and 2006. In 1986, cable legal affairs programs didn’t exist; in 2006, they were ubiquitous. In 1986, the New York Times couldn’t be easily read in many parts of the country; in 2006, it’s a click away on the web. In 1986, less than half of American households even had cable TV; now ESPN, not Sports Illustrated, is the overwhelming power in sports news.

Through her selection process, Kosse managed to exclude the wildly biased Times; the guilt-presuming Nancy Grace; and ESPN, which was far more hostile to the players than was Sports Illustrated.


According to Kosse, the Duke case showed that “the media must be careful not to unwittingly advance only one side’s story.” Was she talking about the fawning coverage granted to Mike Nifong’s ethically improper pre-primary publicity crusade? No. Instead, she was describing defense attorneys, who “talked freely and often provided the media with uncontested statements questioning the credibility of the woman. The media seemed eager to report anything the defense had to say.”

Meanwhile, “the victim [sic] has only spoken to reporters once and been out of the public's eye for months. The absence of her viewpoint contrasted starkly with the defense ‘spin’ after the indictments.”

Kosse never defines what specific remarks constituted “defense ‘spin’.” The defense attorneys did say—repeatedly—that their clients were innocent, that there was no evidence of rape, and that Mangum was not credible. As the Attorney General’s investigation revealed, all of those statements were true. Can the truth be considered “defense ‘spin’”?


Kosse does admit that sharp criticisms about Nifong’s political motives existed. But she throws up her hands as to the significance of Nifong’s behavior: “How much impact, if any, this additional narrative had on the rape narrative is impossible to know. Perhaps the reporters were more willing to include pro-offender [sic] information to offset what they perceived to be extreme conduct on the part of the prosecutor in an attempt to use the case as a political opportunity to help him win reelection. Although the political implications complicated the analysis of the case and prohibited absolute findings [sic], it highlights how these factors not directly related to the alleged rape are still present and distract from the goal of finding truth and justice in rape cases.”

As the DHC findings of fact noted, “these factors” were “directly related to the alleged rape”—since without them, no indictments ever would have occurred.

Evaluating the Media

Where, according to Kosse, did the media fail?

1.) “The constant reference to the races of the people involved seemed unnecessary. The media’s highlighting the fact that she was black and the men were white insinuates that this is relevant. In one article readers were even told that the men had requested a white and Hispanic dancer but received two black women, as if this somehow was important information to know.”

Who played the “racial card” in the case? Kosse never says. It was, of course, Mangum herself (who falsely claimed that racial slurs occurred in the house) and Nifong (who highlighted the racial elements for his own purposes).

As to the race of the dancers the players requested—this issue, too, was first injected by Mangum sympathizers such as Duke professor Mark Anthony Neal, who suggested that the players had requested black dancers, deliberately. On April 13, 2006, the Group of 88 member wrote, “Regardless of what happened inside of 610 N. Buchanan Blvd, the young men were hoping to consume something that they felt that a black woman uniquely possessed. If these young men did in fact rape, sodomize, rob, and beat this young women [sic], it wasn’t simply because she was a women [sic], but because she was a black woman.”

I agree completely that the racial aspect of the case was overplayed. But given that Nifong, Mangum, and Duke activist professors were all stressing that element, it should come as little surprise that journalists did so as well, at least initially. The decision of the New York Times to continue framing the case through race and class lenses long after Mangum’s credibility had collapsed is another matter.

2.) “The media’s constant reference to the woman as a stripper and exotic dancer created a problem because it took the focus away from the violent sexual allegations of rape, and instead focused on her conduct before the alleged violation. By bombarding the public with those terms, the myth that the woman provoked or deserved to be raped was reinforced.”

As the Yaeger/Pressler book, the results of the DNA tests, and the defense’s own investigation conclusively established, referring to Mangum as an “exotic dancer” euphemistically described her actual occupation.

Kosse never says how the media should have described Mangum. It’s a quandary, she observes, “because the incident centered around her being hired to dance, and current rape shield laws prevented the reporting her name, the media had a difficult choice about what to call her.”

I know of no “current rape shield laws” that prevent the media from identifying the name of rape accusers. The North Carolina criminal statute certainly contains no such prohibition.

Kosse reasons that Mangum was especially vulnerable to stereotyping, since “she was young, pretty and from a lower class compared to that of the offenders.”

In fact, she was older than any of the accused players. And while many adjectives could be used to describe Mangum’s appearance, “pretty” is not one of them.

3.) Kosse criticizes journalists for using “considerable space in the articles to recreate the events of the party. Several articles described the events leading up to the alleged rape by publishing minute-by-minute summaries based on time-stamped photographs taken by the men.”

Yet these “minute-by-minute summaries” proved critical to the case—as the AG’s report made clear—since they proved that a rape could not have occurred. Should the press have ignored the fact that Reade Seligmann was on a videotape someplace else when Nifong said he was committing a crime?

4.) Kosse’s chief complaint about the media’s performance, however, is its unwillingness to frame all coverage to her liking. “The press,” she asserts, “receives a failing grade for not presenting the narrative in a context that promoted an understanding that rape is a societal problem and not just an individual problem [by] examining the phenomena of rapes on college campuses and specifically rapes and other violent acts by athletes. The privileged upbringings may be relevant to why the patriarchal myths still exist which is what the media should explore instead of listing the real estate particulars of the men’s parents’ homes.”

Again, a rape did not occur. And overwhelming evidence came to light very early on that at least one of the accused people was demonstrably innocent. Why the media should have used a false rape claim to present a “victims’ rights” narrative is unclear.

Kosse concludes,

The pro-defense slant of these titles makes the coverage seem unbalanced and helps perpetuate the ‘woman cries rape for revenge (or money)’ narrative. Since the woman’s credibility was so much at issue in this case, perhaps these titles are perfectly appropriate as they accurately reflect the state of the case. Reporters should consider, however, if these headlines may discourage true victims from coming forward. Constant reference to the credibility of the victim may unintentionally silence women who have real claims. This of course is very tricky for reporters when faced with a possible false charges case. Since the majority of rape charges are legitimate, perhaps the safer choice is for reporters to use more neutral titles, at least in the early stages of a story as occurred in the Duke saga.

In other words, maybe this was a false claim, and maybe Nifong did indict without probable cause and then commit massive misconduct to sustain his case, and maybe the lacrosse players’ professors did advance their personal, professional, and pedagogical agendas on the backs of their own students, but . . . the media should have downplayed these issues and sacrificed the players on the altar of a “victims’ rights” agenda.

That sounds a bit like how the New York Times and the Herald-Sun approached the case.


Anonymous said...

As someone has said, "some cases are so important that innocence cannot be allowed as a defense".

What an obstacle for all those with an agenda that the lacrosse players were actually not guilty. (It is simply very inconvenient...)

But if we try hard enough we can all overlook it.

Anonymous said...

This is maddening!


Those of us who have always--wrongly--favored African-Americans concerning every "problem" they have supposedly had, have been shocked at how these lacrosse players have been treated.

Someone--and I mean all of us who have actively participated on this blog because we cared about justice--must fight against these continued lies from people in the media.

Just about everything Kosse has written is a disgusting LIE!

How can this go on? They continue to use Reade, Collin, and David to fulfill their sordid tales.

Anonymous said...

This is a great embarrassment for the University of Louisville and its law school. What student would want to go there and have classes taught by this professor?

Anonymous said...

Is Kosse a JD type law professor or a BA or PHD type? So she filed this paper after Nifong dismissed the rape charges but before this case was dismissed by the NC AG right? I don't know much about this law school but this paper seems pretty lame in evidence-logic and conclusions.

kbp said...

The question should be 'did the media show enough attention to the actual crimes committed by the DPD and DA'?

Anonymous said...

inre Kosse

This is what happens when society fails to punish false accusers.

How bizarre that sanctions for false accusations was not addressed by the law professor.

I'm starting to think that a lot of professors are at universities because they aren't intelligent enough to do anything else.


AF said...

Meanwhile, “the victim [sic] has only spoken to reporters once and been out of the public's eye for months. The absence of her viewpoint contrasted starkly with the defense ‘spin’ after the indictments.”
She fails to mention that the DA also went forward with the indictments of the LAX 3 without speaking to her also. Mikey was on TV more than Al Sharptongue during this time making all kinds of wild accusations. Ms. Kosse fails to realize that Mikey was trying the boys in the MSM and gathering a pretty good sized lynch mob all the while. The defense team had truth and justice on their side. Look who prevailed here, too.

“The media’s constant reference to the woman as a stripper and exotic dancer created a problem because it took the focus away from the violent sexual allegations of rape, and instead focused on her conduct before the alleged violation. By bombarding the public with those terms, the myth that the woman provoked or deserved to be raped was reinforced.”
From all accounts both by her "employer" and the DNA, there is a name for what she really was but it got Don Imus fired and sued so I won't use it here. Ms. Kosse, you are not so naive as to NOT know to what I refer?

In other words, maybe this was a false claim, and maybe Nifong did indict without probable cause and then commit massive misconduct to sustain his case, and maybe the lacrosse players’ professors did advance their personal, professional, and pedagogical agendas on the backs of their own students, but . . . the media should have downplayed these issues and sacrificed the players on the altar of a “victims’ rights” agenda.
And maybe you, like the Herald-Scum and the New York Slimes still have no clue about what didn't happen at 610 N. Buchanan.

Ms. Kosse, I trust that if I looked up your academic credentials I would find that you partook of the Anger Studies courses available while you were in college? Or did you just get angry all by yourself?

The Attorney General, Roy Cooper, declared the LAX 3 to be innocent of all charges of rape, kidnapping, and sexual assault. If you don't know the meaning of the word innocent, there is an online dictionary available. It really does work.

Thanks for coming down and making another deposit of bovine excrement. As usual, KC has "wiped" you up and flushed you away. Hasta la vista baby!

Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

This article is a great warning to any researcher of the dangers of treating panel data as if it were a cross-section of data.

Cross-section data would be several observations taken, for example, from a sample of magazines AT THE SAME TIME. In this case were one to take a cross-section of April or May articles, they would have been very very pro-Mangum.

Panel data are both cross-section and time-series. That is observations of several magazines over different time periods. Of course in this case a cross-section of articles in December and really after some time in July would not be vary favorable toward Mangum.

Since Nifong dragged the case on for more months after it was publically known that he had no evidence than the number of months before discovery and it became publically known Nifong had no evidence, it is not surprise nor revealing that more articles in this sample of WEEKLY publications were skeptical of Mangum than focused on the Mangum's claims. This is a natural result of confusing a panel of data with a cross-section of data.

In addition this author selected data from magazines that come out less frequently than newspapers, broadcasts and internet articles. Thus, she misses that the huge number number of articles in April, May and June in daily and more frequent outlets which maybe [and likely in my mind] dwarf the less frequent reporting later. That is a magazine that publishes a couple of articles in May but prints 3 articles, one each in July, November and December as the case is falling apart will by her measure have been anti-Mangum. But a daily might have published 30+ stories in April and May and only 25 or so later as the case fell apart but was not a daily breaking story.

Finally, other academic disciplines have long been a bit skeptical of law reviews which are editted by STUDENTS. Publishing a paper in a law review that does not understand that no rape shield law can trump the first ammendment and calls the accused offenders shows the dangers of neophyte editors.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Kosse's thesis seems to be that journalists must take care to arm themselves with the right metanarrative (i.e., hers). Truth? facts? evidence? - old fashioned and basically obsolete.

Gary Packwood said...

I think we can see where Susan Kosse is coming from if we will check her connection with the Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) at Louisville and the Feminist League of Organized Resistance at Louisville.

See STUDENT CLIMATE in these minutes from the Commission on the Status of Women (COSW) Minutes

There is also a connection with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me that the basic issue of this case never gets addressed. Crystal made a false accusation and an entire team was scorned in the Press for an event that never happened. Three men were falsey indicted for something that was imaginary and Kosse, a law professot, never approachs that??

What a sorry ass article by Kosse!

Carolyn said...

Crystal is 'pretty'?

Somebody give Kosse back her white cane and tell her to tippy tap her way over to the Gang where she can sit in the front row with them and cut string together while everyone sings 'we shall overcome -- facts'.

Alan Furman said...

Narrative first, facts last.

Never trust po-mo bullshit artists (or their dupes).

Danny said...

Isn't it amazing how many people out there working in areas like law, politics, television, radio, magazines, newspapers, advertising and teaching who seem to have gang of 88 style agendas.

It's an orchestrated effort to kill off concepts like truth and justice in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Kosse continues the fine tradition of not letting having nothing to say deter her from proving it.

On the other hand the way too short excerpt of "Until Proven Innocent" in the current issue of RD has Best Seller written all over it. Wonder how the Old Gray Lady is going to handle this one?

Anonymous said...

At first, I thought its hard to believe this actually got published in a law review publication. But, upon reflection, I realized, given what we've seen come out of this case, absolutely nothing should surprise me anymore.

Anonymous said...

I can see such shoddy work appearing in any number of academic journals, but a law journal - written by a law professor?

Her reference to rape shield laws shows her utter lack of research. Those laws apply to trial and the admissibility of certain evidence, not the privacy of the accused. Any 1st year law student understands that.

This is simply another Times styled piece - draw the curve, then plot the points to fit the race/class/gender narrative.

The list of professors students should avoid gets longer by the day.

M. Simon said...

Privileged upper class white men with tastes for raping low class women, preferably across racial lines?

Sounds like a Victorian melodrama.

Anonymous said...

I see. So it really is harder for false accuser's to participate in the investigation of falsely reported cases. This sounds like something we need a Task Force of Concerned and Enlightened Liberal Thinkers to convocate around, and discuss the planks in the "False Raper Accuser's Bill of Rights."

Plank #1 of course is a free education, thanks to Rev. Jackson.

I'm not on law review or anything, so I doubt I have much to add to the equation. I will however try to summarize the media coverage of this case, as follows:

Global warming made Dick Cheney order Donald Rumsfeld to file false rape charges against three white, rich privileged males, who used their parent's money to buy high priced lawyers who racistly stated that there clients were on the other side of town; but if the standards for the admission of African-Americans to Dook had been even lower, than perhaps Crystal and Kim could have been let into Dook, and therefore they would't have had to strip (and worse) for money. If that was the case, then they would never have had to be at the party, in which case Crystal would never have had the opportuntiy to file fraudulent rape charges.

So if you think about it, it is really the fault of the other qualified students who took what would have otherwise been Crystal's rigthful place in Dook's 2011 graduating class, and the majority of them are white and asians. Therefore, whites and asians are to blame for Cystal's filing false charges, but fortunately, 88 brilliant and qualified professors were standing by to remind us that it was all white and asian peoples' fault. Further, since her fraudulent story was exposed by racist ATM cameras and culturally biased DNA testing performed by Don Imus, she has now lost her chance at a free college education from the Rev. Jackson's political advocacy group, It is all your Fault, Inc., so now she is entitled to reparations.

The real issue here is how much do you think it is fair to compensate Crystal for her loss?

Anonymous said...

It is the New York Times dressed up in the garbled and pretentious lexicon of academia.

bill anderson said...

What is most disconcerting is that Kosse is a tenured law professor. Now according to this tenured law professor who is training future lawyers (and prosecutors), guilt and innocence pretty much are irrelevant. What matters is the narrative.

My guess is that there are hundreds of law professors like Kosse who see nothing wrong in the prosecution of false charges as long as narrative is "politically correct."

Unfortunately, the nihilism of Stanley Fish no longer inhabits just the English departments. It is part of every academic endeavor, and we are going to pay a huge price for it. Reade, Collin, David, the other LAX players, and their families and loved ones already have.

Anonymous said...

Although I do not want to overly alarm Prof. Kosse, she better hope she has more (and better) articles than this in her dossier if she aspires for tenure at any respectable law school. KC's comments are more than apt (and, as far as I am concerned, more than generous based on my read). I've done enough P&T reviews (I'm a long-tenured law prof) and what Kosse penned simply doesn't cut it in my mind. Candidly, given the garbled analytics it's not even close.

Anonymous said...

So according to Kosse, regardless of evidence, class defines the victim, ... shallow.

Anonymous said...

1. USA Today (Arlington, Va.) 2,528,437
2. Wall Street Journal (New York, N.Y.) 2,058,342
3. Times (New York, N.Y.) 1,683,855

Audience of talk radio is about 40 million. Conservative talk radio has been a huge supporter of the LAX players side from the beginning.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like we have another Wendy Murphy in the making. Are our law schools drifting into "hate studies" now?

Anonymous said...

Thank god for defense attorneys. If this professor is hiding behind what was known at the time, she should do a follow up of what is known now.
She should include the insightful corrections you have made KC.
I can't believe anyone in a law school could ignore the facts over perception in this case.
It shows how important contrary, open minded defense attorneys are to the process. Amazing they just got by from the hard work of the defense team, circumstances could have changed on a dime and a trial could be on the way. If that had happened, they would not have gotten a fair trial and they'd be going to prison for 30years. A reverse oj simpson would have occured.Nifong continues to be a dangerous man, blaming Duke because a law professor noticed one of the counts was missing! Someone should do a monthly or quarterly update on him just to keep tabs.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder how far the academic class has removed itself from reality. That is what this whole affair has put forward more than anything else. These people are not discussing the facts of the case but rather a layered reality . . . as if they are looking through some clouded filter . . . a metanarrative that is always being address . . . some wishful thinking . . . thoughts that have never quite finished the circle of reality or guilt concerning the Duke case. If someone is innocent . . . the declaration of innocence . . . the very proof of that innocence is to these amazed onlookers the damming evidence that "something happened." A society that is so confused in its inability to address the facts is, knowingly or unknowingly, in the midst of a nervous breakdown.

Anonymous said...

In designing her study, she controlled for type of media (magazines vs. TV or newspapers) but she did not think it important to compare cases where a rape actually occurred to cases where a rape actually occurred.

This makes the study an obvious waste of time.

Mike S

Anonymous said...

Excellent again KC. The end result is a few good men had the guts to stop the riduculous ride of Nifong and NC justice. It only takes a few. The fallout is of a PR nature for Duke and not really that big of a deal to them.
The three innocent students can't go back, they have to go forward hopefully in better places. None of this impacts Duke, it's been silenced by the payoff. I hope some on this blog continue to champion injustice no matter the color of the victims skin. Bad things happen every day to innocent people. The law professors' article just confirmed for me the importance of defense attorney's, may there always be some willing to do the job.

Anonymous said...

Is Kosse a Communist?

scott said...

Kosse's position indicates that she is a kindred spirit of the 88 signers of the Listening Ad, and, as such, the goofiness of many college professors as related to the fundamental issues in the Nifong Scandal Case is not confined to the ranks of AAAS and other "mumbo jumbo" disciplines.

Indeed, it affects some of those, like Kosse, who are paid to offer information and training to the next generation of those who will perform in the courtroom.

While not approaching the complete nuttiness of a Grace, Murphy, or Munson, her view, which indicates a lack of concern about the fundamentals of the system of justice conceived by the Constitution, are nonetheless appalling.

She's correct that "media rape coverage leaves much to be desired." But that could be said about virtually every topic covered in the mainstream media for several years now.

And her remedies are as flawed as her understanding of the facts of this case because as we know, and KC pointed out several times in this post, NOTHING HAPPENED (relating to rape, sexual assault or kidnapping) that night. She would have been better served to have used a case where an actual rape was committed. In using the incident at Duke, there is no point to her article.

Kosse's effort is merely a thinly disguised attempt to support the metanarrative of race, class, and gender.

Legal Eagle said...

As an assistant professor at Brandeis School of Law, Ms. Kosse should know better.

For her sake, let's hope she corrects the legal and clerical errors before inclusion in her CV.

And maybe another course in law, say, an extensive "refresher" course, at a credible institution.

Kyo said...

Kosse focuses extensively on the media's differing treatment of participants based on their race and their degree of wealth.

What she neglects to mention is the massive elephant in the room that seemingly everyone in the media is doing their utmost not to see -- something much bigger than any "race card": the "gender card". The media vilify the male participants, while falling all over themselves to excuse all manner of disgraceful behavior from women.

The boys have received far more opprobrium -- even after their innocence was demonstrated -- for drinking alcohol while underage than Mangum has for this heinous false accusation that could have sent innocent men to jail for years! Not to mention her drug problems, embezzlement, and attempting-to-run-over-a-cop incident.

One of the common themes running through stories where women commit crimes is than men are invariably found to share the blame while women's transgressions are overlooked. Mangum knew this card would be on the table before she even reached the DUMC. Perhaps the "gender card" goes unmentioned because the whole deck is made from them.

Anonymous said...

A fundamental tenet of intellectual history holds that we owe most of the progress we have made in the post-medieval period to “ making careful measurements.” Careful measurement is indeed the essence of the “empirical” or “scientific” method. An investigator carefully and dispassionately gathers evidence, examines it, and tries to draw conclusions from it. Though the empirical method may sound cut-and-dried, it is subject to individual predisposition, intuition, “hunch”, and fortuitous intervention. It is often said that the discovery of penicillin was an “accident”. That is not quite accurate, since the investigator had to have the wit grasp the significance of evidence accidentally stumbled upon, but it is close to the truth. Not too long ago two scientists at the University of Utah announced with great fanfare that they had achieved “cold fusion.” This was obviously not a hoax in the sense of a conscious deception, but it proved a disastrous career-ending blunder when the results that they had deluded themselves were “empirical” could not be reproduced in any other laboratory. The results were so desirable that they had accepted measurements that simply had not been careful enough.

If this is the situation in the “natural sciences”, what of the “human sciences”, also called the social sciences and the humanities? It is not possible to generalize, but it is clear that in the “soft” humanities (literature, art history, etc.) the relationship between measured evidence and conclusions drawn from it has sometimes become tenuous in the extreme. Under what circumstances could it be true that the body of a Chinese basketball player is the greatest extant threat to American empire? That is a single example out of dozens from Duke literature professors referenced on this site.

Now the law, which in its academic form is one of the human sciences, is particularly important because it is primarily a social institution of the greatest possible practical significant to everyone living under it. The law claims to be objective and dispassionate—“scientific”, in short—but the limits to that claim are strict indeed. The degree of “interpretation” evident in the law is hardly less than that evident in reading poetry. What else is a “split decision” than a conflict in the interpretation of the same empirical evidence? Why is it of any particular significance that a particular nominee to the Supreme Court is or is not confirmed?

Hence we can expect in legal matters the kind of difference of interpretive opinion implied in our adversarial system. But in academic legal writing there must be at least some definite connection between measured evidence adduced and conclusions arrived at. I have not read Susan Kosse’s essay, but on the basis of the empirical evidence of this summary I will judge it a very bad piece of work. This is not because its topics are not interesting and probably important. They seem to be (1) in general, the relationship of race to forcible rape, and (2) more specifically, the way race influences the journalistic presentation of rape perpetrators and rape victims. Concerning these questions, the Durham Legal Hoax has no reliable empirical evidence to offer, because there was no rape, no rape perpetrator, and no rape victim. These are no my findings. They are the findings of the chief legal officer of the State of North Carolina. The Durham Legal Hoax certainly has something to say about some journalistic practices, but not the ones identified by Ms. Kosse.

Before we could actually address Kosse’s ostensible subjects we need a few careful measurements, surely available somewhere though I have not seen them adduced in this context, on which to begin to base conclusions or interpretations. What are the verified statistics on the occurrence of rape—in Durham, in North Carolina, in the United States, or in other geographical areas, or among sociological subgroups, deemed relevant? What are the statistics on interracial rape involving blacks and whites? What percentage of all rapes are interracial rapes? Are there, proportionally speaking, more white-on-black rapes or black-on-white rapes? Is the percentage of black/white rapists strictly proportional to the population of blacks/whites in a given region? What are the racially comparative percentages of defendants indicted for rape? Found guilty at trial? There are of course many, many other desirable useful measurements, but those would make a good start. Measurements concerning “journalistic coverage” are by nature more subjective and harder to come by, but it is still apparent that Kosse’s were ludicrously inadequate. Like Ms. Kosse, many of the Duke faculty have been keen that we “learn” from this episode. Who could be against that? But “learning” actually involves confronting evidence that may be new to you, not reshaping it to fit what you already knew all along.

Anonymous said...

Without having access to the law review article, my impression of the article is based solely on this post. In addition, I am not a lawyer or regular reader of law reviews, but I have been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. But based on this post, it seems like the journal editors and peer reviewers were truly negligent. That is, unless they function more as matadors and less as gatekeepers in accepting papers for their journal.


Anonymous said...

Here's hoping that Ms. Kosse will take the time to respond here.

I'll bet she's not the only unhappy person at UofL this morning.

Anonymous said...

"The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong."

Ralph Phelan said...

"I'm starting to think that a lot of professors are at universities because they aren't intelligent enough to do anything else."

"Those who can't do, teach."
And those who can't teach, become political activists.

inman said...

I ran across Lubiano's thoughts this morning and they seemed quite relevant to the discussion (dated April 13, 2006):

Lubiano's View on Innocence

Anonymous said...

Bill Anderson wrote (6:50): "What is most disconcerting is that Kosse is a tenured law professor."

Bill: If it's any consolation (and, to be sure, I can't offer much here), in the law school world anyone at the rank of "Assistant Professor"--such as Kosse--almost by definition does not yet have tenure. Indeed, unlike the general rule in the rest of the Academy, for many (indeed, most) law schools, tenure does not attach until promotion to the rank of "Professor." Thus, even most "Associate Professors of Law" do not possess tenure.

From her brief bio, it looks to me like Kosse was an obvious "mercy" hire to shore up Louisville's gender count. Also, it looks as though she was/is relegated to teaching "legal writing/research" courses. Candidly, in the law school world, that's where most of the "refuse" goes--the law faculty "gutter," if you will. That said, I also note that she lists teaching Administrative Law, which is a core ("regular") law school course. Thus, at best, her bio conveys muddle as to her actual status.

Formalities aside, the actual *substance* of her article (the logic, analytics, research design, etc.) is simply God-awful. I would expect more--much more, actually--from an honors-level college student. I truly don't know what she was thinking when she allowed her name to go over that publication. Unless she aspires to be hired by, say, Houston Baker at Vanderbilt (or, alas, Duke), she more than harmed herself. Of course, she may also be playing to the wacko-crowd. Why? Lack of self-esteem? Who the Hell knows why these idiots do what they do. I stopped guessing and caring long ago.

hman said...

This case was a pure example of a false claim of rape. There were no shades of gray; no zone of disputed he said/she said.
Therefore, in order to make conversation about "victims rights" or "fairness to women" those with man-hating feminist agendas needed to start from scratch and conjure up an entirely new and different scenario from the actual facts of this episode. As we have seen, those folks have never hesitated to do just that.
The hard fact is that if accusations of rape are to be treated with extreme seriousness then false accusations must be dealt with harshly as well. And it makes no difference how law enforcement and the legal system intends this to turn out. Every time a high profile rape case turns into a high profile example of a false claim - a deep imprint is formed in the public mind.
If advocates of better handling of rape cases want to achieve their goals they should put special effort into preventing precisely what happened here. They will not, of course, because getting tenure(etc.) does not makes one smart.

Ralph Phelan said...

Anonymous 8:31 asks

"Is Kosse a Communist?"

Based on her connection with the SPLC it would appear so.

I've stopped considering this guy either a troll or a comedian. I think he's very patiently establishing a very important point.

It's remarkable how often the answer turns out to be "yes."

Kyo said...

Ralph at 10:28 --

Khrushchev said that Communism would "crush [the US] from within". As the years go by, he's increasingly being proven right.

Anonymous said...

I read the SIU Law Journal article regarding the Hoax, and I have some fundamental problems with it. My primary concern is that the article represents the worst aspects of "junk science."

1. I never thought I would see the word "holistically" in a law journal, unless it was used to describe the facts of a very bizarre case. Not only did Professor Kosse print the word in her article, she used it to describe HER supposedly SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH SAMPLING METHODS. The concept goes beyond shocking to me. A fact is a fact, apparently, unless it is "holistically" not a fact.

2. I was also shocked to see that the Professor picked her "sampling" terms AFTER reading the articles. I did not see where she admitted that in her article, but she chose phrases such as whether the defendants offered to take a lie detector test to "holistically" sample the media coverage. Not too many alleged rapists offer to take lie detector tests. Whatever happend to blind, or God forbid, double-blind scientific testing using a control? Professor Kosse does admit that her research sampling was somewhat "subjective," but I would argue that it was subjective because she made it so.

3. Any legal journal that cites and quotes Cash Michaels extensively for anything but comedic purposes is parrot cage material.

4. Like K.C. Johnson, I found the terminology in Kosse's article to be more "offender blaming." Good grief, she refers to alleged victims as "victims" and alleged offenders as "offenders." I believe the author had preconceived notions going into the research and article. It also does not bode well for a legal professor to take such a flippant view of "innocent until proven guilty." Can there be better evidence of bias than an author suggesting that Crystal Mangum was a victim?

5. What the Professor completely omits from her article is any coverage of the local media, including the N&O and Herald-Sun. These media outlets are likely to be sued for defamation and inaccurate coverage, but there is no "sampling" of that media in her article. What is more important to a fair trial, two articles from Newsweek or hundreds upon hundreds of slanted editorials, inaccurate articles and biased letters delivered daily to the doorstep of potential jurors?

6. I was shocked to see that Professor Kosse suggested that the media should do more reporting about how alleged rapes relate to "race, class and gender." I was shocked because the Professor was writing in a law journal - not a Review of Sociology. Why would "race, class and gender" have anything to do with the Duke Hoax LEGAL case? That would pollute the jury with irrelevant and potentially prejudicial information. And it did.

7. My greatest and final shock occurred when I read the Professor's call for general articles about rape, detailing the societal problem that rape represents, contemporaneous with ONGOING media coverage of a pending rape case. What could be more prejudicial to an "alleged" offender? Of course, if all accused rapists are "offenders," then this suggestion makes sense. I simply cannot imagine a more prejudicial form of "offender blaming" than what Professor Kosse suggests. (Yes, I can, but I think she would agree that putting the pictures of the "offenders" on the front page of the newspaper every day under the headline "guilty" until trial would be going too far - I think).

8. K.C. Johnson's "fears" about his ability to interpret a law review article were completely unfounded.

"Well before Fosse and the others, K.C. Johnson taught chimps and the great apes to speak. Except for one highly intelligent baboon, they so bored him with talk of berries and masturbation, that he then taught them how to stop." LIVING WITH THE APES (Johnson, 1974). MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

Why have none of these over-educated academics realized yet that the victims were the 3 males involved in this?

Anonymous said...


With these juvenile, agended, and naive comments continuing to be made (by Kosse, et. al.), it must be like shooting ducks in a barrel. Did you ever think this kind of trash would continue at this late date in a supposedly civil discourse?

Lifting up someone who lied with the potential result of ruining these kids lives, while criticizing these innocent boys - primarily on a race/gender/socio-economic basis rather than on the facts - is the epitome of arrogant bigotry.

Sadly, she will not be held accountable by her school or community; therefore, they are enablers of this race/gender/socio-economic mongering.


Ralph Phelan said...

"Why have none of these over-educated academics realized yet that the victims were the 3 males involved in this?"

Because to them that is categorically impossible.

M. Simon said...

anon. 8/16/07 10:13 AM,

Speaking of facts - you are a little behind the times.

Cold fusion has been reproduced.

Legal Eagle said...

RE: "Is Kosse a Communist?

You ask this in virtually every thread - still, a valid question given the similarity in targets.

So, yes, we may conclude that Kosse (et al) is a communist, at least politically, and certainly grammatically.

I'd be more cautious about assigning additional labels, however, particularly since Ms. Kosse was/is intelligent enough to game the system, and thus deserves full tenure.

Besides, "law" is really all about interpretation - and the more Nancy Grace's we have out here, the better.

Apply this same logic to Nifong, and you'll understand exactly what I mean.

Think, for example, of Brad Bannon, whom I suspect was very excited long before he immersed himself in DNA. I mean, knowing beforehand that your up against legal hacks is a terrific advantage. You just know you're going to find something appalling.

FloridaGator said...

Her original article is online here: Race, Riches & Reporters Do Race and Class Impact Media Rape Narratives? An Analysis of the Duke Lacrosse Case,
Susan Hanley Kosse.

Southern Illinois University Law Journal,
Vol. 31. No. 2 (Winter 2007) Pgs. 243-279.

mb said...

The faculty profile for Susan Kosse.

Anonymous said...

For those who fear that Kossee's misandric screed has any legitimate value as legal authority: rest easy! Law review articles are no more than legal/academic masturbation. An advocate who stoops to cite such a source in a legal document of record is deemed by lawyers and judges alike to have waived the white flag of defeat on the issue in question. There may be an occasional law review article written by a credible legal academician that attempts to resolve an arcane issue of say, civil procedure, and may have some value as "authority"; but even then, most lawyers would be hesitant to rely on it in a court filing. Kossee's article, being in the nature of legal/social science commentary, will have value only at WLSA conferences and in law faculty lounges.

Anonymous said...

off topic (but not really)

Speaking of the's a good time to speculate if 1) NY Times will review "Until Proven Innocent" (UPI), and 2) if it chooses to review it, whom will they select to do the honors.

I think the fact that they had a no-talent codpiece cover the case will make them guilty, and therefore I think there is a good chance the Times will review the book.

If they want to give it a good review, they'll assign a reviewer who will only focus on the Nifong aspect.

If, however, they are predisposed negatively to book, they'll assign a G88 type who will defend Brodhead and the racist professors.

This is actually quite fun. What will the Times do with this book?

My prediction: Susan Estrich will get the ball, and she'll give it a good review, with reservations, while ignoring all the unPC info in book.

Only in Amerika (as Kafka would say)

Anonymous said...

From an article on the paper by Kossee:

Focusing on the Duke rape case as a case study, this Article analyzes magazine coverage using a labeling system from a previous study of media coverage of high profile rapes to determine whether race and class shape rape narratives. Part I of this Article is a brief background about narratives generally and their importance in the law. Part II summarizes the existing research on the topic of rape narratives and media coverage of these narratives. Part III analyzes the Duke case narratives and seeks to determine empirically whether race and class played a role in the exculpation or vilification of either party. The Article concludes by comparing the past studies of rape media coverage with this new data to provide insights and conclusions about media rape coverage today.

Ah yes, the always familiar narrative. Facts be damned....the 88 would be so proud.

Anonymous said...

Are Mangum and Kosse pretty Communists?

Anonymous said...

I truly enjoy whomever is posting "Is "X" a communist". I can't help but laugh and enjoy it each time I see it. To clarify, she may be a communist, but they most certainly are militant, illogical and angry feminists/racists who this clever person is calling "communists". Thank you for making the day a little lighter.

Anonymous said...

Crime statistics amply document the prevalence of black on white and black on black gang rapes and the
statistical non-existence of those white on black. How inconvenient for the meta-narrative.

BS articles such as this one will continue, in large part because the authorities in North Carolina do not have the fortitude to prosecute Crystal Mangum.

Anonymous said...

Following up on the reported rape at the Playboy mansion, (that bastion of conservative thought), I wonder how that case will be explained away by Mr. Hefner.

The case as I understand it, involves a 22 year old woman attending a function at the mansion, who fell asleep and woke to find a 17 year old having his way with her. Last I heard, the alleged victim retracted her charges.

Playboy's coverage/explanation of this should be a doozie!

Anonymous said...

This article is unbelievable in that it assumes the accused is guilty and it doesn't even try to hide that fact.

Any comments that are critical of Nifong, (even those by Jim Coleman after Nifong pandered to race) are identified as "pro-offender."

Does this woman not realize there were no offenders in the Duke case?

Anonymous said...

Well said, 12:42. Mangum should have been prosecuted, and Cooper is afraid of------what?

I read the "professor's" article; it is poorly written, poorly conceived, and badly argued. Let's be blunt: a chimpanzee could get published by Southern whatever law review.

FYI: This narrative crap is an offshoot of critical race theory, now in vogue in law schools like Harvard and Berkeley.

What is "critical race theory"?

It's what stupid people BS about who've received an affirmatively endowed chair at Harvard Law School.

no justice, no peace said...

The fallacy of the thinking is dangerous.

Again, I'll cite Taleb's book "The Black Swan".

In one example he discusses two people evaluating the odds of a "fair" coin flip.

A empiricist will tell you after 99 flips of heads, that the next flip has a 50/50 chance of being tails/heads.

The realist will tell you that if the coin came up heads 99 straight times, that the assumption that the coin is "fair" is a false one.

The basis of the race/gender/class warfare crisises used by Kosse, the Klan of 88, the media, and the abettors is based upon false assumptions. They have no concept that the basis of the game is wrong or worse some do know and intentionally advance as if it were "fair".

That is one explanation why this hoax has blown up on some of them. Others like Nifong, knew the game was fixed all along.

There is a difference between not knowing what you don't know and knowing what you purport to not know.

Knowing what your suggest you don't know is what makes the lack of an apology, the extension of "something" happened, and the lack of remorse so telling and dangerous.

Anonymous said...

How much power do these tragic feminist want to possess? These people seem to forget that DNA has become accepted science much like the earlier finger print techniques developed at the end of the 19th century. Many men falsely accused have been freed after spending years even decades in prison. There is no even playing field in the courts. Had the person accusing these lacrosse players not "picked" wrongly in the horribly flawed lineup by picking three who had the ability to defend themselves innocent young men would be in prison. As it was, one of the families spent all they had to keep their son out of prison. The people who wanted anyone accused placed in prison seemed to want revenge rather than justice for whatever reason or for the advancement of their own world view or their own agenda. To them it seemed more a matter of justice be damnned. An apology from these people would not only be admitting they were wrong, which they were, but an apology forces these mean-spirited accusers to accept the innocence of the lacrosse players. They will not do that. They pursue a seamless control over language that allows them to accuse without responsibility, accuse without concern, accuse without fear, accuse in the absence of facts, accuse in the presence of innocense . . . they change and manipulate and control all the argument. They created stereotypes of race/class/gender that pass for thoughtful consideration of non-facts. Many acacemics have conscrued and constucted and supported a system that is more like one they rail against than anything else. It is not what the justice system is about nor shoud it be.

JWM said...


Regarding the sacrificing of "the players on the altar of 'victims’ rights' agenda," you mention the NY Times and the Durham H-S approached the case that way. I agree.

But the Raleigh N&O deserves to be listed with them and, IMHO, at the top of the list?

When the N&O "broke" the story on 3/24/06 it referred to Mangum seven times as the victim or in the possessive form without once using a qualifier such as "alleged."

The N&O's 3/25/06 "anonymous interview" set the metanarrative of the young black mother brutally beaten and gang-raped by privileged white males whose hard drinking, wild partying, white racist teammates were stonewalling police investigators.

The N&O knew that wasn’t true but it became “the Duke lacrosse rape” story that was jumped on by most of the rest of the media, including the NYT and H-S.

It was also “the case” that Nifong described when he began speaking publicly two days later.

The N&O’s deliberately fraudulent 3/25 story was the single most important Duke Hoax story last Spring. I believe it still is.

No news story did more to give a seeming legitimacy to Mangum’s lies, to fuel the witch hunt and to enable the massive injustices inflicted on so many innocent individuals and our community.

The N&O withheld from the 3/25 story news of the players’ cooperation with police and instead promulgated the “wall of silence” lie.

Do you know when and in what detail the N&O finally reported news of the players’ cooperation with police?

I've asked the N&O that question many times but I've never gotten a straight answer.

How does when and in what detail the N&O reported compare with when and in what detail the NYT reported on the players' cooperation?

Thanks in part to the Yeager/Pressler book, we know the N&O’s Ruth Sheehan relied on Nifong as an anonymous source for her 3/27 “Team’s Silence Is Sickening” column.

That column was very important for framing the players in the public’s mind. It helped Nifong and others move forward with their frame-up “investigation.”

For weeks the N&O worked very hard to slime the players while presenting what it knew was a false picture of Mangum.

So, for example, on 3/28 the N&O published on page one the names and misdemeanors charges involving the players while suppressing news it had from day one of Mangum’s far more serious criminal record.

Publishing Mangum's criminal record would also have revealed to readers that Mangum’s claim she was new to dancing before men, something the N&O just passed on to readers in the 3/25 story, was a lie.

And, of course, any reader who could "connect the dots" would have realized the N&O knew that when it published her "new to dancing before men" claim.

The N&O has never explained why it was, on the one hand, so eager to publish “the criminal records” of the lacrosse players while, on the other hand, it suppressed for two weeks news it had of Mangum’s far more serious and relevant criminal record; and then buried the news at the bottom of an unrelated story the ran inside the "A" section.

For thirteen months the N&O misled the public and sustained the Hoax by withholding the crucially important news, exculpatory for the players, that Mangum had said during the “anonymous interview” that Roberts was also sexually assaulted; that she didn’t report it for fear of losing her job; and that Roberts “would do anything for money.”

I can’t see how you could not list the N&O along with the NYT and H-S.

Thank you for all the great work you’ve done on this case.

John in Carolina

Ralph Phelan said...

12:17 pm

Here's my favorite quote [note lack of "alleged"], describing the details of her media statement classification methodology:

"References to the prosecutor's motives were more difficult to classify. I ultimately decided to classify them as victim blaming even though they did not refer to her directly because they tended to weaken or cast doubt on her claim."

Wow. By this definition any successful defense is "blaming the victim!" And with this extra bit of data about Kosse's methodoly, the fact that she found many such statements is far better explained by the falsity of the claims in question than by the "victim"'s race or class.

If she was really trying to learn anything, she'd have picked another case. She'd have a larger sample set for each combination of race & class, not just one data point - one which happens to be a freakish national story and therefore almost certainly an outlier. When choosing articles she'd distinguish between local and national media, weekly and daily, ideology of media outlet - if this whole "narrative" thing is at all meaningful as an analytical tool, wouldn't you expect differences in narrative usage between CNN and FOX? She'd talk to a statistician about her data analysis.

This was not a serious attempt at research. This article is bad in so many different ways.

Kosse later argues that CGM's profession, her previous unfounded gang-rape charge, and her attempt to run over a cop with a stolen car were all irrelevant and prejucidial, and should not have been reported. Apparently the public doesn't need information relevant to her credibility, as claiming that one's accuser is lying and was never victimized is "blaming the victim" and therefore not allowed. And this woman is a law professor.

I'm eager to watch Steve Horwitz try to defend the author of this bilge, the editors who accepted it, the journal that published it, and any tenure committee that regards publications in said journal as "peer reviewed scholarly work."

Anonymous said...

Another example of the "fake, but accurate" meme.

AKA, "facts, wrong; narrative right".

bill anderson said...

Here is the email I sent to Kosse:

Prof. Kosse,

I was stunned in the reading of your piece on the Duke case, not because I agreed with it, but rather because of your blatant disregard for the facts of that case. It is amazing to me with all of the information available, that people who actually have time to research the case nonetheless decide that once they have the "narrative" (your term) on which to base the case, then the truth does not matter. In essence, the "narrative" creates the truth, no matter what really might have happened.

What we had was this: three young men were falsely accused of rape and spent a year facing the prospect of going to prison for the rest of their lives for something that never happened. That is frightening, but what is even more frightening is that a law professor who is training future lawyers and prosecutors believes that the facts of a case do not matter. Decide the narrative, and then all guilt and innocence is determined by the politics of the case.

That is not rule of law. It is the imposition of something akin to what Nikolai Bukharin helped to impose in the former U.S.S.R., something that ultimately resulted in the murder of Bukharin himself.

No one, no one, in this case ever said "black women cannot be raped." No one said that black prostitutes (and Crystal Mangum is a prostitute, not just an "exotic dancer") cannot be raped. What they said was given the evidence presented in this case, and all of the facts as they were known, we can determine that (1) there was no rape, and (2) Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans did not assault, beat, rape, or do anything else to Crystal Mangum.

In fact, we safely can say that the only reasons there were indictments and charges was because Michael B. Nifong needed to win a primary election, and the only way he could do it in Durham was to find people and charge them. Your support of this indictment is also support of a process of picking "suspects" that violated the law, it violated due process, not to mention the Durham Police Department's own rules.

You declare that the "press was pro-defendant." I am dumbfounded by that, given that Newsweek put the pictures of Finnerty and Seligmann on the cover as being charged with rape. How in the world was that "pro-defendant"? The New York Times -- you know, that entity known as the "Newspaper of Record" -- from day one treated the charges as being legitimate and did everything it could to the very end to prop up Nifong and his case.

The "Dancer Recalls Details" article in the Raleigh News & Observer certainly was not pro-defendant. In fact, it falsely said that Mangum had just started dancing part-time, when, in fact, she had been working with the Platinum Club for more than four years. We safely can say that nearly everything in that article -- which was as "pro-accuser" as one can get -- was false.

Rachael Smolkin of American Journalism Review wrote the following article on the press coverage of the case, and you can see it differs from your claims:

The difference, of course, is that Smolkin actually read the coverage, and interviewed people. She did her homework.

Again, what is most frightening to me is that you really did not seem to care as to whether or not the charges were true. You would have been just as happy to see three young men falsely convicted because it fit the "narrative" that you liked. Since you are now in a mainstream school of law, I can safely assume that law professors across the country no longer care about the facts of the case. The narrative is good enough. Perhaps the ghost of Bukharin is now the specter that haunts the law in the United States.

Anonymous said...

One thing you have to realize about Law Reviews is that there are so many of them by now (they're student-edited and law-school-subsidized, so no real barriers to entry) that anybody can get anything published somewhere. And the articles are selected by students, not faculty -- so, particularly at lower-quality law schools, the selectors don't necessarily have much idea of how to distinguish a meritorious argument from pure political posturing.

The Southern Illinois Univ. Law Journal, for instance, appears to be the 319th most important law journal in America. With garbage such as Kosse's article, one can see why...

Anonymous said...

Of course what we would all really like to know is what Duff Wilson thinks of Until Proven Innocent. Not that there is any chance of him being assigned to review it.

Anonymous said...

This case was about a false rape claim - to get out of the abuse center pokey. It hs been the manta of the feminazi that "real victims will be afraid to come forward." I think what is more true is that there will be less claims of false rape. At least,I hope so. The assumption that "all rape claims are valid" needed to be brought to a halt. Woman and men must keep themselves out of scuzzy situations where a real or false claim is made. Alcohol consumption is a factor in real and false claims.
These Professors and reporters do not care about the "victim" - only that a charge has been made.

Steven Horwitz said...

Ralph says:

I'm eager to watch Steve Horwitz try to defend the author of this bilge, the editors who accepted it, the journal that published it, and any tenure committee that regards publications in said journal as "peer reviewed scholarly work."

Pass. :) It's crap. I never said everything everyone did in academia was "good." See my comments on miriam cooke.

There's no way her language of "victim" and "offender" should have been accepted in a discussion of the case once the problems became clear. At least used "alleged" and even if it was after publication, issue a correction or retraction noting that unfair use of language.

AMac said...

A bookend for Bill Anderson's letter (1:53pm) is provided by a recent essay on, of all things, the West's current difficulties with Islamism. Here, author Theodore Dalrymple (via the excellent David Thompson) discusses the corrosive effects of Prof. Kosse's style of discourse:

" is impossible to say exactly when the radical skepticism that was to become post-modernism actually started: perhaps in about 400 BC. Nevertheless, thinkers such as Michel Foucault were clearly very influential in propagating the idea that nothing was a question or matter of truth, but only of power; that all views on all subjects were masks for someone’s, or some group’s, interests. Moral standpoints could be analyzed in much the same way. Everything boils down in effect to Lenin’s pithy question, 'Who?, whom?', that is to say, who does what to whom?"

In her Footnote 4 (page 244), Kosse grudgingly acknowledges A.G. Cooper's "innocent" verdict, describing it as follows: "The woman could not testify to penile penetration, an element of rape in North Carolina. The analysis of the media narratives is still relevant, however, because regardless of whether the rape case actually went to trial, the narratives were part of the public discourse on rape in 2006."

Facts (pesky facts, wrong facts,bad facts), skillfully twisted and reconfigured to support the narrative.

As Lenin (was Lenin a Communist?) said, "Who? Whom?"

Anonymous said...

In the US News rankings published tomorrow, Duke will be ranked #8...consistent with last year

Some Brodhead-enablers will argue that this is a sign of good stewardship, ranking ahead of half of the Ivies (Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Brown). That said, Duke was on a pre-Brodhead trajectory of the top five and Duke has been losing ground to Penn, among others. The notion that Duke has lost ground because of mismanagement will be whitewashed out like the fundraising announcement

bill anderson said...

Of course what we would all really like to know is what Duff Wilson thinks of Until Proven Innocent. Not that there is any chance of him being assigned to review it.

8/16/07 2:36 PM

One of two things will happen. Either the NY Times will ignore the book (the more likely scenario), or it will assign a hostile reviewer to it. We can be guaranteed that the Times will not assign a reviewer who agrees with the book or is critical of the Times' coverage of the case.

Ralph Phelan said...

"Pass. :) It's crap."

OK, next questions:
(1) Is there any possibility that someone capable of writing such an article deserves tenure?

(2) Is it safe to say that the tenure process at her school is flawed?

(3) Is it reasonable to "connect the dots" and hypothesize that the obvious flaws in tenuring at other universities that granted tenure to Ward Curchill and the least productive of the G88 indicate a systematic pattern of failure?

Topher said...

It finally hit me after 30 comments or so...why is a law professor writing about narratives, and why is it being accepted for publication in a legal journal?

I can understand a study of media biasing jury pools or an analysis of the OJ case coverage's impact on public perception of the legal system...but what is this soft-sociology claptrap about "rape narratives"?

And what's this talk from her bio about bullying laws? I got my share of razzing in school, but is letting cops and lawyers further into schools going to solve anything?

Topher said...

This is hilarious save for the man-fearing keywords. This woman can't distinguish between "blaming the victim" and impugning the alleged victim's credibility.

She also doesn't seem to understand the difference between consent cases and contact cases (my terms, not legal ones). - for example, in a case where sexual contact is stipulated, it becomes a question of consent, which is in the absence of R Kelly style videotaping a matter of conflicting statement. (In this sort of a case,

In the Duke case, the accused denied contact, which made the case's disproof a much more basic task of showing she didn't have sex with these men.

This author doesn't understand that no one suggested Mangum brought a rape on herself - instead, everyone suggested that she was simpling lying.

Topher said...

KC, Bill and others might have more info on this than I, but (as an alumnus of two very well-regarded schools, Stanford University and a small technical school on the north banks of the Charles River) I think I've got a bead on this behavior:

Schools that are just a bit below the bigtime big-shot universities (Harvard-Yale-Princeton, MIT, Stanford, a few others) feel the need to trawl for hopeful diamonds in the rough, people who were passed over by the top places that they hope will blossom into major academic stars that will lift the university into the top spotlight.

I consider Duke to be one of those just-under-the-headlines schools, something of a bourgeoisie that wants to be in the nobility and dresses like a fop to fit in. It's a great school, but nothing wrong with saying it's not Harvard (a school for whom I carry a certain amount of good-natured loathing).

Something tells me Colorado is definitely in that boat with the Ward Churchill fiasco. I also think public schools are big enough that the top administration, beholden to the public interest of the state, is less likely to be overcome by a a craven, political milquetoast like Richard Brodhead.

(This would be a more credible line of argument if Harvard hadn't had Cornell West, but he and Alan Dershowitz are far more academically crerdible than most of the G88.)

Topher said...

I think this woman would be good to read Bill Anderson's column on rape hysterias as college campuses' "Reichstag fires."

I'd love to hear waht Camille Paglia has to say about this now that the facts are easily available. At the outset, she had an open-ended quote about "athletes are at the top of the social pyramid. Does this induce crime?" or somesuch, but I respect Camille a lot and she's been a critic of today's college rape-awareness climate so i'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt. IN any event her quote was a lot less guilt-presuming than the 88's.

KC Johnson said...

A good summary of Duke's path--confirming Topher's hunch--came in this January post from ex-Duke prof Stuart Rojstaczer.

I think Rojstaczer is correct that Duke tried to improve its faculty on the cheap. He also could have made another point--namely, that the timing of Duke's decision gave disproportionate weight to the humanities mindset of the late 1980s, which was the high point of speech codes advocacy and the heyday of Stanley Fish.

Anonymous said...

KC wrote at 5:45: "I think Rojstaczer is correct that Duke tried to improve its faculty on the cheap."

And, of course, this just drips with irony. What, in fact, Duke "purchased" on the "cheap" by casting its fate with these PC wackos is the unmitigated wholesale dilution of its brand. I can't even begin to imagine how much it will cost to get Duke back to its pre-Hoax stature assuming, hypothetically, that this even remains a possibility. And whatever the price, it will *never* happen so long as Brodhead is "leading" duke.

Anonymous said...

Cornel West a "credible" academic?

Jeez Louise, Topher--he's not. He's a lot like Houston Baker. I'd guess they are equally stupid.

There is a classic analysis of West's "oeuvre" in The New Republic, published about 7 years ago, and written by TNR's brilliant literary editor, Leon Wieseltier. If someone would care to post a link, that would be appreciated.

Trinity '76

Steven Horwitz said...

Ralph asks:

OK, next questions:
(1) Is there any possibility that someone capable of writing such an article deserves tenure?

Depends on the rest of her dossier. Seriously. That's a bad article for sure, but it's possible her other work was better.

(2) Is it safe to say that the tenure process at her school is flawed?

It's possible that it is, but you'd need to look at the rest of the tenured law faculty for one, and the rest of her dossier for another. You can't judge a tenure case or a tenure process on one article, as much as you might like to extrapolate from it. Doing so is just bad analysis.

(3) Is it reasonable to "connect the dots" and hypothesize that the obvious flaws in tenuring at other universities that granted tenure to Ward Curchill and the least productive of the G88 indicate a systematic pattern of failure?

Failure at what?

And again, there's lots of very good faculty who have tenure also. If the tenure system was truly flawed, wouldn't we see both type 1 and type 2 errors? That is, not just folks who, in your view, don't deserve tenure getting it and then those who do deserve it not getting it.

And before you jump to KC's biography, just remember he GOT tenure. It was ugly, but he got it.

Yes, tenure committees/processes make mistakes (on my campus too), but I don't think they are systematically flawed. The flaws, if anywhere, are deeper in terms of what academics value as worthwhile contributions to knowledge/teaching. Tenure committees just reflect that.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps the Times will assign its guest editorial writer, Stanley Fish, to review your book.

KC Johnson said...

It's also worth noting that at many (most?) colleges in the United States, there's almost a presumption of tenure. This is especially true at mid-level and lower public institutions.

So the issue becomes looking at the hiring process--how did the department define the line; what qualities did the department desire (and not desire)--since once the person is hired, he or she has a very good chance of receiving tenure.

FloridaGator said...

Off topic, but I couldn't help myself. Nifong: The Dog Ate My Law License
LieStoppers also has a nice cartoon.

Jack's Inflamed Sense of Discrimination said...

Sorry, but I have a huge problem with the idea that rape is a "societal issue". The only reason that some try to put rape in that context is because they wish to paint people of certain dispositions as "contributors/symptoms" to/of a "rape culture". This is convenient for the agendas of certain, modern day sexists and racist, as they can heap loads of "legitimized" accusations and blame upon a group united only by the color of its skin, its sex or its physical characteristics. Rapists are individuals. Not groups, not conditions. A "rape culture" is a delusion of racists and sexists.

Anonymous said...

KC, Steve, and Stu R. (I'm assuming this is the Stu formerly of Duke, now at Stanford?). Some perhaps more relevant history re how Duke got from "there" (highly regarded regional school) to "here" (Ivy wannabe). In 1979, Terry Sanford and Ken Pye initiated Duke's "Retrenchment Plan" ("RP"). It was essentially a blueprint for Duke to make a run at becoming an elite university on a par with the Ivies. At the time, the Medical Center was the only branch of the University system that had elite status nationwide. The basic thrust of the RP was to discard those programs that were deemed "pedestrian" by Ivy standards...nursing (my 1984 class was the last to include nursing students who were among the general undergraduate pool, with somewhat lower admission standards) education. At the risk of over-simplifying, Duke aspired to be more like Harvard than Davidson. What followed after Sanford and Pye's departure was a radical charge to quickly achieve policically correct acceptance by elite national universities. I don't think what Duke has become is what Sanford and Pye envisioned. Hence, the "Fish Tank", and the balkanization of the curriculum into "studies" programs that fit the mold of more established, nationally elite universities. In a sense, Duke stripped the gears in its climb to the top. The Keohane tenure was a sad chapter in that ambition. The Duke lacrosse case underscores the downside of such ambition. Dinesh D'Souza touched on Duke's irrational desire to ascend to Ivy status in his book "Illiberal Education" (chapter 8, I think..."Subverting Standards at Duke"). D'Souza, did not, however, link the Duke saga to the logical outcome of the RP. Sanford and Pye are no longer with us (sadly), but I doubt that they could have ever imagined what has come to pass at Duke. As many of my Duke friends have said, "why can't we just let Duke be Duke?"

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Kosse submitted her article to any of the following:

1. Harvard Journal of Law & Gender
2. The Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice
3. Michigan Journal of Gender & Law
4. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law
5. Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy
6. American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
7. Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice
8. Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender
9. University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class
10. Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law
11. Michigan Journal of Race & Law
12. Rutgers Race & the Law Review
13. Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal
14. Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice

About 16 years ago, I was managing editor of a law review. At that time, I remember a couple of gender- and race-related journals. Apparently, there is now a greater need for them.

I also remember suggesting to some other folks that we publish a "Pudding Law Journal," as it seemed that that rich subject was left wide-open for the taking. Of course, back then pudding cans had those sharp tops that could cause personal injury. Also, product liability design defect law was implicated any time you pulled on the ring of the pudding can and only the ring came off. I know that with advances in pudding delivery devices, the idea now seems foolhardy....

I wonder if the folks at the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy had anything to write about the Duke case? I also wonder if the existence of that journal at Duke was, in small part, why the law school (save the brave Professor Coleman) failed to respond to the injustice? Was there a "chilling" of speech on the Duke Law campus?

I can assure you that 16 years ago, at my 18th-tier law school, my editor buddies would have joined me in laughing at a submission like Kosse's. We did, in fact, laugh at some of the submissions. We didn't publish them.

Other attorneys above have described the proper stature of law review articles in the day-to-day practice of law. I look at law journals as good tools to teach editing, writing and thinking about law stuff. Most of the good law professors put their work before congressional committees that actually look at revising laws and procedures. That is when law review articles can become important. Publish in prestigious law review > take your schtick to Congress.

"K.C. Johnson's vertical leap is ... well ... pick a number. He has 3-point range, and mad skills with the cross-over." NBA Scout Evaluation (Draft Day, 2006). MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

This speaks volumes about the University of Louisville law school. Second rate if even that. Wait until the probable University of Louisville football recruiting violations are discovered....she will be the first to condemn athletics on campus.

No justice, no peace said...

Steven Horwits, inre: "...You can't judge a tenure case or a tenure process on one article, as much as you might like to extrapolate from it. Doing so is just bad analysis..."

I politely disagree.

If one were to come into my house, drop their drawers, and leave a stool on my living room floor, then I very much can come to some conclusions about that person, regardless of the balance of that persons work.

Many thought John Wayne Gacy was a great clown until they discovered what was under his house.

Another example would be the Nobel prize winners who went bust with the LTCM hedge fund. You really think one cannot arrive at some conclusions over their one-time, billions of dollar bust? And they were scholars, intellectuals, world reknown prize winners.

Remarkably there has been no movement from the Klan of 88 as the facts were revealed. The facts simply do not matter and each of these people have had an opportunity to change course.

It can be very easy to properly judge ones entire life by one event, good and bad.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting for a law Professor to do an actual study of the media coverage of this case as opposed to the garbage this post refers to.

I'd like to know the number of falsehoods that were printed painting the players in a bad light vs the number of falsehoods printed about Crystal Mangum that painted her negatively. Remember, I'm talking about lies only.

I'd like to see the same numbers for falsehoods that painted the players positively (I'd venture to guess there were none) vs. the number of falsehoods (first time stripping etc) printed that reflected favorably on Mangum.

It's pretty safe to say the lies made Mangum look good and the players look bad. That shows the media slant in this case.

That would make for a good study.

Debrah said...

Greetings! Salutations! all the Wonderland crew.

And you know who you are.

It's been daunting, but I've made it back from The Diva World where I have spent many sybaritic hours replenishing diva energies.....restoring calm.....

......after suffering blows from those who can never comprehend the essence of The Diva World.

But, alas, returning is bitter sorrow..... I am met with a brand new flavor of Kosse kismet.

Media urchins still thrashing about inside their orgasmic narrative fantasies from Spring 2006.......even as the 2007 dog days of summer melt their weary facades.

inman said...

Welcome back, gorgeous!

You are so divalish--

inman said...

By the way, is that a hint of cleavage I saw in the first picture?

One Spook said...

A returning Debrah, with a new identity and Blog, writes @ 8:17 ...

It's been daunting, but I've made it back from The Diva World where I have spent many sybaritic hours replenishing diva energies.....restoring calm.....

Welcome back! I figured you had been sunning at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club ....

BTW ... GREAT photos and mask!!! Hahahahaha!!

One Spook

hman said...

I wonder how Kosse would react to the assertion that any and all sympathetic media treatment of C. Mangum was deceptive and mis-leading.
Seriously, is not that the truth of the matter? Can Kosse deal with that without getting the vapors?

Debrah said...

Technologically, kismet can be a robot intended to demonstrate simulated emotion.

Kosse and the Gritty Gang of 88 are nervous little groupthink kismets.


Anonymous said...

i guess the rape at the black fraternity house at duke happened after this prof published her article. i haven't seen anyone in the media taking this woman's side. nope, sure seems like the media overlooks black on white violence.

oh, and how many black offenders have had to endure marches where the participants carried signs that said "castrate"?

Anonymous said...

to 7:19

You have nailed it .....

Thanks for your comments ...
and hope all will read this, in hopes of trying to understand the current mindset at Duke.

IMHO, Duke is/should be attempting to regain what "Duke was" -- an excellent school - offering a superior education, located in 'the South'. Not a school pre-occupied with PC and with achieving nebulous, tenuous diversity standards.

I do support, and appreciate the former reputation of my school.

Anonymous said...

I do not care what Duff thinks about anything, let alone the book. He is a proven liar. Duff, like ruthie should be out of a job, They did a lot to inflame Durham and the USA people before the truth started coming out. "There is a body of evidence.." and the "We know, We know you know.." is unforgiville.

Debrah said...

Thanks, "inman".

No way!


Debrah said...


Now, now. I told you I don't go to that place anymore and I stay out of the sun these days.

Thanks for checking out my little project. LIS!

New identity? It's the one I've always been stuck with.

Where's "mac"?


Anonymous said...

9:40 I thought he quit with you. Oh well -

Anonymous said...

Oophs = unfogivable

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 7:19 said...

....As many of my Duke friends have said, "why can't we just let Duke be Duke?"
I suspect that you and your Duke friends will be the guiding light for Duke to wiggle out of this mess.

The people who were brought in to transform Duke are Alarmist and we should call them just that...Alarmist.

Most of the G88 are the Alarmist for the new age political model of a new America and they focus only on the triumvirate de jour of race gender and class. They are the soldiers for a new age.

When the soldiers get the new age movement into trouble, their Consigliere (adviser or counselor) attempts to divert attention towards another issue which is... what Susan Kosse is doing with her article that we are studying today, I suspect.

It would be easier to describe these people as 'communists' however I doubt that you can 'sell' communism to anyone in the 21st Century.

This is all about a new age organizational design for America with Race, Gender and Class or Privilege as the flash point for change.

I can imagine a LIBERAL-CONSERVATIVE-ALARMIST discussion soon and it is going to be difficult to separate the liberal alarmist from the conservative alarmist.

Duke alums can help by bringing a stop to Alarmist on campus unless large groups of alumni are involved in discussing the 'alarm'.

You can start by removing the Duke web site about Untold (Tall) Tales of Rape at Duke University...

Be cautious. The Alarmist are assuming that Duke alums are royalists and royalists will not place their privileged positions in jeopardy to stop a 'new age political movement' on campus or in America.

Anonymous said...


Kim Roberts ain't no damn looker.

But with a gun to one's head and forced to label either Ms. Roberts or Ms. Mangum as "pretty", most folks would likely hold their nose and vote for the Kimster.

Debrah said...

Thanks in part to the Yeager/Pressler book, we know the N&O’s Ruth Sheehan relied on Nifong as an anonymous source for her 3/27 “Team’s Silence Is Sickening” column.

Ruth Sheehan makes my skin crawl.

Banality personified.

Anonymous said...

The talented Professor Johnson, who has done a terrific service, is blinded by the important contributions made by ace reporter Joe Neff. Because of Neff, he is willing, apparently, to give a pass to Khanna, Blythe, Sill and others. The N&O also published the scurrilous poster, thereby libeling many members of the lacrosse team.

Anonymous said...

KC at 5:45 said:
"A good summary of Duke's path--confirming Topher's hunch--came in this January post from ex-Duke prof Stuart Rojstaczer."

I wouldn't give any credibility to Rojstacser. He has a long, public and unrelieved history of attacks on Duke students, especially athletes. If still at Duke, he would surely have been #89.

inman said...

Gary Packwood...

Thank you for the link to the 'saturday night" discussion.

I'm going to respectfully disagree.

Although anecdotal in nature, the stories told ring with a certain sense of truth.

Now, I am putting on my hat as the father who has an 11 year old daughter. My daughter at this point is the definition of pure and chaste.

Now, I think about the "saturday night" web site and what these young women at Duke were saying. Yes, one can posit that day after regrets could oftentimes result in an allegation of "rape" when in fact consent had been given. But then again, one can also imagine situations in which aggressive appetite overwhelms polite protest.
One can imagine that this polite protest was quiet, reserved, even assuming that the "act" could not be real and that surely one's "friend" is listening. A quiet reserved polite young lady, a young lady of background and breeding ... after a party, giggling with a young man of equal background and breeding, ...but both inebriated, both impaired,...laughing and talking and then in a room alone. The room begins to spin for the young lady. She sits, then lies on a bed. The young man sits beside her. She closes her eyes. He places his hand on her breast and then he kisses her. She only partially responds, for her senses are dull, but she likes the kiss.

Then, with the urge of youth and the erection that now adorns his body, he starts to take her shirt off. She does not resist, for at this point, she feels mellow and with the room spinning, enjoys the sensations ... the kissing and the touching. He removes her bra. Her nipples are erect. He kisses her breasts...and carresses her body.

Then, as the moment seizes him, he pulls at her panties and places himself between her legs. He penetrates.

She awakens from the pleasure of gentle touches and says: "NO" ...She repeats over and


I respectfully submit that too many people on this blog have, in a cavalier fashion, placed my daughter at risk. I acknowledge that in the case of the HOAX, the victims were the lacrosse players. But I would hate to think that as a result of this episode my daughter ... or anyone else's daughter for that matter ... needed to worry about rape.

I respectfully ask that all on this blog think about the policy implications of this case, implications beyond the effect of the '88, Duke University, students everywhere and, most importantly, true victims.

I am as guilty as anyone....but we have all adopted an attitude that guilt can never be proved. "Innocent until proven guilty" is different that "guilt can never be proved."

Anonymous said...

It helps to teach daughters that when they go to scuzzy places - scuzzy things happen. As Anne Coulter writes "You can greatly reduce your chances of being raped, if you are not rolling around drunk at 2:00AM." Smart women need to think about where they are, who are they with and what is going on. Those who are fragile might consider putting their college experience off, until they gain some inner strength. I will stick with the framers "Innocent until proven guilty>"

Topher said...

Ok, if that's Debrah in the pictures, she'll have to be played by Lynda Carter in the movie...

inman said...


You are an illiterate moron.

Scuzzy was not postulated. Lets assume it was a debutante party, with the social creme de la creme. And let's assume that "rolling around drunk" just doesn't quite capture the state of mind. And let's assume further that the person that the young lady is with is the son of a Senator. Finally, let's assume that the young lady has just returned from a mission to Africa in which she was providing sustenance to the starving and during which she was exposed to substantial personal harm.

I repeat, are a pluperfect moron. There are no absolutes and anyone who believes otherwise deserves the fruits of idiocy.

You clearly fall in that category.

One Spook said...

inman, not sharing his Scotch with the rest of us, writes at 12:09:

I respectfully ask that all on this blog think about the policy implications of this case, implications beyond the effect of the '88, Duke University, students everywhere and, most importantly, true victims.

I am as guilty as anyone....but we have all adopted an attitude that guilt can never be proved. "Innocent until proven guilty" is different that "guilt can never be proved."

I don't think anyone can argue with your first paragrah, Tom.

And you can feel guilty if you wish, but please do not assume that "we have adopted any attitude" simply because many of us have strong feelings about the injustice that was done to three young men and because this entire incident was a hoax perpetrated by a false accuser.

Maybe you meant to write "have we all adopted an attitude ... perhaps a rhetorical question.

Based on what has been posted here over time, is it more than absurd for you to presume that *we* have "an attitude that guilt can never be proved."

The collective "we" probably do not agree with your choice of pronouns, Tom.

One Spook

hman said...

My Dear Inman
I have a 20 something daughter who somehow survived her college experience (in a free-wheeling place for sure) without enduring the type trauma you describe. There are several reasons, some of which I will take some credit for. First, a good part of her girl-hood was spent on horseback.(Which she loved passionately) Some of that was truly dangerous; most of it was sweaty and stinky, all of it was great preparation for equipping her to make her feelings plain to some deeby guy - no matter how much beer was involved. Shit, she has been seen crushing barn-rats with her boot-heels. (I would mention that she is quite a deadly pistol shot but KC lives in NY.) Excellent general life training for a young woman, imho.
Second, she did not leave home without some plain language information regarding the functional dynamics involved with getting drunk and alone and naked with a guy.
But here is a larger problem. Who the hell knows what really happened in an actual situation similar to what you described? Who gets a gods eye view of the true intentions and actions of the parties involved and the signals they sent and thought they received? How does anyone else get to "beyond a reasonable doubt" about it? In other words, maybe the cops should not be called, most of the time. I have a son, too.
Lots of confused, horny, conflicted young women out there carrying a toxic load of feminist programming.

Anonymous said...

Tom - You know noting about me and the other posters, except your pals, of course. I can tolerate other opinions without hate and insults. You might think about learing to do the same. KC is the teacher here - not you. Save it for another day and another blog. I found you little essai inappropriate for a blog, but in line with a Barbara Cartland "book".

Anonymous said...

There are not only absolutes, but an existence of evil.

Ralph Phelan said...

Steve Horwitz said:

"Yes, tenure committees/processes make mistakes (on my campus too), but I don't think they are systematically flawed. The flaws, if anywhere, are deeper in terms of what academics value as worthwhile contributions to knowledge/teaching. Tenure committees just reflect that."

I agree that the tenure committee decisions I don't like just reflect more general trends in academia I don't like. But it's also true that those decisions amplify those trends. Whether the tenure committees are "doing a good job" depends on what you think their job should be. I suppose from a practical point of view tenure committees see their job as "choosing colleagues we like," but other stakeholders (students, alumni, administrators, professors in other departments, taxpayers) might prefer they saw their job as "choosing good professors" even if that conflicted with the previous goal. I know that begs the question of what constitutes a good professor, but can we at least agree that Ward Churchill was a bad one?

" If the tenure system was truly flawed, wouldn't we see both type 1 and type 2 errors?"
The type 2 errors are pretty hard to observe. Anyway my complaint is not with the number of errors, but with the repetitive sameness of them - which gets us back to the issue of what academics value.

I believe there is a pattern to the flaws in what academics value. It's not just an obsession with trivia and a prevalance of bizarre views. If it was a truly random sampling of trivia and bizarre views it would be a minor problem at worst. Instead I see a lot people obsessed with the same trivia and sharing the same bizarre views. It's a cluster of traits that aren't necessarily logically connected, but for whatever reason are strongly correlated, including marxism, other leftwing politics, identity politics, overuse of "theory" in all its forms (structuralism, post structuralism, deconstruction, Freudian psychology, etc.), and the belief that academics should be political activists.

Do you agree with the above?

I also maintain that the above pattern is harmful to both research and teaching in the following ways:

I believe that to continue to believe in left wing ideologies after the events of the twentieth century requires a denial of reality so deep that it can't help but harm both one's research and one's teaching. Other parts of the PC agenda, such as refusing to believe that men and women have on the average different distributions of traits, require similarly damaging levels of denial.

Do you aree?

I believe that political activism tends to lead to polemics and propaganda - attempts to persuade by fair means or foul - and so is corrupting to the pursuit of truth. It's extremely difficult to switch between polemicist and scholar without the attitudes and techniques of the one affecting how one approaches the other.

Do you agree?

I believe that the more important one's political beliefs are to one's self image, and the more one sees a university as a place for activism towards specific goals rather than pursuit of knowledge wherever it may lead, the more likely it is that one will choose to hire a poor scholar with the "right" political views rather than a competent researcher and teacher with political views one disagrees with.

Do you agree?

Anonymous said...

Horowitz is a genius.

Ralph Phelan said...

topher said...

"Schools that are just a bit below the bigtime big-shot universities (Harvard-Yale-Princeton, MIT, Stanford, a few others) feel the need to trawl for hopeful diamonds in the rough, people who were passed over by the top places that they hope will blossom into major academic stars that will lift the university into the top spotlight."

This would rationally lead to lots of high-risk choices. But why are they always leftwing/PC high risk choices? If you want to compete with Harvard by emulating a few of its best features, should finding your own version of Cornell West really be a high priority?

When Vanderbilt Collge hired Houston Baker they crowed about how he was going to help them build a kick-@$$ african american literature program. Why do they think having one is so important?

Anonymous said...

I doubt all that "feel good' was going on at a Ball. There are lots of examples of rape and murder from the sons of wealth and presige. Skakel, Central Park murderer and the guy Dog brought back from Mexico - convicted of 80 Plus rapes. You gotta be careful who you are hangin with. I do not mean the innocent team involved with Ms Crystal and Nifong.
A final thought - drinking and blogging do not mix.

Anonymous said...

Excellent discussion of this post, everyone - it's been a true pleasure to read through the comments.

Anonymous said...

To: Topher @ 5:39pm

You are correct. It has been and it is Duke's strategy to uncover such types and make bets. The nature of the game is that ambitious schools must be aggressive. What often gets lost in the enthusiasm of the moment is that such an aggressive policy requires MORE due diligence and exercise of good judgment than the conservative (and expensive) policy of hiring only established stars. This is why how departments handle the details makes the difference. It is at the department level that people have the best contacts and the best information to assess the worth of the bet. Some departments at Duke have been very good at this, some not so good. For those who have been good, the policy has paid off handsomely.

A Duke Prof.

Anonymous said...

Topher, apologies I responded to your 5:31pm, not your 5:39pm.

A Duke Prof.

Ralph Phelan said...

A Duke Prof.:

If I'm understanding you correctly the Duke administration tels the departments "get aggressive finding rising stars" and lets them definie rising stars for themselves. So as Steven Horwitz said at 6:01 pm, the problem isn't that the tenure committees aren't finding stars, it's in their definition of a star. A search run by folks who consider Houston Baker a star is never going to pick someone I like.

So the question is how can some adult supervision be applied to the departments that are now majority politicized?

Can the other departments exert some leverage by using their own standards of scholarship to other departments' hires? Are they willing to do so?

Or is the adult supervision going to have to come from outside?

I'm seriously considering writing my state legislators suggesting the we need a similar bill. Can KC, Steve H, Duke Prof or any of the other academics who hang out here talk me out of it?

inman said...

One Spook @ 12:59

Thank you for the polite rebuke. You're right, ... in re-reading, I don't even agree with my own words in the last paragraph. The rhetorical question would have more clearly stated my intent.

I just wanted to be provocative. And now that the haze (or stupor) has lifted, I feel substantially less guilty. Hell, ... I don't feel guilty at all.

And as the father of a collegiate D1 lacrosse player ... a WASP male, etc. etc. ... believe me when I say that I too have very strong feelings about the injustice.

Sorry that the malt interfered with the clarity of my thoughts.

hman @ 1:09

In part, your question about intent and who gets the God's eye view was part of the moral of that story. If you'll notice the sequencing, the "no" came after the act. So definitionally, would it constitute 'rape?' Had implicit consent been given?

The feminist agenda would, I think, argue that no consent could be implied and that no consent was given. That would be an agenda-driven position that allows for an after-the-fact reconsideration of events, with the potential for retaliation. My sense is that the feminist agenda would have women believe that, in all encounters, they have the implicit option to "call the cops" if they don't like the outcome. Indeed, was the law designed to provide women tha option of imprisoning men?

And just for the record, I have a white friend who was kidnapped in a mall parking lot by two black assailants, brutally raped ... who then escaped her torment only by jumping naked from a car into traffic. All in broad daylight. That was what the law clearly was intended to deter and punish.

That was black and white.

It's the gray areas that trouble me.

Also, anyone who was offended by the 'narrative,' please accept my apology.

Ralph Phelan said...

"In part, your question about intent and who gets the God's eye view was part of the moral of that story. If you'll notice the sequencing, the "no" came after the act. So definitionally, would it constitute 'rape?' Had implicit consent been given?"

Looking at it from an epistomological point of view - absent a video recording, is their any way anyone who wasn't there (such as, say, a jury) could ever know what really happened? So long as we remain the concept of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as a practical matter prosecuting such cases is impossible.

Of course, the feminist jurisprudence answer is to give up "beyond a reasonable doubt," at least for men.

I suspect that by the time she's dating you'll have told your daughter enough about the nature of men that she won't get into such a situation.

Anonymous said...

To Ralph @ 9:15

Correct, we have large autonomy in defnining and identifying rising stars. One type of check comes at the Dean, Provost and APT level where we need to convince administrators and colleagues in other fields that the people we pick indeed have star potential. I believe KC already posted about how it works so I won't repeat it here. ( The most important check, however, is the department's external review, which takes place every five years. That's when the university determines whether we used resources wisely or not, and wehether we deserve to keep managing our affairs with large autonomy or not.

A Duke Prof.

Ralph Phelan said...


It looks like those checks aren't working (and not just at Duke.) Do you have any ideas how to make them work better?

Or is "affirmative action for Republicans" really the only remaining course of action?

It's a really ugly solution, just barely better than nothing. Please help me find an alternative - keep in mind that inaction and trusting the current system to work are no longer viable options.

Anonymous said...

I will accept your apology and appreciate you being man enough to admitt your error.