Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Times: Still Misleading

Editors of the two newspapers with the worst coverage of the case took different approaches in dealing with the AJR’s comprehensive review of how the media handled events in Durham. For Bob Ashley, delusion was the preferred strategy, as the Herald-Sun editor suggested that his paper had done a good job. For Bill Keller, a perceived middle line was the choice.

The Times editor didn’t even try to defend sports columnists Selena Roberts or Harvey Araton. Without specifically naming the duo, Keller told AJR’s Rachel Smolkin,

I did think, and I told the columnists, that there was a tendency in a couple of places to moralize before the evidence was all in, and not to give adequate weight to the presumption of innocence . . . As a generalization, I’m not dismissive of the people who think that what appeared in the sports columns kind of contributed to a sense that the Times declared these guys guilty. I think that’s a false impression, but I can understand where people got it.

Keller, on the other hand, was less willing to cast blame in evaluating his paper’s news division. Criticism of its performance, he claimed, has “in some instances been unfair to the point of hysteria.” (Keller provided no specific examples of this “hysteria.”) Problems, he asserted, were caused by the Times not initially “focusing a lot of investigative energy on the story.” (In fact, the Times ran nearly two dozen stories before the first two indictments, suggesting the paper was focusing heavily on events in Durham.)

The implication: the critics overstated their case; the Times columnists who rushed to judgment might have been wrong but won’t suffer any consequences for their misjudgments; and the Times eventually got the story right.

Yet Keller raised serious doubts about the good faith of his analysis by making misleading or outright inaccurate statements in the AJR interview. For instance, according to Smolkin, he suggested that “reporters’ jobs were complicated initially because the defense wasn’t talking.”

In fact, the initial Times reporter on the case, Joe Drape, was given extraordinary access to defense sources in late March and early April. Even at this stage, before indictments, some defense lawyers were open to sharing material with the Times—as they were open to sharing material with Mike Nifong.

Once Drape was replaced by Duff Wilson as the Times’ lead Duke case reporter, however, the paper seemed to lose interest in fairly reporting both sides of the story. That was the Times’ editorial judgment—a judgment, in retrospect, that appears badly flawed. But it was off base for Keller to blame his paper’s failures on the defense attorneys’ alleged unwillingness to speak with the Times.

Keller also was misleading at best and inaccurate at worst when discussing Duff Wilson’s 5600-word, front-page August 25 magnum opus.

The article, he asserted, “wasn’t a perfect piece, but it was a detailed and subtle piece that left you with no illusions about the strength of Nifong’s case.”


  • The Attorney General’s report said that Nifong had no case—that there was no credible evidence on which to base a prosecution.
  • The Times said, “By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong’s case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury,” since “in several important areas, the full files, reviewed by The New York Times, contain evidence stronger than that highlighted by the defense.”

Wilson’s story left readers with the “illusion” that Nifong had “a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury”—when the Attorney General of North Carolina, who also conducted “an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation,” asserted exactly the opposite.

Keller also creatively reinterpreted how the article used Mark Gottlieb’s “straight-from-memory” report. The notes, he mused, “were interesting not because they proved the crime was committed, which they did not, but because they showed you for the first time what the prosecutor claimed he had, what was the basis for filing his charges.”

On the surface, this rationalization sounds plausible. On closer examination, however, it continues the Times’ duplicitous performance in the case. First, as my colleague Stuart Taylor pointed out, the article featured the notes as its “centerpiece,” and was written in such a way to suggest that the Gottlieb memorandum was plausible.

More problematic, Keller’s assertion that the Gottlieb memorandum “showed you for the first time what the prosecutor claimed he had, what was the basis for filing his charges” is out-and-out untrue. Nifong repeatedly stated that two items formed “the basis for filing his charges”: Crystal Mangum’s version of events from the rigged April 4, 2006 lineup; and the report of SANE Nurse-in-training Tara Levicy.

But don’t take Nifong’s word for it: the Gottlieb memorandum couldn’t have formed “the basis for filing his charges” for an obvious reason—it didn’t exist when charges were filed. Indeed, as Gottlieb admitted in his Bar deposition, the memorandum’s critical elements (the “straight-from-memory” recollection of the March 16, 2006 interview, for example) were written in early July, or nearly three months after charges first were filed.

How, Keller was asked, should the media handle the case now? Providing “more, better reporting.”

Sounds reasonable. Perhaps, then, the Times could share with readers—and with the Attorney General—the basis for the following reporting, from the August 25 article: “The dancers stopped. An argument ensued. Using a racial epithet, someone yelled that they had asked for white dancers, not black ones. That much is agreed. It was 12:04 a.m. March 14.” [emphasis added]

In fact, the only people related to the case who agreed with this version of events were Mike Nifong and (sometimes) Crystal Mangum. The captains, Kim Roberts, and Jason Bissey all said the racially charged exchange occurred outside the house, around 12.45am—long after Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty had left the party.

The Times has, to date, refused to correct this item (along with at least two other items from the August 25 story). Nor has the paper ever produced evidence for its assertion.

Given that record—and given his own inaccurate portrayal of the Gottlieb report—how can Keller lecture anyone on the need to provide “more, better reporting”?


Anonymous said...

Those outraged by the Times' biased reporting should waste no time writing the editor, the publisher or the so-called public editor. Instead, write directly to all members of the Times' board of directors. Please be accurate and polite.

Anonymous said...

What happened at the Times?

In essence, the editors were betting on the metanarrative, G88 style. But don't kid yourselves: Times editors probably knew almost immediately they had a loser--just like Brodhead.

Conclusion: Bill Keller is a lousy manager, uncreative editor. A perfect match for Sulzberger Jr.

I would have asked Keller why he put a lightweight (Wilson) on the case. I can't prove this, but I suspect Wilson is a G88 type: not very bright, and a lover of metanarrative lullabyes.


Anonymous said...

JLS says....,

Keller has it exactly backwards:

1. The reporting and columns by the sports journalists were just lazy pack journalism following the lead of Nifong. It is not good reporting but not that bad. It was like the VAST MAJORITY of reporting repeating what some government official has told them with any independent reporting. So I disagree with the implication of Professor Johnson that they should be sanctioned by the NYC Times. Early on they had some typical lazy reporters feeding out of Nifong's hand.

2. The later reporting particularly Duff was what was bad. The NYC Times missed the story when others, even the N&O were getting it right. And they NYC Times continued miss the story up until the day the NC AG declared no rape took place.

This said, I do not expect anyone who got the story wrong this long to admit they did anything wrong. It is just a warning to anyone that serious people do not read the NYC Time and its editorial page affects its reporting.

BTW, an interesting search would be what other stories the NYC Time had 24+ articles on during that or a similar 2 month time frame? I bet there is not another such story from NC. I doubt there is another such story even from the south.

Anonymous said...

Somebody please explain: how come the NYT still has any credibility? How can any thinking person still pay any attention to this rag?

They remain a very powerful entity. I will take the above suggestion and write the board.

Anonymous said...

BTW, an interesting search would be what other stories the NYC Time had 24+ articles on during that or a similar 2 month time frame? I bet there is not another such story from NC. I doubt there is another such story even from the south.

Jul 24, 2007 12:54:00 AM

Great point

Jamie said...

What nerve Keller has!

The Times' "work" on this case was outrageously bad - intentionally misleading, error-ridden, astonishingly (or, if you've been following the Times, perhaps not really so astonishingly) biased. Yet Keller has the nerve to call some of the criticism the Times' garbage engendered “unfair to the point of hysteria” ?

Disgusting...the effrontery of the man! Mr. Keller, please understand: the New York Times humiliated itself. It printed tripe, again and again. Your paper was an important player in a revolting, extended smear campaign. Your paper traded on long-past glory to lend an air of credibility to a pack of abominable calumnies. One can say all of this without being the least bit hysterical: it's just the truth.

That Keller refuses to acknowledge these facts now is perhaps understandable, but no intelligent reader should need his acknowledgement anyway.

AMac said...

I snuck a peek at Bill Keller's playbook. Turns out to be the same one being used by Bob Ashley, Richard Brodhead, the Group of 88, Cpl. Addison, Sgt. Gottlieb, Tara Levicy, and the rest.

Here's what it says to do at times like this:

"Tough It Out. Don't admit to any errors. Don't concede that your opponents may have a point. Don't even engage in discussions on the subject. Fact is, they are all wrong, and your are right. (After all, you are you!) The small, bitter people who buzz about mumbling code words (Due Process, Journalistic Integrity, Scholarship, Personal Responsibility, bla bla bla) will soon tire of this game and move on to something new.

"A year from now, nobody powerful will remember, or care. That will be the time for you to think up elaborate justifications. For now, just keep Toughing It Out."

Anonymous said...

Credibility at the NY Times is not something they concern themselves with. The inmates are running the prison over there.

Anonymous said...

"covering up innocence' to sell newspapers that fewer and fewer want or need to read

Anonymous said...

Take a page from Al's playbook...go to the advertisers in the Times, like say Macys, and ask why they advertise there.

Anonymous said...

The NYT by now knows that the August article was written carelessly, with more misleading information than investigative reporting. Yet if they admit their error they would be recognizing that they put a major story on the front page with little thought and even less supervision. Besides, if the Sergeant Schultz line of "I see nothing, nothing" works for Brodhead, why shouldn´t it work for the Times?

Anonymous said...

I continue to read The Times out of habit. But I no longer believe much of what they say - except when they try to cause us to lose a war by exposing national secrets with glee.

Anonymous said...

The NYT has become a fraud. Do they listen to or read their own crap. The country has/is going into very dangerous times and this kind of well, maybe, whatever type of attitude is not going to get it. You know, Elvis has left the building guys, the World Trade Center has gone. The NYT couldn't figure that story out either. It isn't just a Jayson Blair attitude of phone the story into the NYT from the old apartment, but rather an uncaring of what the facts are as long as they are controlled and manipulated and presented in/or with a particular agenda. This attitude will not help this country maintain its freedom or stability. The NYT and much of the intelligencia such as the Group88 are the antithesis of these freedoms which, by the way, many obviously inside and out of this country really don't care. The NYT had an opportunity in the World Trade Center to protect its/our city of New York and it choose not to in the same way it had a responsibility to protect due process in Durham. It did not do this. The NYT chose not to be responsible. Does the current editor of the NYT know how he came to get his job. Frankly, the NYT doen't know what in the hell is going on period and that is one definition of bigotry.

Anonymous said...

The NYT is lying when they blame the defense lawyers. This seems to be the standard lie of the Durham Police Department, Nifong, and others who wish to excuse their own misuse of the facts. Remember, the defense early on had to counter the lies that were being made public by Nifong. This opened the door for the defense to follow the public steps of Nifong step for step. It was the police departments responsibility to investigate and know the facts fully. The police and Nifong were the ones bringing the charges for gosh sake.

Anonymous said...

A quick course in Myers Briggs Personality Inventory (http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html). How people obtain, process, and act on information.

Extraverted vs. Introverted: E or I

Extraverted Characteristics
*Act first, think/reflect later
*Feel deprived when cutoff from interaction with the outside world
*Usually open to and motivated by outside world of people and things
*Enjoy wide variety and change in people relationships
Introverted Characteristics
*Think/reflect first, then Act
*Regularly require an amount of "private time" to recharge batteries
*Motivated internally, mind is sometimes so active it is "closed" to outside world
*Prefer one-to-one communication and relationships

Sensing vs Inuitive

Sensing Characteristics
*Mentally live in the Now, attending to present opportunities
*Using common sense and creating practical solutions is automatic-instinctual
*Memory recall is rich in detail of facts and past events
*Best improvise from past experience
*Like clear and concrete information; dislike guessing when facts are "fuzzy"
Intuitive Characteristics
*Mentally live in the Future, attending to future possibilities
*Using imagination and creating/inventing new possibilities is automatic-instinctual
*Memory recall emphasizes patterns, contexts, and connections
*Best improvise from theoretical understanding
*Comfortable with ambiguous, fuzzy data and with guessing its meaning.

Thinking vs Feeling

Thinking Characteristics
*Instinctively search for facts and logic in a decision situation.
*Naturally notices tasks and work to be accomplished.
*Easily able to provide an objective and critical analysis.
*Accept conflict as a natural, normal part of relationships with people.
Feeling Characteristics
*Instinctively employ personal feelings and impact on people in decision situations
*Naturally sensitive to people needs and reactions.
*Naturally seek consensus and popular opinions.
*Unsettled by conflict; have almost a toxic reaction to disharmony

Judging vs Perceiving. This is not "Judgement".

Judging Characteristics
*Plan many of the details in advance before moving into action.
*Focus on task-related action; complete meaningful segments before moving on.
*Work best and avoid stress when keep ahead of deadlines.
*Naturally use targets, dates and standard routines to manage life.
Perceiving Characteristics
*Comfortable moving into action without a plan; plan on-the-go.
*Like to multitask, have variety, mix work and play.
*Naturally tolerant of time pressure; work best close to the deadlines.
*Instinctively avoid commitments which interfere with flexibility, freedom and variety

Anonymous said...

Sorry hit the send button too quick. The point of the Myers Briggs is that all personality types are equally valid and reflect simply how people go about daily affairs.

The NYT may well appeal to ESFP.s
The Wall Street Journal may well appeal to INTJs.

Myers Briggs Personality Inventory goes a long way to helping understand the folks involved in the Duke lacrosse scandal. If you are unfamiliar with MBPI, it is very well worth your timing looking further into this fascinating area.

Anonymous said...

Criticizing the NYT for journalistic bias is like criticizing a skunk for stinking. I wonder what would happen to a real newspaperman who claimed to have read "the entire criminal file" and claimed it had valid evidence of guilt when, in fact, no such "file" existed? Don't waste your time writing to NYT Board members or advertisers, see skunk metaphor above.

Anonymous said...

Finally, I am an INTP. I suspect many of us are. I think most of the 88 are ESFP's. The ways of of looking at information, processing information into facts, and then acting on those facts are at odds. Hence, puzzlement, bewilderment, misunderstanding. Neither side can figure out where the other is coming from.

Sorry about the brevity. I hope you all will take a close look at the MB. Try David Keirsey's book, "Please Understand Me II" or a similar introductory text.

Anonymous said...

Regardless whether you're INTP or ESFP, truth is still truth and liars are still liars.

Anonymous said...

ubg 6:25

Absolutely. I certainly did not mean to excuse their actions or move the thread off topic.

Anonymous said...

Duke diversity job available --- https://www.insidehighered.com/employment/dashboard/?event=ViewJobDetails&job_posting_id=28188

Anonymous said...

Continued cheers for KC.
Haskell: I applaud your clarity and analysis re: NYT's readers, WSJ readers, etc. Also LOL to job available.

Anonymous said...


Wilson is not the explanation of the NYT's performance, the NYT is. It is the NYT that loves metanarratives and has given up on serious work on the facts. Wilson simply did what he thought -- correctly -- is standard procedure at the NYT.

Anonymous said...

KC thank you for sticking to the truth, even if only a few hear it. Your book is going to make waves way beyond this blog.
Even the august NYT will fade as print media gets taken over by the web, it's influence in the future will be non-existent.

Anonymous said...

"I would have asked Keller why he put a lightweight (Wilson) on the case. "

Kind of like when the DPD put Gottlieb & Himan on the case?

When the higher-ups have decided on a frame they assign the people they know will be eager to help. Usually such people don't have a general reputation for doing good work.

Anonymous said...

The narrative that drove the prosecution was not only irrelevant. It was wrong. Duke is not teeming with sexual predators and racist white males. The reason reporters and editors ignored the evidence for so long is that they believed that most white people hate blacks and that most men want to rape women and those that don't wish to protect those that do.

Such views are ridiculous yet throughout this story, the group of 88, the Duke administration, the campus activists, and much of the media acted as if such stereotypes are true.

For anyone who is honest about academic life in the last 20 years, these rituals of self-flagellation are recognized as absolutely routine.

Universities have gone to great lengths to achieve diversity. They have created different admissions standards for students, created entire departments devoted to identity, spent a great deal of money to hire minorities, go to great lengths to give them power in university governance. The result is that the more dependent people are on preferential treatment the more terrible the level of discrimination must be to justify such favored treatment.

Incidents such as the Duke lacrosse case are a form of capital for those who advance themselves through preferential treatment. A lot of faculty and administrators at Duke and other universities have a vested interest in preserving the narrative of pervasive racial and gender bias.

From the point of view of individual justice in this case the narrative was irrelevant. The accuser was a liar or she wasn't. The accused were guilty or innocent.

But in another sense the story of this case is the narrative. The attention given to the case had everything to do with the racial and sexual overtones.

Is it really true that white men are closet rapists waiting to take advantage of vulnerable black women? Do we really live in a society that condones such behavior? I think that is complete nonsense. Even if the players had actually been guilty, it would have been an aberration.

There certainly are accusations of sexual assault against student athletes. But such accusations are only against a very small percentage of athletes and when assaults occur, they are certainly not approved.

Sometimes athletes get a pass because the circumstances are somewhat ambiguous and the cases boil down to "he said", "she said" situations. That is regrettable if the charges are valid. But in no cases do athletes get off on the grounds of entitlement. Far from being condoned, rape is reviled.

We live in a culture that condemns rape in the harshest terms. That is why the media should have been skeptical of the accusations. There was no reason to believe that the Duke lacrosse players would have wanted to rape someone let alone have unanimity in wanting to cover it up.

The sad truth is that right from the start, the whole case never made any sense. The second dancer Kim Roberts and the policeman Shelton immediately knew the accuser's story was a lie. The only thing that propelled the case was the narrative. It certainly was not the evidence.

The New York Times and the gang of 88 need to address their own prejudices. To date there is no sign that they have

Anonymous said...

If this were the Genarlow Wilson case, does anyone think that the Times would have accepted a made-from-memory report from a police officer, and especially one with very old memories, and which was written obviously to "fill in the gaps" of the story?

No, we have Bill Keller once again trying to obfuscate and pretend that his paper was not following the line of Political Correctness.

Anyone who now believes that PC is nothing more than another way of thinking is deliberately deluded. When PC infiltrates all of our institutions, they don't work. We have courts pursuing false cases, cops and prosecutors lying, and newspapers writing fiction. And don't even point out what has happened in the world of education.

Anonymous said...

It is incredible this new line that "journalists" are taking---either hand me the story by granting me the interviews that I want, otherwise, the story will be biased against you and it will be your fault. This case in particular ought to show "journalists" why even innocent criminal defendants can not just reveal their side to the press without worry. Everything that the defendants in this case revealed to the press could have backfired because they were being set up from the beginning. For major papers to say that they got the story wrong because it was not handed to them by the defense counsel is ridiculous. For one thing it does not ring true. There was plently of information out there for a real investigative reporter to question how the case was playing out. Then as motions were filed by the defense there was more than enough information out there for the Times to catch up to the facts. They need to stop using the word "story" and start thinking of it as finding and telling the "truth". Hundreds of us reading blogs were following this closely all along. Why should the reports assigned to this case get a free pass to say they were not aware of the facts? It almost seems accepted these days for news outlets to take revenge on people for not granting an interview or not granting the first interview. Journalism just gets sleazier and more about money and fame every day. And to say that the Times was "a little slow" figuring out the story in this case--I would hate to see a case that they totally botch.

mac said...

I posted a comment at one point about my experience
with a college newspaper, about how the faculty advisor wouldn't
let me get by with Duff-like material for an article I was writing -
(hard to admit that it was so bad.)

That was when I was a sophomore.

How long have these professional newspapermen/women been at it?
My facutly advisor would chew them a new orifice.

Schools of journalism should use the current regimes at
places like the NYT as examples:
bad examples.

One of our local "journalists" taught some courses at a local
college. Funny: he can't get his
facts straight, and he's gotten
something significantly wrong in nearly every article he's written!
Worse yet, he doesn't seem to care.

It might help if journalists and reporters were fined by
their employers for every fact they
made up, miscontrued or misplaced!

You'd see some change in the level of accuracy, then!
(Duff would end up owing the NY Times money for his Duke articles.)

mac said...

Someone should ask Keller:
"Were your reporters liars or incompetent?"

As to his whitewash:
"Are you lying, or are you incompetent?"

Anonymous said...


Thank you for that job posting. I think I am am going to revise my resume by changing my name to correct for my obvious diversity 'issues'.

From now on, I will formally be known as:

"Temilade Salehe-Iniko"

from Nigeria (well at least the name is).

I decided that the hyphen adds some mystery as well.

I will also reference the fact that I am African American (well, at least my mitochondrial DNA hails from Africa).

That ought to give me a leg up in the competition.

Oh...but my friends can still call me inman, or tom, or bubba, or 'hey you'...etc.

Anonymous said...

8:51...you are the man! Great summary.

I am an ESTP...but I have come to distrust even the travel section of the NYT! I do read it, I'm a New Yorker, but only if it is free. The NY Sun has a much better arts section (even my limousine liberal friends agree). And it is too bad. When I was a kid the NYTimes was a good paper. But they have bought into the PC world view from hiring to head line writing to story placement.

One does reap what one sows....in the long run.

mac said...

Let's trade profiles!
I'm an:
Not seeking anyone's company for pleasure or otherwise.

IMO, the topic of NY Times newspaper reporting deserves a
jaunt into the realm of personality disorders,
as they are perhaps more relevant
than personality inventories.
(Just MO.)

Anonymous said...

haskell @ 6:13

I -- Temilade Salehe-Iniko -- am also of the tribe that is INTP. We live "IN TP".

Nigerian TP made from the skin of the Achatina achatina following hunts of the lion moon.

Anonymous said...

Buried near the end of the job posting for the 'Diversity' position.

"Fluency in Spanish preferred."

WOW...does that ever send a message.

Anonymous said...

One thing I did not like about the article was that it was too understated. It allowed editors to provide meaningless soundbite excuses for printing stories that were way off base and caused great damage to innocent people. For instance, what does the Times editor mean when he says,
"I think we were a little slow to get traction on the story, frankly. Partly we were slow figuring out who had custody of the story"--I don't know what he means by traction. they certainly printed a number of stories on the case. And why should it matter who has "custody"? Doesn't the buck stop with the editors regardless of who wrote the story. Shouldn't they get the story right regardless of what section of the paper it appears in? This article did not seem to press back when editors blurt out these incomprehensible statements. For that reason I felt like the article did not serve much of a purpose except to remind people of how off base the reporting was. And Dan Abrums gave the press a mediocre rating on this case. With few noted exceptions (he being one of those exceptions) the press was a disaster on this case. How could they have done much worse? I wish the author of this article had pressed him on how he feels about those cable law shows where people debate real cases often without knowing the facts and take extreme positions depending on what side they are representing. I think this case highlighted why those shows are the height of irresponsibility--no lawyer should comment on real cases as a legal expert unless they at least have read up on the facts of the case. He had such a show, and while he conducted himself responsibly, many of the guests act more like charicaturesn than experts.

Anonymous said...

Sadly this comment is anonymous, as its author deserves kudos.

"Universities have gone to great lengths to achieve diversity. They have created different admissions standards for students, created entire departments devoted to identity, spent a great deal of money to hire minorities, go to great lengths to give them power in university governance. The result is that the more dependent people are on preferential treatment the more terrible the level of discrimination must be to justify such favored treatment.

Incidents such as the Duke lacrosse case are a form of capital for those who advance themselves through preferential treatment. A lot of faculty and administrators at Duke and other universities have a vested interest in preserving the narrative of pervasive racial and gender bias. "

Nail. Head. Bang.

White male evilness is not the reason for current affirmative action regimes. Affirmative action is the reason for the widespread belief in white male eveilness. Because if the beneficiaries of affirmitive action did not believe in white male evilness, they'd have to admit to themselves that they are parasites.

Anonymous said...

"tsi said...
Buried near the end of the job posting for the 'Diversity' position.

"Fluency in Spanish preferred."

WOW...does that ever send a message."

Yeah, but a message about academia in particular. That line could be appended to almost any job posting in America.

I work in manufacturing, and I sure wish I was fluent in Spanish so I could talk to our technicians. (Chinese would be nice too so I could talk to the other engineers.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but a notmessage about academia in particular.

Forgot to preview

Anonymous said...

mac sez:

"How long have these professional newspapermen/women been at it?
My faculty advisor would chew them a new orifice."

And he would be wrong to do it. The purpose of a campus paper may be to tell the truth, but the purpose of a commercial newspaper is to sell advertising space.

How often do you take action based on what you read in the newspaper? If it's less than once a week then as a practical matter you're not using the paper as an information source, you're using it as an entertainment medium. Thus the measure of a newspaper story's success is not its truth, but rather how many eyeballs it attracted.

This is as true of the New York Times as it is of the National Enquirer, the Times just serves a more upmarket crowd.

People rarely change their news reading/watching habits as a result of discovering they were fed false information. If they did, the Dan Rather phony memo scandal would have driven CBS News' ratings down to near 0. Instead it cost them what, a couple of points?

The only partial exception to this rule is the Wall Street Journal, as its readers actually do take actions and make decisions based on what it prints. The WSJ has is motivated to get its facts right so its readers don't lose money, which makes them mad.

Anonymous said...

Well... the good thing is that the Times is losing readership and ad revenue. I hope it's headed for burial.

Why buy the print edition when you can read it online? The internet provides a wealth of other sources of information. And, as we've seen repeatedly with the Times, those other sources of information might be more reliable.

I'd like to feel some compassion for Times personnel who are losing their jobs... but I don't. The Times doesn't care whether I have a job... because I am the evil white hetero male.

Let the Times die.

Gary Packwood said...

Just how big is the market segment of readers who are anti-jock and anti-frat?

I am beginning to see this market segment as much larger than I first assumed and the market may be a huge segment for the NYTimes.

Duff Wilson’s 5600-word, front-page August 25 magnum opus sure got my attention and I am now curious about the number of his readers who want to believe the 'illusion' he painted about Nifong's body of evidence.

Anyone study the anti-jock/anti-frat market (aka Audience) in the USA?

Anonymous said...


I'm sure this was another great post --- but I skipped it because the NYT had lost all credibility with me when it had proudly printed on its front page LEAKED U.S. SECURIY SECRETS.

Anonymous said...

For those of you whom I have not yet bored to death, one (for now) additional point. For those people who think with their hearts, feelings matter, not facts.


mac said...

I thought the purpose of the campus newspaper was
to help train students, as well
as to disseminate information that
would be of interest to the student body.

Our newspaper was unable to print a
true-but-unfortunate story about
the Vice President of Legal Affairs
and his felony record.
The newspaper's student editor was
threatened with expulsion,
if he should print such an article,
because the school didn't see why
such information might be useful
to the students.

Actually, it would have been a big help to students,
particularly attractive male students, helpping to prevent them
from being led to his lair for his...um...entertainment.

It made an impression: power protects its own players,
no matter how sordid.

I agree with you that papers like the NY Times no longer
serve anyone but themselves,
for the most part, and is an advertising rag.

I used to read it online, but it was too creative with the news.
Lots of journalists and reporters are wannabee fiction writers...
and it shows.

Anonymous said...

I thought the purpose of the campus newspaper was
to help train students...

Our newspaper was unable to print a
true-but-unfortunate story about
the Vice President of Legal Affairs
and his felony record.
The newspaper's student editor was
threatened with expulsion..."

It sounds like your campus paper provided high-quality, realistic job of training for anyone interested in working for the MSM.

Anonymous said...

I did not do a good job of presenting this link regarding True Believers. It would be worth taking a minute to look at this article, particularly the latter portion.


thanks, haskell

mac said...

I'm grateful that you posted this,
even though I don't completely agree with the author about
all of what he/she's presented:
I'm in a profession where a lot
of good can be achieved, but
there are so many self-made, self-described
gods and goddesses, it's hard to
separate the wheat from the chaff.

It's a little off-topic, in a sense,
but not completely: the 88 and their friends at the Times
appear to demonstrate a version of "True Believer Syndrome."
Guess that's why you posted it.

Anonymous said...

mac 10:58

Thanks Mac, it may well apply to the management at the NYT as well as the G88.

Anonymous said...

Here and in other places the NYT is characterized as being in a degenerate state compared to some previous greatness. Could someone describe or characterize this prior greatness?

It seems to me that newspapers sell papers and advertising, pay the rent and the help, and trouser the excess, if they are successful.

At one time certain wealthy proprietors subsidized newspapers in order to follow some inner voice: Temperance, Abolition, Clean Up City Hall. Does, or can, anyone still employ that model - Moon, Mellon-Scaife, the Ochs-Sulzburgers?

In Tucson, in 1963, Hugh Holub chose the motto "All The News That Fits" for his paper The Frumious Bandersnatch which was immediately banned by the Univerity of Arizona for the suspected vulgarity of it's name. Such innocent times.

Surely the slogan "newspaper of record" was invented in the Time's pr department.

Anonymous said...


...interesting article.

The third type of true believer...
"...is irrationally committed to a cause like terrorist attacks on civilians, murdering doctors who perform abortions, or following a guru like Jim Jones even to the point of murder or suicide."

Nifong? Bonilla-Silva? McLain? Houston Baker? Brodhead?


Anonymous said...

I can't believe that I missed out on so much in Wonderland just by being away since yesterday.

Didn't even get to devise a hot slogan for the previous thread. LIS!

Oh well.....have to run out for a while....but will return. A man is coming to replace a slide screen on Kitty Diva's villa veranda and I have to be here.

Before I run, below will be two posts. One on little Bonilla-Silva and his squeeze's Orange County purchase. Not very good, really.

The other is the only photo I could find by googling his Duke-hire-appendage-wife, Mary.


Anonymous said...

One of the questions that remain about the NY Times’s coverage of the Duke mess is was Duff Wilson writing his own opinions or was he writing to please his editors who told him how to frame the story? Personally I blame the editors as much as Wilson for there poor coverage.

Anonymous said...

Like the Hillsborough 88-esque clique, Bonilla-Silva and his squeeze have a crib there.....

......so quaint......away from the maddening crowd of race/class/gender....and other negative external factors.

Just little Bonnie, Mary, and nature.


Can't you just hear the birds chirping?


Anonymous said...

Mrs. Bonilla-Silva.....yet another Duke appendage-hanger-on....and whose signature, like her hubby's, reveals what a dog she is:



Anonymous said...

OK, Debrah.

I'm not sure it is appropriate to attack the family members. As best I know, this lady has not overtly done anything to deserve calumny. I could be wrong, and if so, would be glad to hear the evidence.

Also, IMHO this is somewhat analogous to Chauncey Nartey's doing a little too much research on Pressler's family. Unlike Nartey, there is no implied threat, but hey ... the voice of this blog has a much better chance of being heard if it sticks to the high ground.


Anonymous said...

TO "inman"--

So glad I checked back before turning off my computer.

Just like a wuss to attack after I issued my leave.

MAry Hoverpian signed the Listening Statement.

I rest my case.

And as you can see, she's certainly a grown up. No excuses for the hag.

I have no idea where your new-found Mayberry-moral-to-every-story-holier-than-thou provincialism is headed, but don't aim it my way.

Hovespian engages in pillow talk every night with Bonilla-Silva. That's disgusting enough....then she went so far as to go along with the rush-to-judgment 88 tactics.

Please, don't get me started. I might have to tell your boring, sentimental self to go to hell.


Anonymous said...

It is a ludicrous and transparent lie, for Keller to claim that the "reporters’ jobs were complicated initially because the defense wasn’t talking."

This contradicts Duff's own coverage, which asserted that: "By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks."

Duff's version was the Ninfongians' mantra, wasn't it? "Oh, of course the defense lawyers' version is all we're hearing. Surely that nice Mr. Nifong has some VERY strong evidence, which we are not hearing about, because those awful defense lawyers are CONSTANTLY talking to the press!" Right??

Ah, but now that the Chalmers Report has created the new Big Lie, that the awful defense lawyers actually stalled the investigation by NOT talking -- well, Keller is happy to use that new lie, just as Duff was happy to use the old lie (that the defense did ALL the talking).

Sorry, NY Times: You can't have it both ways -- idiots.

Anonymous said...

Lastly, "inman", I want to ask you in front of every poster here never respond to me again.

You obviously have a problem with reality. How dare you.

The fact that you could bring up a diabolical racist attack dog who threatens people, etc....like Chauncey Nartey....(heaven knows what else to draw from such an analogy).....tells me that you need to get yourself back out into the real world.

Again, how dare you.

Seriously, are you personally threatened by me in some way? Do you envy me in some way? Are you trying to water-down my comments in some way to make yourself happy?

Please, find a quest that might yield a semblance of success.


Anonymous said...

OK, I have to leave for a while...for real.

"inman" is free to attack me with abandon....like a big man.


Anonymous said...


Sorry. I was misinformed. I was not aware that she signed the statement. I haven't memorized all the names yet.

And, I may find it easy to not respond. I don't know you, what your background is or what you represent.

I said "Also, IMHO this is somewhat analogous to Chauncey Nartey's doing a little too much research on Pressler's family. Unlike Nartey, there is no implied threat..."

I didn't compare you to Nartey -- I compared your behavior to his behavior. There is a difference. And I didn't even use a direct comparison -- the words 'somewhat analogous' were chosen with care. And I specifically noted the difference between your behvior and his. And, should I make an appointment the next time I want to make an observation.

I stand by my statement.

Oh and Debrah, you have a penchant for the ribald and at times absurd.

Who are you and what DO you represent. Oh and please clarify ... are you a student at Duke, a graduate, on the faculty? ... just curious what ax you are grinding.

Anonymous said...

Debrah also demonstrated her gender issues.

Anonymous said...

I have listened to WQXR, the NYT Radio Station for over 50 years. Stream it now; Classical music wasteland here.

We have a terrible local New Orleans paper which features NYT wire stories.
NewYorkTimes-Picayune....gave up on NYT years ago.


Anonymous said...

Chauncy Nartey reflects the Duke aministration's Uncle Dick reaction to the black community period. If Duke didn't have the guts to stand up for what was right by the lacrosse team they could have stood up for the law . . . er, constitution. Just think of this as the on going rascist claims of people who don't even have citizenship using race to further themselves. Read the lies that these people used from the outset. Have they no decency, no honor? They must have known that they were making things up as they went along . . . Nartey, the pot-bangers, the NYT, Duke, the Durham Police Department. Did any of these people stop and ask themselves what they realy knew. It doesn't appear that they did . . . no matter, reward them anyway.

Anonymous said...

Read post 11:51am and 11:57am and it will set you free.

Hey amac:
Yesterday when you rebuked me I thought I had violated some higher decorum, unknown to me. The real problem is that you just need to be told where to head in at.

I wasn't off topic yesterday any more than 3:25 was. 3:25 never mentioned Bonilla- whatever's scholarhip either, but his post stayed up all day and was praised even though it was a boring white whine.

I didn't flame nor did Haskell when he decently replied.

Next time you try that stuff on me I want to see your badge and warrant card.

Got it pal?

signed: anon one forty-five, your new blog friend.

Naturally one still apologizes for the cumbersomness and obscurity of one's post at 1:45pm in yesterday's Bonilla thread which could have lent itself to misinterpretation as off-topic and flammable.

Anonymous said...

Who is Debrah and what is her connection to Duke University?

Anonymous said...

Jeez children. Please take it outside. I imagine Dave, Reade and Collin would be very proud of the way you are behaving here.
Nice work.

Anonymous said...

Inman & Debrah.

Though I often disagree with both of you, I find you both interesting and respect both your contributions.

Could both of you please step away from your respective keyboards and cool down a bit please.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your intercession. But, please review my words and give me an adult perspective on how I can avoid making the same mistake twice. I look at my words and frankly don't understand.

mac said...

Some people like to argue before a passionate embrace.

Anonymous said...

Debrah, if you're going to post links to people's info please make it clear that they are participants who deserve it rather than innocent bystanders. (And yes, anyone who signed that statement and hasn't apologized deserves to go through what the lacrosse team went through).

Inman, if you're going to criticize Debrah for attacking innocent bystanders, please first take a few moments to pop their names into the search feature on KC's site to check whether they are.

And if anyone wants a truth to set them free, I think my 10:03 highlights a critically important anonymous gem: Affirmative action increases the belief that its recipients are being discriminated against.

Anonymous said...

Put them both in Time Out

Anonymous said...

Bubba Inman,

Yikes, that didn't go too well!

You always had a way with women...

Just kidding. I read your posts and Debrah's posts and enjoy them very much. And, while I don't know her personally, I can testify that you're a good guy who tries to be courteous and respectful on a personal basis.

Shake it off.

D White

Anonymous said...

Can I come out of time out?

muttering under my breath --- "This frickin corner sucks."

mac said...

I'm not sure, either.
I like Deborah's commentary, most of the time, even when I disagree
with it. (Remember, when we disagree with commentary, we are disagreeing with IT,
usually not the person behind it.)

At least that's the way I take it.

I really like it when trolls have
attacked me, personally:
it means I got under their thin, hairless skin!

But neither of you are trolls: neither
of you deserve to be flamed.

Disagree respectfully - or at least with a sense of humor!

mac said...

You can come out, now,
you silly man.

Anonymous said...

Oh....can I also take this ridiculous dunce cap off?

mac said...

You're wearing one, too?
I thought I was the only one,
since I (inacurately)
called Bonilla a

Anonymous said...

It looks like there is a disagreement as to the rightness of posting pictures and info on 88ers and their ilk.

I would argue that posting the pictures is a public service. Anyone white or male wandering the Duke campus deserves to be warned "Watch out for this woman, she would gladly see your ass in jail just for the heck of it." I can't find the link, but there's a criminology professor somewhere in NC starting his own private "sex offendors registry" of false accusers. The supporters of false accusations are worth tracking too.

I am uneasy about posting the address of their summer house. Posting its price, however, is directly germane to the "Hey Duke parents, look here - your tuition dollars at work!" issue.

Anonymous said...

Okay kids....shake hands and go out and play nice now.

Anonymous said...

Hey D White --

I was googling the alumni directory for Phi Kaps and noticed that Nate B. and Jake B. may have died. YOu know anything about that? (It said their status was "D")

I think Nate was in your class and Jake was a freshman when you were a senior.

Anonymous said...

ralph phelan said:

I can't find the link, but there's a criminology professor somewhere in NC starting his own private "sex offendors registry" of false accusers.


Sounds like this guy, although I think his suggestion is made tongue-in-cheek:


Anonymous said...

That's it. It is tongue-in-cheek in the sense that he doesn't expect it to ever be funded. But I think he believes it would actually be worth doing if it were possible. I know I do.

Anonymous said...

Inman, like others have said--I enjoy your comments mostly. I do take issue the way you have tried to get personal with Debrah just because she called you on a mistake. Both Bonilla-Silva and his wife signed the Listening Statement which makes both of them everybody's business.
I have never seen Debrah attack anyone who did not deserve it. But I did see you try to get in to the personal stuff as a way to defend your mistake.Why just because you disagreed with her do you want to find out about her life?
Did she sign her name on something that would help try to send three innocent people to prison? Well, the people she has posted about did just that.
Some others won't say this but your use of Nartey was uncalled for and outrageous. Shows that you have the very problem you've tried to project on Debrah.
I live in Durham and I know that Debrah is in the Chapel Hill vicinity. Don't think she is a native North Carolinian, but I do know that she's an excellent columnist from what I read in years past and that she looks pretty damn good too.

Anonymous said...

Bubba Inman,

Yes, we have lost some brothers.

Jake died a few years ago; had just retired from military and had big heart attack. Nate's been gone for about 3 years (a sad story that I'd rather relate in person some time). Also lost Willie Clayton in late 2004, and Dave Bitner (cancer) about a year ago.

Life is precious...enjoy it and those around you.

D White

Anonymous said...


I have absolutely no interest in her life. The only thing that I asked about was her affiliation with Duke (and accordingly, this case.) For all I know, she (or anyone else for that matter) could be an agent for the Aryan Nation ... and although I grant their right to exist, do not particularly want to associate with them. Same with the New Black Panthers.

And I repeat what I said -- I did not compare her to Nartey or anyone else for that matter. I only referred to comparative behavior. So, I respectfully will agree to disagree with your analysis. (Please re-read my statement at 12:12 -- which by the way included an apology.)

Oh, and I have no doubt that whoever she is, she has friends like you.

Finally, I am going to follow Ralph's advice @ 1:15.

Further, I shall treat Debrah as "by appointment only" unless I find any of her posting particularly or personally offensive.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Well spoken.

Kinda sad thinking about it. Willie and Dave and Nate and Jake were great guys.

Willie was also really big. Ha! Did he ever play pro ball?

And ...Good God...I wish I had a nickel for every beer I drank on the bench with Jake. I spoke with Jake several years back (circa 2002/2003) Jake was an Air Force pilot (as I recall). Flew a C-something or other -- the really big planes.

I'll drink one tonight in memory. Oh what the heck, maybe 10 or 20.

Anonymous said...

Inman, you are burying yourself deeper. Look at the suggestions you are making in your first paragraph, Shame.
Seems after everyone has tried to smooth things over so you can save face, you still make offensive suggestions. Frankly, you seem like a part of the Aryan nation much of the time, but I wouldn't make such a suggestion as a way to make my argument when I don't have one.
And, inman, you don't have one. That first paragraph shows your character, buddy. You are a slammer with little character when you have been shown to be a fool. Again, Debrah's posts were very appropriate and I'm glad to have seen them.

Anonymous said...


I also find your first paragraph offensive. You seem to be a bitter man ready to libel people when you have no other road. Why not try the high road? No where it is?
Your low class tactic is beneath someone supposedly educated at Duke, unless the 88 taught you.

One Spook said...

Anon @ 11:11 writes:

In Tucson, in 1963, Hugh Holub chose the motto "All The News That Fits" for his paper The Frumious Bandersnatch which was immediately banned by the Univerity of Arizona for the suspected vulgarity of it's name. Such innocent times.

YIKES! I would have never guessed anyone on this Blog would remember that GREAT off-campus newspaper at the University of Arizona. I read it religously in the later 60s.

The harrrrrummmph administrators at the U of A (much like the Duke administrators today), were apparently ignorant of Lewis Carroll's work:

Lewis Carroll

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

FromThrough the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872

Ummmm ........... Alice in Wonderland? As much as things change,things stay the same ...

One Spook

Anonymous said...

Inman, if you had been paying attention you would have known that Mary was part of the Group of 88. Your needless hostility undermines the impact of your comments that are occasionally interesting.

p.s. I think I might have been married to you a while back. Hope you're doing better.

Anonymous said...

2:58 takes a coward's way. The Faculty 88 way. He brings up the most offensive subject matter. Black Panthers or Aryan Nation. Then says--for all I know someone could be an agent of one of those. ?????

What poor judgment if you are trying to make anyone think you did not mean to engage in a personal attack by using Chauncey Nartey. At first I thought Debrah over reacted. Now I don't.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, I am going to follow Ralph's advice @ 1:15."

What, you're going to go use the search feature on KC's blog?

It was at 1:03 that I suggested stepping away from the keyboard.

Dude, you need a break.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear.
Everyone who lives in NC and in the United States has an interest in the Duke lacrosse case. This is our justice system. Why would anyone need a special ticket to be interested?

Anonymous said...

inman, the very link Debrah posted said that Mary Hovespian signed her name. The only reason you went on attack was obviously personal.

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

Is Duke a state school?

Anonymous said...

Boy, you guys are really adding to the intellectual debate here. What did I do, stumble into an AOL Buddy List IM session? Talk about trivializing KC's efforts...

Anonymous said...

Get a life Deborah, Inman and other verbose boring people!

Anonymous said...

Inman has really lost his marbles.

Anonymous said...

There are no buddies here. Off base.

Anonymous said...

When you ask for information you are doing more than the NYT did . . . just make it up, right . . . this whole thing needs to be focused if it is going to make change . . . and remember, there are a lot of people who want things to remain the same at Dook only more so . . . .

Anonymous said...

I once had to take my 13 year old daughter's computer away for a week because I caught her Instant Messaging ugly things back and forth with a classmate. "You're gross." "You're fat and ugly."
"You SUCK." I think that's what came to mind here.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen my marbles?

Anonymous said...


Thank you. That is a cogent and well expressed statement. In light of your statement and in the words of Justice Brandeis:

"Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

Now, given that perspective, I now feel like Dracula would have felt on an open field just when the sun rises.

Please accept my apology for not being sensitive to the various opinions of others. I tend to be opinionated, and evidently need to learn more about human nature and the views of others. I appreciate that other people are different and have different ways of thinking about the world. As long as those different ways of thinking aren't criminal, don't attack the country I love (as well as its sense of justice and due process), and conform to accepted religious and cultural values (from whatever heritage and culture -- i.e. radical islam doesn't conform according to my view), then I will indeed have respect for diverse views and peoples.

I may need to make an appointment with the D lady to apologize more appropriately.


Lesson number 3 for the 88 in how to apologize....and oh by the way, I have no special gift in apologizing,...in fact....I just keep trying to do it better.

But at least I try.

87 people in Durham NC and 1 at Vanderbilt evidently don't.


Regards to all,
Inman, with hat in hand

Anonymous said...


Was that during his polygamous period?

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

Dammit...I hate it when I don't get to see the ones that were removed.

Anonymous said...

Folks, it's a big waste of KC's talent to keep him busy deleting inappropriate posts. Surely we can do better.

Anonymous said...

Stop being such an apple shiner. There aren't that many and I bet KC enjoys most of them. If inman hadn't used so many dirty words they would not have been deleted. They were good!

Gary Packwood said...

Anonymous 5:35 said...

...I once had to take my 13 year old daughter's computer away for a week because I caught her Instant Messaging ugly things back and forth with a classmate. "You're gross." "You're fat and ugly."
"You SUCK." I think that's what came to mind here.

Anonymous said...

The funniest thing about the exchange between Inman and debrah is that Debrah was posting anonymously to support her own cause. I kind of like that. Nothing like self-reliance.

Anonymous said...


I knew that.


Anonymous said...

TO 10:07PM--

The funniest thing.... indeed!

The thread has been stupendous.

But sorry, dear desperate one.

I was gone all afternoon, but I see clearly there was no need for me to defend myself. The truth prevailed.

However, you make a good showing with such a scenario! Gritty Gang of 88-style.

Does it make you feel less embarrassed that almost the entire thread was lambasting a pathetic, self-serving, white race-baiter?



Anonymous said...

Nothing like ole innie posting anonymously to support his own cause.

There was no cause, just right and wrong and innie was dead wrong.


Anonymous said...


Which personality is speaking?

Anonymous said...

I was in a meeting all afternoon, talking about a variable delivery forward contract -- 150,000 shares of stock that needed to be re-hedged (to avoid taxes). What is this all about?

Am I a victim of impersonation? I've read the thread.

Could someone please explain what is going on?

Anonymous said...

And who the hell is this lightning rod character?

Good God. This is becoming surreal.

Anonymous said...

I think I'd like you both to come over for Thanksgiving, arguing with family isn't quite as fun. I think I got over being thin-skinned at about six.

One of the more enjoyable characters I've met was Ted. Ted would spend all day pushing his lawn mover (previously owned by Abe Lincoln himself) down the beach at Port Aransas. He'd beg beer and dope and lived in a ply-wood lean-to.

My favorite memory was of his blue-jean jacket. Yes, Ted was not all there, he wore a jacket on a Texas beach. Regardless, on the back of his jacket someone had stiched in, "I'm Ted, fuck'em all, even you."

God bless him.

Anonymous said...

Late hit, but maybe someone will read it.

The medium is once again the message and in this case the meta-story. The Times is getting castigated by the internet analysts. The Times can do nothing to stop that, and cannot spin their way out of it. They can't get in the last word, and they can never make it go away.

How humiliating to see better analysis more widely read than that produced by the Times. Why bother to work for such a low prestige publication?