Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Roberts National Mendacity Tour Continues

In a recent appearance on the Jim Rome radio show, former New York Times columnist Selena Roberts continued her campaign of distortions and outright lies about her writings on the lacrosse case. In some ways, her remarks—part of a desperate bid to retain her credibility, so readers and the media will trust the anonymously sourced conclusions in her A-Rod book—are worse than her initial columns at the lacrosse case. Those, in theory, could be blamed on a temporary lapse in journalistic standards and an unfortunate rush to judgment. Her current remarks, however, can only be attributed to a conscious attempt to deceive.

Lie: The “Culture,” Not the “Crime”

Here, Roberts asserts that her writings were neutral on the crime, and focused solely on the team's alleged culture.

This statement is, quite simply, a deliberate falsehood. Roberts’ initial column on the case (March 31, 2006) inextricably linked the “crime” to the “culture.” The article’s thesis: that the team’s “anti-snitch” culture explained why “none [of the players] have come forward to reveal an eyewitness account.”

That claim, of course, was another falsehood, one that Roberts has refused to correct, despite being given repeated opportunities to do so. (The three captains voluntarily gave lengthy statements, without counsel, and their DNA, and offered to take lie detector tests.)

Moreover, Roberts' writings on the case in 2006 did not criticize Nifong at all, while her 2007 column portrayed the disgraced ex-DA as a bumbling "Columbo," someone who apparently made innocent errors in investigating a terrible crime, thereby allowing the guilty to go free.

Distortion: “Pornographic” Pictures

Apparently sensing that her initial defenses had not gone well, Roberts introduced this new allegation in the Rome interview.

The assertion is nothing short of bizarre. Anyone listening to Roberts would believe that the lacrosse players—as part of their apparently depraved culture—established a website to post titillating photos of Crystal Mangum. The photos, of course, were released by defense lawyers to the mainstream media only after Mike Nifong had refused to look at them; and the photos were released to establish a definitive timeline showing that Mangum’s allegations could not be true.

That the media then broadcast the photos, rather than simply describing them or showing the time-stamps, is an indictment of the media’s culture, not the players’.

One other, obvious, point: these “pornographic” pictures hadn’t been released anywhere when Selena Roberts wrote her 2006 column asserting that the players had engaged in conduct “that threatens to belie their social standing as human beings.” So whatever prompted that stunning, craven claim, it wasn’t “pornographic” photos that now so concern Ms. Roberts.

Inventing Evidence: Racial “Slurs”

It is “indisputable” that one player responded with a racial slur to Kim Roberts’ racial taunt, outside the house, at a time when most of the team had already departed. (Since, according to most accounts, Mangum was passed out by this stage, she heard neither the Roberts taunt nor the racial slur.) It would, it seems to me, to be perfectly fair to at most say that one player on the team was racist. But how does Roberts get from one player’s likely racism to an indictment of the entire team’s “culture”? By inventing “indisputable” evidence of multiple players using racial slurs, directed at both women.

Ignoring Evidence: Attack on the Team’s “Culture”

But—as Roberts surely knows, at this stage of the game—a comprehensive investigation of the team’s “culture” occurred. There’s plenty of “doubt” about her portrayal of the team’s culture. Indeed, the report of the Coleman Committee all but completely refuted Roberts’ cultural critique.

Is Roberts disputing the Coleman Committee’s findings? That would seem to be the only way she could support her assertion that “there’s no doubt” about the portrayal of the team’s culture—a “Lord of the Flies” regime, in her words—she offered in her columns.

Excuse: They Were Just Columns!

Responding to on-target criticism from Jason Whitlock—if she made factual errors she refuses to admit in her Times columns, why should we trust her anonymously sourced assertions on A-Rod—Roberts offered this remarkable excuse:

I’m sure this casual dismissal of the standards in her columns delighted her former bosses at the Times.

Perhaps . . . just perhaps . . . the Tmes will be miffed enough at Roberts to run a correction for her myriad factual errors?

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

KC -

Another brilliant expose' on the despicable liar, Selena Roberts.

I have just finished sending another note of appreciation to Mr. Whitlock. At a time when many reporters and columnists, including the odious Roberts, were engaging in a rush-to-judgment that belied their standing as professional journalists, Jason Whitlock stood strong with his objective, dispassionate, truthful examination of the issues involved in the Duke lacrosse case.

Thank you, Jason Whitlock. And may Selena Roberts be condemned to the dustbin of eternal liars.

Debrah said...

Oh, man.

This woman is worse than the "stand by his words" Tyson.

Unbelievable that Roberts can utter such lies at this stage of the Hoax.

This is simply a stupendous post.

Danvers said...

KC,

It is time to get yourself invited onto the "Selena Roberts Interview Circuit" to restore some sense of reality to her "beliefs"

Anonymous said...

This is more evidence of how the lacrosse players will be hounded for a non-crime for the rest of their lives.

I wonder if her incessant attacks on the players is actionable. She has no excuse for living in the past and regurgitating lies that were repudiated years ago.

Anonymous said...

What she never addresses is how both she and the New York times simply got the story so completely wrong.

What value is the New York Times if they prove incapable of finding out the truth? They never did - and were left only to report on those that did distill the truth - ironically, those that did were by and large not members of the media!

So at the end of the day, I would really want to ask Selena Roberts - What value do you add?

Anonymous said...

This is a great article. I appreciate how Ms. Robert's article was compared with the actual facts.

I just can not believe she actually wrote a book so damaging based on anonymous sources, after all of her bias reporting and her lack of integrity to admit her errors and apologize to those affected, how can we can believe what she writes in her book about A-Rod. I chose not to.

No justice, no peace said...

The big lie(s) lives.

This is another example of why the law suits should not be settled.

Only because of where she works and not due to the quality of her work is she held up as being a trusted professional. In fact she's just another affirmative action flop working in an industry that has lost most all of it's credibility.

The fact that she will not correct the record is more than disconcerting. The top-rated sports radio program (KTCK 1310) in Dallas/Ft. Worth was recently reviewing her claims on A-Rod. The hosts held Ms. Roberts up as unimpeachable because or where she worked. No mention was made of the lacrosse case or her complicity in perpetuating the lie(s). They have a large drive-time audience.

She still is presented in some circles as trusted and that is why K.C.'s and Jason Whitlock's efforts remain so very important.

Anonymous said...

On a mainly unrelated topic:

It seems the Feds can actually locate the Raleigh Durham area on a map

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=6801133

Parker Smith said...

"It would, it seems to me, to be perfectly fair to say that one player on the team was racist."

I'm not sure that a single racial slur is sufficient to establish that - especially when it comes from the respondent in an angry "tit-for-tat" exchange.

It certainly reflects discredit - but does not seem to provide proof of ongoing racism.

Unless your meaning is simply that one player did act in a racist manner one time - that does seem to be beyond dispute, but I can't take that as terribly damning, in the circumstances.

jamil hussein said...

"It would, it seems to me, to be perfectly fair to say that one player on the team was racist"

I think this is unfair statement. Everybody makes stupid comments, especially after being pissed off and scammed by idiot and somebody else shouting racists slurs against you.
The label "racist" has lost all its meaning. It is used merely as an insult (typically by liberal activists and members of real racist hate groups, such as New Black Panthers).


There is a massive difference between somebody making a stupid counter-argument and being a racist. Of all people, academic scholar should understand the difference.

There are real racists in this country. I really doubt we find a single such person in Duke Lacrosse team.

KC Johnson said...

To the 3.36/3.38:

I modified the post to include a qualifier of "at most" in response to your comments.

That said, I remain comfortable with my original wording.

Debrah said...

TO (3:23 PM)--

Here's the story.

I haven't actually watched Oprah in about a decade; however, I've decided to turn it on just to see the continuing train wreck.

As I said before, thank heavens Obama pushed these two nuts off the stage early on.

craig said...

Another great post. I wish every interviewer on her book tour would take the time to read it and then asks his questions accordingly.

Debrah said...

More Selena

Debrah said...

The Decline and Fall of Selena Roberts

Debrah said...

Jason Whitlock's bio and some of his latests

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson, I think you need to cut Selena some slack. I have been informed by an anonymous source that Ms. Roberts still suffers post-traumatic stress from an incident in elementary school. Selena was participating in a physical education class dodgeball game when she was struck in the posterior with a ball thrown by a six year old athlete with a great arm. Selena attributed the hit to the school’s misogynistic culture which rewarded young men for eliminating women from the game. The man still maintains to this day that he was not targeting Roberts in particular but was simply throwing at the most accessible target. -sdsgo

Bill Anderson said...

Great job, K.C. Roberts is a liar, pure and simple, and the more she talks, the more she exposes her lies.

I'm glad to see Jason Whitlock is getting under her skin. But, then, Whitlock has integrity, which is more than Roberts has.

Bill Anderson said...

What about the "culture of lying"? That seems to be rampant at the NY Times and in the mainstream media.

That is why I am thankful for writers like Jason Whitlock who are not afraid to stand up and tell the truth.

Debrah said...

I hope KC can clear up the Chan Hall issue for these dimwits.

Anonymous said...

You know I think the word "racist" has lost all meaning other than as an emotionally charged slur to put people on the defensive. Probably everyone I know could be called racist in that they make pre-judged assumptions about other people based on race or ethnicity. What if you said at least one person was heard to utter a race based slur? What descriptive term is not a race based slur in someones mind? Certainly civilized controlled objective persons will try to abstain from using slurs especially as the terms could redound on their reputations and the term used was a frank race based slur. What if we knew the identity of who uttered the alleged remark? Would that person be branded as the poster person of the cruelest race remark ever? Look what has happened to Michael Richards. (see Wiki) He has described his transgression as stemming from rage and has rehabilitated himself after an apology tour. Nobody has ever fessed up to being the stater of the racist remark which allows Roberts and her ilk to brand the whole group. We know who could not have said it because they were not there. The fact that Nifong picked people to prosecute who were not even there still does not seem to register with Roberts. She is stuck in the gotcha game were by if you admit an error you are destroyed. This game is played in countless press conference interviews and political debates. She will never admit she lied or that she even made a mistake. She will spin, spin , spin and her supporters will mutter "something happened" and pat her on the back for her brave stance. Jason Whitlock sees that there are real victims of false accusations.

Anonymous said...

Some advice for Ms. Roberts -

"You never know how the past is going to turn out."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 2:42 - You ask:
"What value is the New York Times if they prove incapable of finding out the truth?" The short answer: none.

KC - Keep up the great work.

Jack in Silver Spring

Anonymous said...

While listening to a pregame show for the local national league affiliate, one of the play-by-play announcers was asked by the show's host about Selena Roberts claim that A-Rod gave opposing teams information regarding what the pitcher on his team (this was when he was with the Astros) was about to pitch. The play-by-play announcer, Jeff Brantley, who played with A-Rod on the Astros strongly disputed Roberts claim. He went on to say that her claim did not even make sense and that she demonstrated a severe lack of knosledge about the game. While Brantley said that he enjoyed playing with A-Rod, that he was a hard worker and generous player in terms of helping his fellow teamates, he in no way approved of A-Rod's use of steroids and felt that in his use of substances that A-Rod had dishonored the game.
Roberts seems to have some sort of animus against male sports figures. Perhaps her employers and publishers should ask themselves what prompts her vitriolics.
cks

Anonymous said...

Go to murraychase.com...to see what one former colleague thinks of selena...

Anonymous said...

I just took another look at the column Roberts wrote on March 25, 2007 when the hoax was dismissed. Here are some sentences:

"Don't mess with Duke, though. To shine a light on its integrity has been treated by the irrational mighty as a threat to white privilege."

And:

"Feel free to excoriate the African-American basketball stars and football behemoths for the misdeeds of all athletes, but lay off the lacrosse pipeline to Wall Street, excuse the khaki-pants crowd of SAT wonder kids."

In a previous thread, I wrote that sports columnists such as Roberts went after the Duke LAX players because they were looking for the White Criminal Athlete. They were especially eager to demonize players of a sport like lacrosse and claim that they were as badly behaved, if not worse, that basketball and football players.

Now, Roberts says that it was the "culture, not the crime." Roberts should be asked over and over, "Why weren't facts and innocence what counts?" She was presuming people guilty after their innocence was proven through DNA testing and time-stamped photos. Selena Roberts should never be allowed to forget what she wrote during the Duke Hoax.

DN

Anonymous said...

I haven't followed the A-Rod controversy at all, don't really follow baseball, but the accusation that A-Rod told opposing teams what the pitcher planned to throw immediately brought to mind the movie Bull Durham (I think it was that movie) where the Kevin Costner character get back at the pitcher, Tim Robbins, by telling the opposing batter what pitch Robbins was going to throw.

Could it be possible that Selena Roberts is making it up from that movie?

Miggs said...

I believe you meant murraychass.com

"I should also disclose that after Roberts became a columnist for the Times I found her baseball columns to be shallow and superficial, and she demonstrates her lack of baseball knowledge in the book."

Heh.

f1guyus said...

So when does discovery in the Lacross case begin? That might bring to light some facts that somebody could rub Ms Roberts nose in. Fact is Selena is going to get kid glove treatment from the mainstream media because they agree with her narrative. her "interview" on the Today show is a perfect example. Gotta confuse the issue with some nasty old facts elicited under oath in a courtroom.

halides1 said...

Her canard about the photos is beyond the pale--the most outrageous thing I have heard in some time. How anyone could support her after this is unfathonable.

Chris

Bugle Boy said...

Debrah---

Thanks for all the incredible links.

I enjoyed all of them especially Jason Whitlock's !

Debrah said...

I hope someone hasn't already posted this.

Selena is being compared to Ann Coulter.

That might bother her more than anything else that's been said so far.

LOL!!!

A Duke Dad said...

correction to the 9:16 -

that's www.murraychass.com

Murray does not like Selena Roberts' professional standards nor her book:

..Selena Roberts never met an anonymous source she didn’t quote.

..journalistic abomination

..Roberts makes far too many serious allegations about Rodriguez to hide them behind anonymous quotes.

..Had she written these same reports for the [NY] Times, very little would have made it into the paper.

Debrah said...

Dan Blue seems to be cleaning up all over.

Anonymous said...

I read an excerpt from the book n this week's Sports Illustrated. It is very poorly sourced, and makes spectacular allegations based on vague and anonymous sources. As some folks already pointed out, anyone who understands baseball (even superficially) would find the allegations not even close to substantiated. Sports Illustrated published the excerpt relating to pitch tipping (which in baseball terms is a very serious offense, if true). Roberts bases the whole passage on a "former Ranger," never pausing to look into the more logical explanation that as shortstop, Rodriguez is required to place the defense depending upon what pitch is coming.

That said, the clear link to her Duke lacrosse articles is the willful ignorance. In the Duke case, she simply ignored any evidence that did not fit her metanarrative and worldview. Pitch tipping for the purpose of increasing batting averages can be proven -- all she needed to do is get the anonymous source to identify the season, and then run a check on (1) Rodriguez' average after the 6th inning in blowouts and (2) the other team's shortstop and 2nd baseman after the 6th inning. If the "former Ranger's" story is true (assuming he exists), there will be a spike in batting averages for both categories. This is not really all that hard to do but requires painstaking work. This is such an obvious effort that it raises the legitimate question that she did not want to know the answer since it may disprove her allegation.

Same as she did in the lacrosse case.

Haunches

Bill Anderson said...

Because of the "Times Malice" rule of SCOTUS decisions in 1964 and 1967, it would be almost impossible for A-Rod to successfully sue Salena Roberts and SI. Now, it is possible. You might remember its horrible sourcing of the article about the former Alabama football coach (whose name slips my mind), with the coach being able to get a settlement from SI.

A-Rod would have to prove either that Roberts knew the allegations were false, but made them anyway, or that she pursued her claims with "reckless disregard" for the truth. These are very, very high thresholds for libel suits, so I think A-Rod will have to lick his wounds and go on.

One thing, however, is that the Duke stories have come back to haunt Roberts. I think that she figured she could write what she wanted but with no consequences, and she did not figure that Jason Whitlock and K.C. Johnson would be dogging her.

Now, if Roberts ever goes after someone from the Red Sox or Celtics, I suspect that we will see K.C. unleashed like never before! Never underestimate the anger and resolve of a Boston fan, especially someone who was able to see the Bambino Curse lifted!

(And everyone knows it was the Bambino Curse that made Bill Buckner boot that grounder!)

Uncle Mario said...

Oh boy! Selena Roberts calling out Jason Whitlock - bad move!

Please let The O'Reilly Factor be one of the Roberts tour stops.

When Jason Whitlock and Murray Chass are ripping into you, it's over for Selena.

Funny that she mention about the alleged culture at Duke, what about the culture over at the NY Times under the reign of terror of both Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd?

Debrah said...

Duke trustees hold line on budget

By Gregory Childress : The Herald-Sun
May 9, 2009

DURHAM -- Expecting the economy to continue to struggle amid a global recession, Duke University's Board of Trustees approved Friday a flat $1.8 billion budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year beginning July 1.

The budget projects no major changes in revenues or expenditures compared to the current fiscal year.

"It will be a very tight budget," said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. "We will clearly feel the impact, but we are confident we have a budget that ensures Duke maintains its momentum and can focus on its core mission."

The new budget includes an operating budget of about $900 million, other operating funds of about $325 million and sponsored funds, such as those awarded by the federal government for research projects, of about $600 million.

The budget includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing, but excludes Duke Hospital and other components of Duke University Health System, which are budgeted separately.

As announced earlier this year, the budget reflects a 3.9 percent increase for undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board, pushing the cost of one year of undergraduate education to $49,895. But it also calls for an increase in undergraduate financial aid of 17.1 percent, the highest percentage increase of any component in the budget.

"In the face of this global recession, it is important for us to think creatively and ambitiously about how we can continue to support our most critical priorities, such as continuing to strengthen our faculty and making it possible for any outstanding undergraduate to attend Duke," said Provost Peter Lange.

In March, Duke announced that it would begin to take steps to offset an expected $125 million budget shortfall over the next three years as a result of declining endowment returns and fundraising.

One step was to cut out pay raises in 2009-10 for university employees making more than $50,000. Employees earning $50,000 and below will get a one-time payment of $1,000.

Other cost-saving measures include curtailing external hiring, eliminating vacant positions, making internal reassignments and instituting a retirement incentive program for some university staff.

Duke also announced last month that it will offer voluntary buyouts to as many as 700 hourly workers in an effort to trim costs.

Schoenfeld said the formal offer to those employees has gone out and they will have 45 days form the time they receive their letters to respond. He said the university will know around the middle of July how many workers have decided to take the offer.

The university has also decided to hold off new construction until it identifies and secures funding for projects. Planning for projects such as New Campus will continue, but the start of construction will be deferred.

"We will certainly continue planning, but the start of construction will be deferred until the financial situation becomes clearer," Schoenfeld said.

Debrah said...

Reharmonizer Man is gasping for air because the Diva caught (just one of many!) him in the act of attempting to malign Wonderland as he has done so often in the past.

He's so nonplussed!

KC Johnson said...

It's refreshing to see that Prof. Zimmerman has expanded his position from an apologist for the Group of 88, and has now become an apologist for the 2006 NCCU forum, which Durham attorney Bill Thomas aptly described as a "pep rally for an indictment."

I wish him the best of luck in his new role.

Duke 1965 said...

Totally aside from Roberts' "recharacterization" of her earlier writings on the lacrosse case, I think it's interesting to examine her underlying thesis about the lacrosse culture, which she obviously believes is odious.

For those of you unfamiliar with the lacrosse culture in general, you might find this interesting:

http://www.slate.com/id/2139536/

Assuming this characterization is reasonably accurate (and having spent some time around lacrosse players, I think it is), is this a dangerous culture that must be stamped out? I don't think so. Sure, it can be labelled as misogynistic and alcohol and testosterone fueled, but so what? Is that a real danger to our society as we know it?

I spent 6 years in the Navy flying from an aircraft carrier, and I can tell you that the Navy pilot culture bears a strong resemblance to the lacrosse culture..... does anyone remember the Tailhook scandal? If you look beneath the "culture" of lacrosee or Naval aviation, what do you find? Dedicated, hardworking, law-abiding people.

I'm left to conclude that Ms. Roberts is simply upset because some young men and women refuse to toe her particular PC line. In other words, it's all about cultural power, and nothing else.

Anonymous said...

I hope readers caught this point of Mr. Whitlock's, because it's one I've tried to make, with probably dubious success, for years:

"Never trust a publication. Hell, the more prestigious the publication, the more pressure there is for the writers to cut corners in pursuit of a good story."

What I have phrased the same point, based on my years of experience in journalism, is that the more "disreputable" the publication, the more likely that what you read in it is true. The example I usually use is the National Enquirer vs. The New York Times. (Another of my axioms of journalism is that TV journalists are to journalism as TV ministers are to the ministry.)

I did have to take one exception to Whitlock's column, which I included in an e'mail to him that reads:

When you say "America is a safe haven for sexism", do you mean anti-male sexism? Because if you mean anti-female sexism, then we need to come up with a whole new word for how women are treated in the rest of the world where the American writ doesn't run.RRH

Anonymous said...

Roberts, conversely, got a big story and, yes, a book deal with her own aggressive reporting and without collaborating with a famous sports celebrity. When she had it nailed, she went right to Rodriguez and looked him in the eye, woman-to-man.

Confronted with truth, he ran back to the good-old-boy network to spin his version of it.


NT Times 29/03/03 Praising her.

And when she was found to have fraudulently covered the Duke case and went Media liar V. College Students what happened?

You proved that the US media is a safe haven for anti-Male sexism!