Yesterday, November 28, at approximately 3:20 PM, I left the following comment on Potter's "turkeys" post. I reproduce it here in its entirety.
If Professor Potter wishes it to seem that it is she who has academic credibility, and Professor Johnson who is a "turkey", she would be well-advised to start by publicly retracting and hopefully apologizing for the false statements she has made about the falsely accused Duke lacrosse players. To note just the most egregious example, Professor Potter has never retracted her statement that "the dancers were, it is clear, physically if perhaps not sexually assaulted", despite the investigation performed by the office of the Attorney General of North Carolina determining that there was "no credible evidence that an attack occurred in that house that night".
Now, it is not as if it was so clearly false at that time to think that such a thing had happened, because the mainstream media had published many lurid claims regarding the supposed injuries of the accuser. However, by this time the true contents of the medical records are well-known and they do not, of course, support the allegations of physical assault. Professor Potter, I would think that an academic of integrity would, if they learned that a conclusion they had previously pronounced and described as "clear" was based on evidence now known to be false, would make a public retraction of that declaration. It is therefore quite troubling to see you make instead what looks like a determined refusal to make such a correction. It is especially troubling because your reason for not making such a correction seems to be, in essence, "because KC Johnson said I should and KC Johnson is a jerk." Well, it is your right to hold that opinion. It is your right to think that, if KC Johnson is a jerk, you don't owe him anything. However, that is a distraction from the real question. You owe a correction to all those who thought you were an academic of integrity. And to those who were falsely maligned by your claims.
I don't think there's anything further I can say that will sum up the position you are in better than the words of F. Lane Williamson, chairman of the disciplinary panel that disbarred Michael Nifong for his ethical violations, including making false statements about the evidence:
"This is also a case where due to the initial strong statements, unequivocal statements, made by Mr. Nifong, there was a deception perpetrated upon the public. And many people were made to look foolish because they simply accepted that if this prosecutor said it was true, it must be true.
... those who made a rush to judgment based upon an unquestioning faith in what a prosecutor had told them were made to look foolish and many still do look foolish."
I challenge anyone to read Potter's accusations against KC and find anything in my post which could be judged "out of line" by the standard of civility that Potter herself chose. In short, there was no legitimate reason for Potter to delete the post without trace.
By 6:00 that night it was gone.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
From the comment thread, regarding Claire Potter's disturbing tendency to delete comments that challenge her factual inaccuracies: