Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chronicle’s Taylor blackout: Who? Why?

Who imposed a news blackout on The Chronicle’s coverage of nationally known journalist and co-author Stuart Taylor’s Nov. 2 talk and Q&A on West Campus?

And why was it done?

Chronicle readers deserve answers.

The Duke community had a right to know Taylor was coming and The Chronicle had a duty to inform its readers

Taylor’s a nationally known journalist and a leading authority on the Duke Hoax.

With co-author KC Johnson, Taylor recently published the prize-winning book, Until Proven Innocent, a riveting account of the attempted frame-up and imprisonment of three Duke students for gang-rape and other felonies by rogue DA Mike Nifong and others.

The book’s angered senior administrators and some faculty because it details their enablement of Nifong and actions such as the Group of 88’s discredited “listening statement” which made a dangerous situation worse, and even thanked those whose actions heightened the danger.

However, administration and faculty anger shouldn’t have been the reason for The Chronicle’s news blackout.

But if it was, we deserve to know that. If it wasn’t, than what was The Chronicle's reason?

Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, the group which sponsored Taylor’s talk, promoted his appearance many days in advance.

See, for example, this Oct. 25 Raleigh News & Observer news item announcing Taylor’s Nov. 2 appearance at Duke.

I’m told by DSED it notified The Chronicle nine days in advance of Taylor’s appearance.

But The Chronicle printed not a word of Taylor’s impending appearance to which the entire Duke community and public were invited.

The Chronicle continued its news blackout of Taylor’s Nov. 2 appearance by failing to print a single word concerning it despite Taylor’s talk and the Q&A being extremely newsworthy as this Durham Herald Sun story makes clear.

Two weeks after Taylor appeared at Duke, we still have no “on the record” explanation from editor David Graham for The Chronicle’s news blackout.

The Duke community is owed an explanation.

I’ve contacted Graham once with an offer to publish in full his explanation for the blackout and a request that he ask Taylor to write a Chronicle op-ed containing the main points of his talk and Q&A.

I’ll contact Graham again, and include a link to this post.

I hope many of you will write letters to The Chronicle, contact Graham ( and anyone else you think can help the Duke community learn who put a news blackout on Taylor and why?

This is The Chronicle we’re talking about, not Pravda.


Anonymous said...

John: I beg to differ on your tag line. It IS Pravda now.

Anonymous said...

Someone, somewhere referred to the effort as MoveOn.Duke. It appears to have become a powerful and effective operation.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Please notice that today's Chronicle is touting an appearance by Karl Rove at Duke on December 3rd.

If the Devil incarnate is afforded such nice publicity in the Chronicle, there has to be some less than pure reason for blacking out Taylor's talk. Or is Taylor worse than the Devil himself?

Were I Taylor, I'd wear this slight as a badge of honor.