Sunday, June 18, 2006

Duke lacrosse: Today's Newsweek article

(Welcome visitors from Friends of Duke University. I post often on the case.)

On June 12 I posted “Duke lacrosse: Newsweek abandons sinking Nifong”

Today, June 18, I thought of titling this post "Newsweek fires torpedoes at sinking Nifong."

Newsweek’s latest on the Duke lacrosse case includes the following excerpts from a more than 2300 word article. The excerpts leave no doubt about Newsweek's current "take" on the case:

Asked for an interview last week by NEWSWEEK, Nifong declined, but sent an angry e-mail accusing the national media of getting spun by defense lawyers and sticking to his earlier comments to the press.[…]

He said that he was bound by ethics rules against commenting any more about the case or evidence.
Newsweek follows that with this:
After the alleged rape, Nifong estimated to the Raleigh News & Observer, he gave 50 to 70 interviews to local and national media. "I am convinced that there was a rape, yes sir," Nifong said on "The Abrams Report" on MSNBC on March 28.

The next day he told a local TV station, WRAL, "My reading of the report of the emergency-room nurse would indicate that some type of sexual assault did in fact take place." […]
There’s more but you get the "take."

Newsweek headlines its article
Doubts About Duke
Since the article's almost entirely a shredding of Nifong’s statements and other actions, his “evidence,” and his principal witnesses’ credibility, the headline should have been:
Doubts About Nifong
Or to be more accurate:
Huge Doubts About Nifong
But we should give Newsweek credit for this: It’s come a long way since its May 1 cover story: “Sex, Lies and Duke.”

Dare we hope Newsweek will soon give us a cover story: “How Media Aided Nifong.”

Newsweek’s article doesn’t break much new ground but it does a decent job of organizing material and events in terms of many of the questions sensible people have been asking for weeks.

However, Newsweek manages to get at least one important fact wrong. It says:
A prominent Duke law professor, James Coleman, last week called on Nifong to remove himself from the case and appoint a special prosecutor.
Nifong can’t appoint a special prosecutor. Here’s what Coleman actually called for:
Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong should ask the (state) attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor for the rape case against three Duke lacrosse players and then remove himself and his office from further involvement.
About Coleman, a former chief counsel to the US House Ethics Committee, Newsweek does get this right:
"Either he knew what the facts were and misstated them, or he was making them up," Coleman told reporters. "Whether he acted knowing they were false, or if he was reckless, it doesn't matter in the long run. This is the kind of stuff that causes the public to lose confidence in the justice system."
Newsweek backs away from directly addressing the full import of Coleman’s statement.

When he says Nifong either knew the facts and misstated them or has made them up, Coleman’s allowing for only two possible explanations for Nifong’s treatment of the evidence and what he told the court and public about it:

1) Nifong has been reckless.

2) Nifong has lied.

In the future people will ask: But with just about no real evidence, how did the Duke lacrosse case ever go so far?

Well, the prosecutor had a lot to do with that. So did the media.

And then there were many people and organizations urging Nifong and the media on. They dismissed Constitutional protections and gave full vent to their biases, resentments and angers.

But that’s all for future posts. The Newsweek article is here.
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Anonymous said...

How about "Newsweek doubts nexus between MSM and Ambitious DA?"


ME said...


Your kind comments below are very much appreciated.

Likewise, your informative and always insightful postings are also very much appreciated.


Steve said...

And yet the lives of these 3 clearly innocent white Duke lacrosse players are now ruined beyond recognition. And depending on the vindictiveness and lynch 'em mentality of the jury, they may still get convicted on baseless charges-- you know, "sacrifice a few Whiteys to make up for all the past discrimination they perpetrated on other groups."

What crap. I'm sorry, but I'm sick of all the tip-toeing and euphemisms-- when are we going to admit that blacks and whites in the US cannot and never will be able to dwell in the same country? Even now, blacks throughout Durham and outside of it want to beat those poor Duke lacrosse players-- whose faces have been unceremoniously displayed throughout the media-- to a bloody pulp. Maybe the US should just disintegrate somehow-- worked for Yugoslavia, maybe better if it had happened earlier. Or maybe we should immigrate to a nice Italian villa without this oppressive baggage of US race relations that we'll never be able to throw off.

The sad truth is, even though this is an obvious hoax, the white defendants in this case still get tarred with the oppressor label, while the false accusers are still the righteous victims, with feminists and racial pressure groups getting all the attention. There's no political solution either-- Republicans are as likely to stab whites in the back as Democrats, sending us off to be killed in a useless war in Iraq for corporate gain. I don't feel much loyalty or passion for this country anymore.