Monday, July 30, 2007

Duke Hoax Questions for the N&O

Readers Note: I’ve posted the following comment on the thread of this post by N&O executive editor for news Melanie Sill.

You can check that post thread to see whether Sill responds. I’ll also keep you informed.


Dear Melanie,

Since my comment appears on the thread of a post concerning journalists you say work to “preserve and improve the ability of journalists to produce news in the public interest,” I hope you won’t rule this comment “off topic” and delete or simply ignore it.

Readers deserve answers to the extremely important matters I’m about to place before you.

As you no doubt know when reporter Joe Neff spoke on May 22 at the National Press Club he made false claims that the N&O had a policy against the use of anonymous sources and had not used a single anonymous source up to that date in what he said were 541 stories on the Duke lacrosse case.

In her American Journalism Review article, "Justice Delayed," Rachel Smolkin made a similarly false claim about your use of anonymous sources at the end of a paragraph in which you are quoted extensively.

Now we come to find out in Don Yeager’s book "It’s Not About the Truth" that Ruth Sheehan told him she based her notorious “Teams Silence is Sickening” May 27, 2006 column on information she got from people at the N&O who’d gotten their information from a source the N&O has never identified: Mike Nifong.

Questions, Melanie:

1) Why does the N&O keep falsely claiming it didn’t use anonymous sources on the Duke lacrosse case when you did?

2) If Sheehan is wrong about Nifong being one of your anonymous sources last March when you published deliberately fraudulent news stories, why haven’t you said so by now? Yearger’s book has been out since May? You don’t even mention what Sheehan said in your May 4 story reporting on Yeager’s book. Why not?

3) If, as the weight of evidence suggests, Sheehan is right, why didn’t you tell readers last March that Nifong was one of your news sources the way you did with Duke’s Professor Paul Haagen, Durham Police Corporal David Addison and others who helped frame the players?

Or did the N&O and Nifong have an agreement that as a condition of his “cooperation,” you’d grant him anonymity?

Readers are owed answers to these questions. They were victimized by Nifong and the N&O’s false statements.

And most of all, the Duke students and their families who you and Nifong trashed, framed and greiviously hurt deserves answers.

I’ll publish your answers in full at JinC.

Thank you for your attention to this comment.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

And don't forget the N&O's libel of many of the lacrosse players in publishing the scurrilous poster.

Anonymous said...

The problem is about accountability. Left-wingers think they are above being accountable to anybody on any subject because in their own ego-centric minds, they know best for and about everybody. They want to "manage" the news around their own agenda, which they believe to be more intelligent and more relevant than that of their opponents. They cannot meet you on level playing field, because their tactics are not reason, logic, and intellectual integrity. They use ridicule and deceit to maintain their lofty positions. And when they are found out, rather than acknowledging the error of their ways, they change the subject, or attempt to discret their opponents.

Sill is of that persuasion and generation. She represents what is mostly wrong with journalism. She will NEVER acknowledge her wrong-doing or deceit, because to do so would mean that she betrayed her own camp. And those people do NOT have the backbone to stand against their other dishonest, weasly companions. They must think that they have to "hang together or we'll all hange separately". It smacks of conspiracy.

Stay on 'em John.

You may not get Sill to repent and recant, but the fire is important for the ultimate goal of purifying the whole stinking dishonest agenda of news mismangement to fit personal or political purpose.

Maybe we are hoping for too much out of this whole thing. Maybe we're hoping that the bright searchlight of truth will redound to some actual social benefit.

Maybe so.

Maybe not.

But somebody has got to try, and this case with its public scrutiny and interest may just resonate enough with people of integrity of both sides of the political aisles to have a positive impact on a new generation.

I hope that schools of journalism are watching. If nothing else ever happened but that, we would be better for all the saga.

We are watching. We are reading.

Thank you,

Stephen said...

9:35 - Wonderful post and Spot On! John - Thank You for all of your efforts.