Monday, August 27, 2007

N&O, Duke & Player Cooperation (Post 1)

If you’re a regular reader of this blog or if you’ve followed the Duke Hoax case from the start on your own, you almost certainly know the following five things:

1) The most important Duke Hoax news story was the Raleigh News & Observer’s March 25, 2006 story featuring an anonymous interview with the woman and what the N&O reported was "an ordeal" for “the victim” which ended finally in “sexual violence.”

2) Among other things in that story, the N&O promulgated what it knew was the lie that the players had not cooperated with police.

3) N&O news stories in the following two days and a March 27 news column by Ruth Sheehan (“Teams’ Silence Is Sickening”) reiterated the lie.

4) When Mike Nifong began speaking publicly about the case on March 27, he used the lie of the players not cooperating with police which the N&O had been telling the public for three days.

5) The lie about the players’ non-cooperation, expressed in the “Wall of Silence” phrase, did a great deal to inflame self-righteous and hateful people whose words and deeds helped place the players at risk of physical harm. It also gave Nifong a kind of "cover" which he needed because as we now know he had no credible evidence of the players' guilt.

I don't doubt you know all of that.

But do you know this: On March 24, 2006, the day before the N&O began telling readers and the rest of media the players weren’t cooperating, Duke University issued a statement in which it said unequivocally the players were cooperating?

Here’s the statement in full, which you can also view for yourselves at Duke News:

Yesterday, 46 Duke University undergraduates who are members of the men’s lacrosse team responded to a legal order from Durham authorities and traveled downtown to be photographed and provide identifying information. The authorities made the request in connection with an investigation of an alleged incident on March 14 at 610 Buchanan St. in Durham. Duke University is monitoring the situation and cooperating with officials, as are the students.
John Burness, Duke’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations is listed on the statement as a contact with his phone number and email included. The N&O regularly contacts Burness and uses Duke News statements in its stories. Duke also has a special contact number for reporters on deadline.

Does anyone know why the N&O’s March 25 story doesn’t mention the Duke statement and the players’ cooperation?

Does anyone know why the N&O made no mention of the Duke statement in its Sunday, April 26, story reporting on a vigil Saturday night in support of “the victim" or in its April 27 story reporting the “potbanger” rally in which “the activists” gathered around a large “CASTRATE” banner?

Of course, we can all understand why Ruth Sheehan wouldn’t mention the Duke statement in her “Teams’ Silence Is Sickening” column. Mentioning the Duke statement would have destroyed the whole point of her column.

Final question: Does anyone know when the N&O finally reported the very important news that Duke had issued a statement on March 24 saying the players were cooperating?

I’ve got to go now but I’m going to return to this story.


Ryan said...

I suspect that the N&O considered co-operation to be defined exactly the same way Nifong did.

If it's not a confession or a statement implicating someone else, it's not co-operating.

Anonymous said...

John -

Good catch.

Do you think this will be addressed in KC's book too?

I'm only asking b/c he seems to be going soft on the N&O....


Anonymous said...

John - Do you think a Durham jury will hold the city libel for Nifong's actions?

Anonymous said...

A Durham jury likely won't be asked to hold the city liable for Nifong's actions. In the federal court case, jurors will be drawn from a larger pool. Will lawyers eventually get around to the N&O's pivotal role in the frame of the lacrosse players?

Anonymous said...

No doubt about it. The N&O was out to frame those boys. It worked with Nifong to do it.

But KC Johnson won't say that.

He's been in bed with the N&O since it started helping him with his book.