Sunday, August 06, 2006

Duke lacrosse: Wrong N&O headline with Neff's story

If you looked at reporter Joe Neff’s front page story in today’s Raleigh News & Observer, you know it was headlined:

Lacrosse files show gaps in DA's case

A review of prosecution documents in the rape investigation reveals that the district attorney's public statements promised more than the evidence released so far indicates
If you read the story at least once or maybe twice because you couldn’t believe “with all that was wrong somebody could be indicted,” I'll bet you agree the story had the wrong headline.

Today’s N&O should have headlined Neff's story :
EVIDENCE CONTRADICTS NIFONG, INDICATES DUKE STUDENTS FRAMED
Now being kind people, many of you may be saying something like: “ Well maybe the N&O editors just don’t know how to write headlines.”

Folks, I hate to fuss with you but the N&O editors know how to produce all kinds of headlines. They're MSM journalists. They can even produce hard-hitting headlines without having any evidence for them.

You don't believe me?

Then take a look at the headlines the N&O ran above the fold, five columns wide on the front page of its Mar. 25 edition:
DANCER GIVES DETAILS OF ORDEAL

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence.
Now those are some hard-hitting headlines, aren’t they?

All the N&O needed to run those headlines was a little cooperation between a false-story telling “frightened young mother” and some agenda driven, "may PC rule the world" reporters and editors eager to claim an obvious hoax was true.

I hope you send the N&O’s executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, an email telling her that Neff’s story is a good start, but that the N&O has some huge explaining to do and much that it needs to correct.

Sill's email: melanie.sill@newsobserver.com

Don’t let the N&O “abandon the sinking Nifong and jump into the lifeboat” without giving an accounting of its role in taking what should have been a fair, thorough police investigation and turning it into a witch hunt that led to monumental injustices and damaged the community.

Don’t let the N&O “jump into the lifeboat” without telling us “the back story” and what its done to make sure it won't again victimize innocent people and endanger the community with the kind of “news coverage” it inflicted on all of us starting on March 24 and continuing for many weeks thereafter.

For over a century the N&O has played race against race, class against class, and basically decent people against other basically decent people. In the process it grew rich and powerful, but it's done great harm to the state with its "old Red Rooster" tactics.

It’s time the N&O stopped.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You go!

-AC

James said...

John,
I do not know if you remember reading the articles on the Wilmington Race Riots but the N&O most certainly covered them - both way back when and in the present.

In the past they fuelled the flames that led to the elected (black) government being forced out by white mobs. It was the N&O that played a major part in stirring up anger. They admit all of this in their modern day analysis.

This is applicable: they took a CENTURY to acknowledge their role in a race riot that led to decades of opression and only after a commission report came out that made them look badly. They even brought lots of pro-compensation voices into their article (compensate whom?). My suggestion was that the N&O compensate them by selling their paper.

In this case it will be a long time before they actually take any sort of blame. They have been saying that they were merely repeating what Nifong said - and who is not supposed to believe him? They use Sheehan for this but that ignores the part about exactly what a reporter is supposed to do - repeat talking points or ask and investigate.

Anyway, Neff was allowed to write a story because they keep on catching heat. In the meantime, absent a Fed investigation of Nifong, do not expect apologies for a few decades.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I read that Headline, after reading that article and was dismayed.

I figured some editor softened it up. It certainly doesn't fit the substance of that article. It doesn't address the false statements made to courts and Judges - nor Mike Nifong's numerous lies to the Media.

John - Keep it up, you're the Best.

Liestoppers www.liestoppers.blogspot.com/

is another great source for reading on this most egregious case.

It's sickening. Thank God there are people out there trying to get the truth out and seek the truth.

Thank you JOhn !

betty said...

Good job! Keep the fires going John! Nifong and Mangum shoudln't get away with this!

JRW said...

Fortunately for N&O readers, Joe Neff has managed to preserve his credibility in the Duke lax debacle despite his newspaper's journalistic malfeasance. Notice, however, that the paper unleashes Neff out only when it is under severe pressure from critics such as JinC, KC and others.