Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mangum Bail Revoked

ABC-11 is reporting that authorities have revoked the bail of serial fabricator Crystal Mangum. The false accuser violated the terms of her bail, and therefore will be returning to jail.

Another troublesome figure from the lacrosse case in the news: state NAACP head William Barber, whose organization posted a wildly slanted, factually challenged "memorandum of law" and whose case advisors repudiated a host of traditional NAACP positions in a vain attempt to bolster Mike Nifong's case. Barber received an award from Democratic governor Beverly Perdue, who (remarkably) hailed his efforts to "build coalitions to fight for equality."

Perdue's cowardly act should serve as a reminder of the courage displayed in the case by AG Roy Cooper. It's almost impossible in North Carolina for a Democrat--whether Perdue or Cooper--to win statewide without an overwhelming African-American vote. Yet Cooper--even though the state NAACP and sympathetic "journalists" like Cash Michaels were threatening a political price to be paid b not giving False Accuser Mangum her "day in court"--did the right thing, despite the political risk.

The same can't be said of Perdue.

And, following up on a previous post, I highly recommend this offering from Craig Henry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brodhead: "Every Allegation Is Not a Truth"

That quote came from today's N&O, regarding allegations of research misconduct against a Duke professor.

Brodhead, of course, was far less clear-cut in defending the due process rights of disfavored students on campus.

The article also noted that Duke has engaged in a round of budget trimming, totaling $100 million from its total operating budget, through elimination of 500 jobs.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wendy Murphy's Revival

While I rarely watch cable news, I’m fully aware that—in the era of Glenn Beck—the medium is more “entertainment” than “news.”

Nonetheless, FOX, CNN, and MSNBC all claim to have some “news” in their broadcasts. And so it would seem to me that each network would have minimal standards in a guest—perhaps to the extent that a guest who made repeated and verifiably false statements would not continue to be invited.

That standard, alas, seems to be too high for FOX, at least with regard to the decision to give air time to Wendy Murphy. Yes, that Wendy Murphy. Given that Murphy made error after error after error of fact during her on-air commentary about the lacrosse case, I would have thought that she would have disappeared from TV screens in the case’s aftermath. After all, Murphy is either a serial fabricator or a willful ignorant, and I would think that neither qualification would be much desired by a “news” network.

And yet here was Murphy, spouting her usual, factually-challenged nonsense in an appearance with Radley Balko. Balko, astonished at his first-hand taste of Murphy’s ramblings, did some fact-checking on her recent appearances. The result wasn’t pretty.

So what does Murphy’s continued appearances say about the state of cable “news”? I agree with Balko: “Cable news is about lining people up on either side and letting them go at it. There's no room for subtlety. There's certainly no time for fact-checking a guest's claims, even after the segment airs. Murphy is pretty, provocative, and confrontational. She's great TV. That she's inaccurate, slanderous, and hysterical is beside the point . . . At some point you have to wonder, is it even possible to be too shameless for cable news?”

Alex Pareene, of left-leaning Salon, piggy-backed on Balko’s post to (correctly) brand Murphy as Exhibit A of the proposition that “there are, in the mass media, absolutely no consequences for blatant, constant lying.”

Pareene, alas, then fatally undermines his case by comparing Murphy to Peter Beinart and Jeff Goldberg, both of whom supported the war in Iraq, and both of whom (until, in Beinart’s case, recently) have publicly and repeatedly defended Israeli national security policy.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the flaws in this comparison: Murphy repeatedly, shamelessly makes “facts” up to advance her argument. Goldberg, Beinart, and other supporters of the invasion of Iraq made (what I consider) a flawed public policy judgment. But nothing either man has ever written (including Beinart’s recent poorly-argued NYRB essay on Israeli matters) even approaches in journalistic misconduct anything Murphy said about the lacrosse case—or, from Balko’s essay, anything she’s said about sex crimes or immigration policy.

That Pareene considers Murphy’s serial fabrications comparable to the performance of Goldberg or Beinart suggests that he, unlike Balko, doesn’t see just how outrageous Murphy’s behavior has been.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

New N&O Series

One fortuitous aspect of the lacrosse case came in that the N&O--perhaps as much as any newspaper of comparable (or even larger) size--had a record of first-class work on issues of police and prosecutorial misconduct. The paper therefore had context through which to interpret Mike Nifong's unethical behavior.

The paper is continuing its exploration of such issues: here's a preview of the N&O's new series, debuting tomorrow.