Monday, January 22, 2007

Mushnick on the Case

My favorite sports media columnist is Phil Mushnick of the New York Post; in his most recent column, he takes a hard look at how the media have covered the case.

He praises 60 Minutes' recent stories on the case--but also asks what took so long for the story to emerge, given the basic facts were known months ago. "And where's," Mushnick wonders, "everyone else in the news media who rashly fueled an episode of mob and racial injustice, so reminiscent of what American blacks suffered for decades?"

To Mushnick, this has been a "pathetic case of abandoning justice to pander to every sensibility except justice," and the media "was as guilty as Durham County D.A. Mike Nifong, the desperate fellow who needed [Durham']s African-American vote to get reelected, even if it meant sending innocent people to prison."

Moreover, in a comment that could have been directed at the Group of 88, Mushnick wonders about the enablers. "Even now that Nifong has been exposed as a butcher of justice, he is being portrayed as the only bad guy in the Duke case. But why aren't those political, social and academic leaders who demanded Nifong's rush to injustice now called upon for answers?"

His conclusion: "the answer is found in race. Once race enters the equation, the news media is easily frightened. Who wants to be branded a racist? But those who genuinely and bravely pursue the truth shouldn't care."

A depressing, if perceptive, commentary.


Anonymous said...

The rest of the MSM is too busy trying to be part of the news to report it with any level of credibility. They don't want to be the conduit, they want to influence the events that they are covering.

Anonymous said...

KC -- Read The Chronicle. Interesting stuff today.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this article. It seems as if only whites are expected to be politically correct, only whites are expected to be capable of racism, and that only whites can not take comments personally as insulting. There is a definite double standard in society that the media perpetuates.

Anonymous said...

Professor Johnson,

I would look foward to your analysis of the various reports and "analyses" in the New York Times. This paper has been especially deferential to Nifong, the accuser and the criminal process in North Carolina.

Toby said...

I wonder if, after this case, the media should refrain from publishing the names of those accused of rape as they do the accuser. Since rape is such a horrible crime, being falsely accused of it can cause severe, unjust suffering if the accused's name is known.

I doubt the media will actually change, but it's at least worth bringing it up.

Anonymous said...

Even Mushnick gets the facts wrong - he wrote that Nifong needed the black voters of Raleigh!

Anonymous said...

Forget about not naming those accused of rape; stop naming those accused of racism. It's a far more serious "crime," leading to a greater stigma than rape.

Even Nifong commented that the "worst" part of the supposed crime was the racial aspect. Evidently the alleged racial animus, including alleged epithets, was more heinous than the allegations of kidnapping, strangulation, battery and brutal oral, anal and vaginal gang rape.

Even on campus the pot-bangers have given up on alleging rape while they go after the real horror: unbridled white male privilege. The rape charge was just a pretext for going after the true criminals -- the white male racists.

This is an allegation you can never prove yourself innocent of or live down.

Anonymous said...

( I posted this in the Coleman, Neff section in error )

I read this paragraph with great interest

"In June of 2003, a young white woman, working at a hotel in Colorado, accused NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, an African-American, of sexual assault. The national news media immediately pursued the woman's character, trying to learn from high school friends whether she was "loose." She had no police record but her moral character, unlike the accuser of the Duke lacrosse teammates, became a primary issue.
And while the Colorado accuser was blindly and widely condemned as a slut, she had credibility. Bryant and his legal team retreated to a settlement, even acknowledging that the accuser was justified in not sharing Bryant's claim that the sex they had was consensual.
What else, besides race, can explain the disparity in how two high profile cases of alleged sexual assault were reported? "

Its about time someone does an in depth comparison as to how the media handled both cases

Anonymous said...

Most radical academic leftists claim that only Whites can ever be guily of racism. Seriously -- their "theory" proves it.

There is another form of bigotry operating here that is rarely discussed: professorial animus against athletes. Most professors were unathletic "nerds" in high school, and they hated the "jocks" for being popular and "cool." They have never got over that. Take a close look at radical profs and you quickly see how desperate they are to be "cool." But it never works: they are still nerds, and they still hate jocks and want to see them punished. It will never change.

Note that Peter Wood, Orin Starn, and a few others are exceptions to this general rule.

Anti-Leftist Lib

Anonymous said...

Race is certainly a large factor in a case like this but so in gender. Let us not forget that males are demonstrably second class citizens in the eyes of the law, society and the media.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with anonymous 4:17 PM.

The whole "exploiting victimhood" gravy train is feminist based and it's not difficult to figure out why Cash Michaels and his ilk use the same tactics. It's because they've worked so well for the last 40 years.

psych said...


I wanted to respond as I felt that Kobe Bryant had made a mistake in that he had cheated on his wife. Despite this, Kobe Bryant was entirely believable.

Apparently William Kennedy Smith was believable but Mike Tyson was not.

We as people seem very gullible in believing child molestation charges. Facilitated communication a now debunked treatment for autism led to unfounded charges against family members. Many on the Duke boards have referred to the McMartin Daycare fiasco.

That being said there are many rapists out there. There are many child molesters out there. My wife and children have been fascinated by a 20/20 show where child molesters are caught in an internet sting. What evil but ordinary looking people those caught child molesters are.

The situation is a difficult one. Rape is a horrible devestating crime that harms not only the victim but society as a whole. In my mind so is the false accusation of rape. Both occur.

This is one situation where reasonable doubt does not seem enough to secure an acquittal.

In my mind any time it is a he said she said and that is all the evidence that is reasonable doubt. Unfortunately that would allow many rapists to excape punishment. If it only requires a 90% certainty that means 10% of all convicted rapists could be innocent.

On the other hand rape is a terrible crime and if we do not have rapists in jail they are out raping other individuals.

In this situation there appears to be more than reasonable doubt. Only prejudice against whites or males or athletes could lead one to believe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The Sad Truth about KC Johnson

He's a damn good researcher, but, frankly, he has no taste. Phil Mushnick is a 3d-rate writer and 4th-rate thinker, which is why he writes about sports.

Was I the only person who noticed how misguided Johnson's post was on suggestions for the Legislature?

Pathetic. But at least there was a worthy subject to discuss on that thread. Phil Mushnick? Might as well post on how you prefer your bullshit prepared.

Johnson's editorial limitations are fast becoming apparent.

I know his syncophants are going to accuse me of being a Gang of 88 supporter, but I'm not.

Anonymous said...

6:01--An interesting thing about the Kobe Bryant case, as your post and the one to which you are responding suggest, is that when consent is the issue, sometimes both parties can seem "believable," which raises obvious challenges for the justice system in sorting things out. In the Bryant case, in fact, I think it's even possible that both parties actually did believe their own positions, i.e., he thought the sex was consensual (it seems NBA stars have "volunteer" partners available most all the time, and that might naturally shape their expectations in particular situations) and she thought it was not (because, for example, it went farther or got rougher than she expected). I'm not sure if there's any way a coherent system of legal principles can deal with situations like this without at least sometimes getting it wrong one way or the other.

Of course, a major distinction between the Bryant case and the lacrosse case is that this one isn't about consent because the defendants deny any sexual activity occurred. For me, the moment the team members asserted that there had been no sex was the moment I knew there could not have been a rape. These young men, their families, and their lawyers are far too smart and sophisticated to ever have made such a claim if there had been sexual contact; instead, they would have argued that there had been consensual sex, not rape.

Anonymous said...

The comment ref. race is, unfortunately (and for me, an American who happens to have descended in part from slaves, embarrassingly, true) too true.

Whatever happened to MLK, Jr.'s dream of a land where we are judged by our demonstrated character and not the color of our skin.

Anonymous said...

To 6:41;
Please give us your blog site so we can see how your work compares to all the work KC has done on the duke case.

Anonymous said...

Gender is certainly an issue, but among academic leftists, race trumps gender. If it's a white woman against a black man, the man will be believed.

Does anything trump race? yes -- ideology. If it's a black Christian conservative woman against a white, male marxian poststructuralist, the man will be believed.

All the supposed sins of the white, heterosexual male can be washed away with the simple conversion to left-extremism.

Anti-Leftist Lib

Anonymous said...

Mushnick's column is a wake up call to the general media and to some commenters in particular.

In the Dowd/Curtis lawsuit thread several people claimed that Duke should fight the Dowd suit bitterly lest the floodgates open. But Mushnick is the start of the whirlwind- as long as journalists have a hint of a story to write or a lead to pursue they will take the oppertunity to atone for the sins that Mushnick identifies in his column.

Duke can expect to see itself pelted in national papers as long as they dont turn over the slimy stones themselves.

There is nothing that the national media likes better than exposing Augean stables and Duke is letting them do it.

Anonymous said...

6:41 - Well, we could all tear you apart, but that would make you a victim.

Now, we can't have that, can we?

I'm just proud you have the American right to free speech, and while I may not agree with what you have to say, I will always defend your right to say it. But that the Left was so consistent on the matter of free speech and dissent.

As for Mushnick, can you show us how he is wrong?


Anonymous said...


I do not know a lot about these notorious rape accusations, but I know this much:

Kobe Bryant--there was sex and real injuries--the question was whether sex was consensual and whether Kobe Bryant caused the injuries documented in the medical report.

William Kennedy Smith--there was sex and other women (at least two and maybe three) who came forward claiming they had a similar experience with Mr. Kennedy. I know he was acquitted, but it was not clear to me he was innocent.

Mike Tyson--no comment.

I do agree that our three LAX defendants are in an entirely different category than the former defendants listed above. No sex, no injuries, no nothing! It's absolutely unbelievable the charges have not been dropped!!


Anonymous said...


Welcome aboard.

You may not like KC, but I'm sure you'll agree that a swwet $15 bottle of Australian wine is worth trying.

Tintara (McLaren Vale), Shiraz, 2002.

Now, what do you want to discuss?

Barack Obama
Friend of oenophiles

Anonymous said...

I was all for Kobe, I felt like she decided after her encounter with him that the whole experience was a lot more than she expected and, feeling kind of sore, decided to label it as "rape". Plus, I doubt she would have gone to the lengths she did if her "rapist" had been a regular Joe Shmoe. I think Precious is hoping she will end up like Kobe's accuser, with a nice big savings account.

Anonymous said...

6:41 to 8:16 - Mr. Troll meet Mr. Troll

Anonymous said...

Please ignore the silly comments of a jealous 6:41.

Anonymous said...

If you'all do not read, you should. Two great articles:

On 1/21: Sympathy for the group of 88 by Jon Sanders (not what you think)

On 1/22: Black Racism by Burt Prelutsky.

Check em out.


texasyank said...

Mushnick is sui generis; there simply isn't another sportswriter pounding out the kind of common sense he does on a regular basis.

I avoided all sports pages today in mournng (or is it Manning?) for my beloved Patriots. For that I missed Mushnick's supply of the common sense he delivers every Monday, Friday, and Sunday. But I'm headed there now.

Anonymous said...


I referred to the Duke defendants as "our defendants" simply because they ARE the defendants in the case we are following. I was not considering race at all as I wrote that comment, merely the evidence against each defendant or the total lack thereof. William Kennedy Smith is white, too, as I am sure you know.


Anonymous said...


I would have to see evidence that indicates beyond a reasonable doubt the woman claiming rape is a "false accuser" before I would ever make any such claim publicly, especially in print. It is completely unfair to compare Patricia Bowman and Kaitlyn Faber to the Duke LAX accuser. In deference to your feelings, please note I did not call her "our accuser." Other women corroborated Ms. Bowman's claims with assertions that Mr. Kennedy had followed the same pattern of behavior with them. Kaitlyn Faber suffered documented injuries, according to the reports I read. Injuries related to sexual activity raise red flags. I can speak with some authority that injuries related to sex are not
part of the normal experience for most women. You could probably confirm this with a local OB/GYN. Based on what little I know of the evidence in these two cases, lumping these women in with the LAX accuser is not just unfair, it's offensive.


Anonymous said...

Observer is exactly correct.

Anonymous said...

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