A paperback version of UPI will be published in September; it will include additional material updating matters since the hardcover book appeared. In the process of working on the update, I went back and looked through some of the early press coverage of events in
The ESPN piece appeared as an insert column on April 11, 2006, the day after defense attorneys announced that the DNA tests Mike Nifong had promised would exonerate the innocent all had come back with no matches. Reported by Eric Adelson of ESPN: The Magazine, the column stated:
A source has provided ESPN with a detailed account of the exotic dancer’s arrival at the hospital the night of the alleged sexual assault at a party thrown by members of the Duke men’s lacrosse team.
The source, who asked to remain anonymous, was present at the hospital on the night of the alleged incident and says the woman was “beat up” but would not immediately divulge to anyone the identity of her alleged assailants.
“She was hysterical,” the source said. “She was crying, she was pretty banged up. She said she was sexually assaulted, but she didn’t say by whom.”
The source says the woman entered the hospital well after midnight March 13 wearing a red nightgown and nothing on her feet. She was walking on her own, but there were bruises on her face, neck, and arms.
A triage nurse attended to her, but the woman did not want him to touch her because he was a man. She was then examined by a sexual assault nurse.
There were injuries to the woman’s pelvic area, the source said.
According to the source, the woman did not immediately inform either the police or the hospital staff who inflicted the injuries to her.
“She never said one thing about Duke, any athlete or anything,” the source said. “She just kept hollering and screaming. She never said who did it.”
As the Attorney General's report made clear, no evidence exists to corroborate the claims of Adelson's single anonymous source—which, as a thread in the old Liestoppers convincingly argued, was probably former Duke Police Officer Sara Falcon. The italicized items above all appear to be false.
Several months ago, I e-mailed Adelson to ask if he stood by his story (a version of events that, to my knowledge, appeared in no other article). I recently e-mailed ESPN ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber to bring to her attention the errors in Adelson's story. Schreiber didn't respond; Adelson said he stood by his source.
An even more fantastic version of events came from New Statesman
Stephen's article—which appeared in late May 2006, long after Reade Seligmann's innocence was publicly known, along with much of Mike Nifong's prosecutorial misconduct—conceded only that "it is proving ever harder to establish what actually happened, and for many the truth will never be satisfactorily proven."
Nonetheless, he decided to provide
--41 members of the lacrosse team "were in full jock-party mode." [How does Stephen know this? And what is "full jock-party mode"? He never said.]
--"The 'performance' started at around midnight but within a minute or two got out of hand: according to the women, they were called 'niggers' and one of them was told, 'Hey, bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt.'" [Like Duff
--"Lacrosse is a sport almost entirely confined to private schools in the north-east, and very few white American kids, let alone blacks, ever get the chance to play it; the sport is a phenomenon of America's white elite, one with an aura almost like that of polo." [In fact, lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country of which Stephen is his paper's editor.]
--"The father of the reputed ringleader, 20-year-old Reade Seligmann, is a Wall Street financier and the whole family summers at the $4.3m Seligmann home in the Hamptons." [Even Wendy Murphy never suggested that Reade Seligmann was the "reputed ringleader." The Seligmanns own no vacation "home in the
--"Despite appearances to the contrary, lacrosse is a violent game that attracts the most oafish jocks." [Stephen's evidence presented in the article? None.]
--"A tiny handful will go on to make huge sums in professional sports; the rest will almost certainly follow their fathers into boring, drudge jobs in the world of finance; then, in generational turn, they themselves will live vicariously through their own sons' jockish exploits." [Which lacrosse players make "huge sums in professional sports" Stephen never revealed. Despite his assault on the lacrosse players' parents' character, he never gave any evidence of having interviewed even one parent.]
--"In a determined and methodical media campaign to change minds before the case goes before a jury, the defence has also released photos from digital cameras with times imprinted on them, plus detailed mobile-phone records, which seem to indicate - quite convincingly, I must say - that Seligmann, at least, could not have been present when the rapes supposedly occurred." [So how, exactly, was Seligmann the "reputed ringleader," and what did that claim say about the perverse nature of Mike Nifong's case? Stephen didn't care to explore this question.]
Having penned a column filled with untruths, Stephen then proposed his "false-accusers-should-profit" solution: "Probably the least harmful denouement for all concerned would be a civil settlement in which the accuser(s) would be paid millions in exchange for withdrawing their allegations . . . It is a saga that says so much about America, and how its past can come back to haunt its present."
Unlike Adelson, Stephen's ideological bias was transparent—and the fact that he was so wrong about the Duke case didn't prompt any rethinking of his approach. In a recent column, he wildly asserted, "History, I suspect, will look back on the past six months as an example of
Stephen's tendency toward ideologically slanted factual inaccuracies established in his work on the Duke case continued unabated: "But never before have the US media taken it upon themselves to proclaim the victor before the primary contests are over or the choice of all the super-delegates is known, and the result was that the media's tidal wave of sexism became self-fulfilling: Americans like to back winners, and polls immediately showed dramatic surges of support for Obama."
Actually, the US media has regularly "taken it upon themselves to proclaim the victor before the primary contests are over"—they did so with John McCain in 2008, John Kerry in 2004, Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000, and Bill Clinton in 1992. (Does Stephen even follow the media in the country to which he is
Having done their one-shot journalistic hit-jobs on the lacrosse case, neither Adelson nor Stephen appeared to have returned to it.