Saturday, July 28, 2007

The N&O & "Bullies"

Did you know there are bullies at the N&O?

You can learn more about them, even learn the names of some of them, by reading this Editors' Blog post and its thread.

Back in February, when David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were still under indictment for sexually assaulting and kidnapping a woman the N&O had repeatedly told readers was "the victim," Dan Barkin, an N&O deputy managing editor, told readers:

I'd like to have a conversation with any of you reading this about the future of newsgathering (sic), and how traditional journalists can partner with the folks "formerly known as the audience" -- as some commentators call you -- in reporting on our community
Can you guess what readers wanted to talk to Barkin about? I provide samples in this post as well as some comments by the N&O's executive editor for news, Melanie Sill.

It's Sill who identifies "the bullies."


Comment from: JC [Visitor]
02/13/07 at 15:18

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."- John Adams

At this point, nearly 11 months after the N&O decided to present only PART of what the false accuser said [in your March 25, 2006 "anonymous interview" story], what was arguably just a mistake based on bad judgment or lack of information has blossomed into a full-blown breach of morality. LYING is unacceptable behavior for anyone, [most] of all journalists.

For many months now, the N&O has known that it is concealing the truth, and the N&O has known that such concealment continues to harm innocent persons.
How can you people sleep at night? Have you lost all sense of right and wrong, of truth and lies?

Still waiting,
Jim Curry

(Folks, Jim Curry's post was one of a number of such posts on the thread.

It's typical of many hundreds that other readers, including me and I'm sure some of you, had been posting for months at the Editors' Blog imploring the N&O to be honest and publish the full interview with Mangum rather than the carefully selected portions the N&O published on March 25; and which Nifong began using when he first started speaking publicly about the Duke lacrosse case on March 27.

No doubt all those readers' posts helped contribute to Melanie Sill's upset which you're about to read. - JinC)

Comment from: Melanie Sill [Member] ·
02/14/07 at 15:42


See prior posts on the Duke lacrosse case (25 of 'em so far) and extensive responses to these points. There's nothing to add at this point; our coverage on the lacrosse case continues.

As to your choice of posting this demand over and over, I see this kind of repetition as an attempt to bully us. Many people have tried to bully The N&O into doing things or not doing them over time; it didn't work then and it won't now.


Comment from: sweetmick [Visitor]
02/14/07 at 19:29

You see Melanie, what Jim Curry has done is to inadvertently expose you as a "sham reasoner", guilty of pseudo inquiry.

What you refuse to see about yourself is that your aim throughout all of this was NOT at finding the truth, but at making a case for some conclusion---namely, that they DID it---immovably believed in advance.

You have tried to make a case for the truth of a proposition that your commitment to which is already evidence and proof.

And now that your proposition has been shattered, you still can't let go.

[Your persistent] denial shows the extent to which reasoning and truth are merely "decorative" for you.

By your response to Jim Curry, who is not a bully and has not bullied you, you have shown just how much you have lost your conception of truth and reason. [...]

(Often at the EB when readers question the Deputy Managing Editors they go silent and Melanie steps in and takes over. Thus, EMU's comment. - JinC)

Comment from: EMU [Visitor]
02/15/07 at 20:57

Dan. Dan. Dan. Now where did that “I will respond to posts…” Dan Barkin go?

Melanie’s skirts grow longer with each Duke Lax Hoax comment. Melanie, how many N&O deputy managing editors do you presently have hiding behind your skirts?


As I say, folks, that's only a sample of what's on the thread.

Jim Curry and others on the thread were demanding what some N&O readers began demanding last March: that the N&O disclose the entire contents of the interview it conducted with Crystal Mangum on March 24.

Those readers believed the N&O deliberately withheld critically important information from the story it published the next day.

Their judgement was confirmed on April 12, 2007, the day after NC Attorney General Roy Cooper declared Evans, Finnerty and Seligmann innocent, when the N&O admitted it had withheld for thirteen months Mangum's claims the second dancer was also attacked but didn't report it for fear of losing her job. Also, that Roberts would "do anything for money."


Why do you think there's been so little criticism of the N&O for withholding that critically important information that was so exculpatory for the players?

Can you imagine how hard it would have been for then DA Nifong, Sgt. Gottlieb, Inv. Himan and the rest to try to explain how both women were attacked?

The N&O has said it was under deadline with the March 25 "anonymous interview" story. So why didn't Joe Neff or someone else report on the actual interview a few days or weeks later?

Why did Neff and Samiha Khanna, who worked on the April 12, 2007, story wait thirteen months before reporting news the public had a right to know and that would have been exculpatory for the players?

Does anyone know why the N&O did such a terrible thing?

Does anyone know why we've heard nothing from the N&O's public editor, Ted Vaden, who's supposed to be "the readers watchdog" and who frequently discourses on the N&O's "high standards of journalism ethics?"

Message to Melanie Sill: The people who kept demanding you report the news the N&O withheld from your deliberately fraudulent March 25 "anonymous interview' story aren't bullies. They're readers who only asked for what the N&O should have provided them: THE TRUTH!

If you had, there might never have been the monumental injustices that followed Nifong and the N&O's embrace and peddling of Crystal Mangum's lies.

Question for people who "really liked the N&O's coverage after the first few days:" How do you explain to yourselves why you like the coverage of a newspaper that hid for thirteen months news you should have had, and that was so exculpatory for the players most of you say you always thought were innocent?


Anonymous said...

Has Sill ever apologized for the late March 2006 stories?

Anonymous said...

Who would buy this paper? Or the HS? Who cares about the N$O? Pick up Cashs free journal and read the sports in USA today - some news also. The N$O is as delusional as Crystal. They think they are somebody, when they are nobody. with a little investigative reporting, they could have won a Pulitzer - instead they are low bananas.

Anonymous said...

That was a very important and very well done blog, JinC! You have succinctly exposed what I believe is a huge "smoking gun." I will try to give you my answers to some of your excellent questions:

1. I was pursuing capitalism at the time the N&O came out with that bombshell. Thus, I did not know about it until I got back up to speed on the case. I believe it was as significant as you suggest - possibly an early death-blow to the fantastic lies.

Additionally, as you noted in your piece, most everyone interested in the Duke case were mesmerized by the AG's report, and that is what everyone wanted to talk about at the time.

2. I believe the N&O has not been as attacked (as it deserved) for such a "smoking gun" omission only because of the subsequent work of Joe Neff, and to a lesser extent, Niolet and Blythe. Also, the Herald-Sun's prejudical coverage somewhat overshadowed the less venomous coverage of the N&O. These are lame arguments, but they are the best I can do. You are right to point out the "smoking gun" nature of that omission.

This also raises another issue I have found deeply troubling. The N&O gave the false accuser an anonymous interview during which she was allowed to:

1. Attack the players;

2. Stir sympathy for herself; and

3. Create a prejudicial atmosphere against the Duke Three.

The N&O should answer for providing this safe haven for Mangum's anonymous attacks and for, as you suggest, hiding explosive exculpatory evidence from the defense and their reading public.

Very important blog. MOO! Gregory

Anonymous said...

The difference in coverage of the lacrosse frame-up and the later actual black-on-white RAPE is very telling. Melanie is simply another airhead leftist (she is in no wise a liberal--a very much misunderstood and abused term) who is in a position to filter facts as she sees fit and then becomes hideously vindictive when someone questions her. N&O will never change despite a few good reporters like Neff. Print media is dead, dead, dead. Get over it, Melanie.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but print media isn't dead. Look at the damage done to the lacrosse players by the N&O in March of 2006, by Duff Wilson and the New York Times throughout 2006 and Paxton Media's H-S from beginning to end.

Anonymous said...

The reason the n&O did such a terrible thing was ,to sell newspapers and make money no matter what the thruth was ,isnt the newspaper run mostly by african americans ?

Anonymous said...

I think this thought has been posted elsewhere, but it bears repetition:
Melanie, we know. We know you know.

The N&O. Still your father's newspaper... as successful as Oldsmobile.

Good thing for them the local competition is even worse. That's something for them to be proud of, itn't it?


Mike Lee said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again...there must be something in the water down there that prevents North Carolinians from saying, "We made a mistake, we regret it and we will try to do better next time."

You can count on one hand the number of people who actually apologized for their mistakes in this case-
the lacrosse team
Mike Nifong
Ruth Sheehan

Countless others made mistakes and have never apologized or asked forgiveness.

Yet the media, police (David Addison, Mark Gottlieb, etc.) and perhaps worst of all the Duke faculty somehow see admitting error as a sign of weakness.

I see it as the greatest strength one can exhibit.

Unfortunately it appears as though there are a lot of very weak people reporting the news, policing the streets, and teaching college students in North Carolina.

A very sad state of affairs indeed.