Thursday, October 11, 2007

Did The N&O Fake a Police Report?

READERS' ALERT: In the letter to Public Editor Ted Vaden portion of this post I say the N&O's March 25, 2006 story described "40 or so men 'barking racial slurs.'" That'a an error. The N&O siad: "men in the house started barking racial slurs."

I regret my error which does not change the indisputable conclusion of this post.


This is such a simple 1,2,3 post I’m dispensing with the usual intro and outline for such posts.

So here goes:

1) On March 25, 2006 the Raleigh News & Observer published the story containing the deliberately fraudulent script for the Duke lacrosse case frame-up which Nifong two days later used when he began speaking publicly about the Duke lacrosse students.

The N&O’s story was about a young black mother and college student who had suffered a horrific “ordeal” which finally ended in “sexual violence” at the hands of white boys from Duke.

Here’s the start of the N&O’s Mar. 25 story:

The woman who says she was raped last week by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team thought she would be dancing for five men at a bachelor party, she said Friday. But when she arrived that night, she found herself surrounded by more than 40.

Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs. The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared."[…]
From the moment they read the N&O’s story, many readers sensed it was a fraud.

That brings us to #2.

2) N&O editors have assured readers any statements of the accuser concerning events that night had to match what was in police reports.

Here’s N&O Executive Editor for News Melanie Sill at the Editors’ Blog on Apr. 3, 2006 [excerpt]:
We took care in editing the story not to introduce new accusations -- the basics were the same as in police reports, which had already been made public
And here's Deputy Managing Editor Linda Williams at the Editors' Blog on Oct 5, 2006[excerpts]
Our March 25 article that included an interview with the woman who accused Duke lacrosse players of rape has been the subject of questions and speculation on blog posts. […]

The decision made prior to the March interview to limit it to the information in the police report was the correct decision and I stand by it. Our purpose was to hear from the woman in her own words the accusation she made to the police.

We also wanted to know if she would say anything that contradict (sic) the police report. In the brief interview, she repeated the information we knew to be the gist of the police report that we had access to at that time.
Now to # 3)

Ted Vaden
Public Editor
Raleigh News & Observer

Dear Ted:

Here a link to a JinC post:

The post documents the N&O’s 3/25/06 report in which the then anonymous false accuser had said she and the second dancer had been surrounded by about 40 men “barking racial slurs.”

You’ll see also the post documents statements by Editors Sill and Williams in which they tell readers the N&O only published statements of the accuser’s which were already in police report(s) available at the time.

However, in the more than a year and a half since you published what is now universally agreed to be a grossly fraudulent story, the N&O has refused to identify the police report(s) against which you checked Crystal Mangum’s charges.

The N&O's been asked to identify the police report(s) by hundreds of readers and some fellow journalists. You’ve not done so.

After an exhaustive review of all data and evidence related to the case that was handed over by then Durham DA Mike Nifong, Attorney General Roy Cooper found no evidence for the incident the N&O described of the 40 or so men “barking racial slurs.”

Given the N&O’s refusal to ever identify the police report(s) it claims it used; and given the Attorney General’s finding that there is no evidence for an incident of 40 or so men “barking racial slurs” at Crystal Mangum and Kim Roberts; what can a reasonable person conclude but that the N&O never had a police report describing 40 or so men “barking racial slurs?" That was faked.

If you disagree with that conclusion, I’ll be happy to do what I always do in such circumstance: publish your response in full at JinC.

Ideally, I hope you will use this post and the comments of hundreds of N&O readers to address a myriad of problems related to the N&O’s March 25, 2006 story. That's long overdue.

Thank you for your attention to this letter.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


The Internet really has changed everything. Statements that were made long ago can be brought up and reviewed almost instantantly.

The refuge of corrupt journalists has always been the time factor. People tend to forget things as time passes.

For the N&O to be reminded of what they said/did by referencing URL links is the sweetest kind of torture. And make no mistake about it, they richly dererve it.

The questions that you pose (and publish) infuriates them. But they are helpless to respond.


Ethical Duke said...

Duke Students for an Ethical Duke has posted a fantastic WSJ editorial by Peter Berkowitz (with his permission). We hope all of you will read it.

The front page has a link.

Stephen said...

I sincerely hope that the next generation of journalists are paying attention to your posts. If they are, perhaps they will begin to realize that they will have to play straight, lest they come to the attention of bloggers such as yourself and then woe be unto them. Ken is absolutely right and perhaps the internet can be the rudder that finally turns the MSM ship. Once they fear you, they will adjust their behavior. Those at the N & O are being publicly skewered and I cannot imagine any journalist who would want to be in their shoes.

Anonymous said...

So now we see that the N & O has taken us back to the days of W.R. Hearst and "yellow journalism". Shame, shame on them.

bill anderson said...

How do you spell F-R-A-U-D? Just read the N&O and the DPD police reports!! It is amazing how people get away with real-live criminal behavior, and nothing is done about it. Tells you something about the state of "justice" in this country.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, the article doesn't actually say "about 40 men barking racial slurs." It says that Mangum was surrounded by more than 40 men -- i.e. there were more than 40 men present. Then it says that "men in the house started barking racial slurs," which could have meant two men, not all 40.

Anonymous said...

to 2:15

but...but... regardless.... none of that happened.

So I dont understand your point.

AMac said...

Editor Vaden, Editor Sill, N&O Reporters --

John has made a simple but telling point here, and it's one he has made multiple times over the past 18 months.

There are three simple responses available to you.

1) Specify which police report you have repeatedly referred to.

2) Disclose that you cannot identify the cited police report.

3) Ignore this inquiry.

Choice (3) is, obviously, attractive for its easiness. Presumably, that's why the N&O has taken this route up to now.

At some point, readers have a right to impute motive to your persistence in making the choice that flaunts journalistic ethics, on one of the biggest stories of the past two years.

Can I ask? Are you embarrassed because no such report exists?

kbp said...

Thanks John!

I can't recall ever seeing so many people that won't face up to their lies when they were caught as I have in this case.

They all carry on like there is nothing to be ashamed of. Like little kids that just keep ignoring the fact of what they did wrong.

The reforms will be their "timeout for bad behavior" and maybe it will sink in then.

Anonymous said...

Keep it up. Again and again, every other week or so. Make poor Melanie lose sleep as often as possible. Thank you for all your excellent posts.


Anonymous said...

My father came to see me in the hospital," she said. "I knew if I didn't report it that he would have that hurt forever, knowing that someone hurt his baby and got away with it."

Ok, now the above statement is clearly a crock from CGM. I am also wondeirng what exactly was her full case load at NCCU thst the article references. I am also apalled at the racial slurs slant, to my knowledge, only 2 slurs were issued, one by Kim Roberts, the 2nd in reply to her. The article convienantly leaves this out.

to the 2:15, to be fair, I have to say you are corerct. John, I mean no offense to you, as I think this article is wrought with fraud and it does imply that 40 men barked racial slurs, however, 2:15's astute reading I believe, is correct, it does not say that 40 men barked racial slurs, so I feel you might be doing a little of what Prof. Starin did to Coach K, a subtle word play.

What strikes me as I read the article however, is the tremndous bias it brings to the case, it implies Jason Bissey thought the false accuser was raped, it implies CGM is this model single mother, and it implies the falsely accused are violent, recurrent cerime offenders of a violkent sprots team, all incredibly misleading.

I sm curious to your take John, thanks, respetfully,

Bart Day M.D.

Anonymous said...

The question is: will the N&O be sued for its late March 2006 coverage and for publishing the infamous lacrosse poster with clearly identifiable faces?

Anonymous said...

Melanie Sill needs to answer these questions in a court of law.