Friday, January 04, 2008

N&O Series Notes (Post 2)

Most of you know I'm working on a series of posts to start in mid-January that'll take a fresh look at the Raleigh News & Observer's Duke Hoax coverage.

While researching today I reviewed a post I published on July 16, 2006.

It's title: Duke lacrosse: The Raleigh N&O's cover up has begun.

It concerned a news story the N&O published that day under Jane Stancill's byline which made the false claim that the Duke lacrosse hysteria and attempted frame-up began in April and was in response to public remarks Mike Nifong made to the media. The story began:

Journalists rushed to Durham in April to tell the world about a sordid evening at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., where a black exotic dancer reported that she was raped by white lacrosse players from Duke.

An avalanche of media coverage followed, as the confident prosecutor gave dozens of interviews and reporters ferreted out a pattern of drunken misbehavior by jocks at an elite university. […]

Early on, Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong gave scores of interviews, calling Duke lacrosse players "hooligans" who were hiding behind a wall of silence. His emphatic statements fueled a national media story.[...]
In truth, the hysteria/national media coverage and public portion of the frame-up attempt began on Mar. 24, 2006 with the Raleigh N&O's publication of a series of stories and a news column which laid out the frame-up script and launched the hysteria/national media coverage before Nifong began speaking publicly on Mar. 27.

By Mar. 27 TV satellite trucks were already parked in front of Duke's Bryan Student Center. Stancill knew that. She reported some of the N&O's March 2006 stories

So I was right to say on July 16, 2006 the N&O was engaged in covering up what it did in March.

But I was flat-out wrong to say the N&O' cover-up had just begun.

We now know it began sometime on Mar. 24, 2006 when the N&O decided to withhold from a story it would publish the next day (anonymous interview/wall of solidarity story) both critical information it had about the accuser which was exculpatory for the players and information it had that the players had cooperated with police. (See posts here and here)

We also now know that by Mar. 26 if not before, the N&O was using Mike Nifong as an anonymous source for coverage framing the Duke lacrosse team as drunken, racist, privileged louts who included three gang-rapists and their teammates who were covering up for them. (See posts here and here)

One of my goals for the series is to demonstrate how essential the N&O's decisions to withhold critically important news in late March was to Nifong's ability to move forward with the frame-up attempt.

Another goal is to examine the myriad ways the N&O has worked to mislead the public about what it did and didn't do last March and thereafter. Reporter Stancill's July 16 story is only one instance of an on-going cover-up that's been surprisingly successful.

4 comments:

Debrah said...

John--

While you are taking a fresh look at the coverage of the Lacrosse Hoax by the N&O you might want to check out how the new managing editor and Barry Saunders are now trying to send Samiha Khanna on a rehab tour.

Both Drescher and Saunders made her the subject of their recent columns.

It's clear that Khanna--like the Gang of 88--has been rewarded for unethical and dishonest behavior.

bill anderson said...

I agree. I have asked in emails more than once why Samiha Khanna still has a job at thet N&O. Her reporting in this case was not just incompetent; it was thoroughly dishonest.

It is my contention that the N&O editors early on knew this was a fraud, but decided for political reasons to push it. They knew that there would be no accountability on their part, and they could say whatever they wanted.

Without the N&O giving them cover, Nifong and the police could not have done what they did. We can say that the behavior of the press in this entire affair was evil and dishonest.

Yes, Joe Neff did a great job, but that does not make up for the fact that the N&O more than any other entity created the fraud.

Anonymous said...

John: Just noticed today's Washington Times announced its "Nobles and Knaves of 2007" based on readers' votes. In the #5 position in the "Nobles" category was Attorney General Roy Cooper. More ink for the Duke Frame-up!!

Anonymous said...

There is so much more to come out of Durham than the LAX case. The entire legal system is broken, the cops are thugs and worse than you can imagine. Countless elected officials from the Governor, down to the City Manager, to the County Clerk are involved. Many fingers have dipped into Durham's cookie jar, and the truth will be extremely explosive to many who have turned their backs on citizens, justice, and any code of ethics or valor. Embrace yourselves for an extreme shock. A tidal wave of truth will boggle your mind, the corruption SHALL be exposed!