Monday, July 13, 2009

I Hope You All Read This

Readers Note: I’ve received both considerable support and criticism for posting KC Johnson Now.

With some exceptions the sources of support and criticism that I can identify have been as I expected. The same holds for the ways in which the support and criticism have been expressed.

That said, I’m republishing below an excerpt from KC Johnson Now for three reasons:

1) - - - So everyone can see that despite claims KC Johnson Now concerns matters I brought up only “at the last minute,” major portions of it deal with matters years old. What you’ll read below, for example, concerns matters which occurred no later than December, 2007. You can confirm that by reading the email to which I link, which is addressed to KC.

2) - - - So people who think KC Johnson Now is about “small potatoes” can consider again whether, to take one example, Ruth Sheehan’s statements that Nifong was the anonymous source for her “Team’s silence is sickening” column is “small potatoes.”

3) - - - I hope the excerpt will encourage people who haven’t read KC Johnson Now to read it. I also hope those who haven’t read it in a while will reread it.




Nifong & the N&O worked together. (All bolds in this excerpt are in the original.)

Besides serving as [Sheehan's anonymous] source, it's reasonable to believe, as many journalists I've talked with do, that Nifong, members of his staff and certain DPD officers "assisted" the N&O by, among other things, tipping the N&O when and where the players would show for DNA testing and helping "arrange" the interview with Mangum.

That arrangement almost certainly involving an assurance to Mangum it would be what journalists call "a friendly" that would serve her goal at the time of shaking down the players for a big cash settlement.

I'm sure that during the civil suits discovery we'll learn Nifong and others aiding him were an important reason why the N&O’s Mar. 24 to 27 coverage presented in detail the same false story of a drunken party, gang-rape of a “frightened young mother,” and stonewalling by racist DL players who were covering up for three of their teammates who committed the rapes which Nifong began telling in public for the first time on the afternoon of Mar. 27.

Sheehan’s disclosure also raises questions about Nifong’s June 2007 State Bar trial testimony during which he said he only learned of the case late on the afternoon of Mar. 23 [I believe he knew about it days before.]; that he talked briefly with Durham police on Mar.24; and that he then met with DPD investigators on Mar. 27.

Nifong said nothing in his testimony about serving as an anonymous N&O source by at least Mar.26 and very possibly before.

The State Bar's attorneys quite properly didn’t ask him, Sheehan or others about it. The Bar trial’s purpose was to judge Nifong on other matters.

But we can be certain of this: if, as seems likely, we get to discovery in the civil rights violations suits in which Nifong is a defendant, the plaintiffs' attorneys will want to learn all they can about Sheehan’s claim Nifong was an N&O news source before he ever started speaking publicly about the DL case on Mar. 27.

Now what about KC’s interest in what Sheehan said about Nifong?

This Q&A is part of a Dec. 2007
email in which KC responded to some of the questions I posted at JinC, including one asking why UPI said nothing about Sheehan’s revelation:

Q: It’s Not About The Truth goes into considerable detail quoting Ruth Sheehan’s claims that Mike Nifong was the anonymous source for her notorious 3/27/06 “Team’s Silence Is Sickening” column.

According to Sheehan, Nifong’s source information was passed on to her by someone(s) in the N&O’s newsroom when she phoned in on 3/26/06 with a column she’d already written for the next day on another matter.

But, according to Sheehan, the information the newsroom fed her was so strong she dropped the column she’d already written and started to work on “Team’s Silence Is Sickening.”

UPI doesn’t mention any of that. Why not?

A: UPI and It's Not About the Truth are different books with different areas of focus.

INAT is, in large part, Mike Pressler's story; Pressler and Yaeger argue that Sheehan's column played a key role in Brodhead's decision to fire Pressler. It's unsurprising, therefore, they spend a good deal of time on the piece.

Pressler's dismissal is not the central (or a central) story of UPI. It therefore is unsurprising Stuart and I spent less time on the column. We mentioned the column, and mentioned the key line and how it captured the rush-to-judgment mood--as Sheehan herself conceded when she apologized.

As you can see, KC’s answer is mostly red herrings that don’t address my question.

The only part of his answer that does - - “UPI and It's Not About the Truth are different books with different areas of focus” – - is, at best, a very weak rationalization for ignoring such an important matter.

It appears even weaker when you read his June 2007
review of INAT at DIW.

KC's review covers many matters including anecdotes from INAT that reveal Nifong’s personality – Nifong gets angry with a person who interrupts him at lunch; he refuses to shake an intern’s hand because “I don’t shake hands with interns.”

But KC tells DIW readers nothing about Sheehan’s disclosure.

Even if you agree KC and Taylor should have ignored in UPI Sheehan’s disclosure because UPI had a different focus than INAT, can you explain KC’s not mentioning it in his DIW review?

I can’t. …