Thursday, May 21, 2009

There’s No Doubt About The N&O’s Linda Williams (Updated)

This past April McClatchy’s Raleigh News & Observer named as a Tar Heel of the Week a man with an outstanding assault charge filed by his wife. But the N&O’s puff piece saluting the recipient said nothing about the assault charge. [ Disclosure - A judge dismissed the charge a few days ago.]

Based on an N&O source, McClatchy Watch posted that the reporter working the story was told by senior editor Linda Williams to leave out any mention of the assault charge. Both the award recipient and Williams are African-Americans as it the N&O publisher Orage Quarles III who reportedly nominated the recipient.

In a phone interview, N&O exec editor John Drescher told me Williams was not the reason the story made no mention of the assault charge. He promised a follow-up story.

The N&O’s follow-up gave confusion concerning the recipient's correct address as one factor contributing to its failure to report the assault charge, but made no mention of Williams.

That omission led a sharp commenter at McClatchy Watch to observe:

The question left hanging is whether Linda Williams had any interaction with the story, specifically if she told the reporters who received a tip from [the man’s wife] about the charges not to do a follow-up, or expressed opposition to doing a follow-up, or questioned the news value of a follow-up which included the charge.

The N&O’s omission would be telling in any case, but it’s particularly telling in the case of senior editor Williams.

Williams was lead editor for the N&O’s racially inflammatory, deliberately fraudulent, and now discredited March 25, 2006 front page story the N&O said was about a night of “sexual violence” at a party hosted by Duke lacrosse players.

To charges she helped withhold news favorable to the white lacrosse players while distorting facts and publishing falsehoods that favored her fellow African-American Crystal Mangum, the false accuser, Williams has given a number of shifting explanations which now themselves have been exposed as false. ( See, for example, here and here)

On an unrelated story having to do with Republican Vice-presidential Nominee Sarah Palin, Williams fired off a memo to newsroom staff shocking in its bias and meanness even when measured against the very low standards of contemporary American journalism.

Williams soon thereafter sent a former N&O columnist and blogger what can only be called a disgusting email. She meant to attack the blogger but ended up revealing just the sort of journalist she is. ( See here, here, and here.)

Given what I’ve noted and linked to and much more about Williams I could have noted and linked to, the N&O’s silence on Williams’ reported involvement in killing mention of the assault charge in its original Tar Heel of the Week story leaves me in no doubt she did just that.

Update: McClatchy Watch suggest I make clear the following:

News & Observer reporters were told not to do any followup reporting on a man who was named "Tar Heel of the Week" last week by the N&O, despite receiving new information the man was arrested in December for assaulting his wife after the original story was published.

Thank you, McClatchy Watch.


Anonymous said...

Double standard is live and well in the race relations of our citizenry.
Tarheel Hawkeye

JWM said...


Will you send your home email?

I'll be here until 2 PM ET and I'll remove it immediately.

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

Another excellent summary of the hypocritical N&0. "We report what we want to report"

Linda Williams remains a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Linda and Melanie,

You know that we know.



Yes, you are disgraceful.