Monday, April 07, 2008

Raleigh N&O Arrogance (Post 5)

Readers Note: This is the fifth and last of a five-post series providing examples of the Raleigh News & Observer’s arrogance during its Duke lacrosse coverage. The examples also reveal some of the disingenuousness that was an essential and pervasive part of the N&O’s grossly biased, racially inflammatory and often false Duke Hoax reporting during Spring 2006 and thereafter.


This past Feb. 23 I emailed N&O public editor Ted Vaden calling to his attention two misquotes which appeared in a Feb. 22 story: "38-player lacrosse suit gets fanfare." Both involved statements made by Mr. Robert Bork, Jr acting in a public information capacity for the plaintiffs and their attorneys. I included the email in a post you can read here.

Bork had noted the misquotes in a post you can read here at

In my email to Vaden, I noted one of the two reporters bylined on the story was Anne Blythe, one of two reporters bylined on the N&O’s deliberately fraudulent Mar. 25, 2006 which the N&O told readers was about a young black mother’s “ordeal” which ended in “sexual violence.” I added:

It must be upsetting for the students and their families to see the N&O again misrepresenting their actions and motives.
I asked for corrections and promised to post in full Vaden’s response.

I did not hear from Vaden, but I did get an email response from another N&O editor, Bob Waters.

Regarding one of the misquotes, Waters said Bork had made the remark - that Durham wasn’t a media center and thus the announcement of the lawsuit was made in DC - during a one-on-one conversation with the other reporter bylined, Barbara Barrett, in a hallway after the announcement. (Bork did not respond to an email request asking whether such a conversation took place.)

Waters said nothing about the second misquote which was an extremely serious distortion of what Bork had actually said.

So I sent Waters the following email:
Dear Editor Waters:

Thank you for a prompt response.

I plan to ask Bork about what he may have said to reporter Barrett after the press conference.

I'll be sure to report at JinC in full what you say happened and what, if anything, Bork says.

You did not say anything about the most important part of my email.

That part is:

The N&O reported:
The players chose not to appear at the news conference, said Bob Bork Jr., the group's hired publicist, because they don't want to attract attention.
But Bork said no such thing.

In this post at Bork provided the text of what he'd actually said as follows:
“None of the 38 players who are filing this lawsuit are here today. They considered participating, but many have jobs and some are still students and lacrosse team members at Duke. One is in Army Ranger school preparing to deploy to Iraq.”

“Know this -- the players are united behind this lawsuit. At the same time that they are understandably concerned about retribution and negative, maybe even slanderous media coverage. Who can blame them after what they endured for 13 months in 2006 and 2007. They are walking a fine line between trying to live normal lives in the wake of an unspeakable trauma and at the same time trying to get answers to questions that remain unaddressed by their university.”

“They need to have peace to heal, but there can be no healing without accountability.”
It will be very easy for you to check what Bork actually said against what the N&O reported because the news conference video with fine audio quality is available and in the first minute or two you'll be able to view and hear exactly what Bork said.

You can access the video here.

People will wonder how the N&O could take what Bork actually said and report what the N&O told readers.
Folks, I ended the email with a pledge to publish in full his response.

Editor Waters did not respond to that email or two subsequent ones. You can read more about that here.

Folks, I don’t know what, if anything Bork may have said to Barrett in a hallway after the conference.

But all of us can check what the N&O published under Barrett and Blythe’s byline regarding why the players weren’t at the announcement, against what Bork actually said on the video tape.

As for Walters, I think his failure to respond to a reader about a serious, documented instance of his papers grossly misrepresenting what someone said is arrogant.

I’m told most MSM journalists are concerned that bloggers are hurting them.

I wonder if many of them ever consider whether journalists like editor Bob Waters and the others who worked on the N&O’s "38-player lacrosse suit gets fanfare" might be the people who are really hurting them.


Anonymous said...

Really great post, John.

Anonymous said...

Another excellent analysis by John in Carolina. It's frustrating to see the N&O get away with its stonewalling, especially considering the Raleigh newspaper's prominent role in setting the stage for Nifong's frame of the lacrosse players. Who decided to publish the infamous and libelous poster of the lacrosse team in the Raleigh newspaper?

Anonymous said...

John: You might have done this earlier, but could you post on the happenings inside the newspaper during the critical period in March 2006? Who was the primary editor of the Khanna-Blythe story?

Anonymous said...

Thanks John

I just took a moment to point out my Jahawks are the best team in the country this year!!!


ps; I'll get back to the fine post later!

Danvers said...


Have you tried contacting the authors of the articles in question? I e-mailed Ann Blythe with reference to the misquotes in the Bork News Conference Article at the time and, very surprisingly, had a qu1ck response from both her and the Washington correspondent Barabara Barrett.

Barrett was the one who claimed that the "quote" came from a one on one conversation from Bob Bork.

I posted both responses on your blog comments page attached to your post on the subject.

None of this, of course, ameliorates the systemic bias you have, and continue to, exposed with the N&O.

Keep up the excellent work!

mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.