Monday, November 25, 2013

Mangum, Murder, and the Los Angeles Times

The 2nd-degree murder conviction of Crystal Mangum has, understandably, brought the lacrosse case back into the news; if Mangum hadn’t falsely accused three people of raping her, and if the local prosecutor hadn’t violated all sorts of rules to keep her story alive, and if dozens of Duke faculty hadn’t published an ad that among other things vouched for Mangum’s credibility, it’s unlikely many people outside the Triangle would care much about Mangum’s latest brush with the law, even if this time she managed to kill Reginald Daye.

For the most part, reports on Mangum’s conviction responsibly recapitulated lacrosse case events, given space limitations.

Perhaps the best positioning of the case came from Georgia Parke in the Duke Chronicle: “Mangum previously gained notoriety after accusing three 2006 Duke lacrosse players of raping and kidnapping her. The players were eventually found innocent and Mangum's lawyer and former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred for perjury and violating professional conduct.

Even the normally biased Herald-Sun chose a wholly neutral, appropriately short, and accurate summary: Mangum drew national headlines in 2006 when she falsely accused three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of raping her at a party near East Campus.

The BBC strayed a little closer to the politically correct approach: eight of the article’s fourteen paragraphs dealt not with Mangum’s killing of Reginald Daye but instead with the lacrosse case. And some of that description wasn’t accurate; the BBC claimed that Mike Nifong “resigned following an ethics trial investigating whether he had broken rules of professional conduct in the case.” Of course, the ethics proceeding did more than investigate—it found Nifong guilty on 27 of 32 counts, and disbarred him.

Nonetheless, the BBC also conceded that the initial assumptions about “race, class and gender elements . . . were turned upside down [except among the Group of 88] when all charges against the three students were dropped by North Carolina’s attorney general, who cited significant inconsistencies between the evidence and various accounts given by Mangum.”

Then, almost as a counterbalance to this overall record of fairness, there’s Soumya Karlamangla of the Los Angeles Times. Karlamangla, a Cal-Berkeley graduate, came to the Times after serving as a web producer intern and a health reporter intern for papers in San Francisco and Portland—and as an “editorial intern” for The Nation. Nation editorial interns, needless to say, tend not to be card-carrying members of the Federalist Society.

In what purported to be a straight news article, Karlamangla devoted 12 of her 15 paragraphs to the lacrosse case; Daye got one mention. And she framed the article in a manner that suggested a desire to relitigate the collapse of the race/class/gender narrative and even, to some extent, the facts of the case. Her overall portrayal of the case read as if it came from a Group of 88 press release: “The case captured the nation’s attention, exposing racial and socioeconomic divides not just at the elite university, but across the country.”

The race angle: Mangum “enrolled at the historically black North Carolina Central University, and the three men accused were white and attended a prestigious private university that was not integrated until the 1960s.”

The class angle: “While Duke typically attracts students more familiar to schools in the Northeast, its Southern home in Durham is made up of mostly blue-collar workers. As cited frequently by the media during the court proceedings, the yearly tuition at Duke at the time was about $43,000, while the 2000 census put the the [sic: did anyone edit this article?!] median household income in Durham at $41,160.”

Meanwhile, Karlamangla’s description of the actual events of the lacrosse case leaned heavily on the give-and-take of court filings or defendants’ statements, rather than on neutral inquiries such as the AG’s investigation or Nifong’s ethics proceedings. Indeed, while she could find space in her 15 paragraphs for Durham’s median household income 13 years before the murder conviction that sparked the publication of the article, Karlamangla couldn’t bring herself to mention that the State Bar conducted an ethics inquiry into Nifong’s conduct and found him guilty of 27 of 32 counts. The piece merely mentioned that Nifong was disbarred without explaining how or why.

Karlamangla then presented events of the case with action verbs (emphasis added below) all but designed to invite the reader to doubt: “The defense claimed” Nifong ordered a procedurally improper photo array. (Did he?, a reader might wonder.) “The Duke players maintained they were innocent.” (Were they?, a reader might ask.) While Karlamangla quoted from AG Cooper’s press conference, she pointedly did not include Cooper’s statement that the players were innocent—easily the most newsworthy item from his remarks. But the L.A. Times reporter found space to pass along that even as evidence of her lies accumulated, Mangum “insisted some sort of sexual assault had taken place.”

If Karlamangla wants to publish an op-ed in The Nation defending the framing of the case by the Group of 88 and itsallies, she’s obviously free to do so. But the L.A. Times should be embarrassed for allowing her item to run as a news article. 


Anonymous said...

TIME magazine:

"Mangum claimed in 2006 that the players gang-raped her at a team party where she was hired as a stripper, but the case was dropped as her story came into question."

Wow. That's so "neutral" its like saying "German aspirations in the 1940s to dominate Europe failed to come to fruition" (without mentioning World War II).
One wouldn't even learn from TIME that her charges were lies and that the AG declared the accused to be innocent. Just that the charges were 'dropped'.

Do Time (and the LA Times) and the rest simply not want to deal with the issue of prosecutorial abuse and the loss of defendants' rights? Wouldn't that be a better and much more socially important cover story than "Sex, Lies, and Duke"?

skwilli said...

The LAT is best used as parakeet floor adornment or fish wrap. Obviously, the e-version has no use whatever. I consider it somewhat of a victory that Karlamangla didn't try to assert that "the boys" might have killed Mr. Daye.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the LA Times, the Nation...whatever the vehicle -- don't we need and want outright propaganda and mass manipulation to rule the day? They do at Duke.

Anonymous said...

SEE: Aftermath of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case
by Roger Kimball

"The story of this tawdry melodrama at Duke deserved an entire book, and it got a very good one in Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case by KC Johnson of the Duke Lacrosse"....


Anonymous said...

Did KC mention false flags and the Obama presidential race and ObamaCare in his book? If not, he's got the 'story' in "outright propaganda and mass manipulation" form - and is propagating the same.

kcjohnson9 said...

To the 5.58:

Given that the book was written before Obama became President, I fear I would have needed to have been clairvoyant to discuss Obamacare.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. Well there you have it. My apologies for not reading your book yet - I might someday. I couldn't take too much more of that case while it was going on.

Now I understand why you seem to have missed the 'big picture' from a more current perspective, which explains a lot of what was so hard to understand about Duke at the time, (and even now,) I suppose.

Why not expand your dialog to cover the big picture from a more current perspective looking back? Or have you set your story in the past and intend to keep it there?

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on the difference in the media coverage:

Anonymous said...

Is Mangum a Communist?

Anonymous said...

To the 12:54PM _
Do you visit and/or read articles on the 'Minding the Campus' blog?

Big Al

Anonymous said...

No, why do you ask?

Anonymous said...

Is Soumya Karlamangla a Communist?

Anonymous said...

To the 11/28 5:33PM -
Because there you will see the pervasiveness of corruption of the colleges as described by many scholars including KC Johnson.

Big Al

Anonymous said...


you mean if dealing with duke in your backyard taint nuff - there's more samples where the came from ... no thanks

Anonymous said...

Absolutely amazes me.....years later.....I have friends who insist that poor Mangum was raped while suspended in the air, then...get this....WASHED clean of the lax DNA...i.e., the crime was cleverly planned to occur in the bathroom! Wow, crop circles, sidney harr and Wahneeeeeema!!!

Anonymous said...

This may be over-kill, but it reflects the gender/race/class antagonism in the colleges, I think.
Big Al

White Students File Complaint Against Anti-White Professor; Professor Calls It Racist
Posted By Chris Graham on Dec 3, 2013 | 71 Comments
Justice is a glorious thing, especially when it comes down hard on a social Marxist.
Minneapolis Community and Technical College professor Shannon Gibney, a black woman, has received a formal reprimand from her supervisor for being racist against white students. (She blames her reprimand on racism, by the way.)
Here’s what happened, according to Gibney:
[One of the white students asked,] ‘Why do we have to talk about this in every class? Why do we have to talk about this?’ I was shocked….His whole demeanor was very defensive.
It probably really was a shock that a white college male would stand up in defense of his whiteness, being that most college males have been castrated and are expected to take professors’ mental abuse.
He was taking it personally. I tried to explain, of course, in a reasonable manner—as reasonable as I could, given the fact that I was being interrupted and put on the spot in the middle of class—that this is unfortunately the context of 21st-century America.
Poor professor, not wanting to be put on the spot in class. It’s not as if being confronted and answering students’ questions is part of her job description or anything.
Another white male student said, ‘Yeah, I don’t get this either. It’s like people are trying to say that white men are always the villains, the bad guys. Why do we have to say this?’
I tried to say, ‘You guys are trying to take it personally. This is not a personal attack….We’re talking about whiteness as a system of oppression.’
And what about that would make a white person feel personally attacked? Because it surely can’t be the idea that his whiteness, his blood, his very DNA, ancestors, and future descendants are inherently evil and used as a means of oppression.
And so I’m quite familiar, unfortunately, with how that works—and how the institutional structures and powers reinforce this white male supremacy, basically, and that sort of narrative, and way of seeing the world.
And so I said, ‘You know, if you’re really upset, feel free to go down to legal affairs and file a racial harassment discrimination complaint.’
They did indeed file a complaint, and Gibney was formally reprimanded in a letter from the college’s vice president of academic affairs.
Guess what Gibney had to say about that.
I definitely feel like I’m a target in the class. I don’t feel like students respect me. Those students were trying to undermine my authority from the get-go. And I told the lawyer at the investigatory meeting, ‘You have helped those three white male students succeed in undermining my authority as one of the few remaining black female professors here.’
Sounds to me like there aren’t few enough, at least in the case of this particular college.


Anonymous said...

That's the way, aha, aha
I like it, aha, aha
That's the way, aha, aha
I like it, aha, aha
That's the way, aha, aha
I like it, aha, aha
That's the way, aha, aha
I like it, aha, aha

Read more: K.c. And The Sunshine Band - That's The Way (i Like It) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Anonymous said...

Looks like SR came out of hiding to take another swipe at the lacrosse players: