Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sill, N&O Owe Retraction & Apologies To Players, Families, Readers

In Mar. 2006 the N&O first “broke” the Duke lacrosse case with a guilt-presuming front page story in which, without once ever using the standard qualifier “alleged,” the N&O seven times referred to the accuser as either “the victim” or with the possessive “victim's”

Melanie Sill was N&O executive editor then. She remained executive editor through all the months three innocent young men remained under indictment until Apr. 11, 2007 when the NC AG declared them innocent and called Mike Nifong a “rogue” prosecutor.

In Oct. 2007 the McClatchy Company, which owns the N&O, moved Sill to the executive editor’s chair at what has been traditionally viewed as McClatchy’s flagship paper, The Sacramento Bee.

Just as she did at the N&O, Sill publishes in Sacbee’s print and online editions a Sunday column. They usually read like infomercials, all with the same working title.

The title: “At Sacbee all things would be bright and beautiful but for revenue and circulation declines and those pesky readers who tell lies about us. But we’re made of stern stuff and you can’t do without us.”

This week Melanie looks back at Sacbee editions from the 1930s Great Depression and other tough times to find inspiration and assure readers Sacbee will always be there for them. (
Many Sacramentans fear she may be right. - JinC.)

I just left the following comment on Sill’s column thread:

jwmakm wrote on 07/05/2009 07:19:30 AM:

Dear Melanie,

Concerning a 1933 Sacbee front page you say: "the paper reported on President Franklin D. Roosevelt in London working to stabilize currency[.]

FDR wasn't in London in 1933; he was never in Great Britain whilst President.

His last visit there was in 1918 in connection with his duties as Asst. Sec. of the Navy in the Wilson cabinet.

It was at a London banquet on that trip the he first met Winston Churchill.

While on the topic of accuracy in newspapers - - -

As executive editor of the N&O you refused to identify the "police documents" you say you relied on for the deliberately fraudulent 3/25/06 Duke lacrosse frame the N&O told readers was about a night which ended in "sexual violence."

Why do you refuse to identify those documents?

Since the Mar. 25 story is now so discredited, will you support its retraction and an apology to the players, their families and N&O readers?

Both are long overdue.

John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

John, I thought you were going away. I'm delighted to find you're still here. Apparently, you are the only one trying to get the N&O to own up to its journalistic sins.
Hope the discovery process in the civil suits will uncover the truth.

Anonymous said...

JinC - Off topic (again) but a quicj note to let you know that I went to the Churchiill War Room (Bunker)Museum - spent the afternoon there and could have spent even more time. It was fascinating and probably one of the best museums (in terms of the exhibits) that I have ever attended. Then went to evensong at Westminister Abbey. The juxtaposition of the two served as a reminder of how much the world owes the British (and particular Churchill as their leader) for their courageous stand against the forces of Nazis until the US entered the war.