Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Welcome Slate Readers

Those who read Stuart Taylor's masterful dissection of the latest Times article might be interested in my open letter to the Times executive editor and news editor. For the blogopshere's most comprehensive dissections of the Wilson/Glater article, take a look at LieStoppers and CrystalMess.

This site focuses on the twin themes of D.A. Mike Nifong's procedural misconduct, correctly termed "mindboggling" by Susan Estrich; and the disturbing reaction to the lacrosse case by the Duke faculty and administration. But I also post on such issues as: commendable developments among the Duke student body; the short-sighted stance taken by outside groups such as the NAACP; the intersection between the case and local politics; and how many in the media have defined the "legal process" in a most peculiar fashion. I hope that you'll take some time to look around the site.

Taylor, of course, has been covering the lacrosse case almost from the start: he was a journalistic voice in the wilderness when virtually all in the mainstream media were accepting the validity of Nifong's claims. He uses that depth of knowledge well in his dismissal of the Times article.

Perhaps the single most important point Taylor makes is that the Times' approach to this case, which has now culminated in the Glaser/Wilson article, is more than simply "bad journalism." It is "worse, perhaps, than the other recent Times embarrassments. The Times still seems bent on advancing its race-sex-class ideological agenda, even at the cost of ruining the lives of three young men who it has reason to know are very probably innocent."

The Times had an opportunity in this story to do something important if admittedly difficult--admit the error of its original rush to judgment. Sometimes lost in this affair is that Nifong's procedural misconduct, minimized by the Times, has inflicted extraordinary harm on three people. One, Reade Seligmann, is suspended from school, even though, as Taylor pointed out, he is demonstrably innocent. A second, Collin Finnerty, also has been suspended, despite having been selected from the same flawed process as yielded Seligmann. And the third, Dave Evans, has had his post-graduate life turned upside down. Rather than crusade for the innocent (a customary approach of the Times), the paper shaded or omitted critical facts, while giving credence to the inherently incredible--the after-the-fact typed report of Sgt. Mark Gottlieb.

Taylor also breaks new ground in the story. Though never making the claim outright, the Times article was cleverly crafted to suggest the possibility of date rape--the very same tactic that Nifong has employed almost from the start. Perhaps Glater and Wilson should have done more to cultivate defense sources: Joseph Cheshire, Dave Evans' lawyer, told Taylor, "A toxicology report that the defense was informed of last week was negative for any date rape drug in the accuser's system." Taylor also demolishes the story's pernicious suggestion that the DNA evidence wasn't wholly exculpatory to the defense. Indeed, as Nifong promised in his court filing, the DNA test results should have ended the case then and there.

Anyhow, for newcomers, welcome again to the site; any comments or questions about the site can be addressed to kcjohnson9@gmail.com.


Anonymous said...

Here is a picture of Elmostafa, Himan, and Clayton in court today. Destined to become a classic -


Sara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Can we please not forget that Slate also published this?


"Lacrosse players hail from the privileged, largely white pockets of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. They unite and form tribes in Eastern prep schools, where they can be spotted driving SUVs with "LAX" stickers affixed to the rear windows. Many grow addicted to dipping Skoal and wearing soiled white caps with college logos on them. They gain entry into top colleges by virtue of their skills with the stick. They graduate, start careers in New York, marry trophy wives, and put lacrosse sticks in their kids' cribs."

I love reading Slate, but this concerns me.

Anonymous said...

Excellent site, excellent analysis. Thank you KC Johnson.

Anonymous said...

To any new readers of Mr. Johnson’s work,

For those that new to this site, KC Johnson’s earlier writings on the Duke Hoax are absolute must reads. All are informative, well written and widely quoted. Some are simply brilliant.

His most recent writings are available at the right under “Previous Posts.” His writings prior to those listed at the right are available at: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/johnson/duke.htm


Anonymous said...

In my post just above, the link to KC Johnson's earlier writings on the Duke Hoax does not appear in its entirety. The complete link (in two sections) is:


Just put the two pieces together to form a single link.