Friday, September 21, 2007

N&O Now Lashes Out at JinC

Yesterday I posted N&O Lashes Out at Newsweek . My post concerned the N&O's ego-driven snit-fight with Newsweek over the two publicaions Duke lacrosse coverage. N&O managing editor John Drescher all but said yesterday that Newsweek had plagerized N&O reporting:

Newsweek can beat its chest all it wants to and claim it “was the first major publication to pick apart the prosecution’s case.” A more accurate description would be it was the first national publication to read The N&O’s coverage, re-write it and pass it off as original reporting.
There was more from the N&O. You can read it here.

Newsweek hasn’t responded but you can be sure it will.

Let’s all keep our eyes out for its response. This should be an interesting story for people following either the Duke Hoax, journalism or both.

While we wait for Newsweeks’ response, there’s more N&O lashing out news to report.

And would you believe that this time the N&O is targeting not a major publication that's part of a multi-billion dollar news empire but a little blog in North Carolina,

You can read about it below. You’ll see a post I left on the thread of Drescher’s post in which I try to tell Drescher what I think decent people want to see happen. That so upset the N&O that Melanie Sill, the N&O’s executive editor for news steped in and said false things about me. You can read the responses which follow Melanie's in character falsehoods, including one I’ve just left further down the thread of Drescher’s post.

I have a heavy travel day today but I’ll be back to this be the weekend at the latest.

Stay tuned.


Comment from: John in Carolina [Visitor]
09/20/07 at 15:22
Dear Editor Drescher:

Because you don't have a hyperlink option I'm including this URL which contains hyperlinks for the comment which follows.

You say:

"Newsweek can beat its chest all it wants to and claim it 'was the first major publication to pick apart the prosecution’s case.'

A more accurate description would be it was the first national publication to read The N&O’s coverage, re-write it and pass it off as original reporting.

As I said in a JinC Sept. 2 post, Newsweeks' Thomas Shouldn't Cluck , I didn’t want to get into trying to decide which was the “first major publication to pick apart the prosecution case.”

What I know for sure is that both Newsweek and the N&O were very late in doing that.

You were both well behind journalists such as La Shawn Barber, Thomas Sowell and Stuart Taylor, and blogs and bloggers such as KC Johnson, Lead and Gold, RealClearPolitics, and The Johnsville News, to name just a few of many.

I just looked at a JinC post from April 9, 2006, which included a comment I sent executive editor for news Melanie Sill asking why four weeks after the alleged crimes on the night of March 13/14, there were no suspect descriptions beyond “white male” and why the N&O had not asked Nifong about that and whether the accuser had been able to make a positive ID of any of her alleged attackers.

But, Editor Drescher, you’re right the N&O did have many “firsts” concerning important aspects of what was then called “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal.”

In your March 24 report which “broke” the “Duke lacrosse story,” you repeatedly referred to Crystal Mangum as “the victim” and thereby cast the Duke students as her victimizers.

That’s an undisputed N&O first and most of MSM rushed along to follow your framing of the players as the victimizers.

On March 25 the N&O was the first newspaper to report Mangum was new to stripping, even though you knew from your own reporting in 2002 of crimes she’d committed that she was strip dancing at least by then. You didn’t report that or her criminal background.

You were the first major news organization to have that information and fail to report it for weeks.

On March 25 you also had the critically important news Mangum told you that the second dancer had also been raped at the party, but hadn’t reported it to police for fear of losing her job, as well as the statement she made to you that she thought the second dancer would “do anything for money.”

You failed to report that news, so extraordinarily exculpatory for the players. And what is worse by many magnitudes of mendaciousness, you covered it up for thirteen months as you watched the players and their families endure an horrific ordeal while you sold newspapers every day of those thirteen months.

No other major publication, not even justly reviled NY Times and Durham Herald Sun did anything as harmful to innocent individuals and our community as the N&O’s withholding of the exculpatory information.

One more “first and only” for the N&O and then I’m done.

On April 2, 2006 the N&O published a photo of the “Vigilante” poster large enough so that anyone, including unstable and dangerous people, could enlarge it and have face photos of the 43 white Duke students pictured on it.

The N&O published the photo after Duke had expressed concerns that doing so would add to the already considerable danger the players were facing. Did Newsweek or any Noth Carolina daily do that?

I think you can credit the N&O with a "first and only" on that. Even the justly reviled NY Times and Durham Herald Sun didn't publish such a photo.

Editor Drescher, instead of getting into an ego-driven snit-fight with Newsweek, the N&O would better serve truth, the community and its own long-term interests if you do the following:

1) Publish a detailed story which holds nothing back in explaining why you withheld for 13 months the exculpatory news Mangum gave you on March 24 and what it was like for N&O staffers to watch the players indicted, threatened, and savaged by most major publications while you were sitting on news that could have changed all that.

2) Retract your March 25 story which you told readers was about an “ordeal” that ended in “sexual violence.” You and the informed public know it was based almost entirely on lies.

3) Publish on your front-page a detailed account of how the fraudulent March 25 story was created, including an explanation of why you left out of it the news you had of the players’ cooperation with police, an explanation of how you came to get the interview with Mangum, and acknowledgment of whatever involvement Nifong and others working the attempted frame-up had to do, as anonymous sources, with the story.

4) Issue a full, unconditional apology to the players, their families, Coach Mike Pressler and his family, who were the people most harmed by your story.

5) Apologize to your readers and the rest of the media whom you deliberately misled.

6) Apologize for publishing the "Vigilante" poster and assure everyone that the people responsible for publishing it no longer work for the N&O or any other McClatchy publication.

Thank you for reading this comment.

I look forward to your response which I’ll copy and post at JinC.


John in Carolina

Comment from: Melanie Sill [Member] •
09/20/07 at 16:52

John, there will be no further N&O response to your accusations, which include greater distortions with each repetition. We have responded repeatedly; see previous posts under category of Duke lacrosse coverage to see accusations and responses.

Comment from: PD Smart via Darby via JinC [Visitor]
09/20/07 at 19:46

Dear Melanie,

I am a south African who has followed the Duke Lacrosse since its inception. I have a question for you:

Why are you seemingly incapable of responding in a reasonable manner to the post above by JinC? It is a well researched, well written and asks questions most reasonable readers would like answers to.

From what I have read of your responses to others who offer a critique (all I have seen seem too well mannered and cogent to be considered a criticism),of articles written by yourself or other N&O staffers you seem only capable of responding that they "border on harassment"!

Why is this? Surely someone as well educated as yourself must be a little more articulate that that. Your readers deserve better!

PD Smart
South Africa

Comment from: Melanie Sill [Member] •
09/20/07 at 21:58

Mr. Smart -- We have responded politely to JinC's accusations numerous times. Please refer to posts under the Duke lacrosse category. Thanks.

Comment from: Walter Abbott [Visitor]
09/21/07 at 06:44


You have done no such thing. Your "response" merely has been to say that your early reporting "could have been better" and that the reason you withheld exculpatory information from the 3/25/06 story was that "you couldn't confirm it."

For the record, the exculpatory information was that Crystal Mangum told your interviewer that Kim Roberts was also raped. Had you put that in the story, everyone would have known from the get-go that Mangum's wild tales were flakey. She told everyone she talked to a different story.

And you knew this.

Yet because you and your newspaper chose to print lies, a lynching almost took place, three men's lives were put on hold for a year, and Durham's taxpayers are on the hook for a lot of money.

You and your newspaper have a lot to answer for. And you will, sooner or later.

Comment from: John in Carolina [Visitor]

09/21/07 at 11:46

Because there's no hyperlink option for commenters, here's a URL to a comment I left at this blog in April to a post by Dep. Managing Editor Dan Barkin, who never responded to to.

Comment _________________

After Duke had expressed concerns about the lacrosse players’ safety, the N&O want ahead and published anonymously on April 2, 2006, a Sunday, your highest circulation day, the “Vigilante” poster photo containing face photos of 43 white lacrosse players, all identified by name.

Although exec editor Melanie Sill has said it was only a “small” photo, it was actually two columns wide, 7.25 inches long, and placed on the most prominent part of the page: top right-center (the 4th and 5th columns of a 6 column page).

I’m told that because of the size of your “Vigilante” poster photo, those seeking to identify and target the students could easily enlarge your photo with a very good resolution that would allow for easy recognition of the players.

On the same day you published the “Vigilante” poster, you ran a story reporting that Duke VP for Student Affairs Larry Moneta had taken the extraordinary but, in my opinion, reasonable step of cautioning Duke students about their safety after attacks on Duke students and a rumor of a possible drive-by shooting.

After Duke had expressed particular concerns for the safety of the lacrosse players and right at the time Moneta was warning all students about threats to their safety, the N&O published its “Vigilante” poster photo.

The N&O knew or should have known it was adding to the endangerment of all Duke students; and particularly to the danger the students pictured on your anonymous “Vigilante” poster photo already faced, forty-three young people, many still in their teens.

To Melanie and John Drescher: Besides the fact the what you just read is an accurate description of what the N&O did, is there anything else about it that would make you criticize?

To everyone else: Thank you for your intelligent and supportive comments.

If enough of us speak up and refuse to accept its nonsense ,the N&O may improve.

It may even get to a point where it will never again inflict on our community the false, racially-inflammatory coverage and cover-up which did do much to launch and sustain for thirteen months the obviously fraudulent indictments of three innocent young men.

Let’s work to improve the N&O and dream of a better future in which the N&O treats members of all races fairly.


John in Carolina


kbp said...

Thanks John!

You're doing a fine job that should be done.

That 'move along' attitude from the N & O speacks volumes.

I've wondered in the past if their attorneys keep them advised about what to not say.

Anonymous said...

Never start an argument with the man who buys his ink by the barrel. And the corrolary: never try to teach a pig to sing; you'll be frustrated and the pig will be annoyed.

NDLax84 said...

Great job, John.

Non carborundum bastardi!

Has KC ever responded to your questions?

Anonymous said...

All of the barrels of ink in the world would not salvage the indefensible position of the N&O.

It is my estimation that the N&O and its editors will only answer JinC's questions when forced to do so by a federal judge in a court of law.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. You never know, sometimes persistence pays off.

If nothing else, you've done a great job of documenting some claims some civil attorneys may be investigating.

Anonymous said...

How can the N&O claim that they couldn't confirm Crystal's assertion that the other dancer was raped, too? It couldn't have been too difficult to track Kim down and get her version of events before printing a completely one-sided, unverified article that lit the flames against the Duke players.

I applaud your efforts to keep trying to makethe N&O wake up to the travesty they knowingly contributed to...but they are blind to their responsibility.

Anonymous said...

The stonewall continues; the lawyers must be nervous.

Anonymous said...

Walter Abbott nailed it. Is the N&O attempting to rewrite the history of its own role in the frame of the lacrosse players?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of confirming facts, the N&O has reported details of a civil suit draft and is running a "Pay or Fight" debate. Has the N&O obtained a copy of the 126-page complaint draft? As the H-S reported on 09/07/07, "Sullivan and Scheck showed city officials the draft of a 126-page complaint and allowed them to take a few notes, but took the document with them when they left the 2½-hour session."

In any of their reporting have they identified their factual source?