Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Duke Hoax: Time for a name change?

Readers Note:

If you’ve read the threads of recent JinC Duke Hoax posts, you know Walter Abbott’s been commenting to the effect that I shouldn’t use the term “hoax” but must use “frame” instead.

Abbott's promised to challenge me every time I use “hoax.”

If Abbott’s name is new to you, I and many others know him as a citizen journalist who’s done outstanding work in response to the Duke lacrosse witch hunt and so much that’s followed.

Abbott was right early in spotting Mangum’s and Nifong’s lies. He’s “been there” often at the Raleigh News & Observer’s Editors’ Blog questioning and exposing the N&O’s biased, racially inflammatory and false Duke lacrosse coverage which did so much to advance the Hoax.

At the EB and other places in the blogosphere as well as in newspapers, Abbott’s helped expose the attempted frame-up by Nifong and others. He’s also challenged the enablers.

Following the NC AG’s declaration the three former Duke students were innocent, I posted a tribute to Abbott which included samples of his outstanding work. You can view that post here.

I’ve just sent Abbott the following email with a link to this post.


Dear Walter:

I entered the search term “Duke lacrosse” in the JinC archives. It returned 755 hits.

Add to that number some other posts relating one way or another to matters relating to the lies Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong told about the night of Mar. 13/14 but in which I didn’t use “Duke lacrosse,” and it’s safe to say I’ve published close to a thousand posts, some quite lengthy, about what I and others often refer to as “the Duke Hoax.”

I’ve used many other terms in those posts - “frame-up,” “monumental injustices,” and “witch hunt,” to name a few.

In a post on Apr. 3, 2006, just days after the Raleigh N&O “broke” the story, I used the term “reporting/prosecution” to describe the paper’s coverage?

One week later on the day the public learned the DNA results had come back negative, I posted and asked:

Should we keep referring to "the Duke lacrosse rape story?"

Shouldn't we now be referring to "the Mike Nifong rape case story?"
On the Monday following the Saturday publication of the N&O’s “anonymous interview” story I called a number of N&O editors to complain that, among other things, by repeatedly referring to the accuser as “the victim,” the N&O was effectively framing the Duke lacrosse players as the victimizers?

I must have expressed that identical sentiment in at least a hundred posts.

There’s no single term – hoax, frame or whatever - that satisfactorily expresses all that’s happened since Mar. 13/14.

But “hoax,” which the dictionaries say means something intended to deceive or defraud, encapsulates a good deal, although certainly not all, of whats happened and what is still going on as part of the cover-up of the attempted frame-up.

So “hoax’ is accurate as to the past and the present while “the frame,” thanks to the efforts of many including you, was exposed and foiled, with the principal framer subsequently receiving some punishment but nothing near his due.

Winston Churchill once said that people who disagreed intensely on the proper definition of “rhinoceros” could nonetheless all agree when they saw one.

I think it’s that way with “Duke Hoax” in a post title or in reference to aspects of what is now a twenty-one month series of travesties and illegalities redeemed somewhat by the actions of sensible and, in some cases, courageous people.

So I intend to continue using “Duke Hoax.”

I hope this letter persuades you that's reasonable and you desist from your promise to confront me each time I use the term.

Now I’m going to prepare one more serious post before Christmas.

It deals with what I see as a very troubling statement Duke BOT chair Robert Steel made last Spring. I’ll ask questions that’ll suggest to reasonable people there may very well have been some deception in Steel’s statement.

That being the case, I’ll be using “Duke Hoax” and “hoax” in the post.

After that post I plan a few “light” posts in the holiday spirit.

Then I’ll join my family for some Christmas festivities and what looks to be the start of a wonderful holiday season for us.

I wish the same for you and yours.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


You flatter me with your latest post. I thank you and look forward to your upcoming series.

In regard our ongoing discussion regarding "hoax" vs "frame" I think the term "reasoned debate" is more appropriate than "confrontation."

You cite Winston Churchill's commentary on the definition of Rhinoceros in your post. Very apt. Except that we're not dealing with a Rhino here. It is The Elephant in the Room.

A deliberate cold-blooded Frame is a criminal act as opposed to a Hoax which can be construed as a "mistake" or "error" and might be whitewashed away with sovereign immunity pleas.

Much as first degree murder is more serious than second because of planning and intent not present in a crime of passion, the DukeLax Frame was deliberate. It was planned.


Here is Merriam-Webster's definition of "frame." I respectfully submit it fits exactly what happened.
3 a: to devise falsely (as a criminal charge) b: to contrive the evidence against (an innocent person) so that a verdict of guilty is assured.

Walter Abbott

Anonymous said...

With all due respect John and Walter, I think conspiracy is perhaps even a better term to describe the entire affair. I have to agree that "Hoax" is not perhaps severe enough to illustrate what happened, and "Frame" certainly is more fitting.
My vote however, is going to be "The Duke Lacrosse Conspiracy" since this hoax/frame took the efforts of many to propegate, and many had to conspire to keep it going.
Clearly we're all correct, the case began as a hoax, evolved into a frame and ultimately a conspiracy.
Now, if we could only get the DOJ to se it that way.

Have a Very Happy Holidays and all the best for the coming New Year, your work in this case has been first rate...

Bday MD

Waste93 said...

I believe both terms are appropriate. 'Hoax' is appropriate for what Magnum did in an apparent effort to get out of being commited. She initiated a 'hoax' in an effort to avoid legal problems.

What Nifong did however was an attempted 'frame'. He made statements he knew were false and brought against innocent people to further his political career.

So both terms are appropriate in their own way. Maybe you should use the term 'frame' when talking of information in regards to Nifongs actions and 'hoax' in regards to Magnum's.

Though of course you do have an overlap in some cases. 'Frame/hoax' may be appropriate in such circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what it's called as long as people keep talking and writing about the truth of it.

Anonymous said...

Ignore Abbott.

Your work is important.

He just wants attention.

Tell him to go suck his thumb somewhere else. JinC's for adults.

Duke '81

Anonymous said...


Abbott commenets at Liestoppers Forum as abb.

Check him out.

He's a blowhard.

Lots of people ignore Liestoppers Forum because of him and a few others there.

They just make up issues and go after people.

It happened to Joan Foster.

Now it's your turn.

Stay strong and keep posting on the Hoax.

Your blog is outstanding and has meant more than I could ever say.

A Duke Mom