Sunday, February 03, 2008

N&O Editor’s Nifong reply & “small errors”

Regulars here are familiar with my posts concerning a Raleigh News & Observer news columnist statements published in her column and the Yaeger (with Pressler) book, It’s Not About The Truth, concerning the N&O’s use of the disgraced Mike Nifong as an anonymous source during March 2006 when the N&O led the media trashing and framing of the Duke lacrosse players.

Regulars also know I’ve asked questions about the N&O’s use of Nifong as an anonymous source for its now discredited Mar. 25, 2006 “anonymous interview” story it said was about “the victim’s” account of a night which ended in “sexual violence.”

Background to all of this, source citations and links are in this post: N&O editor's response re: Nifong as anonymous source.

Since June 2006, the columnist and editors at the N&O have ignored my questions about their use of Nifong as an anonymous source until this past Friday when I received the following email from the N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden, in response to my recent post: What’s really hurting the Raleigh N&O :


I don't see here that Ruth said Nifong was an anonymous source for The N&O.

The paper did not quote any anonymous sources in the course of its
coverage of the lacrosse case, with the exception of the early interview with the accuser.

And, of course, she was not anonymous, but unnamed in the article.(emphasis mine)

In those early days, Nifong was anything but anonymous, which was part of his eventual downfall.

Ted V.
I’m preparing a response to Vaden's self-contradictory, at variance with the facts reply which I’ll post this evening or tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I thought you’d be interested to know some of what, while researching for my response, I found in Vaden’s Apr. 2, 2006 column: "Searching for fairness in the Duke story"

In the following three snips Vaden's discussing the Mar. 25 "anonymous interview/sexual violence" story.
"In my view, the interview is at odds with The N&O's own policy on anonymous sources, which discourages their use except when the information can be obtained no other way."
A little further along he says:
But let's talk more about the anonymous interview.
And we also find in Vaden's column:
The difference, though, is that The N&O did not offer to let the accused speak anonymously, as it did for the accuser.
Vaden recently ran a column in which he said newspapers' credibility are being hurt by “small errors.”

But small spelling errors and getting the address of a fire wrong aren’t what’s destroying newspapers’ credibility.

It's major reporting errors, news suppression and gross bias such as we've all seen in the coverage of the Duke lacrosse story, and and what newspapers do to cover them up that’s really hurting their credibility.

Surely Vaden knows that.


Tarheel Hawkeye said...

John: Good find! Confronted with his own words, Vaden can't make a very credible denial, can he? Want to bet he tries?

Anonymous said...

Will the N&O ever be held accountable for its coverage in March 2006?