Saturday, May 09, 2009

Chass: Roberts "Queen of Innuendo"

Selena Roberts' former Times colleague, Murray Chass, has read the A-Rod book, which he describes as a " journalistic abomination," with Roberts fulfilling the role of "Queen of Innuendo." In devastating detail, Chass dissects Roberts' thin arguments and takes her to task for her lack of understanding about baseball history.

Writing at Pinstriped Bible, Steven Goldman similarly suggests that Roberts seems inclined to make significant errors in writing about basic baseball issues and events.

By the way, one more point from Chass: he notes that Roberts' ubiquitous use of anonymous sources wouldn't pass the Times standards on using such sources. So it appears, despite Roberts' attempt to excuse her Duke columns, that the standards for a New York Times column are actually higher than those used in her book.

Hat tip: J.D.


Stuart McGeady said...

4th seed Duke Blue Devils draw Navy in the 1st round of the NCAA Division 1 Lacrosse Tournament. Game 7:30 PM tonight in Chapel Hill.

Go Duke!

Anonymous said...

Why does KC Johnson continue to hide
the exculpatory evidence corroborating
the story of the NCCU student victim?

Hard physical evidence- police forensic
photographs, potentially justifying the
Durham District Attorney's prosecution
of the Duke Three?

Evidence never mentioned by the
Attorney General, the media or the lawyers?

Is KC Johnson having a credibility meltdown?

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 12.35:

You're right--it's all a conspiracy. And, by the way, since you've shamed me into coming clean, here's a list of some of my fellow co-conspirators:

1.) Ex-DA Nifong: since, in furtherance of the conspiracy, he never presented this "hard physical evidence" either in his Bar ethics proceeding or in his criminal contempt hearing.

2.) Wahneema Lubiano: since, in furtherance of the conspiracy, it was critical to have the Group of 88 ad written by a figure whose academic credentials could be so easily ridiculed.

3.) Victoria Peterson: since, in furtherance of the conspiracy, we decided to have the Nifong Citizens' Committee (an arm of the conspiracy) run by an obvious extremist.

Actually, since I'm in the confessor mode, I am forced to admit that the 12.35 commenter is actually part of the conspiracy as well, since Mike Nifong & I, when we were chatting about the conspiracy, suggested it was important to have an anonymous commenter who would regularly make wild, unsubstantiated allegations.

a Nice NJ Guy said...

Give it a rest, Anon 12:35.

...Mysterious, secret "exculpatory evidence corroborating
the story of the NCCU student victim."

...."Hard physical evidence- police forensic photographs, potentially justifying the Durham District Attorney's prosecution of the Duke Three."

Well, gee... ya think Mikey Nifong (the Durham DA) had access to police photographs .. .forensic or otherwise. ??? Why didn't Mikey release those photographs?

On your first point.... WHO is this NCCU student victim ?? Since there was no crime, there is no victim. Do you mean Precious-the-False-Accuser ??? What evidence are you fantasizing about ?

All the case records (except for Precious' medical) have been released to the public. If you think there is more, file a Freedom of Information order.

Or, do you think that Little Green Men (note the gender, race metanarrative--) teleported the evidence after they finished suspending Crystal in mid air. Rich LGM, as evidenced by ownership of Flying Saucers.

Anonymous said...

Exculpatory evidence is the evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial, which clears or tends to clear the defendant of guilt.

What in the world is this person at the 12.35 post talking about?
This is absurd.

skwilli said...

Touche! KC! The vast extent of the conspiracy against that hard-working mother and student is unbelievable. And the Templars must have something to do with it too!

Anonymous said...

To: 12:50pm:

Think 12:35pm meant "inculpatory " evidence.

As you said it's an Absurd post, but it did draw a reponse from KC. LOL

Debrah said...

I predict that Selena Roberts will go the way of Jayson Blair.

Bill Anderson said...

Well, back to Selena Roberts. Why has it taken the Times so long to recognize that their former employee is and was a fraud? Here is someone who is as much a pathological liar as Wendy Murphy and Mike Nifong.

I guess all of them deserved each other.

Roberts has written a book about a baseball player, yet cannot even get a few easy facts correct about the game. Well, SI has another liar and loser on its staff. However, I am sure that Roberts is great at writing sarcastic stuff about people not in favor with the SI editorial staff.

Now, if she and Lester Munson can get together, I am sure they can write a great book about the lacrosse case!

Anonymous said...

I hate breaking this to you, but you seem to have a troll on your hands. The proper way to address a troll is to not feed them. Frankly, I found 12:35 quite funny, and if he meant it, then I find him doubly so.

Anonymous said...

12:35 Put a sock in it. Or, better yet, read any report detailing this poor Mother and working student's DNA collection after only one night of "working her way through college".

Conspiracy? The only thing close to a pre-thought out action relative to CGM is the gentlemanly refusal of the NC Attorney General, KC Johnson and scores of others to withold printing documented facts about the criminal record, "professional" work history,behavior as a mother of multiple children without fathers she can name and overall "pink hatted" character of CGM.

This poor wretch is one sick child of God, and she (and her promoters, defenders, apologists and "handlers" ) should be grateful that her full criminal, psychological and social background and activities outside of NCCU classrooms have not been fully and completely discussed.

Her "professional" activities and what DNA specifically was found on and in CGM could, indeed , be exculpatory, but those who have not released it or published books about it do not wish to cause CGM and her "posse" maore embarrassement.

Anonymous said...

Heck, our little troll probably is Crystal itself. Gee, I am so sorry that Crystal and her sorry family could not reap in the big bucks. Hey, grifters don't always get money from their targets!

Debrah said...

" "There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience,
and that is not learning from experience."
Laurence J. Peter

Selena and Wahneema, Laurence is your friend!

Anonymous said...


Gottlieb: And what wound up happening was the person that she identified in the photo presentation as being one of the attackers or a possible attacker at 90-percent likelihood actually had a scratch on his arm consistent to the DNA that was found under the fingernail.

Q. I just want to make sure I can get a couple of items from somebody else and not keep you
here any longer. But you mentioned in the course of Mr. Witt’s examination that there was a scratch on
Mr. Evans on his arm that was significant to you. Would Investigator -- do you know if there is any
documentation of that?
A. There were photographs that were taken by the Forensics Division and Investigator Himan would
have those documents.
Q. Okay.
A. And if he doesn’t have those documents, it would be in Property.
Q. And that, I presume, would have been on the night of the 16th when he came in to give a
statement? Is that when the photographs would have been taken?
A. No, that was in the Non-Testimonial.
Q. So on the 23rd of March?
A. The date of the Non-Testimonial, yes.

Gottlieb's Deposition for the State Bar Disciplinary Hearing.

Has KC Johnson addressed the substance of this passage in any
of his lacrosse writings? The statement of Durham Police Sgt. Gottlieb under oath, that Durham Police had forensic photos of a scratch on the arm of one of the indicted Duke lacrosse players.

Can KC Johnson confirm the existence of said photos.


Bill Anderson said...

One thing that is interesting is that this affair has exposed Roberts' lack of truthfulness. First, she wrote untrue things in her column. Second, when called to account for what she did, instead of telling the truth ("I was wrong"), she piled one lie on top of another.

However, it is harder for her to hide her earlier lies, and all one has to do is to look at the facts to know she is lying now (i.e. the players put the pornographic pictures on the Internet -- a huge whopper).

She now is on a bigger stage and with people who can openly and critically evaluate her work. It is one thing to make errors in the Duke case, as a lot of people really were not familiar with the details, as least not in the way that some of us are familiar.

But, a lot of sportswriters know baseball, and when she makes elementary errors, she really exposes her ignorance and dishonesty. By making false claims on a larger stage, she sets herself up.

I'm glad K.C. is exposing her lies. I don't ever listen to Jim Rome, so I am not familiar with what she has claimed. By making her comments available on his page, K.C. has done a huge public service.

As for the Troll's comments, I had no idea that K.C. Johnson was Cooper and the defense rolled into one. Yeah, K.C. is the "gatekeeper" of all the information, and if he does not want information released, well, then it stays sealed. Right.

Gee, K.C., I never would have known had not Crystal's friend and enabler (or maybe Crystal herself) informed us that you -- YOU -- were the one with all the information. What a heavy burden for you to carry!

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 11.28:

Can I "confirm existence of said photos"?

Yes, indeed, I can: as everyone in the country has known since the N&O story of March 24, 2006, the players' photos were taken that day as part of a (clearly unconstitutional) NTO.

Many of the players had scratches and bruises. I know it's hard to believe that college students who played a contact sport could possibly have scratches and bruises, but let's try to do so. Of course, as all of us in the grand conspiracy know, the real source of all of these scratches and bruises were Crystal Mangum's fake fingernails and fists from a party that had occurred ten days before, because all of the lacrosse players (this is another item concealed by the conspirators) had a super-secret form of Vitamin K deficiency, which allowed scratches and bruises that were only ten days old not to heal--while all scratches and bruises that occurred in the nine days before a photo (and all scratches and bruises more than 10 days old) magically did heal.

As for whether I have addressed the issue--I have done so, and I have done so (twice) in response to questions from the very same commenter above. Therefore, in line with the comments policy (questions already repeatedly answered will not be re-cleared), additional comments from this commenter that simply re-ask this question will not be cleared.

And, as I have noted before, this "secret" evidence was so important that even Nifong didn't bother using it to try to prop up his claim that "something happened."

Anonymous said...

On a previous thread, I wrote that people like the Group of 88 were 100% wong on the Hoax and continue on as if nothing had happened. Houston Baker goes to another position at Vanderbilt. Nancy Grace still has her TV show and Wendy Murphy remains a frequent TV talking head.

Will Selena Roberts continue this pattern? Will she lose her job at SI? I don't think so. Lester Munson lost his license to practice law in Illinois in 1991 (page 185 of Until Proven Innocent, paperback edition). How did Munson become SI's "legal analyst?" After being completely wrong (along with not knowing about open discovery) on the Duke Hoax, Munson moves over to ESPN.


Anonymous said...

Scratches or no scratches, the one absolute fact about this case is that Crystal Mangum wasn't raped by any lacrosse player. DNA testing proved that (and if DNA isn't reliable, then lets send some 200 people who have been cleared by DNA testing back to prison).

Anonymous said...

to the 11:28 - your comments are exceptionally weak. Do you recall the photograph of CGM taken a day or two after the "beating" ? - she had no visible injuries. Any reasonable person seeing that photo would conclude that the "assault" part of the claim was bogus. As for the rape/sexual assault part of the claim - any resonable person would use the DNA evidence of many other men's dna and NO lacrosse player DNA to conclude that part is a lie as well.

You must not be a reasonable person.


Anonymous said...

Could you please NOT put so many pictures of that pathetic liar Roberts on your blog page. Looking at them makes me sick!

jamil hussein said...

"ubiquitous use of anonymous sources wouldn't pass the Times standards on using such sources"

Right. For example, damaging front-page news, few weeks before the elections, about presidential candidate having an affair with lobbyist based on anonymous rumor would not pass the Times standards.

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 4.47:

It's worth noting that the McCain story (which I agree was poorly done) including the Iseman allegations came in part from named, not anonymous, sources.

Anonymous said...

KC -- THe sensational stuff in the McCain "story" came from anonymous sources. The named sources spoke about Iseman (a lobbyist)and McCain being close, which unfortunately is a "dog bites man" story in Washington -- a good chunk of Capitol Hill are married to lobbyists and others with financial interests. The sexual allegations made it a "man bites dog" story and that was nothing more than innuendo and gossip.

It's the same thing as the lacrosse reporting and A-Rod: the metanarrative trumps truth. In each instance, they began with the end in mind and knowingly built a flimsy story around it. What we have learned in the last three years is that a lot of reporters from what we thought were reputable institutions are less interested in facts and more interested in sensationalism. When confronted with evidence discrediting the story, you get sophomoric responses like "it could have been true due to the culture, so my failure to recognize the falsity of the story is a reflection of their culture, not me." After all, from their perspective, it is more important to maintain the metanarrative than the truthfulness and accuracy of a specific story.

The fact that there are hardly any credible and reliable distributors of news is a quite a loss for our society.


skwilli said...

I have a scratch on my left arm and a bruise on my right arm at the present moment. My Gosh, what have I done?

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 5.40:

Again, I'm not defending the Times story, which I think was poorly done, but on the issue of the staff's beliefs about Iseman, John Weaver, McCain's former top campaign aide, was quoted on the record.

To compare to the post topic: if Selena Roberts had managed to get some inside scoop from, say, Scott Boras, her work would have been much more credible.

Debrah said...


The Lady in the Locker Room

Anonymous said...

KC -- I think we are in violent agreement. My point is simply that the flawed methods and standards applied in all these stories because there was a woeful lack of corroborating evidenc, and a lot contrary evidence.

The A-Rod book contains a useful example of dodging evidence. To prove the point about pitch tipping is statistically possible through analyzing A-Rod's batting average in the last three innings of blowouts. If the anonymous sources story is true (assuming there is such a source), A-Rod's batting average would be unusually higher in the late innings, corroborating the story with strong evidence. It would have been very simple to do this, and Roberts did not. Like her Duke lacrosse columns, she simply ignored any evidence that did not support her worldview, and when confronted with contrary evidence, she simply declared that what she wrote was not what she wrote. Good work if you can get it.


Bill Anderson said...

Thinks of the great sportswriters of the past such as Red Barber, Jim Murray, and others. Then think of Selena Roberts. I think that the Law of Entropy is being applied to sportswriters, or at least anyone associated with the NY Times!

It is one thing to use anonymous sources, but quite another to expose one's ignorance in the process. At least Woodward and Bernstein actually got the story correct. I have no idea if Roberts is even close to the mark, and when one makes the elementary errors she has made, I have to wonder.

Debrah said...

4,400 graduates at Duke today

Anonymous said...

You can tell that you're dealing with one of the half-dozen Nifong cultists when they take a non-match of DNA on top of a fingernail to be evidence of a rape, when it is more likely to have been an assault from Mangum flailing around in one of her "pretend stupors." (If you wanted to completely forget the transference from the garbage can or the student athlete having to -- yuck! -- pick that thing up and put it in the garbage can).

Of course, these Nifong cult members also must believe that Mangum was raped at least 5 times by someone NOT on the lacrosse team. If they believe what Mangum says, and she didn't have sex for a week before the party, how else do you explain the sperm from at least 5 unidentified males in and on her? Those cultists best get to finding those "rapists." Of course, around these parts, we call them "johns." MOO! Gregory

Debrah said...

This woman builds up Selena.

becket03 said...

Chass exposes Roberts as an incompetent tyro simply by disclosing that she doesn't know the history of the luxury tax in baseball, one of the most oft discussed topics in any press box at any ballpark in the country.

Roberts is an agenda driven hack with zero credibility.


Anonymous said...

Actually I did the whole conspiracy 12:35 accused you of. thats why I remain anonymous

mkantor said...

In case you didn't catch the New York Times article today (May 17) pointing out the statistical (lack of) evidence regarding Roberts' claim that Rodriquez tipped pitches to opposing ballplayers, see Dan Rosenheck's piece at

Excerpts below.

May 17, 2009
Keeping Score
Rodriguez Didn’t Tip Pitches, Numbers Indicate

The most damaging allegation in Selena Roberts’s new book on Alex Rodriguez had nothing to do with steroids. Rodriguez’s use of performance-enhancing drugs certainly counts as cheating, but an argument can be made that his team was the beneficiary. The same cannot be said of Roberts’s claim that Rodriguez tipped pitches to opposing middle infielders when they were batting in blowouts, using visual signals to let them know what was coming with the expectation that they would return the favor.


To provide an answer, one must first define which game situations the tipping was likely to take place in, versus those in which no foul play would be suspected. Roberts does not specify how far out of reach a game had to be before Rodriguez would have broken out his signals. But if such a pattern did exist, it should be fairly easy to detect using a statistical tool called Leverage Index. Developed by Tom Tango, the author of “The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball,” Leverage Index is a quantitative measure of how important any particular moment in a game is to the outcome. A hit when the L.I. is 1 (the first batter of the game) has one-third the impact of the same hit when the L.I. is 3 (for example, bases loaded and none out in the top of the fifth, with the home team leading by two), and three times the significance of that hit when the L.I. is 0.33 (bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the sixth with the visitors leading by four).

If a tipping conspiracy were in place, one would expect that Rodriguez and rival middle infielders in games he played to have hit better in low-leverage situations than in high-leverage ones. Using a fairly loose definition of high leverage as a L.I. above 1.5 and low leverage as below 0.7, the data provide a resounding answer: either no tipping was going on or it was pathetically ineffective.


According to data compiled by Sean Forman of, his combined on-base and slugging percentages (O.P.S.) from 2001 to 2003 was 1.076 in high-leverage situations, compared with 1.017 for medium leverage and .982 in low leverage. Opposing second basemen and shortstops showed the same pattern. They registered an .899 O.P.S. when leverage was high, .825 when it was middling, and .817 when it was low. Unless Rodriguez’s behavior was even more nefarious — tipping only when it mattered most — the numbers give no reason to believe he was involved.

Using a more stringent definition of blowouts yields the same result. In plate appearances in which the teams were separated by seven runs or more, Rodriguez mustered just a .851 O.P.S., compared with 1.021 when the margin was six or fewer runs. His middle infield counterparts compiled a .744 mark in the laughers and .840 the rest of the time.