The lack of accountability is a major theme of the lacrosse case and its aftermath. Whatever else could be said about rogue ex-DA Mike Nifong, the State Bar eventually held him accountable, and stripped him of his law license. That action, in turn, triggered an accountability session for the ethically challenged Linwood Wilson, who was fired from his job as DA investigator as soon as Nifong lost his position. And, with the company he founded facing a loss of accreditation, Dr. Brian Meehan eventually lost his job as well.
Compare that record to the academy and to the media. In the academy, if anything, participation in the witch-hunt is a career advancer. Several prominent members of the Group of 88 either left Duke for better jobs (Farred, Baker, Payne) or were promoted within Duke to deanships. The administration even forked over a large legal settlement to the falsely accused players in part to shield individual faculty members from legal liability.
And then there’s the media. Bob Ashley stayed on as the Herald-Sun’s editor until his retirement this past January. Likewise with the Times’ Bill Keller, who kept his position for years until recently stepping down. Duff Wilson is still at the Times, where he was promoted to cover the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. His on-line bio adds that he’s “currently a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the nonprofit group Investigative Reporters and Editors,” and has taught investigative reporting.” (The site doesn’t feature his syllabus, but based on his Duke reporting, presumably Lesson Plan One is, “Always Trust Whatever the Prosecutor Tells You.”)
But none of these figures can compare to Nancy Grace, subject of a glowing profile (coupled with a photo of Grace in a stylish black leather jacket) in Sunday’s Times. The article, by Brian Stelter, noted that Grace’s current network, HLN (the successor to Headline News), has reoriented itself (and boosted its ratings) around Grace’s guilt-presuming coverage of high-profile trials. It doesn’t mention just how wrong-headed Grace’s trial coverage has been in the past.
And the MSM wonders why younger people increasingly trust The Daily Show for hard news?