Monday, August 04, 2008

NY Times did not “lead” on the Duke lacrosse case

One of the myths that now envelope the Duke lacrosse case has the New York Times leading the media mob that trashed and libeled the Duke students on the lacrosse team while embracing the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong. In truth, the Raleigh News & Observer led the media mob.

With that in mind, I read KC Johnson’s post concerning his participation in a Duke lacrosse case roundtable at the recent Southeastern Association of Law Schools annual conference. KC included in his post “some points presented by the other panelists.”

KC ended his summary of University of Florida Law professor Lyrissa Lidsky’s remarks thus: “Lidsky singled out the Times for criticism, noting that the mainstream media is too often like ‘sheep,’ following the Times’ lead.”

That prompted me to comment on the post thread:

Dear KC,

I gather from some of the other comments you’re now back home.

Welcome back. I hope you’ll post concerning some of your experiences in Israel.

Summarizing a part of Prof.Lidsky’s remarks, you say: “Lidsky singled out the Times for criticism, noting that the mainstream media is too often like ‘sheep,’ following the Times’ lead.”

I agree that often much of MSM does follow the NY Times like “sheep.”

But I hope Lidsky didn’t say that happened with the Duke lacrosse case. It didn’t.

The Times' first Duke lacrosse case story was published Mar. 29, 2006.

By that date, Duke had canceled the lacrosse season and the anonymous Vigilante posters and the Durham CrimeStoppers Wanted posters were circulating on campus and in Durham. The players had very good cause to fear for their safety.

But the Times did nothing to contribute to that horrific situation; and no news organization up to that time was following it like “sheep.”

Did Lidsky mention the Raleigh News & Observer’s role in the case?

I hope so.

It was the N&O’s biased, racially-inflammatory and often false coverage that led the media pack.

By Mar. 27 when Nifong first spoke publicly about the case, the N&O had already trashed and libeled the lacrosse team, and laid out the framing script Nifong foisted on the public that day and for almost a year thereafter.

By Mar. 27 most people following the case thought the Duke students on the lacrosse team were a bunch of drunken, privileged, racists; three of whom had beaten, robbed, chocked and raped a frightened “young black mother” while their teammates stood by doing nothing to stop the crimes, and then subsequently stonewalled Durham’s police and covered up for their rapist teammates.

That was all 2 days or more before the Times published its first Duke lacrosse story which was far more temperate and fair than any news story, column or editorial the N&O had published up to that date.

Are you sure that in regard to the Duke lacrosse case, Prof. Lidsky “singled out the Times for criticism, [and noted] that the mainstream media is too often like ‘sheep,’ following the Times’ lead[?]”

I hope she didn't.

John in Carolina

KC responded: “I'm quite sure. But readers needn't take my word for it: the transcript of the proceedings will be published in the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law.”

I placed another comment on his post’s thread thanking him for his response. I said I’d follow-up with Lidsky.

Since often many months pass between a conference presentation and journal publication, I plan to ask Lidsky if I can obtain a print copy of her presentation.

I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll end with something I’ve said here before: When Mike Nifong began speaking publicly about the case on March 27, 2006 he followed “the Duke lacrosse rape scandal” script laid out by the Raleigh N&O in its coverage between March 24 and 27.

That coverage included repeatedly calling the accuser the “victim;” headlines that told readers about the woman's “ordeal” which ended finally in “sexual violence;” the promulgation of the “wall of solidarity” charge which the N&O knew was a lie; and Ruth Sheehan’s McCarthyite screed: “Teams silence is sickening.”

When was the last time a prosecutor or media mob has such a loud, false and vicious lead as the one the N&O had provided by March 27?


Anonymous said...

You demean yourself.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:33,

Are you KC?

Anonymous said...

Fundamentally, John in Carolina is correct. The role of the News & Observer in setting the table for Nifong's criminal frame of the lacrosse players has long been underplayed. J in C deserves much credit for continuing to point this out. K.C. Johnson also has done a superb job in following the case. He rightfully credits the excellent journalism of Joe Neff, but apparently doesn't fully understand the importance of the N&O's role prior to Neff's solid work.

Anonymous said...

KC's Wonderland

Anonymous said...


You're right. JinC has done an excellent job at keeping after the N&O.

Their behavior early on cannot be swept under the rug.

Also, Timothy Tyson must also be held accountable as he goes about in the next year promoting a film that is based largely on exaggerations.

An organized effort is necessary to let everyone know who this man really is.

wingnut said...

That's Ruth Sheehan, not Rush Sheehan. Congratulations to Rush for 20 years on the air; who cares about Ruth?

JWM said...

To Wingnut,


I've got it fixed now.

I love editors like you.


JWM said...

To Anons 11:23 and 11:05,

Thank you both for your nice words.

N&O hoax and frame-up coverage was very problematic from day one and remains so to this day.

I'll post on that in response to your comments later this evening.

I agree with 11:05 that Tyson needs exposing.

Again, thank you both.


Anonymous said...

To Debrah the 11:01,
Just because you wrote on your page that you had urged KC to take the JinC link off the DiW page did you feel you had to comment as anonymous?

Anonymous said...

To the 6:22pm-
I find that in the land of internet blogs and websites it's always unwise to try to read minds.
My name is Lauren Jacobs. Sometimes I post at D-i-W, but mostly just visit to read the material.
Professor Johnson has been a great source of knowledge for me. I also find Debrah fascinating and sometimes visit her blog.
Sorry if you didn't like that I left the link to the new YouTube of Professor Johnson, but next time know who you're talking to.
I have no idea what you're talking about unless it's the controversy recently over Barack Obama. I prefer to stay out of it.
BTW, why don't you tell me your name and the next time I go to Debrah's blog, I will tell her she's on your mind, Anonymous?
I don't want to register on Blogger just yet. What's your excuse?


Anonymous said...

To the 8:39 PM

You sure told the 6:22 off.
My Name is Barack Obama and I plan on interjecting myself into the the LAX case as soon as I'm elected president.