Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yes, the NYT & H-S. The N&O, too

Readers Note: I left the following comment on the thread of a KC Johnson's post, The Lacrosse Case, Law and the Media.

I'll be interested in your comments.



Regarding the sacrificing of "the players on the altar of 'victims’ rights' agenda," you mention the NY Times and the Durham H-S approached the case that way. I agree.

But the Raleigh N&O deserves to be listed with them and, IMHO, at the top of the list.

When the N&O "broke" the story on 3/24/06 it referred to Mangum seven times as the victim or in the possessive form without once using a qualifier such as "alleged."

The N&O's 3/25/06 "anonymous interview" set the metanarrative of the young black mother brutally beaten and gang-raped by privileged white males whose hard drinking, wild partying, white racist teammates were stonewalling police investigators.

The N&O knew that wasn’t true but it became “the Duke lacrosse rape” story that was jumped on by most of the rest of the media, including the NYT and H-S.

It was also “the case” that Nifong described when he began speaking publicly two days later.

The N&O’s deliberately fraudulent 3/25 story was the single most important Duke Hoax story last Spring. I believe it still is.

No news story did more to give a seeming legitimacy to Mangum’s lies, to fuel the witch hunt and to enable the massive injustices inflicted on so many innocent individuals and our community.

The N&O withheld from the 3/25 story news of the players’ cooperation with police and instead promulgated the “wall of silence” lie.

Do you know when and in what detail the N&O finally reported news of the players’ cooperation with police?

I've asked the N&O that question many times but I've never gotten a straight answer.

How does when and in what detail the N&O reported compare with when and in what detail the NYT reported on the players' cooperation?

Thanks in part to the Yeager/Pressler book, we know the N&O’s Ruth Sheehan relied on Nifong as an anonymous source for her 3/27 “Team’s Silence Is Sickening” column.

That column was very important for framing the players in the public’s mind. It helped Nifong and others move forward with their frame-up “investigation.”

For weeks the N&O worked very hard to slime the players while presenting what it knew was a false picture of Mangum.

So, for example, on 3/28 the N&O published on page one the names and misdemeanors charges involving the players while suppressing news it had from day one of Mangum’s far more serious criminal record.

Publishing Mangum's criminal record would also have revealed to readers that Mangum’s claim she was new to dancing before men, something the N&O just passed on to readers in the 3/25 story, was a lie.

And, of course, any reader who could "connect the dots" would have realized the N&O knew that when it published her "new to dancing before men" claim.

The N&O has never explained why it was, on the one hand, so eager to publish “the criminal records” of the lacrosse players while, on the other hand, it suppressed for two weeks news it had of Mangum’s far more serious and relevant criminal record; and then buried the news at the bottom of an unrelated story the ran inside the "A" section.

For thirteen months the N&O misled the public and sustained the Hoax by withholding the crucially important news, exculpatory for the players, that Mangum had said during the “anonymous interview” that Roberts was also sexually assaulted; that she didn’t report it for fear of losing her job; and that Roberts “would do anything for money.”

I can’t see how you could not list the N&O along with the NYT and H-S.

Thank you for all the great work you’ve done on this case.

John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


You are asking questions that go directly to the Heart of the Hoax.

Why did Addison hold those interviews with the Durham-Sun, NewsObersever, and WRAL TV. Who briefed Addison? Why did Addison act as spokeman instead of the offical PD Spokesperson Kammie Michaels? Who set up those interviews. Who put it out on the AP that Crystal was a black mother of two going to college on March 24?

Addison holds a curcial part of the puzzle. Ruth Sheehan needs to come clean on Nifong.


Anonymous said...

Crucial not curcial,


Anonymous said...

Keep it up, John. Great work. The talented Professor Johnson, who has done a terrific service, is blinded by the important contributions made by ace reporter Joe Neff. Because of Neff, he is willing, apparently, to give a pass to Khanna, Blythe, Sill and others. The N&O also published the scurrilous poster, thereby libeling many members of the lacrosse team.

kaz said...


A post went up Wednesday on the N&O editors' blog asking for suggestions on how to improve the page. There have been no comments so far. I'm not giving them any registration information, but you might want to stop by to remind Ms. Sills that being responsive to the readers' questions makes for a more entertaining and better read blog.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for what you're doing.

KC's gotten help on the book from the N&O and he's paying back.

Anonymous said...

I think Neff is a fair writer. At least, he wrote the truth - not of course during the blazing days of March and April.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for whatever reason Johnson's gone soft on the N&O.

They made the frameup as much as Nifong.

Anonymous said...

It's possible that Professor Johnson hasn't actually read all of the late March 2006 coverage in the N&O.
When did his D-i-W blog start?