According to a press release Crystal Mangum should be holding a press conference in Durham about now to promote a book she’s written. The public is not invited.
Like many of you I’ll be especially interested to learn what she has to say about the interview she granted the Raleigh News & Observer on March 24, 2006 which was such an important part of the N&O front page, above the fold story the next day with headlines across five columns:
Dancer gives details of ordealand which also figures prominently in the N&O’s story:
A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
Contradictions tore case apartpublished Apr.12, 2007, the day after NC AG Roy Cooper had declared innocent the three young men indicted in a frame-up attempt based on Mangum’s false statements.
Accuser gave many versions of events on night of party
This post contains the portions of the Mar. 25 and Apr. 12 N&O stories that report on the March 24 interview, followed by my comments. I've placed in bold those portions of the N&O's Apr. 12 story which contain news from the interview which the N&O withheld from its Mar. 25, 2006 story.
It’s also important to know that nowhere in its Apr. 12, 2007 story did the N&O tell readers it had withheld that information from its Mar. 25, 2006 story.
From the interview portions from the Mar. 25, 2006 story - - -
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." …
The accuser spoke Friday, struggling not to cry as she recounted the events of the early hours of March 14 at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd., next to Duke's East Campus.
It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify the victims of sex crimes.
The accuser had worked for an escort company for two months, doing one-on-one dates about three times a week.
"It wasn't the greatest job," she said, her voice trailing off. But with two children, and a full class load at N.C. Central University, it paid well and fit her schedule.
This was the first time she had been hired to dance provocatively for a group, she said. There was no security to protect her, and as the men became aggressive, the two women started to leave.
After some of the men apologized for the behavior, the women went back inside, according to police. That's when the woman was pulled into a bathroom and raped and sodomized, police said.
She hesitated to tell police what happened, she said Friday. She realized she had to, for her young daughter and her father.
"My father came to see me in the hospital," she said. "I knew if I didn't report it that he would have that hurt forever, knowing that someone hurt his baby and got away with it." …
From the Apr. 12, 2007 story - - -
… Mangum, a mother of three children ages 7, 8 and 3 months, was enrolled last spring at N.C. Central University. On March 24, 11 days after the party, she granted a short interview with The News & Observer, her only media interview to date. Mangum made allegations of racism, claimed to have only a short history as a stripper, and said she thought the other woman hired to dance with her also had been assaulted.
The interview began in front of Mangum's parents' home near N.C. Central. When an N&O reporter approached, she confirmed that she had made the rape report. She started crying.
When asked why she made the report, she said, "Most guys don't think it's a big deal" to force a woman to have sex. She confirmed that the claimed incident occurred at a party near Duke.
Moments later, she added, "Maybe they think they can get away with it because they have more money than me."
After a few moments, Mangum said she had to leave, but she consented to meet that afternoon.
Later, she sat in her living room for less than 15 minutes to answer more questions. She said she received a phone call from her escort service to appear at the house for a bachelor party. There, she met a second dancer whose name she could not recall.
Mangum said that as soon as she and the second dancer entered the house, they were barraged with racist remarks.
"We started crying," she said. "We were so scared."
Moments later, after someone apologized, the women went back into the house and were separated, Mangum said. [In the Mar. 25 story the N&O's attribution regarding the women returning to the house is "according to police." - JinC]
She did not give details but maintained that she had been raped. Mangum said that although she did not witness it, she thought the second dancer was sexually assaulted but didn't come forward because she would lose her job as an escort.
"I got the feeling she would do just about anything for money," Mangum said of the second dancer, Kim Roberts.
Reading all the interview news exculpatory for the players the N&O withheld for thirteen months during which time it watched many innocent people go through hell and race relations in our community deteriorate, any intelligent, fair-minded person will justifiably hold the N&O in contempt.
I want to say more now about the N&O’s prima facie dishonest reporting. But I’ll save that for another day.
In this post I'll keep my focus entirely on some important matters I hope Mangum will speak about today.
How was the N&O interview set up? I discussed that question in a June 28, 2007 post – INNOCENT: N&O “boots” questions – excerpts of which follow with some further commentary below the star line - - -
While searching archives today I found and read the transcript of MSNBC’s The Abrams Report for 3/28/06. It reminded me of some unanswered questions I have about the Raleigh News & Observer’s role in first, describing all the white members of the 2006 Duke lacrosse team as drunken, brutish racists, and then, second, helping enable the attempted frame-up of three members of the team.
To understand my questions let’s start with a portion of the transcript in which Dan Abrams asks a question of the N&O’s Samiha Khanna, one of two N&O reporters (the other was Anne Blythe) bylined on the N&O’s [Mar. 25, 2006 story] which, in front-page headlines, the N&O said was about “a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence.”
We pick up Abrams as he introduces Khanna [ Keep in mind the Abrams-Khanna interview occurred Mar. 28, just four days after Khanna interviewed Mangum. – JinC]:
Samiha Khanna from the “News and Observer” down there who interviewed the alleged victim in this case.I don’t know whether Crystal Mangum really “sort of wondered” how Khanna found her.
ABRAMS: “All right, so what did she tell you?”
KHANNA : “Well first, she sort of wondered how I had found her, and I assured her that her identity was not revealed in the newspaper and it was not going to be revealed, as we don’t publish the names of sexual assault victims.”
In truth she could have been “tipped” that an N&O reporter was coming to interview her much the way the N&O itself was “tipped to be there” when the Duke lacrosse players showed up at the police building to provide DNA samples.
But I sure do wonder how and why the N&O was able to get to Mangum so quickly and secure the cooperation of the young mother who Khanna later in the interview says “was still in shock.”
Khanna doesn’t say what she said when Mangum, allegedly asked how Khanna found her. And Abrams didn’t ask Khanna anything about the matter.
I’ve asked the N&O’s Public Editor, Ted Vaden, how Khanna found Mangum. He won’t say.
N&O Investigative Reporter Joe Neff, for all his writing on the witch hunt and frame-up attempt, has never reported how Khanna found Mangum.
And when readers have asked Melanie Sill, the N&O’s exec editor for news, she’s usually ignored them. [Sill has since moved on to a similar position with the Sacramento Bee.]
The only instance I can find when Sill “answered” the question is on the thread of an Editors’ Blog post, "March 25 interview." Commenting at 10/06/06 Sill said [excerpt]:
The first day story was about a DNA roundup involving an unprecedented number of people from a single group. The second day we were working to talk to all the principals. We got the woman identified as the victim and interviewed her. […]Durham City has a population of more than 210,000 people.
[It] wasn't an extensive or extensively planned interview -- it was boots on the street hustle to track down the key players.
In a city that size, you can do a lot of what Sill calls “street hustle” before you’d come to just the person you were looking for; and even then you wouldn’t know you’d come to “the right person” you were looking for unless you knew something about the person. Like the person’s name and address, for instance.
Sill’s “boots on the street hustle” is an attempt to lead gullible people to think she’s answered their question when, it fact, she’s avoided it. And she succeeds in doing that very often with tens of thousand of faithful N&O readers.
That leaves intelligent people to ask: Who told the N&O the accuser was Crystal Mangum and where to find her?
Sill could easily have answered that with something like: “An anonymous source phoned – we don’t know if it was a neighbor or someone else - and gave us the ID and address.”
That explanation would be plausible. The N&O actively seeks news tips, anonymous and otherwise. And everyday people on their own phone news tips to newspapers, often anonymously.
So why hasn’t the N&O used the plausible “anonymous tip” fob-off instead of the obviously fairy tale “boots on the street?”
“Perhaps, because the ‘anonymous tip fob-off’ is not true,” you say?
Folks, the N&O promulgated the deliberate falsehood that the players hadn’t cooperated with police while suppressing the news they had.
And as much as I deplore most of the NY Times’ Hoax reporting, it wasn’t the NY Times that withheld for thirteen months the exculpatory news the N&O learned in the Mangum/Khanna interview, was it?
“Not true” is not a Stop sign for Sill and the other people who control what “news” the N&O reports; it’s not even a Caution light.
I believe the N&O hasn’t given us the “anonymous tip” or any other false explanation for how Khanna got to Mangum because:
1) the N&O was, in the lingo of journalists, “fed a tip;”
2) the tip came from someone very close to the case, such as someone in the DA’s office or on the DPD “investigation team;”
3) that someone undoubtedly assured Mangum she could speak “to the lady from the N&O” without any worry that the “N&O lady” would do anything to upset the case, especially the hopes Mangum had then for a “big settlement” from those rich, white Duke boys;
4) and that the N&O knows the someone who fed it the tip is likely at some time in the not too distant future to testify in a case, criminal or civil, in which the someone will explain how Khanna and the N&O really didn't need to do any "boots on the street hustle."
The complicity involving the N&O and someone(s) on the “Nifong/DPD investigative team” may be much more extensive than what I’ve suggested here.
Would you doubt that, even if Melanie Sill, Ted Vaden, and Joe Neff swore on a stack of tomorrow’s N&O it wasn’t true?
Final comment today, Oct. 23, 2008
When trying to unravel the Duke hoax , frame-up attempt and the ongoing cover-up of the two, always keep in mind that between Mar. 24 and Mar. 27, 2006 the N&O laid out the fictitious script for the hoax and framing attempt before Nifong began speaking publicly about the case in the late morning or early afternoon of Mar. 27.
Nifong’s statements were false, but he told public the very same fictitious story the N&O had presented the public.
Publicly at least, Nifong followed where the N&O had led.
What you see when you combine the N&O’s Mar. 25, 2006 and Apr. 12, 2007 “reports” of the Mangum interview is the news the N&O admits it had on Mar. 24, 2006.
What you see when you look at its Mar. 25 story is only the news that fits the hoax/frame script Nifong began delivering on Mar. 27. The N&O withheld from its Mar. 25 story everything that contradicted or cast doubt on the story Nifong began telling on Mar. 27.
The most important thing we need to learn now is who the N&O was working with when it took the news Mangum gave it on Mar. 24 and withheld from its Mar. 25 story crucial, exculpatory portions of that news which would have blown a huge hole in the false story Nifong was about to tell on Mar. 27.
Who was that person or persons?
And who were the people at the N&O who worked with the person or persons to deliberately and maliciously enable a vicious hoax and launch a criminal frame-up attempt?
Links to the Mar. 25 story, the Apr. 12 story, the Abrams transcript, the Editors' Blog post; and my INNOCENT: N&O "boots" questions post.