Many of you know that two days ago I posted Starn's Distortion & Duke's Standards.
The post contained my second letter to Duke University Professor and Cultural Anthropology Chair Anne Allison calling her attention to what can be nothing other than a deliberate misrepresentation by Professor Orin Starn, a member of the Cultural Anthropology holding an endowed chair, of an important statement Duke’s Coach K made. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read it so you’ll more fully understand what follows.
Now, the following for all of you familiar with my efforts for more that a year to get Professor Starn to retract his distortion of what Coach K actually said, and to apologize to Coach K and Raleigh N&O readers to whom he presented the false statement Starn told them actually coming from Coack K:
As a courtesy, I sent Starn a link to Starn's Distortion & Duke's Standards.
Starn responded. Here it is in full just as Starn wrote it:
Dear John:I’ve not heard anything from Professor Allison.
You flatter yourself if you think I -- or my good friend Anne Allison -- would care in the least about your opinion. Please don't bother with any reply as I have blocked e-mails from your address.
It might be helpful for everyone, even those of you familiar with Starn’s deliberate distortion of what Coach K said, to take another look at just what he had to do to create his false statement. From an earlier email to Starn reproduced in my letter to Allison:
*******************************************Folks, it’s so obvious what he did, isn't it?
Coach K said:“The racial aspect of this, in some ways, has been the most sensitive thing and some people have tried to create something that isn’t there in our community.”You presented to N&O readers the following as representing what Coach K had said:“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”Let’s look at what you had to do with Coach K’s statement in order to create what you presented to N&O readers.
First, you took Coach K's unambiguous acknowledgement of "The racial aspect of this" and substituted in its place something entirely different: "Those who see a 'racial aspect.'" (bolds mine)
Next, you withheld from readers the fact that Coach K had said the racial aspect was, in some respects, the case's "most sensitive" aspect.
Only by eliminating Coach K’s unambiguous acknowledgement of “The racial aspect;” substituting for his words your words that made it appear he was saying some people were merely perceiving a racial aspect ( “Those who see…” ); and withholding from readers the information that the coach had said the racial aspect was in some ways the case’s “most sensitive” aspect were you then able to present to N&O readers as what Coach K had said:“Those who see a ‘racial aspect’ to the lacrosse case have ‘tried to create something that isn't there.’”You misrepresented what Coach K said and it’s very hard, Professor Starn, to see how your misrepresentation could be anything other than deliberate.
After misrepresenting Coach K, you went on and falsely accused him of “not see[ing] a ‘racial aspect’ here.”
You owe the coach an apology and N&O readers a correction.
Is your treatment of Coach K’s statement typical of how you treat raw data when you prepare lectures, articles and books?
I put this post up tonight because I wanted to get the news to you, share my current thoughts about about my next step, and invite your commentary.
Before doing any of that I want to say this: In the last day or so, some commenters are showing up here making ad hominems.
I’ve deleted a few already today.
If you’re new to this blog, I work to make it appealing to people who stay close to the facts, and don’t, for instance, say a lot of nasty things about Professor James Coleman’s motivations and character when all they have is a letter from him they don’t like.
One good thing about the blogoshpere: There are millions of blogs.
No one should be commenting at a blog where they feel their comments aren't treated as they deserve to be treated.
If your comment is deleted or you get a caution, don’t be angry. You have choices.
Now, about my next step.
I’m thinking to shorten the letter I sent Allison and send something like it to Provost Lange, Duke’s chief academic officer. I plan to invite his reply which I’ll publish in full here.
What do you folks think?
And BTW – I know I may not get a response but I don’t think I’m wasting my time. For one thing, all of you are reading this and can have some influence on events.
For another thing, one never knows who’s reading a blog post.
If you’re a regular reader of The Churchill Series, I’ll bet you were as surprised as I was to learn Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer and a great historian, was a frequent Series reader.