Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vaden Meanders On

N&O public editor takes half a page in today's paper to tell what we already knew: reporter Joseph Neff made a mistake "of carelessness, not of malice" in incorreectly dating the Soucie memo. But his column includes the following:

THE BIG QUESTION FOR ME, in the aftermath of this case, is the effect on The N&O's credibility and its effectiveness in continuing to report on the lacrosse case. Will readers be less confident of future reporting?

Not from the immediate reaction I received. Most of the two dozen or so e-mails and blog comments excused this error and praised Neff's work, which was The N&O's closest examination to date of the DA's handling of the lacrosse case. Many of the comments, it should be said, were from people who have been highly critical of Nifong's performance and The N&O's reporting of the case. Several noted that the Soucie-Nifong exchange, regardless of the date, still raised questions about the prosecution's case.

But there were some who questioned the handling of the error and the correction. Eric David, a law student at UNC, said: "To say that an error renders the 'implication' of the first five paragraphs of a story obsolete, but 'does not affect the accuracy of the remainder of the story' is just not acceptable. The story ... was the implication. If the implication underlying the story is false, the whole story is false."

So, the vast majority of e-mails and blog postings on this issue placed Neff's error in proper context, or pointed out that the incorrect dating actually made the case against Nifong more problemmatic. And Yet Vaden quotes at length from the one e-mail that takes an opposite view--an e-mail, no less, that incorrectly describes the story's argument. Curious editorial decision.

Update: JinC has an excellent summary of the problems with Vaden's piece.


Anonymous said...

Does McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt know what Vaden is doing? Has anyone contacted Pruitt?

August West said...

KC, when exoneration finally reigns, they owe you a dinner, at least.

just hipped to this new blog on perusal of johnsville. outstanding.

see my piece from earlier tonight, also blasting vaden, with much ammunition from your unassailable priors over at cliopatria. i had not seen this most recent entry as i wrote. we come to the essentially the same conclusion. you simply do so with an eloquence and dispassionate grace foreign to my psyche. i'm a trial guy. i just have to blow $#!+ up. lol

much respect. keep after 'em!