As mentioned below, in his report on the post-exoneration press conference (which he described as “long” and “sometimes bitter”), NPR’s Adam Hochberg asserted, “Defense lawyers said the players are not proud of throwing the party, which included not only the strippers, but underage drinking, threats of violence, and an exchange of racial slurs.”
Asked for comment about the remark, Andi Sporkin, NPR’s Vice President for Communications, replied, “Your use of the isolated soundbite does not include its context in the larger NPR News piece - which was, in fact, about the clearing of these false charges . . . NPR stands by Adam’s report.”
Despite Sorkin’s suggestion, Hochberg retained his interest in the network’s race/class/gender storyline right up until the end. At the post-exoneration press conference, Hochberg displayed his fixation with what he had repeatedly termed the “raucous” party. Abandoning his opportunity to inquire “about the clearing of these false charges,” he instead asked about . . . the party, and whether the players would apologize. (For reasons that remain unclear, Hochberg apparently either had not notice or did not consider sufficient the repeated apologies from the captains for holding the party.) Even though the attorneys had said the players would take no questions, Hochberg directed his question at the players.
The question generated strong responses from both Joe Cheshire and Jim Cooney (58.44 at this link). A transcript of the Q+A session doesn’t seem available on Lexis/Nexis, so I’ve transcribed the exchange. When he termed the attorneys’ responses “sometimes bitter” in his report, Hochberg didn’t mention that Cooney had, appropriately, denounced the absurdity of the NPR reporter’s own question.
I’d ask readers if they see anything in the comments below that would support the insinuation in Hochberg’s report that defense attorneys conceded that there were “threats of violence” at the party.
The transcript begins after Hochberg’s question:
Joe Cheshire: I think if you go back and review Dave Evans’ statement, when he courageously went out in front of the Durham Safety Center, you will get the answer to that question.
Jim Cooney: I’d like to address that as well—because it seems to me we’ve lost an absolute sense of proportionality here. [Applause.]
Reade Seligmann went to a party; he left the first chance he got. Collin Finnerty was leaving shortly afterwards. And Mike Nifong—and somehow the people who think this [prosecution] was a good thing to do—think they should go to jail for 30 years.
Now, the fact of the matter is, no one is proud of that party, and they’ve expressed regret for it. But to somehow say that well, since they were at a party that a lot of 19 and 20 and 21 year olds go to across the country, that that justifies the gratuitous pain that’s been inflicted over the last year, and the potential of a 30-year jail sentence, is beyond me.
Let me tell you something: I don’t want to be judged by the worst thing (or by a lot of the things) I did when I was 20. And I don’t think anyone else in this room does, too. But these young men nearly lost their productive lives because of it.
And that’s just simply a question that makes no sense in terms of logic or proportionality.
Joe Cheshire: Well said.
I don’t think it’s too difficult to figure out why Hochberg elected not to include Cooney’s response in his report.