Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Chronicle news blackout

A week ago yesterday the Durham Herald Sun reported [excerpt]

[Stuart]Taylor, who co-authored "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case" with K.C. Johnson, a New York City-based history professor and author of the Durham-In-Wonderland Web log, [spoke last night at Duke at invitation of] the student group Duke Students for an Ethical Duke (DSED).

In a Levine Science Research Center auditorium, readers of his book and followers of the lacrosse case hung on the author's every word.

And he detailed his involvement in the case from start to finish.

Taylor excoriated everyone from the news media to Duke University administrators and professors to disbarred Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

But most of all, he decried the political correctness and mob mentality he said overtook many people.

"The picture of what you can paint of what these people did here is even darker than what we portrayed in this book," he said. "As it unravels, I believe it will just get uglier and uglier and uglier."[…]
The entire H-S story is here.

It’s very newsworthy, especially for what Taylor had to say about Duke as an institution and individual administrators and faculty.

But Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, failed to report the event.

The Chronicle even refused to inform the Duke community of Taylor’s planned appearance. That despite what DSED says was nine days notice it gave The Chronicle of Taylor’s Nov. 2 appearance.

When no Chronicle reporter appeared to cover Taylor’s talk, DSED says it offered to bring the paper the video of the speech the next day but the offer was ignored.

I’ve just sent the following email to Chronicle Editor David Graham. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything back from Graham.


Dear Editor Graham:

Re: The Chronicle's failure to provide any coverage of Stuart Taylor’s Nov. 2 talk and Q&A at Duke.

A talk at Duke by a nationally known columnist and editor who’s recently co-authored a widely-acclaimed book detailing the Duke Hoax and its enablement by many at the Univeristy is a news event The Chronicle should report to the Duke community.

But The Chronicle failed to tell readers Until Proven Innocent author Stuart Taylor would be speaking in Love Auditorium on Nov. 2 and that the Duke community and the public were invited.


I understand The Chronicle was given nine days notice of Taylor's appearance.

How does The Chronicle's justify not informing the student body and others of Taylor’s appearance, especially as he had offered, if any Duke professor cared to, to change his talk format to a debate with the professor?

And why did The Chronicle decide to not report a single word of Taylor's talk and the Q&A which followed? Other media reported on them.

Many in the Duke community and elsewhere are puzzeled and troubled that you and the editorial board now echo the “time to move on” meme promulgated by Mike Nifong, President Brodhead and their supporters.

But we respect your individual right, and The Chronicle’s right, to echo the "move on" meme if you believe that’s in Duke’s best interest.

However, The Chronicle’s news blackout of Taylor is quite another matter.

The Chronicle was never meant to publish only news that fits its editors’ views.

I urge you to do two things:

1) Issue a full, written explanation of why The Chronicle failed to inform readers in advance of Taylor’s appearance and why you failed to cover it.

2) Contact Taylor and invite him to write a column in which he can include the mainpoints of his talk and Q&A comments.

Chronicle readers deserve nothing less.

I’ll publish your response in full at my blog and provide links to other blogs.

I look forward to your "on the record" response.

This email is the main part of a post you can read here:

Thank you for your attention to this email.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

Sad.I'd be very intersted in the responses of Dookies,and also of anyone privy to the decisions made by the "Chronocle".My guess is someone asked them to be Team Players and only report positives.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

I had a very good impression of the Duke Chronicle, gained from its news reporting of the Duke non-rape excitements. Its coverage had better detail, broader scope and less injected ‘narratives’ than most of the national press.

But on the abolishment of the message board (‘anonymous comments violate students’ rights, sayeth the anonymous Editor), two recent Politburo-like editorials in praise of the executive who enabled the sillier and more anti-Constitutional behavior of the Administration during said non-rape, and most recently the black hole where news of Stuart Taylor’s very pertinent on-campus talk should have been, I think I see the Chronicle helm wrenched from its former guide and handed over to some dubious authority-figure bent on preventing certain discussions.

Say it aint so! Slamming the doors and windows and turning out the lights are not solutions to a full consideration of the events that continue to follow on the State’s reluctant exit from prosecution of three innocent Duke students. There’s a whole nest of vipers who cheered on that prosecution, and their behavior must not be unexamined, nor their responsibilities unmeasured and unpaid.

Anonymous said...

Duke85 said . . .

John -- You are unlikely to get a response, and if you do, it will be a perfunctory dismissal. Unlike Chronicle staff of the recent past, this crew has obviously made an editorial decision to stop discussing the lacrosse case, and if it does come up, dismiss it with the "it's old news" bromide.

Unfortunately, few people at Duke understand that the lacrosse story is not going away until someone at Duke is held accountable. As Stuart Taylor noted, the facts are only going to get uglier the more we know. Duke is pouring its energies into persuading the public that Duke did nothing egregious and the lacrosse case is over, hoping that those ugly facts never come out. It's possible that this PR strategy will succeed, at least in a technical sense, but if there is never any accounting or accountability the rift between the current leaders of Duke, the alumni base, and the public will be irreparable. Sadly, that might be better than revealing the true extent of Duke's involvement.

Anonymous said...

John in Carolina continues to do great work. By the way, does Sill's promotion to Sacramento portend any change in philosophy at the N&O? And will the Raleigh newspaper ever apologize for its fundamentally misleading coverage in late March 2006 — coverage that fueled the lacrosse hoax/frame?

Anonymous said...

Nice try.

But you're wasting your time with this Chronicle crowd.

Anonymous said...


It's an open secret on campus that Graham, McCartney and some others want to do all they can "to help Duke."

To them that means yes to Brodhead and whatever it takes to get "atta boys."

I admire what you are doing but you don't stand a chance.

The Chronicle is like the Allen Building and the Gang of 88: "what's in it for me?"

Anonymous said...

Hd the editorial board at the Chronicle changed?

I missed out on the links here.

How is it that Kerstin can still write?

How many of the current editorial board are taking classes with profs from the Gang of 88?

Pretty sad.

I cannot imagine the total idiocy of failing to inform the Dukies of Stuart Taylor's visit. You don't have to like him, or agree with him, or even read the book. But the so-called academic freedom that allows even promotes open doors to gays, lesbians, military haters, and the likes of the gang of 88, ought to prove their "diversity" by allowing a potential Pulitzer Prize wining author to at least get the speech announced!

Anonymous said...

David Graham is, to put it simply, the murderer of The Chronicle spirit.

I wrote to this "villainous teacher"'s pet, asking him whether there is any contradiction between his being the editor of The Chronicle and his ability to move freely, informationally speaking, when it comes to his teachers' transgressions.

Guess what. David Graham never answered. Apparently, David Graham is competing for the same kind of Griffith Award Shadee Malaklou earned, as a reward for her propaganda work.

We know by now the moral standards of Grant Farred, Wahneema Lubiano, Karla Holloway, or Cathy Davidson. Davidson.

Nevertheless, it is quite sad to see young people, whom we are foolishly used to associate with innocence and idealism, behave by the very same standards... or lack thereof.

Anonymous said...

There can be little doubt that the Chronicle staff has been muzzled. The Brodhead administration will permit Kristin to continue, but she will likely come under more and more pressure because she is a "trouble-maker." For this Peter Zenger risked everything?

Anonymous said...

Who the H>>> is David Graham and how did he get there?

Personally, I would think that Kerstin may have the most freedom of anybody on Duke's campus.

As much as she is admired by those of us in blogland, some of whom care some pretty hefty voices, if I were a Duke faculty I would be VERY careful about how I treated Kerstin.... otherwise, what's another few million $$$ in payoff for intimidating or violating this gal?

People in free societies know well that "The pen is mightier than the sword".

Enemies of free speech know that also. But free speech is like smoke... it can go under doors and through windows.

We can only hope that Kerstin proves to be made of the stuff we think she is.

The other ragamuffins will fade away, having sold their souls to the devil of fear, greed, and self-protection. Not an old story. Old as Cain and Able.

Sad that it happened to them so young. If I were an employer I wouldn't touch them, because they have proven they can be bought by the highest bidder... and that character fault will follow them into the work place, where they will become the betrayers.

It's all about character.

Sooner or later, always in the crucible, it shows up.