Friday, February 15, 2008

To N&O publisher re: Nifong as anon source

JinC Regulars know I’ve posted often concerning N&O columnist Ruth Sheehan's claims that on March 26, 2008 she was fed information by others at the N&O which they got from then Durham DA Mike Nifong. (See examples here, here and here )

Sheehan says Nifong’s information, which she now acknowledges was false, served as the basis for her March 27 column in which she savaged the Duke lacrosse players, much the way Nifong began doing later that day.

Sheehan didn’t disclose at the time that Nifong was the source for her column.

The N&O has refused to comment on Sheehan’s claims or any other use it made of Nifong as an anonymous source for its Duke lacrosse coverage.

I recently received an email response to my questions about the N&O and Nifong as an anonymous source from the paper’s public editor Ted Vaden.

Vaden’s response was wrong on important facts and failed to address the relevant questions.

So I sent him another email on Feb. 6. I’ve heard nothing since.

Today I sent the following email to N&O Publisher Orage Quarles

Dear Mr. Quarles:

I’m an N&O subscriber and blog as John in Carolina.

For many months I’ve been posting concerning claims by Ruth Sheehan that then DA Mike Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27, 2006 column “Team’s silence is sickening.” For example, in Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 1) 7/29/07 and Nifong an N&O anonymous source (Post 2) 8/1/08.

I’ve inquired of reporters and editors about that and other uses the N&O may have made of Nifong as an anonymous source for your Duke lacrosse coverage.

No reporter or editor would speak about the matter until recently when, in response to the email in this post - What's really hurting the N&O , Ted Vaden he sent me the email you’ll find in this post: N&O editor's response re: Nifong an anonymous source.

You'll see Vaden’s email avoided my questions and contains statements which are prima facie false.

On Feb. 6 I sent Vaden another email and a link to this post: Is the N&O public editor's job about the truth?

I once again laid out all the material relating to the N&O’s use of Nifong as an anonymous source and asked again the questions I’ve been asking for many months.

I ended my email, which I also posted for JinC readers, with this:

Given all of the foregoing, Editor Vaden, it's difficult to see how a reasonably responsible public editor would claim Sheehan is saying anything other than Nifong was an anonymous source for her March 27 column; or that she is saying anything other than Nifong's source information was passed to her by journalist(s) she reached by phone at the N&O.

I hope you will now give me and all other N&O readers full and frank answers to the questions I've been asking about the N&O's use of Nifong as an anonymous source in March 2006.

Isn't that the kind of service a public editor is supposed to provide readers?

If you can't provide that service, please direct me to someone at the N&O or the McClatchy Company who can?

I'll publish your response in full at my blog.

Thank you for your attention to this document.


John in Carolina
I’ve not heard anything back from Vaden.

I ask that you review the documentation and questions in my post and then direct me to the person at the N&O or in the McClatchy Company who can provide full and frank answers to what Ruth Sheehan has said and the questions I’ve asked.

I’m sorry to impose on you, but I’ve tried every other way to get responses from the N&O which should have been given to readers long ago.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

I’ll publish your response in full at my blog.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...


You're on the right track.

The owners and directors of a newspaper business cannot all be total fools.


Anonymous said...

Thanks John!

It is rather ironic that bloggers are hounding the media reporters for the truth today. I recall when that was the job they hired reporters to do.

It puts the media in a rather defensive position, which I would not credit them for being very good at.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see the publisher's reply. Will the N&O ever be held accountable for its inflammatory late March 2006 coverage of Nifong's lacrosse frame?

Anonymous said...

To the 12:01-- What makes you think John will receive a reply from the publisher? The modus operandi of the MSM is to ignore anyone who questions their judgement. And just how can they be forced to respond? They can't. You have to have mingled among the liberal-left to understand the contempt they have for anyone who isn't one of them. I have given up trying to reason with them because they refuse to join any sort of discussion.

Anonymous said...

If John doesn't get a reply from the publisher, Mr. Quarles, he should contact Mr. Pruitt, the CEO of the McClatchy organization in Sacramento. He could also contact the McClatchy board of directors. The rest of us could do the same. N&O executives are hoping that we won't contact the McClatchy leaders.