If you’re not already familiar with The Raleigh N&O without its mask (Post 1), I encourage you to read it before continuing with this post.
Post 1 drew a comment which I want to present here in full and italics. I’ll then respond to it.
Regarding N&O editor Linda Williams' 2 emails contained in full in Post 1, JF said - - -
This is an appalling insight into the angry mindset of a woman who many believe made some of the most disastrous decisions in the early days of the Duke Frame...most notoriously "shaping" Mangum's story so that it deleted anything that did not assist the racial metanarrative of "Sister Survivor."
Those of us who wondered for many, many months ...as we pressed Sill on the Editor's Blog...WHY would the local newspaper pursue such inflammatory and biased coverage...well, John, at last, we have our answer. This is an angry, insecure woman using her position as Editor to shape the news, promote those whose hues and views she shares and punish those she deems unworthy.
She is a disgrace.
She is the embodiment of the reason her employer is losing both money and the trust of the average reader. Williams and those like her have made the N&O into an untrustworthy rag, a high school slam book, authored by non-professional juveniles to "get" those they do not like. It is no more accurate or appealing than that.
I agree with much that JF says about editor Linda Williams who we’re told was lead editor of the N&O’s racially inflammatory, malicious, and deliberately fraudulent March 25, 2006 story the N&O said, without any qualification to suggest doubt, was about a young black mother’s “ordeal” which ended finally in “sexual violence.”
Subsequent to the publication of the March 25 story, Williams has lied about how it was put together. For example, on Oct. 5, 2006 in a post at the Editors’ Blog Williams told readers:
The decision made prior to the March interview to limit it to the information in the police report was the correct decision and I stand by it,
But the March 25 story contains statements from the interview that have never showed in any police report cited by the now disbarred Nifong, defense attorneys or AG Roy Cooper who with AG staffers reviewed the entire case file.
Police reports are public records. Despite being asked to ID the one it sats it used, the N&O has never done so.
Other journalists who’ve worked the story say there never was such a police report as the N&O claims.
If she’s capable of shame, Williams has plenty to feel shameful about.
But I want to make this very clear to everyone: on the N&O’s Duke framing and ongoing cover-up of its framing and the rest of her work, Linda Williams, while influential, didn’t act alone. Others bear responisbility, too.
In March 2006 Williams was one of three N&O deputy managing editors, John Drescher was managing editor, and Melanie Sill was executive editor.
Sill and Drescher both stood with Williams and others who worked the framing stories and are maintaining the cover-up of what happened at the N&O as it led the Duke witch hunt days before Nifong began speaking publicly about the case
Here’s part of a comment (10/6 @ 15:40) Sill made on the thread of Williams’ Editors’ Blog post:
What Linda has said (and I have said in the past) is that the editing of this story, which was a news story on deadline, followed our usual guidelines and cautions. …
The second day we were working to talk to all the principals. We got the woman identified as the victim and interviewed her. As Linda notes, it wasn't an extensive or extensively planned interview -- it was boots on the street hustle to track down the key players.
We published what was newsworthy and went through the usual process of including some information and leaving out other information. As noted many times over neither the players nor their families or lawyers would talk to us that day.
The intensity of interest in this interview with the reported victim is understandable, but I think Linda's main point is that much of this speculation about the handling of this story is simply imagination at work. The interview was good reporting but certainly not the end of our reporting. …
In Oct. 2007 the McClatchy Newspaper Co. promoted Sill to executive editor of its flagship paper, the Sacramento Bee, and Drescher to executive editor at the N&O. Williams and the other two dep. mgr. editors were named Senior Editors.
Drescher, in his Dec. 16,2007 column told N&O readers:
... We felt that [deadline] pressure during the Duke lacrosse case. We broke the news that 46 team members had been ordered to give DNA in a rape investigation.
The day we published that story, we had an interview -- the only one to date -- with the accuser. The next day, we published her account.
I wish we had held that story for a day and done more reporting on the accuser, her statement and her prior run-in with the law.
Many other times, we've held back when our competitors were using anonymous sources. ...
The same day Drescher's column appeared I posted in response. Here's part of what I said last December 16:
People familiar with both the Mar. 25, 2006 front-page story Drescher refers to (and) the facts available to the N&O at the time of publication continue to ask why the N&O published it.
The story by reporters Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe stank like a sewer pit the day it was published.
Today it has as much credibility as the news conferences Mike Nifong began giving two days after the Khanna/Blythe story appeared.
So what's the N&O saying today?
I think some people will nod and tell themselves something like: “The N&O was under deadline. Of course! That explains what happened. Why do those lacrosse people keep complaining and suing. It’s time to move on.”
And I feel sure sensible people will ask questions such as:
Why is Drescher only saying this now, twenty-one months after the N&O published the story?
Drescher says: ”I wish we had held that story for a day and done more reporting on the accuser, her statement and her prior run-in with the law.”
What stopped the N&O from doing “more reporting” the day after it published the story?
Or the day after that which was Mar. 27, 2006, the first day Nifong began speaking publicly about the case?
Drescher doesn't say, does he?
The N&O had reported on Crystal Mangum’s “prior run-in with the law” in June 2002.
So how can “competitive pressure” explain reporters Samiha Khanna's and Anne Blythe’s failure to mention it in the “anonymous interview/sexual violence” story?
When and in what detail did the N&O first report on Mangum’s “run-in?”
Why didn’t Drescher tell us that, and explain the delay?
Why did the N&O withhold from its Mar. 25 story what it knew about the players’ cooperation with police?
Why did reporters Khanna and Blythe promulgate the falsehoods that the players had refused to cooperate with police and formed what the N&O said was a “wall of solidarity?”
I’m sure many of you have other questions. Please share them.
What do you think are the chances Drescher will answer your questions and mine fully and honestly?
As far as I know, Drescher has never publicly answered the questions asked last December 16.
Sill, Drescher and Williams bear considerable responsibility for the N&O's spring 2006 Duke lacrosse framing and for the cover-up of how and why that was done. So do many other N&O journalists.
In Post 3 Friday I'll discusss when the N&O first told readers about Mangum's 2002 "run in" with the law, when it first told readers that in June 2002 when the "run in" occurred she'd been dancing at a "gentlemen's club," and what the time and circumstances of the N&O's reporting of Mangum's "run in" tell us about its "newsroom culture."
Hat tip: Locomotive Breath