Monday, December 17, 2007

The N&O’s Baker Editorial (Updated)

The Raleigh News & Observer did more than any other news organization to help launch and sustain the massive injustices and falsehoods of the Duke lacrosse case

Friday, the N&O editorialized in response to the announcement that Patrick Baker, Durham’s city manager since August 2004, would be leaving that office to become Durham’s city attorney.

The N&O commended Baker for overseeing “improvements to the downtown and [for taking] the right approach to maintaining city infrastructure after years of neglect.”

It also allowed as how he’d made what it called “rookie mistakes.”

And what were those “rookie mistakes,” you ask?

Here’s everything the N&O said about them:

But a city yard waste plant operating without a state permit caught fire, and Durham residents face a potentially catastrophic water shortage because City Hall moved too slowly in managing water use.
What, no mention of all those Duke lacrosse travesties and injustices engaged in by certain Durham police officers?

Doesn’t Baker supervise DPD?

Yes, he does. And for more than 20 months Baker’s been denying there was any wrongdoing by a single DPD officer or any of their supervisors.

There’s something else you may be thinking: Only a few days before the N&O opined, Baker was named a defendant in a civil rights violation suit brought by the three young men who were the principal victims of the criminal frame-up attempt that was at the heart of the Duke Hoax.

But the N&O makes not a single mention of the Duke lacrosse case in connection with Baker.

It sure is strange, isn’t it?

Did the editors all just forget the Duke lacrosse case played out in Durham while Baker was city manager?

Or did the editors make a conscious decision to say nothing about the case?

If they did, why did they do that?

Whose interests did that serve?

The editorial is here.

Update on 12/17/07 @ 2 PM:

While researching this morning I came upon news stories which reminded me of one of Baker's "rookie mistakes."

Remember Ron Hodge, who was DPD's Deputy Police Chief throughout the Duke lacrosse case and in day-to-day charge of the department during that time?

Baker recommended Hodge as one of the three finalists to succeed DPD Chief Steve Chalmers.

Hodge remains Deputy Chief and we can continue to wonder why the N&O’s editorial made no mention of the Duke lacrosse case.


Anonymous said...

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I recall reading that Patrick Baker got a $12K raise when he left the City Attorney's office to become city manager.

Is this a pay cut? A raise?


W. R. Chambers said...

The N&O editorial on Baker is not something one would expect to find in a newspaper. It is has all the hallmarks of propaganda: it ignores the facts and paints a picture pleasing to those in power.

Anonymous said...


Very interesting column by John Dresher in/of N&O,


We're in the news business. We live to get the story first. With the Internet and cable TV, there has never been more pressure to break stories.

We felt that pressure during the Duke lacrosse case. We broke the news that 46 team members had been ordered to give DNA in a rape investigation.

The day we published that story, we had an interview -- the only one to date -- with the accuser. The next day, we published her account.

I wish we had held that story for a day and done more reporting on the accuser, her statement and her prior run-in with the law.

Many other times, we've held back when our competitors were using anonymous sources.

J in C, I find the timing of this , coming as it does right after you said that you will do some nice articles on this subject soon, quite interesting.

Anonymous said...


"Did the editors all just forget the Duke lacrosse case played out in Durham while Baker was city manager?"

What lacrosse case?


bill anderson said...


Once again you demonstrate that the Emperor is naked. Why does Samiha Khanna still have a job?