Sunday, June 24, 2007

INNOCENT: N&O asks about "f" word.

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

During the recent State Bar trial of the disgraced Mike Nifong, DPD Investigator Benjamin Himan testified he told Nifong on March 27, 2006 that he was concerned by the lack of evidence supporting the claims of hoaxer Crystal Mangum. Himan said Nifong responded: “You know we're f—ed.”

At the Raleigh News & Observer’s Editors’ Blog, Managing Editor John Drescher posted on the issues Himan’s quote of the “f” word presented the N&O when reporting the story. He explained how the N&O decided to go with the quote you’ve just read in the first paragraph.

Than Drescher said to blog readers: “How would you have handled this? Post your comments below.”

I just left the following comment on the post thread here.

Dear Editor Drescher,

I’m not sure how I would have handled Himan’s report of what Nifong said on March 27, 2006.

When I heard Himan’s testimony, I wondered what he and Nifong would have been saying if the N&O had published in its March 25, 2006 account of its interview with Crystal Mangum the exculpatory news the N&O withheld from that story and only published on April 12, 2007, the day AFTER Attorney General Roy Cooper had declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann innocent.

Here, quoting from your 4/12/07 story, is some of the exculpatory news the N&O hid from the public for thirteen months, five months longer than the disgraced Mike Nifong was able to hide the exculpatory DNA evidence:

"Mangum … said she thought the other woman hired to dance with her also had been assaulted." […]

"When asked why she made the report, she said, 'Most guys don't think it's a big deal' to force a woman to have sex." […]

"Moments later, she added, 'Maybe they think they can get away with it because they have more money than me.'" […]

"Mangum said that although she did not witness it, she thought the second dancer was sexually assaulted but didn't come forward because she would lose her job as an escort.

'I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money,' Mangum said of the second dancer, Kim Roberts." […]

Editor Drescher, if the N&O hadn’t withheld that exculpatory news, what do you think Nifong and Himan would have been talking about last March 27?

And what would they have talked about if the N&O, instead of promulgating in your March 25 story the vicious lie that the lacrosse players had refused to cooperate with police, had instead reported the truth the N&O knew at the time: that the players were very cooperative with the police?

Suppose on March 27 when Nifong and Himan had their “f” conversation, the N&O’s report that day of the previous day’s Trinity Park potbangers’ rally outside the lacrosse captains’ house had reported the people you approvingly described were really so angry and hate-filled they rallied around a large “CASTRATE” banner?

That's a shocking sight we haven’t seen in North Carolina since the days when the N&O’s Josephus Daniels was stirring up lynch mobs. (You can view a picture of the banner and potbangers at

If the N&O had done what an honest newspaper should do, could Nifong and certain DPD officers have gone as far as they did with their lies and attempted frame-up?

When I heard Himan’s account of Nifong’s “f” comment, I thought of another word that begins with “f.”

It’s “fraudulent” as in the N&O’s fraudulent stories that enabled Nifong to first trash and endanger all the lacrosse team with the “wall of solidarity” lie, and then pick three of them, and attempt to frame them and send them to jail, perhaps for the rest of their lives.

Editor Drescher, fraudulent is the “f” word the N&O needs to be concerned about.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

Excellent work, John.

Anonymous said...

Is the N&O just a slightly eastern version of the H-S?

Anonymous said...


Any ideas why the N&O engaged in so much deception?

Was the N&O playing cozy with Nifong and Gottlieb or just being PC "get those white guys?"

Has anyone at Duke called the N&O on what they did to its students?

I bet not.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Biting satire:

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the N&O editors believe they can ignore the March 24-through early April 2006 coverage, which provided cover for Nifong's frame of the lacrosse players. Joe Neff was excellent later on, but his work doesn't entirely make up for the other awful coverage.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. You continue to impress me with your efforts to hold the N&O responsibly for its complicity in the hoax.

Anonymous said...

As a Duke alumna, I want to thank you for your continued persistence in holding the conspirators accountable. I still cannot fathom how Nifong, N&O, Duke administration, DPD, etc. etc. could permit such a miscarriage of truth and justice. I know it was the "election"... but I keep wondering. What else was it? How could these people sleep at night with innocent blood on their hands???? Keep it up John. THANK YOU.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, after the N&O owned up to withholding the "second dancer was also assaulted" story line, I emailed their public editor and asked what he thought of the omission. He relied that, although he had issues with some of the N&O's early coverage, this omission did not seem to be a big deal to him. I emailed him back and told him that I thought that, to anyone who had followed the case closely, this omission was huge. I got no reply.

C. Thomas Kunz

bill anderson said...

The N&O wants to have it both ways. The paper wants to bask in the very good journalism given us by Joe Neff, but then also wants us to believe that it did a bang-up job in its early coverage.

Yet, that early coverage had a huge effect on the case. It is clear that the editors from the N&O had bought into the Hoax and were acting as an arm of the police and prosecutor in order to drum up as much adverse publicity as possible for the lacrosse players.

There is no excuse for this. None. All that is needed is for someone in authority to say that the paper should have done things differently. One cannot rewrite the past, but at least we would hope that someone -- someone -- is willing to say, "We were wrong." So far, even though the spate of stories were mutually exclusive, the N&O still is trying to convince us that ALL its coverage was spot-on. I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Hey Johnny; you don't need to sugar coat it!!! ----- Excellent letter, one very difficult to ignore.

Anonimous said...
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