Wednesday, June 06, 2007

INNOCENT:Praise for the Herald Sun

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

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Readers Note: Today, 6/6/07, the Durham Herald Sun published two stories that will interest all of you who care about justice in Durham. I sent the following email to Bob Ashley, H-S editor.


Dear Editor Ashley:

I’ve criticized the Herald Sun so often you may wonder whether I’m capable of saying anything good about the H-S.

Well, read on.

In the past week or so the H-S’s Duke Hoax coverage has improved markedly. A number of recent stories by Ray Gronberg have been informative and well done. What a welcome relief from John Stevenson’s “Anything for Nifong” stories.

Today, on your front page, Brianne Dopart and Gronberg each provided H-S readers with “don’t miss” articles . From Dopart we got, "Chief hopefuls face the public," and from Gronberg, "Potential lacrosse case panelist has ties to police"

Here, I want to focus on Dopart’s article.

Within Dopart’s article on the public interview forum involving the three finalists picked to replace current DPD Chief Steve Chalmers, the following paragraphs are critically important for all citizens to know:

... Durham Deputy Chief Ron Hodge [speaking about the Duke lacrosse case said,] We've already acknowledged some mistakes were made." He added, "Criminal investigations involve human beings, and human beings make mistakes."

Asked during the public forum what mistakes they had made in their careers, laughter erupted when Hodge said he didn't "recall that the Durham Police Department has been involved in something where we made major mistakes in the past five years."

He explained that the recently released in-house report on police handling of the lacrosse case found "some small" errors, but cautioned against rushing to judgment while the "jury remains out."

"I think in the end we'll be okay," he said.

Asked during the public forum what each would do to rebuild the city's image in the aftermath of the lacrosse case … Hodge said the perception of a fractured Durham was media-generated.

"We've been through crises before as a police department, and we will go through crises again," Hodge said. "I know that our citizens are tired of the Duke lacrosse case and our officers are probably ... getting impatient [with being asked questions about the case] as well ..."

Hodge said he would not tolerate "some very bad reporters" who, he said, ask him questions and then ask his colleagues similar questions. That kind of journalism, he said, can risk the integrity of his department or an investigation.
Those are chilling words – really threats - coming from a man with a history of child abuse who supervised DPD during its “investigation” and attempted frame-up of three innocent citizens for felony crimes that could have sent them to prison for the rest of their lives.

Congratulations to you and Depart for reporting the truth.

As you know, the Raleigh N&O waffled and didn’t mention Hodge’s threats not to tolerate “some very bad reporters.”

Just a few weeks ago N&O public editor Ted Vaden scorned the H-S for your Duke lacrosse coverage. I wonder what he'll say about his paper's reporting in this case.

I'll write and ask him. I'll let you and my readers know what he says.

If you're thinking, "John, don't hold your breath on Vaden," I certainly understand.

But I'll try anyway.


John in Carolina


kbp said...

Hard to face up and give praise, but it was due!

Anonymous said...

Todays editorial 6/7/07 in the HS is quite refreshing also. the HS is sorta surprising me with their fairness right now.

Anonymous said...

The H-S also reported how the gathered crowd broke into laughter when Hodge claimed he couldn't remember the DPD making any big mistakes in the last 5 years --

whereas (if I'm not mistaken), the N & O reported Hodge's comment but NOT the derisive laughter it provoked.

Again, a very pleasant surprise to see the Herald-Sun getting it right. Glad to see them getting praise when they earn it.