Monday, October 13, 2008

Did the Raleigh N&O fake “a police report?”

Readers Note: If you’re not familiar with the McClatchy News Co.’s Raleigh News & Observer’s Mar. 2006 role in launching the vicious witch hunt and the public part of a criminal frame-up attempt targeting members of the Duke Men’s lacrosse team, please read The Raleigh N&O without its mask (Post 2).

That post provides background to the email below which I’m sending to the N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden.


Dear Ted:

For your reference and that of JinC readers the N&O on Mar. 25, 2006 on its front page, above the fold headlined:

Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
The story began:
The woman who says she was raped last week by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team thought she would be dancing for five men at a bachelor party, she said Friday. But when she arrived that night, she found herself surrounded by more than 40.

Just moments after she and another exotic dancer started to perform, she said, men in the house started barking racial slurs.

The two women, both black, stopped dancing.

"We started to cry," she said. "We were so scared." ...
Readers immediately challenged the story on grounds it was inaccurate, grossly unfair to the lacrosse players and as racially inflammatory as anything that ran back in the days of Josephus Daniels.

You responded to readers in your Arp. 2, 2006 column. Here’s part of what you told us:
But let's talk more about the anonymous interview. Williams said editors and the reporter discussed the fairness issue at length before interviewing the woman and publishing the story. The governing decision, she said, was to print only information from the interview that conformed with the police reports. "We limited for publication the statements from the woman that were in line with what she said in the police report," Williams said. (all emphases in this post added) …

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.

In this case, as Williams pointed out, the story used only information from the interview that corroborated the public record, so it didn't add new facts. The added matter was the emotional content -- the crying mother of two -- that gave a human dimension to the police reports.
In her Arp. 3 post at the Editors’ Blog, the executive editor for news Melanie Sill assured readers:
We took care in editing the [Mar. 25] story not to introduce new accusations -- the basics were the same as in police reports, which had already been made public.
Police reports are public records that often include unverified and contradictory statements.

That said, what police report or police reports were you, Williams and Sill referring to that included the racially charged “men in the house started barking racial slurs” accusation.

What such police report had "already been made public?"

In the more than two and a half years since you published claiming false accuser Crystal Mangum’s “barking racial slurs” charge was in a “police report,” no such police report has surfaced.

No one besides Mangum in the house during the time Mangum claimed they occurred says they did.

No defense attorney has said such a police report exists to support the N&O’s story.

After a thorough examination of the entire case file, the NC attorney general’s office found no such police report.

Subsequent to the N&O’s Mar. 25 story, the now disbarred former DA Mike Nifong played the race card, but in that and all his other lying he never cited any such police report as you claim the N&O used for a story as discredited and dishonorable as Rather's and 60 Minutes' Texas Air National Guard lies about President Bush.

I can’t find any place where current executive editor John Drescher, who, as you know, was managing editor during Spring 2006 has said there is such a police report.

Most telling of all, I can’t find any instance where you, Williams or Sill have cited such a police report as so many N&O readers and others have been asking you to do now for over two and a half years.

I’ll wait a few more days out of courtesy, but absent any response from you by this Thursday citing the public record police report the N&O relied on for its “barking racial slurs” report, I’ll call “FALSE” on you, Williams and Sill.

As always, I’ll publish your response, if any, in full at JinC.


John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

John, please send this to McClatchy family members on the company board. Obviously, publisher Quarles and CEO Pruitt have no intentions of acknowledging the N&O's role in setting the stage for the cold-blooded frame of the lacrosse players.

Anonymous said...

Well of course the N&O lied. It's what they do. But with only one person (JnC) trying to hold their webbed feet to the fire, does anyone believe the N&O will ever 'fess up? There is no person or agency in Durham City, Durham County, or the State of North Carolina willing or able to clean up the mess created by Nifong and the N&O. A robust prosecution under the federal civil rights statutes could have had great effect, but there was nobody in the Bush administration with the integrity (or the cojones) to prosecute. Just like there is nobody in the DoJ today who will do anything about ACORN until the damage has been done.
John: you're right, but you're wasting your time.
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...


I often wonder about people with a leftist political agenda. The N&O surely did not know the Duke boys. They could have been just like their neighbor's kids.

But once they became the unwilling victims of a political agenda, no punishment would have been too great. Its bizarre, actually.

Even today, you will not get an apology (or even an acknowledgement) from the N&O that they were wrong. To admit their error would require admission of a bias. That will never happen.

How do people get like that?


Anonymous said...

Do you think it may not have been a written report, but instead a conversation in which someone from DPD gave an oral report to someone at N&O?