Tuesday, August 28, 2007

N&O, Duke & Player Cooperation (Post 2)

The lie that the Duke lacrosse players were not cooperating with police helped poison public opinion against the players. It inflamed unstable and hateful people. It led to the “Wanted” and “Vigilante” posters which added to the danger the players were facing. And it gave then DA Mike Nifong “cover” as he sought to frame the players.

The lie, often expressed as “the players’ ‘wall of solidarity,’” was first promulgated by the Raleigh News & Observer on March 25, 2006 despite the paper’s knowing it was a lie (see this post).

Now, we read in the American Journalism Review’s critique of the media’s Duke lacrosse coverage what’s emerging as the N&O’s cover-up story for its decision not to report on the players’ cooperation in stories it published in the critical days after the N&O “broke” the Duke lacrosse story on March 24, 2006 :

Looking back, Neff wishes he and his colleagues had paid more attention to … a police blotter entry published in the Raleigh paper on March 22, 2006, on page B3. The brief said a woman had told police she was raped and robbed March 13 during a party at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. It cited Sgt. Gottlieb as saying that residents of the rental house were cooperating.

"[W]hen the story blew up and it became this huge mess, we never said, 'Wait a minute. The police sergeant said they were cooperating, and Nifong said they weren't cooperating,'" Neff says. "I wish we would have caught that."
When reading what Neff says, it’s important to keep in mind the March 22 story made no reference to “Duke lacrosse.”

As a result, it was a very rare reader who would’ve “connected the dots” between the N&O's March 22 story and the N&O’s subsequent “Duke lacrosse” stories and asked: “Why is the N&O now saying the players didn’t cooperate when it reported on March 22 Gottlieb said they had?”

What Neff is saying now in response to that question, which the N&O was forced to acknowledge after this blogger and other readers dug up the March 22 story in the N&O's archives, amounts to:
”Oh, that! Yes, the March 22 story. Gosh, we forgot about it.”
What Neff says in the AJR critique is not believable.

There were many N&O reporters and editors working the Duke lacrosse story last March. They didn’t all forget what Gottlieb said.

Even if you were to suppose they had all forgotten it, on March 24 Duke University issued a statement in which it said the players were cooperating with police.

You can view the statement at Duke's news site where it's been availalbe to the N&O 24/7 since Duke issued it.

You can be sure that many N&O journalists read that statement at the time.

But can any of you say the N&O ever reported on it?

If the N&O had reported on Gottlieb’s and Duke University’s statements about the players' cooperation, the “wall of silence” lie would have been challenged by intelligent and fair-minded people.

And in that case, the “wall of silence” lie would have been exposed for the lie it was.

The N&O helped trash the entire lacrosse team and frame David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann.

The N&O's never said it's sorry for that.


Anonymous said...

Truth in "journalism" and the "fourth estate" , OBVIOUSLY does not apply if racial equality is not what media are seeking.

Why is it impossible for MSM to publish truth, or at least ackonwledge previous errors/mistruths?

Anonymous said...

With baited breath, we await a simple comment from N&O --

because of our cowardice, and desire for PC, WE LET READERS DOWN.

Anonymous said...

What is the legal liability for the N & O? Those harmed may find that they need to teach them a lesson. This is a lesson that would be a great victory for those harmed by the same practices of newspapers of similar persuasion and practice. Unfortunately it is widespread.

Anonymous said...

John, you are amazing. The N&O are hoping and praying that you just "go away". Please don't.

Anonymous said...

When the City of Durham pays out millions to the players the taxpayers should look to the N & O, Herald-Sun, and the Indyweekly for their part in the promotion of the Hoax.

The local press were the cheerleaders in this travesty! They withheld excuplatory data and created a hooligan image. They hide & twisted the truth from the public. It was Yellow Journalism at its worst!

Anonymous said...

No charges yet in alleged gang-rape
Herald-Sun, The (Durham, NC)
March 25, 2006

Addison said the team got several chances to cooperate with police and that the non-testimonial order was issued only after the players kept silent.

"We never would have had to do those swabs if they would've cooperated," he said.

Addison said police can't force samples from anyone they believe to be implicated in a crime. But he said that, in this situation, there was "really, really strong physical evidence" that police will be able to compare with DNA results.

Frustrations boil at Duke
News & Observer, The (Raleigh, NC)
March 28, 2006
Author: Anne Blythe

Jane Stancill; Staff Writers

Durham Mayor Bill Bell, who spoke with Brodhead by phone Sunday, said in a telephone interview Monday that he realizes that officials are dealing with allegations and that police have not completed their investigation. Still, he said, "I'm concerned about the code of silence that continues to prevail."

While lauding athletics officials for forfeiting two lacrosse games, Bell urged them to go further. "I think it would send a strong message to the community if they canceled the whole season."

Vigils and protests over the incident started over the weekend.

JWM said...

To Anon @ 8:49,

It does often seem to be impossible for many MSM outfits to admit the truth. Think of Dan Rather and CBS lying for days about the “unimpeachable source” of their phony TANG documents when they knew he was Bill Burkett, a long-time Bush-hater and Democartic Party activist.

Anon @ 9:09,

Wouldn’t it be great if the N&O did what you suggest instead of running all those editor columns we help pay for in which the N&O tells us it’s really concerned about truth and journalism ethics?

Anonymous said...
What is the legal liability for the N & O? Those harmed may find that they need to teach them a lesson. This is a lesson that would be a great victory for those harmed by the same practices of newspapers of similar persuasion and practice. Unfortunately it is widespread.

Anon @ 11:58,

It would be a great victory if the N&O was held libel for its fraudulent and racially inflammatory reporting as well as its cover-ups of so much news it had that was exculpatory for the players.

Anon @ 11:15 AM,

Thanks for your very nice words. They mean a lot. I plan to stay at it.

Anon @ 12;25 PM,

When you talk about “local press” and “yellow journalism” re: the Duke Hoax case, you sure are right.

I hope you agree the Raleigh N&O belongs in with the other two and at the head of the list.

Anon @ 12:40 PM,

Thanks for two leads to important stories. If you don’t see them cited in one of my posts within the next week, let me know.

I mean to use them.

Thank you all for worthwhile comments. If the six of you had been on the grand jury that indicted Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, I’m betting things might have been different.