Friday, July 17, 2009

What KC Johnson’s Doing Now

Readers Note: For background to the post below you should be familiar with the following posts and their threads:

KC Johnson Now

Hopman's Charlie's Shot Slamming Hoax

Why Are KC Johnson & Halkides Hyping The Charlie's Hoax?


Folks, I want to respond to a few parts of a comment KC Johnson left this morning on the thread of
Why Are KC Johnson & Halkides Hyping The Charlie's Hoax?

KC’s in italics; I’m in plain.

KC begins - - -

This is the oddest post I have read in the long line of quixotic posts demonizing those who do not share the blogger whose publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina's overwhelmingly negative appraisal of the N&O’s overall role in the case.

KC, you frequently say you don’t get into name-calling and ridicule..

But you're doing that now.

You used to call me simply John or John in Carolina or JinC.

Now in post after post I’m “the blogger whose (sic) publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina.”

What caused the change? What’s your purpose?

As those who have either read UPI or followed DIW know, I never mentioned the Charlie's incident or the article in question. I have only responded to unfounded allegations on the point from the blogger whose publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina.

What “unfounded allegations” with regard to the Charlie's hoax are you talking about?

I have already noted his move into outright factual inaccuracies on matters substantial (the alleged banning of infrequent DIW commenter Joan Foster, the alleged insertion of something “new” into an April post) to minor (the claim that I “sent” him an “email”). These errors have either remained uncorrected or acknowledged in an ungenerous fashion.

KC, I’ll get back to the above paragraph this weekend.

Right now I think most people reading this want to focus on the Charlie’s hoax or what you call “the incident.”

“Hundreds” of members of the media were in Durham? The blogger whose publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina doesn’t specify, but “hundreds” presumes at least 200. Really? Take the three local papers (N&O, H-S, Chron.) and the four local TV stations. Generously, in late March 2006, they might have had 35 reporters on the case. Add to that five cable networks (Fox, MSNBC, CNN, HLN, and CourtTV), the NYT, the AP, the LAT, USA Today, and Newsweek, all of which had a reporter or at most two reporters in Durham. Perhaps 20 total reporters there? Add in, to be on the high side, 10 reporters from other media sources who occasionally sent in a reporter for a story. That’s 65, total—a lot of reporters, but not 200 or more. So where are the other 135+ reporters of which the blogger whose publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina wrote?

KC, you’re providing a significant underestimate.

You mention only “three local papers (N&O, H-S, Chron.).” Did you consider in your estimate The Independent and NCCU’s student newspaper, The Campus Echo? Both gave considerable coverage to the DL case during Spring ’06.

So did North Carolina’s very active African-American news organizations which you also don’t mention

You make no mention of the great many “freelancers,” “stringers,” and independent photographers who rushed to this city hoping to take a photo or pick up “a story angle” they could peddle to the MSMs.

Any one of those folks who could have corroborated Hopman’s story would have had at payday and big-time notice by a possible future employer. The person would very likely have been on a few cable “news” shows, too.

Remember hearing about all the satellite trucks surrounding Duke and the Durham County Courthouse?

Most of those vehicles are owned by independent contractors who sign on with a news organization for a particular story. The trucks usually have a crew of two or three. Some crew members have journalism backgrounds; others come from tech backgrounds.

I talked to many of them at the time of the Charlie’s hoax. All said they and members of other crews as well as many news organizations had tried to confirm Hopman’s story but couldn’t. All those I talked with rightly concluded it was a hoax.

KC, if you had been in Durham the week The Chronicle published Hopman’s hoax story, I hope you’d now agree: “Hundreds of members of media were in Durham covering it. They scrambled hard to confirm Hopman’s story but soon concluded it was a hoax.”

A lot of people are asking: Does KC Johnson really believe there’s any chance what Hopman described in The Chronicle actually happened?

I don’t blame them; in fact, I’m one of them.

Based on your assertion you have two witnesses who “corroborated in no uncertain terms” Hopman’s story, what else is a person to believe than that you think her false witness might be true?

Why haven't you said you talked to two people about "the incident" in Charlie’s the night of March 25, 2006 who agreed with Hopman's story, but that based on all the other evidence available, you don’t believe what your "witnesses" are saying?

Many of us did something like that very early in the Duke lacrosse case as regards statements by another false witness, Crystal Mangum.

Your saying you have no reason to challenge the falseness of what Hopman claims reminds me of those people who were saying – and in some cases continue to say – they “can’t be sure what happened in the bathroom” because they weren’t in there at the time.

Only in your case, KC, you claim you can’t say Hopman’s story's a hoax because you have two "witnesses" who “corroborated in no uncertain terms” what the woman said.

I don’t believe the KC Johnson of 2006 and into 2007 would have put himself in such a position.



Anonymous said...

Please accept my congratulations for a magnificent piece of work exposing KC Johnson now.

Not That Duke Alum

AMac said...

Re: the Hopman controversy:

Her 3/28/06 Chronicle Op-Ed described an incident that happened at Charlie’s on Saturday, 3/25/06. Hopman doesn’t specify the time beyond “this past Saturday night” – say, between 6:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. This makes eyewitness denials hard to credit--few people stay planted to a barstool for that length of time.

In a comment here, KC explains that Hopman stood by her story, and put him in touch with two corroborating eyewitnesses.

KC -- Have any of the three supplied a narrower window for the incident?

For its 4/10/06 issue, Newsweek picked up Hopman’s story, but bowdlerized it, while adding an alternative version. In its entirety, Newsweek reads --

“Almost two weeks after the event, in a bar called Charlie's Pub, recent Duke grad Jill Hopman was startled to see some Duke lacrosse players she recognized slamming down shots and calling out ‘Duke lacrosse!’ (A source close to the families who did not wish to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter said there were three players in the bar and they made a single, regretful toast to the team, whose season is on hold for now.)”

KC – Did the witnesses Hopman supplied corroborate the details of her account, or Newsweek’s much vaguer version (with rebuttal)? Did they independently recognize members of the lacrosse team (more on that, below)?

The 4/1/09 N&O article by Stancill and Blythe doesn't add anything to the account of that night.

S. Fogarty commented at JinC, saying –

“There was absolutely no scene of lacrosse players at ‘Charlies’ yelling ‘Duke lacrosse’ after the false allegations. My daughter was actually at the bar that night with Steph Sparks-Bob Ekstrand's sister in law-and 2 lacrosse players-one of whom is my son.”

S. Fogarty -- The meaning of the denials by your daughter, Steph Sparks, and the two lacrosse players depends on when they were at Charlie’s, versus when Hopman claims the incident took place. When did they arrive and when did they leave?

The above points might seem niggling, but Hopman provided a wealth of detail in her Op-Ed. Paraphrased, her claims are --

“Saturday night, about 20 lacrosse players came to Charlie’s. Some were my close friends; some are amazing athletes. They ordered round after round of shots, at times slamming the glasses down on tables and cheering "Duke Lacrosse!" A cop on my softball team pointed out three other cops in the bar. Another teammate, a photographer for a Raleigh newspaper, pointed out three reporters. All were taking in this scene. As the lacrosse players got plastered, stumbled, and yelled about Duke lacrosse, the rest of the bar looked on with derision and repulsion.”

Are KC’s witnesses corroborating Newsweek’s tepid version? If that is all they will do, Hopman is out on a limb, alone. On the other hand, a credible confirmation of Hopman’s Chronicle narrative brings to mind the ugly archetypes of "I Am Charlotte Simmons."

Following sceptical’s earlier remark, I’ll offer a speculation of my own. Is it possible that “about 20” Duke students who were not lacrosse players behaved crudely that night at Charlie’s? If so, Hopman was wrong to claim that they included close friends of hers on the lacrosse team—-and that is the detail that gives her story such a punch.

KC’s two witnesses might well recall Hopman gasping, “OMG! That's the LAX team! Those guys are my friends!” These witnesses might not realize that their belief in the identity of the misbehaving students was based only on Hopman’s incorrect hearsay.

sceptical said...


I agree with you that KC Johnson's repetitive use of the phrase "the blogger who posts under the pseudonym John in Carolina" is done in a disrespectful manner (although it is technically true).

I also agree that the Hopman story is either total fiction or (more likely) an exaggeration.

However, I do not understand what appears to be your vendetta against KC Johnson.

I would hope the two of you could disagree on the role of the News & Observer without lowering yourselves to whether a message was an e-mail or comment (Johnson), or the number of reporters in Durham covering the frame-up (Johnson), or whether just stating that there were two corroborating witness is an endorsement of their veracity--which it is not(John).

I agree with other commenters that the Hopman allegations were an umimportant blip in the coverage of this case. I do not understand,John, why you are making such a big deal over something trivial. KC did not include the incident in UPI and did not comment on it until you attacked him in the post "KC Johnson Now."

I do not always agree with KC and I find his over-use of sarcasm annoying, but I do not think he deserves the disdain you heap upon him. His writings should be open to criticism, but I don't agree with personal attacks either by you or by him.

Perhaps a truce is in order?


Anonymous said...


KC appears to be under some type of stress.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong with JinC making criticisms of KC?

I appreciate what he's doing. He's opening my eyes to a lot of things I hadn't noticed before.

So it's upsetting KC's supporters.

That's to be expected.

Anonymous said...

Is The Chronicle part
of the Hoax now, too?

KC Johnson said...

The blogger who publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina asks, "Does KC Johnson really believe there’s any chance what Hopman described in The Chronicle actually happened? I don’t blame them; in fact, I’m one of them."

I can only assume that he doesn't even read his comment threads, since I had already written, "My perspective on what did or did not occur is precisely sceptical's," who had written earlier in the thread, "My hunch is that there might have been athletes that day at Charlies (there usually are), but they were not necessarily from the lacrosse team and their behavior was exaggerated by Hopman."

But, again, why let the facts get in the way of a good argument?

In both the book and the blog, I criticized members of the media when I had the facts on my side, not solely on the basis of my beliefs or hunches. Obviously, other blogs use different standards. That's their right, and they have to deal with the hits to their credibility that their standard creates.

It is quite true that, in the grand scheme of the case, I consider the Blythe article a tangential event. Based on the fact that he has now done repeated posts on the issue, the blogger who publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina appears to believe otherwise. That raises the question, of course, as to why he didn't do the reporting work of tracking down the people who were at the bar that evening, confronting Hopman with their testimony, and disproving the article. But I suppose it's easier simply to assert supposition as fact, and attack others for not doing likewise.

As I have stated repeatedly, I made no mention of this incident in DIW or in UPI, quite deliberately, and my first discussion of it only came in response to what is now a long series of attack pieces from the blogger who publishes under the pseudonym of John-in-Carolina.

JWM said...

To KC,

I respond more fully to this comment Sunday evening.

In the meantime, recall you said on the KC Johnson Now post thread at 8:57 PM:

"I have spoken to four other people who were in the bar that evening.

"Two corroborated--in no uncertain terms--the story in Blythe and Stancill's article. Two strongly dissented from it.


"The reason that I never critiqued the article in DIW or UPI was [to avoid doing a post] on an article that could have been correct. (bolds added)