Tuesday, June 12, 2007

INNOCENT: What Nifong Didn’t Do

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

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

On the thread of a post at KC Johnson’s Durham-in-Wonderland linking to some video of today’s Bar trial of DA Nifong there’s this first comment:

Nifong's lawyer...

"Mr Nifong did not create the media interest in the Duke case"

Said with a straight face - If that's the best he has to offer, we are witessing one very slow death here.
While I agree with the commenter that Nifong is in a very bad position at his Bar trial, Nifong’s attorney is not wrong when he says: "Mr Nifong did not create the media interest in the Duke case"

If we forget that or just decide we don’t want to acknowledge who created the media interest in this case and how it was done, we’re setting other innocent people up to be victimized in the same way the Duke students were.

So I responded to the anonymous commenter as follows:

To Anon @ 8:21,

I'm no Nifong fan and have said for many months that he should be disbarred and very likely tried for criminal acts.

That said, Nifong didn't "create the media interest in the Duke case."

That was done by the Raleigh News & Observer.

Remember, Nifong didn’t begin speaking publicly about the case until Mar. 27, 2006.

On Mar. 24 the N&O "broke" the Duke lacrosse case with a front page story in which the accuser was repeatedly described as "the victim" without the N&O using "alleged" even once.

So in the first story the public and the rest of media read about the Duke Hoax, the N&O cast Mangum as "the victim" and the Duke students as her victimizers.

On Mar. 25 the N&O ran the fraudulent "anonymous interview" story about what, in front page headlines above the fold, it said was a night that ended "in sexual violence."

That N&O story described the anonymous accuser as a young black mother and student who was "so scared" when she found herself before a group of boozing, barking white racist Duke male lacrosse players, three of whom then gang-raped, beat, robbed and chocked her for thirty minutes, after which their teammates formed "wall of solidarity" to cover up for them and foil the efforts of the Durham Police Department to identify, arrest and charge the rapists.

The N&O’s story, which it knew at the time of publication was a fraud and from which it withheld important exculpatory information, “went national.”

By the evening of Mar. 25, networks were broadcasting it and newspapers were laying out the N&O’s fraudulent story for their Sunday editions while media satellite trucks were gassing up to head for Durham.

On Mar. 26 the N&O reported on a vigil by Duke faculty and students, religious groups and community organization (never named) in support of “the victim” and demanding the students “break their silence”

On Mar. 27, a Monday, the N&O ran a story on a demonstration outside the house on N. Buchanan Blvd. The N&O said activists were demanding with signs and shouts that the students “confess.” The N&O didn’t mention the activists were shouting under a large “CASTRATE” banner.

That same day an N&O news columnist, Ruth Sheehan, said the team’s silence was “sickening” and that “good guys” didn’t cover up.

By Mar. 27 the N&O had, for four long days, been in full throated mob cry savaging the students, hyping the false script (frightened black mother raped by drunken, racist, privileged white males) Nifong made his own, and poisoning the public’s mind against the students.

Only after all of what you’ve just read did Mike Nifong on Mar. 27 begin speaking to the public.

And when he did, Nifong said what we’d been reading in the N&O since Mar. 24, and what the rest of media had been sheep-like repeating.

Nifong even, like the N&O, made no mention of the extraordinary cooperation the players had provided police. In fact, he followed the N&O’s lead and promulgated what the N&O and Nifong both knew was a deliberate falsehood: the players hadn’t cooperated.

Again, I want Nifong disbarred. I think he should be investigated for committing criminal acts while he and others pursued a frame-up.

But, please, don’t tell me Nifong “create[ed] the media interest in this case.”

John in Carolina