Saturday, July 21, 2007

Justice Whichard Bio Information

I’ve put together from various sources some biographical information concerning former North Carolina Supreme Court Willis Whichard who chairs the committee charged by the Durham City Council with: 1) determining how that city’s police department was able to arrest and help indict three men for multiple crimes for which the NC Attorney General said there never was any credible evidence; and 2) recommending actions the city can take to prevent such a travesty in the future.

From :

Willis P. Whichard is an American lawyer and a prominent figure in North Carolina politics and education. Born in Durham, North Carolina in 1940, he began his legal career as a clerk to NC Supreme Court Justice (later Chief Justice) William H. Bobbitt.

From 1966 to 1980, Whichard practiced law in Durham and entered politics, being elected first to the North Carolina House of Representatives and then to the North Carolina Senate. In 1980, he was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, where he served until he became a justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1986.

Whichard retired from the Court in 1998 and served as Dean of the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University from 1999 until his retirement in 2006.

Whichard is the only person in the history of North Carolina who has served in both houses of the state legislature and on both of the state's appellate courts.

A student of North Carolina judicial history, Whichard has written a biography of James Iredell, a North Carolinian who led the state’s Federalists in supporting ratification of the Constitution and was later appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President George Washington.
Whichard is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his law degree at UNC’s School of Law where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the North Carolina Law Review and inducted into the Order of the Coif. Whichard also holds a Master of Laws (LL.M) and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from the University of Virginia.

This past February Whichard joined one of North Carolina’s largest and most respected law firms, Moore & Van Allen.

At the firm’s website we learn Whichard’s received a number of prestigious recognitions including the Christopher Crittenden Award, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Distinguished Service Medal, University of North Carolina General Alumni Association; and Outstanding Appellate Judge Award, NC Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Whichard is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation:
an honorary organization of attorneys, judges, and law professors whose professional, public, and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. . . .

The Fellows are limited to one-third of one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Members are nominated by Fellows in their jurisdiction and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation. . . .

Fellows must have demonstrated their dedication to the objectives of the American Bar Association-upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States; maintaining the ideals of representative government and the rule of law; advancing the science of jurisprudence; and promoting the administration of justice and uniformity of legislation and judicial decisions throughout the United States, among others.
At the page for Whichard’s biography of U. S. Supreme Court Justice Iredell there are a book description and review excerpts:
Book Description

A CHOICE Magazine Outstanding Academic Title for 2001. James Iredell sailed from England to the English colony of North Carolina in 1768 to be a customs officer at the port of Edenton. While serving King George III at the port of Edenton, Iredell studied law under Samuel Johnston, who would become his brother-in-law, mentor, and friend.

Iredell became a superior lawyer and the leading essayist in his region in support of American independence. Following the American Revolution, he was the foremost advocate in North Carolina for adoption of the proposed federal Constitution and later served on the Supreme Court after ratification.

Review Excerpts

The North Carolina Historical Review, July 2001

"Whichard brings to life this important figure of the Federal period...a marvelous job of representing Iredell's human side."

Journal of Supreme Court History, 2002, Vol. 27, No. 2

"Carefully documented and entertaining to read, this modern a notable addition to the bibliography of the early court."

Books-on-Law Book Reviews, July 2001

"Whichard offers insightful treatment of what it was like to be a Supreme Court Justice in the late 18th century."
Well folks, what do you think? Do any of you know Justice Whichard? Do you know people who do? If yes, what do they say?

Whichard Com., Sgt. Shelton & Cpl. Addison

KC Johnson's report of yesterday's Whichard Committee proceedings is the most detailed and comprehensive I’ve found. The N&O and H-S reports today don’t come close to what he’s providing readers.

Among other services KC has posted the list of the 13 issues the defense attorney’s told the committee they would strongly encourage the committee to look at.

Number 2 on the list is: Sergeant Shelton. I’ll say more this evening about why I think Shelton is up there in the number 2 spot. Right now I just want to offer this excerpt from a June 3, 2007, JinC post, DPD’s Sgt. Shelton & Cpl. Addison :

[Consider something very important] Sgt. Shelton, Cpl. Addison and DPD Officer Willie Barfield, who’ll enter this post shortly, all knew on the night of March 13/14.

They also knew it on March 24 when DPD officers working the case were told to report to DA Mike Nifong and Addison began acting as DPD spokesperson.

And they knew it on March 28 when Addison sent out the text of the Durham Crimestoppers Duke lacrosse Wanted poster Brown cited.

What those three officer knew is such significant and irrefutable evidence that a beating and gang-rape DID NOT take place at the party, that neither DA Nifong nor his DPD "helpers" have ever questioned Shelton and Barfield's decisions to take Mangum to Durham Access, a shelter/short-term counseling facility for substance abusers rather than Duke Hospital.

What's more, those in media who enabled the sliming of the white members of the lacrosse team and the attempted frame-up of three innocent members of it, have largely ignored the matter.

The matter is this: as veteran police officers, Shelton, Addison and Barfield know about the kinds and severity of physical injuries a woman suffers when she’s brutally beaten and raped by even one strong young man, to say nothing of being brutally beaten and raped by three strong young men.

Like all DPD officers they're trained to administer emergency first aid to victims of such horrific crimes while awaiting the arrival of the EMS ambulance and emergency medical assistance.

Addison knew Mangum had suffered no such injuries and needed no emergency medical assistance. He knew she hadn’t even suffered slight injuries.

That's because Addison knew Sgt. John Shelton, who responded to a call shortly after midnight on March 14, found Mangum in Roberts’ car at a Kroger parking lot, in Shelton’s words, “just passed out drunk.”

Had Shelton seen any signs of injuries he would have arranged to take Mangum to Duke Hospital, which is less than a mile from the Kroger parking lot.

But Shelton saw no evidence of any physical injuries. So he arranged for another officer, Willie Barfield, to take Mangum to Durham Access.

Barfield also saw no signs of any physical injuries.

Barfield only later took Mangum from Durham Access to Duke Hospital after she said at Access she’d been raped.

Addison understood the significance of his brother officers’ judgments and actions that night.

Addison knew Mangum’s story was false. Yet he went for days telling the public about “horrific crimes” and the players “wall of silence” even though, as we later learned, the players had been extremely cooperative with police.

Why? […]
I’m fairly certain the Whichard Committee is going to ask that question and others relevant to it, in part because number 4 on the defense attorneys’ list is: The DPD Public Statements.

Durham’s citizens have waited 16 months to learn why our police department’s spokesman, a sworn law enforcement officer, began making on March 24, 2006, the day former DA Mike Nifong took charge of the case, false statements about an “horrific crime” he knew never happened.

If you want to get an idea of what a tough spot Addison will likely soon find himself in, take a look at another JinC post from this past March, Addison Series #4 – “They call it ‘squeezing.’”

In the post I speculated on what things would be like for Addison if he was placed under oath during a federal investigation into violations of the players’ civil rights. [excerpt]:
[When] the Feds come on a case and they see that a police spokesperson repeatedly gave the public false information about what they’re investigating, the Feds always want to know why the officer did that.

“Let’s give him a little squeeze and see what he tells us.”

So Addison will be asked, for example, why he told the public the players weren’t cooperating with police when they were. Addison will be talking to people, almost all of whom have police and/or criminal investigative backgrounds. They know how exceptionally cooperative the players were compared to most suspects they’ve dealt with. They know Addison knows. He’s a veteran officer, after all.

And worst of all for Addison, he knows they know he knew.

That will set up a moment of truth or perjury for Addison, recently selected by Durham Jaycees as their Outstanding Young Public Servant of the Year (That information provided by Addison’s DPD supervisor, Maj. Lee Russ, during a 12/06 interview).
Things are going to get very interesting.

I’ll be back this evening.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Churchill Series – July 20, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill,)

The 20th century’s two greatest evils were Bolshevism/Communism and Nazism.

Churchill’s early and fierce opposition to the Nazis is, of course, well-known; his similarly early and fierce opposition to the Bolsheviks/Communists is less well known. His official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, tells us something about it:

On 1 May 1920 Churchill set out his view of Bolshevik tyranny in a Cabinet memorandum. The Bolsheviks, he wrote, have “committed, and are committing unspeakable atrocities, and are maintaining themselves in power by a terrorism on an unprecedented scale, and by the denial of the most elementary rights of citizenship and freedom."

Churchill was never reconciled to the idea of negotiation with the Bolsheviks. Six months later, on 18 November 1920, the Cabinet decided that the Bolsheviks could pay for British exports with the gold which they had acquired after the revolution. Churchill was totally disturbed by this decision, which he opposed passionately. “He was quite pale,” Sir Maurice Hankey wrote in his diary, “and did not speak again during the meeting.”

That evening, Churchill left London for Oxford, where he made a vitriolic speech against the Bolsheviks. When, in April 1922, [Prime Minister] Lloyd George decided to recognize the Bolsheviks, the intensity of Churchill’s feelings had not diminished. He was only prevented from resigning [the two Cabinet offices he held - Secretary of State for Was and Secretary of State for Air - ] by a personal appeal from [his closest friend,] Lord Birkenhead.
Many of you are no doubt thinking Churchill worked closely during WW II in alliance with Stalin’s Communist government. But that was, as Churchill said at the time, akin to taking help from the devil which Churchill said he would gladly do to defeat Hitler.

I’ll say more in Monday’s post about Churchill and his feelings about the Bolshevik/Communists.

I hope you all have a nice weekend.

Martin Gilbert, The Stricken World: 1916-1922. (vol. IV of the Winston S. Churchill biography pub. by Houghton Mifflin, 1975) (p. 906)

Best Whichard Committee Coverage

On Friday evening, July 20, we read at a Raleigh N&O story that begins:

The [Whichard] panel appointed [by Durham’s City Council] to review the [city’s] police department's handling of the Duke lacrosse case came together for the first time this morning.

The panel is charged with finding out whether the police department erred in its investigation of sexual assault allegations against three lacrosse players [the DPD arrested and charged when, as the North Carolina attorney general later determined, there was never any credible evidence of their guilt;] and how [DPD] can prevent [such] future mistakes.

Willis Whichard, the panel chairman and a former N.C. Supreme Court justice, said the police department's handling of the case had important implications for the justice system.

"Nothing less than civilization as we know it is at stake here," he said. [...]
Civilization as we know it?

I want to talk more about that with you in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, don't give away the ranch.

Right now I just want to alert you to what’ll likely be tomorrow’s most informed, detailed and comprehensive report of today’s Whichard Committee proceedings: KC Johnson’s report here.

Read what KC reported along with his commentary. Keep them both handy as the committee proceeds with its work. Use them as checklists of tasks done and not done by the committee.

No matter what Duke President Dick (“The facts kept changing”) Brodhead and the disgraced Mike Nifong say about them, I’m grateful there are bloggers like KC and the other “usual suspects” our there working to bring us information and thoughtful commentary.

BTW – When you finish reading KC’s coverage of today’s committee proceedings, go on and read his brief and extremely interesting post ID'ing the 13 issues the defense attorneys said are most worth examining by the Whichard Committee.

How does the defense attorneys’ list compare with yours?

Murphy whines; JinC says, “Snow what”


In the following column Reason Magazine contributing editor Cathy Young does a wonderful job of exposing the pomp, silliness and intolerance of some leftist academics who were aroused by a tasteless Harvard snow job they took much too seriously.

Wendy Murphy is prominent among them. But that's no surprise, is it?

Young’s column was published in March, 2003 and is posted here in its entirety.



The latest controversy at Harvard University involves a 9-foot-tall snow sculpture of male genitalia. The penis was constructed on the evening of February 11 in Tercentenary Theater, the site of Harvard's commencement exercises, by several members the Harvard men's crew team.

A few hours later, it was torn down by two cardboard-tube-wielding women students who found the display offensive. Many students have denounced this as an act of vandalism and a blow to free speech. Meanwhile, the phallus-destroying vigilantes, Amy E. Keel and Mary C. Cardinale, have complained that they were verbally harassed and physically intimidated by a group of male students while dismantling the sculpture.

"A pox on both your houses" seems the most appropriate response to this debate.

While I don't consider myself a prude and have no wish to cover up the naughty parts of statues in museums, I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that a giant penis in anatomically correct detail does not belong in a public space. Indeed, one of its builders, crew captain Michael J. Skey, told The Harvard Crimson that people who felt the sculpture was obscene had every right to take it down. To frame this as a free-speech issue is rather frivolous. We're talking about a "junior high prank," as Skey put it, not an artistic or philosophical statement.

Too bad that the anti-phallus backlash at Harvard has been far more offensive than the phallus itself.

To Keel, Cardinale and their supporters, it turns out, the snow penis was nothing less than a symbolic act of misogynistic violence. Keel has called it "a structure put up to assert male dominance" as well as an "implied threat" to women. (In a charming display of respect for free speech, she has also castigated the Crimson for publishing an article which defended the sculpture by pointing out the positive significance of phallic imagery in many cultures.)

Some faculty members have echoed such sentiments. Women's Studies Lecturer Diane L. Rosenfeld lamented the public presence of "menacing reminders of women's sexual vulnerability," and identified the Washington Monument and missiles—no kidding!—as other public phallic symbols.

But no one went quite as far as Wendy J. Murphy, an attorney and a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, who criticized the Harvard administration's inaction in a letter published in the Crimson on March 3.

Wrote Murphy, "What if students had built a snow sculpture of a Nazi swastika or the confederate flag? As a sculpture, a snow penis can't cause much direct harm, but it clearly serves as a powerful symbol of sexual dominance and gendered violence. Would Harvard's administration have been so deafeningly silent if students built a sculpture that symbolized race dominance or ethnic cleansing?"

Let me get this (no pun intended) straight. An erect penis is a symbol of sexual dominance and violence, comparable to the swastika and the confederate flag. Does this mean that sexual intercourse is comparable to the Holocaust, slavery, and ethnic cleansing?

A more shocking statement of hatred for maleness and male sexuality is hard to imagine.

Unfortunately, these silly and hateful comments are typical of the state of academic feminism today. And still feminists act surprised and outraged when feminism is perceived as silly and anti-male.

Indeed, in light of all this virulent anti-phallic rhetoric, I'd say that the real symbolic act of "gendered violence" was not the construction of the snow penis but its destruction.

The biggest irony, perhaps, is that celebrations of female sexuality, including female anatomy, are all the rage on college campuses today. The Vagina Monologues is probably the best-known example. At Pennsylvania State University in November 2000, two campus women's group organized a festival whose title included a crude slang term for female genitalia (a term the festival organizers wanted to reclaim as positive).

Quite a few people were upset by the banner and the fliers advertising the festival; after a number of complaints, the campus police briefly took the banner down but put it back up after confirming that the event was sanctioned by the university.

What if it was male genitalia being celebrated? The response to the snow penis at Harvard is a good indication of what the likely reaction would have been.

Yes, the phallic sculpture was vulgar and indecent. But I'll take a little vulgarity over rampant gender-based bigotry any time.

Whichard Committee Expectations (Post 1)

The twelve member committee the Durham City Council has asked to examine police conduct in the Duke lacrosse case and make recommendations for avoiding the travesties that occurred held its first meeting today. KC Johnson covered it.

Former NC Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard chairs the committee which includes three current and one retired police chief, an Asst. DA, a former Durham Mayor, a former Durham County Sheriff, a prominent, politically-connected Durham attorney and a “rape victims” advocate.

Wade Barber, a former DA and Judge now in private law practice will serve as the committee's legal counsel.

Expectations for what the committee will accomplish are low.

The committee is underfunded. It’s been given $50,000 for its work.

That’s not sufficient to examine in depth a frame-up and subsequent cover-up that played out for thirteen months, and involved, besides the Durham Police, the DA’s office, Duke University administrators, a private DNA analysis firm and very likely others.

The committee’s size is a concern. Will various members have different focuses so that it looks at matters in a disorganized, “gee whiz, when I was a kid a cop …” manner?

There’s also a worry that the committee will be fractious and special interest group oriented. It’s possible some committee members will feel at least part of their task is to represent certain “constituencies” rather than fulfilling the committee’s investigative and recommendation mandate.

Concerns have been openly expressed that the committee’s police chiefs and former sheriff will “look out for the cops.”

Others worry some committee members will seek to avoid offending Durham’s political establishment.

It’s no secret the leaders of Durham’s two most politically powerful organizations – The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the People’s Alliance – didn’t want an investigation.

During last November’s election, both organizations strongly endorsed then DA Mike Nifong’s candidacy at a time when it was obvious to civic-minded people that the Duke lacrosse “investigation” Nifong was heading involved gross police travesties and possibly crimes.

Finally, there’s the likelihood that at least some committee members will excuse some police misconduct by invoking “they believed the woman,” which in Durham and the rest of America now serves to excuse police, prosecutorial and press mistreatment of men accused of sexual offenses.

All those concerns have led many intelligent people here in Durham to conclude the Whichard Committee will not accomplish much, and may even do harm by giving DPD a pass and in effect telling the public: “Nothing to see here, folks. You can all go home.”

While I share some of the concerns of those who feel that way, it's very unlikely the committee will give DPD a “nothing to see here” pass.

I'm betting the committee’s work will turn out to be a significant step forward in the journey to justice for those mistreated by DPD. But I’m much less certain the committee’s work will result in long-term, systematic improvements in the way DPD functions.

I’ll put consideration of DPD improvements aside for another time.

Here and now I’ll tell you why I don’t think the committee will give DPD a pass; and why its work will very likely turn out to be a step forward for justice.

The Whichard Committee knows DPD already has already been given a “nothing to see here” pass. Remember the Baker/Chalmers “report?”

And remember how Baker/Chalmers was received back in April? It was greeted with more hoots and less respect than Nixon’s “I am not a crook” claim.

There’s no chance the committee will give DPD a pass. It knows it would be laughed at and ridiculed just as Deputy Chief Ron Hodge was when he told a public meeting he couldn’t see any significant mistakes DPD had made in the last five years.

Sure, there may be some on the committee who won’t worry about general public ridicule as long as their biases and constituencies are satisfied. Those members can make the committee less effective. Perhaps they might even issue some sort of loosely focused, “activist” driven minority report. But they won’t dominate the committee.

So there's no need to fear the committee will “issue a pass.”

That leaves two questions:

1) How good a job will it do exposing what certain DPD officers and their supervisors did, and why they did it?

2) Will the committee make recommendations that will make it less likely the kinds of travesties and very possibly crimes that occurred will occur again?

I’ll answer question 2 first.

There’ll be recommendations for new procedures as there always are in these kinds of situations.

I feel certain the recommendations will be very good ones. Among the committee, Whichard, Barber, the police chiefs, the ADA (a former DA, by the way), and the former sheriff all have considerable experience working with and directing police departments. They’re experts with plenty of “hands on” experience.

But the Whichard Committee’s work will expose what many of you already know: what went wrong wasn’t really a matter of not having the proper laws and procedures in place.

On March 14, 2006, there were already in place all laws and police procedures necessary for the fair treatment of the accusser and the accused; for honest police statements to the public; and for an investigation that sought to advance justice by seeking truth.

But those laws and procedures were violated because of what are sometimes called “the problems of the human heart.”

Those human heart problems are the hardest to legislate against and block with procedures.

Yes, I know we have to try. I’m for that. We’ll see what happens.

Now, about question 1: How good a job will the committee do exposing what certain DPD officers and their supervisors did and why they did it?

I really want to answer that question tomorrow. This post is already long and I’m running out of time.

But here’s the short answer: The committee will make some progress on the who, what, why and how questions.

But at the end of its work we’ll still be well short of having the knowledge we need to fairly judge and punish all those who broke the law; to acknowledge and reward those who worked to do right; and to do what Duke and Durham so urgently need to do in the next few years: identify and put in place new leaders.

The primary reason for the massive injustices that followed upon Crystal Mangum's lies was not Mike Nifong’s mendacity, great as that is. It was the near total failure of Duke and Durham’s leaders to do what were so evidently their duties.

However good a job the Whichard Committee does, the victims of the Duke lacrosse case - and that includes most of us in this community of town and gown - should still call for state and federal investigations of what went wrong. Only then will we be able to say we’ve done all we can to make sure another such tragedy as the one Crystal Mangum’s lies set in motion doesn’t happen again.

One of my strongest hopes for the Whichard Committee is that it will issue a call for state and federal investigations.

My fingers are crossed.

I hope you’re back tomorrow when I'll give my answer to question


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Churchill Series – July 19, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Do you remember those unannounced “pop quizzes” they’d sometimes spring on us when we were at school?

Well, we’re having a pop Churchill quiz today.

But don’t worry. It won’t count against your final grade.

It’s short – five questions – all multiple choice.

After you answer, there’s a "click" button at the bottom of the page.

A “click” takes you to another page where you can check your answers and read a paragraph documenting the answer.

Every question on the quiz has been covered in this series.

I think you’ll really enjoy the quiz.

It’s here. Good luck. And no talking during the quiz.

MSM Narrative "Right;" Only "Facts Wrong"

At Best of the Web Today James Taranto posted: The Narrative Was Right, but the Facts Were Wrong. (scroll down)

Taranto found what he says is a “a damning quote” in American Journalism Review editor Rachel Smolkin’s “ post-mortem on the Duke rape hoax and journalists' credulity in reporting it.” Read along and see if you agree with him.

He begins with this extract from Smolkin’s article:

Perhaps the most complex lessons about the media coverage of the Duke case involve issues of narrative. Unquestionably, the media too readily ran with a simplistic storyline, sacrificing a search for truth. Not only were the accused innocent of rape, the allegations of racial taunts that received so much media attention appear to have been exaggerated.

"We fell into a stereotype of the Duke lacrosse players," says Newsweek's [assistant managing editor] Evan Thomas. "It's complicated because there is a strong stereotype [that] lacrosse players can be loutish, and there's evidence to back that up. There's even some evidence that the Duke lacrosse players were loutish, and we were too quick to connect those dots."

But he adds: "It was about race. Nifong's motivations clearly were rooted in his need to win black votes. There were tensions between town and gown, that part was true. The narrative was properly about race, sex and class. . . . We went a beat too fast in assuming that a rape took place. . . . We just got the facts wrong. The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong."

If the facts are wrong, though, why explore the narrative at all? Is it fair to use the Duke lacrosse players to tell a larger story of athletes run wild--a theme that appeared not only on sports pages but also was splashed, repeatedly, on the front pages of major newspapers and amplified on cable shoutfests? Says [KC] Johnson [an early skeptic of the case]: Once the facts are "proven not to be true, you certainly have to consider whether the narrative is relevant."
Taranto took it from there
"The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong." This is reminiscent of the "fake but accurate" defense of CBS's Bush National Guard hoax.

If Thomas were giving a plainer account of what happened, he would have said something like this: Our reporting was guided by our prejudices, and even though the story turned out to be false, we stand behind our prejudices. (italics in original)
Taranto nails it.

If you’re a regular reader here, you may have noticed I almost never use the phrase “rush to judgment” when posting about people like Duke’s widely-discredited faculty Group of 88; the pot-bangers who rallied under the large “CASTRATE” and “GIVE THEM EQUAL MEASURE” banners demanding “swift and stern justice;" and many in the media whose “hearts were with" the 88 and the pot-bangers.

That’s because such people didn’t rush to any place, particularly a place where one might judge.

What we got, and in many cases continue to get, from the 88- and pot-banger-types and most in the media can better be termed “a gush of prejudice.”

As Taranto’s riposte makes clear, the journalists who did the kinds of stories Thomas loutishly and revealingly defends weren’t "rushing" anywhere. They were “reporting” their prejudices, which they carry with them 24/7.

If they’d judged what they saw and heard, could they really have gotten the Duke Hoax so wrong for so long?

Taranto is an outstanding pundit and blogger.

AJR’s Hoax article’s biggest failing?

The American Journalism Review tells us it’s

a national magazine that covers all aspects of print, television, radio and online media. The magazine, which is published six times a year, examines how the media cover specific stories and broader coverage trends.

AJR analyzes ethical dilemmas in the field and monitors the impact of technology on how journalism is practiced and on the final product. The magazine is published by the University of Maryland Foundation with offices in the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
And at Durham-in-Wonderland, KC Johnson’s reports the AJR’s article on the:
media’s handling—and mishandling—of the [Duke] lacrosse case is now on-line at American Journalism Review. Penned by AJR managing editor Rachel Smolkin, the piece will be the cover story for the AJR’s August/September issue.
I’ve read the AJR’s 8,000 word article, Justice Delayed , twice. It’s interesting reading. I hope you give it a look.

I plan to post often concerning Justice Delayed.

Today I want to focus solely on what may be the article’s greatest flaw: it doesn’t report and discuss the Raleigh News & Observer’s decision to withhold from readers and the media critically important statements the hoaxer Crystal Mangum made on March 24, 2006 during an interview with an N&O reporter.

The N&O didn’t disclose those statements until April 12, 2007, the day after NC Attorney General Roy Cooper had declared David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann innocent and almost thirteen months after the N&O published its “report” of the interview under the front-page, above the fold, unqualified headlines:
Dancer gives details of ordeal

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence
That March 25, 2006 N&O story of the frightened young black mother brutally beaten and gang-raped by three white Duke lacrosse players whose privileged, racist, drunken teammates were covering up for them was the single most important Duke lacrosse news story.

It set out the fraudulent “script” for the witch-hunt and frame-up which two days later Mike Nifong used when he began speaking publicly about the case.

Without specifically acknowledging it had withheld the information from its “night of … sexual violence” story, the N&O’s April 2007 story told readers Mangum said during the March ’06 interview she believed the second dancer, Kim Roberts, was also been sexually assaulted at the party, but didn't report the attack because Roberts was afraid she’d lose her job. Mangum also accused Roberts of being willing to “do just about anything for money.”

If the N&O had disclosed that information in March 2006, what might have happened?

How would Mike Nifong have explained an N&O’s front-page report that “the victim” was saying both dancers were sexually assaulted?

There’s more.

The N&O April 2007 story reported:
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."
Yet in its March 2006 framing story, the N&O told readers and the rest of media:
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."
What if the N&O had honestly reported the interview in March 2006? What if it had not covered up for thirteen months information the public should have known and that was exculpatory for the players?

Why didn’t the N&O tell us that information instead of reporting the tax value of Reade Seligmann’s parents’ home?

N&O editors prefer not to discuss their thirteen month long withholding of the exculpatory information. ( For any of you wondering how long DSI’s Brian Meehan and Nifong withheld the exculpatory DNA evidence, it was eight months. )

When N&O editors have discussed the March 2006 story they’ve given bewilderingly changing and contradictory explanations that would make you wonder whether Mangum hasn’t been tutoring them in story telling.

Depending on which editor is telling the story and when, readers have been told the exculpatory information was withheld because it was “only details;” the story was “under deadline;” and even that it would have been libelous for the N&O to report the parts of the interview it acknowledges withholding.

The N&O hasn’t yet told readers why it was libelous to disclose the information in March 2006 and for thirteen months thereafter, but OK to disclose it the day after Cooper said the players were innocent.

Is not mentioning the N&O’s thirteen month long withholding and cover-up Justice Delayed’s biggest failing?

I’m not ready to say that.

But I’ll say this: Writing an 8,000 word assessment of media coverage of the Duke lacrosse case and not examining the N&O’s withholding and cover-up of Mangum's statements is like writing a history of major league baseball and not mentioning Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees.

What do you folks think?

Here's the N&O’s 3/25/2006 story (Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe bylined).

Here's the N&O’s 4/12/2007 story (Samiha Khanna bylined; Joseph Neff listed as contributor).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Churchill Series – July 18, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

We read in the Telegraph:

A painting by Sir Winston Churchill of his Chartwell estate near Westerham in Kent fetched £1 million at Sotheby's in London yesterday, a world record auction price for a work by Britain's wartime prime minister.

The 76in x 63.5in (193cm x 161cm) landscape was painted in the war years of the early 1940s, about 20 years after Churchill moved into the much-modified Elizabethan manor house. The picture was bought by a private collector.

The canvas - entitled Chartwell: Landscape with Sheep - eclipsed the previous price for a work by Churchill, established last December, when his View of Tinherir, an oasis in North Africa, which he gave to his Chief of Staff, General Sir George Marshall, fetched £612,800.

Paintings by Churchill have doubled in value in the past 10 years. In 2005, On the Rance, near St Malo sold for £344, 000 at Christie's. […]
The Telegraph’s story is accompanied by a color photo (or as the Brits would put it colour photo) of the painting which you can view here.

For sure a newspaper photo doesn’t do justice to the painting but it does give some sense of color, composition and detail.

Caution note: I’m not sure the Telegraph is right about the date of the painting. It’s generally been agreed that during the WW II years Churchill painted only one work. That was in 1943 when he was in North Africa and recovering from a health crisis that included at least one heart attack and pneumonia.

Let’s keep our eyes out for more information concerning when Churchill painted Chartwell: Landscape with Sheep.

There’s a very interesting article on Churchill as a painter here. [excerpts]:
The first public exhibition of his paintings was under an assumed name, Charles Morin, in France [in 1921]. The pseudonym eliminated the prejudice that would derive from his own name, ensuring that evaluations were neither too solicitous nor, perhaps, too unkind.

Years later, he sent his first submission to the Royal Academy under an-other pseudonym. Finally, his confidence developed, he exhibited under his name, although only a few major shows were held in his lifetime.
The article, "Churchill as Painter: The Artist and His Critics," was written by Merry Alberigi and published in the Churchill Centre’s quarterly, Finest Hour.

I found it fascinating reading. I think most of you will, too. If you don’t have time to read it today, why not bookmark it and read it this weekend?

Also, if you know someone who loves art, please consider sending them this post. You might that way interest someone in Churchill. That's always a great thing to do.

I thank the "editors"


Earlier today I meant to post: INNOCENT:“Rape-Crisis” Feminism

Instead, I posted: NNOCENT: "Rape-Crisis” Feminism

A few hours later I received the following comment from Anon @ 2:33 :

John, great post.

Small point but you are missing the "I" of Innocent in the title. You may wish to correct that. Thank you for all your intelligent and informative posts.
I missed the "I" in Innocent?

I didn't do that, did I?

But I did.

I thank Anon @ 2:33 for pointing out my mistake.

Who says bloggers don't have editors?

I thank every one of the JinC "editors" who've pointed out my mistakes, large and small, since I began blogging in May, 2005.

The "editors" make JinC a more reliable and readable blog.


INNOCENT:“Rape-Crisis” Feminism

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007
Reason Magazine contributing editor Cathy Young writes [excerpts]:

The feminist anti-rape movement emerged in the 1970s for very good reasons. At the time, the belief that women routinely "cry rape" out of vindictiveness or morning-after regrets often caused victims to be treated as if they were the criminals.

But "rape-crisis feminism" (as the writer Katie Roiphe dubbed it) replaced one set of prejudices with another, such as the notion that women virtually never lie about rape. As the radical feminist law professor Catharine MacKinnon wrote in her 1987 book, Feminism Unmodified, "Feminism is built on believing women's accounts of sexual use and abuse by men."

Making the credibility of women's accusations against men a cornerstone of your belief system is a sure prescription for bias. The Duke case amply illustrates this. As [NC Attorney General Roy] Cooper pointed out at his press conference, there were serious questions about the woman's credibility from the start. Her claims were not corroborated by any physical evidence, or by the other stripper who was with her at the party. She herself gave contradictory accounts of what happened. Yet for a long time these questions were swept aside.

The Duke case also makes it clear that the feminist dogma on rape is far from benign. It is hostile both to men and to basic principles of justice. (emphasis added)

Consider the hateful rhetoric of Wendy Murphy, a former sex crimes prosecutor who is now an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law in Boston. She appears frequently as a legal analyst on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and other channels.

On the air, Murphy made numerous false statements about the Duke case (documented by K.C. Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College who blogs about the Duke case at Durham-in-Wonderland) and repeatedly referred to the accused men as rapists.

On one occasion, she fumed: “I’m really tired of people suggesting that you’re somehow un-American if you don’t respect the presumption of innocence, because you know what that sounds like to a victim? Presumption you’re a liar.” […]

Meanwhile, on the website, Gail Dines, professor of American Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, argued that the focus should be brought back to the young men's misbehavior because "they saw the hiring of two black women to strip as a legitimate form of male entertainment."

In other words, the same feminists who rightly tell us that a rape victim should not have to be an angel to deserve support apply such a different standard to men who may be falsely accused of rape. (emphasis added) […]

A presumption of guilt against affluent white males, [NY Times columnist Nicholas] Kristoff wrote a few months ago, is no better than a presumption of guilt against poor black males—the Scottsboro boys—in the 1930s.

The past 30 years' progress in the treatment of rape victims needs to be balanced by better safeguards against unjust prosecutions. The Duke case, which has given a face to the plight of the falsely accused, may well turn out to be the start of such a change.

If feminists want to retain their credibility as advocates for victims of rape, they need to drop the habit of knee-jerk support for every accuser—and to show decency and compassion toward the victims of false accusations.
I agree with most of what Young says; and says very well.

But as far as “rape-crisis “ feminists are concerned, I don’t agree that for them to continue to advocate “for victims of rape” they must “retain their credibility.”

What they must do is retain the political, academic and media influence they’ve developed and used to advance an ideological agenda at the expense of reason, fairness, and due process.

“Rape-crisis” feminism is not about credibility; it’s about power and getting more Tara Levicy’s into the hospital emergency rooms; and supporting DAs like Mike Nifong who “believe the woman.”

Young’s entire column is here. I hope you read it.

Hat tip: Anon JinC commenter

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Churchill Series – July 17, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In August 1929 Churchill, with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, arrived in Quebec City to begin an almost three month tour of Canada and the United States.

Churchill wrote Clementine from Quebec:

We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac, a tremendous hotel on the most modern lines. Saturday we saw all the sights, the Citadel, Wolfe’s Cove and the Plains of Abraham, where the battle which decided the fate of Canada was fought. …

Late in the afternoon …we took an open motor car and went off twenty miles into the blue. I wanted to see the country at close quarters and nibble the grass and champ the branches. We saw hills and forests scarcely trodden by the foot of man, every kink of tree growing im primeval confusion and loveliest [streams] splashing down to the rivers. …
That evening Churchill looked across the Saint Lawrence River from his hotel window. He saw the large Rothmere paper mills lit up and said to Randolph:
”Fancy cutting down those beautiful trees we saw this afternoon to make pulp for those newspapers, and calling it civilization.”
Here are links to the Frontenac, and the tourist sites of the City of Quebec and the Province of Quebec.

If you haven’t visited Quebec, I hope you do. The city is set above the St. Lawrence with the views on a clear day stretching for miles. It’s very easy to get about; just watch those cobblestones in “The Old City.”

The surrounding countryside is magnificent. Within an hour’s drive of the city you”ll find yourself, like Churchill, in a primeval, Alpine-like countryside of forests, glens and snow-capped mountains.

Visiting Quebec allows you to experience much of what is wonderful about Europe. Only for Americans, Quebec is more easily accessed and less expensive.
The extracts from Churchill’s letter are found in Speaking for Themselves: The Personal Letters of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Edited by their daughter, Mary Soames. (pgs. 336-338)

The “Fancy cutting down ….” remark is found in a diary Randolph kept of the trip. Martin Gilbert quotes it in In Search of Churchill: A Historian’s Journey. (p. 228)

A Word For Wendy Murphy

The American Journalism Review’s “Justice Delayed” assesses media coverage of the Duke Hoax which the Raleigh News & Observer reported last March was about “ a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence.”

About the middle of the AJR’s article we read:

Wendy Murphy [is] an adjunct professor at the New England School of Law and a former assistant district attorney in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

On April 10, 2006, after defense attorneys announced that DNA results found no links to the athletes, Murphy told [CNN’s Nancy] Grace, "Look, I think the real key here is that these guys, like so many rapists--and I'm going to say it because, at this point, she's entitled to the respect that she is a crime victim."

Emerging questions about the investigation did not prompt Murphy to reassess.

Appearing on "CNN Live Today" on May 3, 2006, she posited, "I'd even go so far as to say I bet one or more of the players was, you know, molested or something as a child."

On June 5, 2006, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson asserted, relying on a Duke committee report, that the lacrosse team was generally well-behaved. Rejoined Murphy: "Hitler never beat his wife either. So what?"

She later added: "I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth."

Asked to evaluate her commentary [she] notes that she's invited on cable shows to argue for a particular side. "You have to appreciate my role as a pundit is to draw inferences and make arguments on behalf of the side which I'm assigned," she says.(italics added)
A pundit? Wendy Murphy a pundit?

My online dictionary says a pundit is “a learned person, expert, or authority.”

That’s not Wendy Murphy! She’s nothing like a pundit and too much like Mike Nifong.

But I found an appropriate word for Murphy.

It’s deceiver: “someone who leads you to believe something that is not true.”

You’d think a law school professor would know a little more about herself, wouldn’t you?

But then, it may be that she does.

I just wish I knew what the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers thinks about what one of its credentialed attorneys has been doing out and about on the cable network circuit.

NY Times Shills For Dems – 7/17/07

NYT reporter Sheryl Stolberg and her editors shilled for the Dems with “Rove Strategy Paper Found in Nixon Archive.” (July 14). The “story” begins:

The year was 1973, and Karl Rove was looking for help — from the Nixon White House.

Tucked away inside 78,000 pages of documents from the Nixon administration, released by the National Archives earlier this week, is a little gem: a strategy memorandum from the man who would go on to become the architect of President Bush’s rise to political power.
Gee, “the Nixon White House." A “strategy memorandum” that’s “a little gem” from “the man who would go on to become the architect of President Bush’s rise to political power.”

And that was 1973, right? Thirty-four years ago. Who knew Rove was planning Bush’s rise back then?

This sounds like a very important document. Let’s find out more.
Mr. Rove, then a 22-year-old aide on Capitol Hill, was planning a run to become chairman of the College Republicans, a position he would ultimately win twice. So he wrote to Anne Armstrong, then counselor to Nixon.

Mrs. Armstrong had been co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, and therefore Mr. Rove’s ultimate boss the previous year when he was executive director of the college group.

In the memorandum, he thanked her for “taking time out of your busy schedule” to talk with him, and offered up his musings — in the form of a nine-page typed outline — on how to strengthen the Republican Party by motivating students.

“Appreciate anything you might be able to do for me,” he wrote, on simple stationery with only his name, Karl C. Rove, at the top. “I have taken the liberty of enclosing the rough outline of my platform. Of special interest is the ‘New Federalism Advocates’ mentioned in the campaign section.”
Well now, just a minute.

This doesn’t sound very important. It something from a kid just out of college who’s hoping to advance his career. He's talking about routine political activities of the sort both parties engage in.

And there can’t be anything in the document that could be used to smear Rove or the Times would have had it in the first paragraph.

The Times presses on:
The document, intended to develop an election program for the 1974 midterm campaigns, suggests that even then, Mr. Rove had a keen eye for organization, and a propensity for slicing and dicing the electorate, the kind of microtargeting that has since become a hallmark of his campaigns.
Folks, you know microtargeting is a “hallmark” of every national campaign. Both parties do it. In 2004 the Times/Democratic Kerry-Edwards ticket did all the microtargeting it could.

But can you recall the Times saying Kerry-Edwards was “slicing and dicing the electorate?” Wasn't it more like “reaching out to diverse populations?”

"Slicing and dicing the electorate" is used in the "story" because Stolberg and her editors shill for the Dems.

The entire Times' "story" is here.

The New York Times: The gold standard of political party newspapers.

Climate & Kyoto Misreporting

At the blog View From a Height we read:

Media bias doesn't operate by outright lies (usually). Instead it operates by settling on and relentlessly repeating an overly-simple and therefore deceptive narrative.
That’s the start of an excellent post that takes a critical look at a Washington Post article:
about how meaningful climate change legislation is being stifled (but only on this side of the Atlantic) by economic concerns ( "Climate Change Debate Hinges on Economics" ).

There are those of us who are grateful for such concerns, but the Post seems disturbed by them. Naturally, the issue is cast as a morality play, with the selfless Europeans facing off against the narrow-minded Americans. The truth is, naturally, a little more, ah, nuanced.
View From a Height goes on to demonstrate that not only is the truth regarding climate change more “nuanced,” but that reporting on it is often false.

You can read the entire post here.

INNOCENT: “Ethics” & “Open Season” At NPR

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

Readers Note: This is a 1, 2, 3 post.

1 – NPR’s explanation for why it still refuses to identify Crystal Mangum, the false accuser in the Duke Hoax case.

2 – My response email to NPR’s ombudsman.

3 – A few JinC comments.


According to our ethics policy, NPR does not name victims of sexual assaults. There will, at times, be exceptions — such as certain instances when a victim goes public with his/her identity. NPR editors will judge these instances on a case-by-case basis.

While North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper says no rape occurred, and that the young men who were accused are innocent of all charges, we've decided not to air the name of the accuser based on the facts and circumstances of this particular case.

NPR arrived at this decision after much discussion within the newsroom, as well as a review of material prepared by organizations focused on journalism ethics.

In this case, the attorney general specifically decided not to charge the accuser with perjury, or filing a false police report. He went so far as to say that his investigators told him that the woman may believe some of the stories she has been telling. He said the decision not to charge her with making false accusations was also based on a review of sealed court files, including records of the woman's mental health history.

Because of the facts stated above, we decided that there was enough that remained unknown about the accuser and her motivation that we would not use her name on the air.



Dear Ms. de la Rionda:

I blog as John in Carolina and post often on the Duke Hoax, particularly the enablement by much of the media of the witch hunt, attempted frame-up and on-going cover-up.

I'm contacting you regardng NPR’s explanation for not naming Crystal Mangum after NC Attorney General Roy Cooper said the three young men were innocent.

Why did NPR use “victims” when explaining your “ethics” policy ? NPR’s “ethics” policy doesn’t grant anonymity to “victims” of sexual assault.

In truth, your “ethics” policy is to grant anonymity to any woman who accuses a man or men of sexual assault, regardless of how flimsy her accusation is or what her motive is.

NPR will even grant anonymity to a woman who makes false accusations of sexual assault as you did for Duke hoaxer Crystal Mangum.

In contrast to your sexual assault “ethics” policy for women, NPR has an “open season” policy for men so accused. You identify them and report on their backgrounds simply because a woman has accused them. You don't require anything else.

It doesn’t matter to NPR whether a man is innocent or not. You’re going to name him.

But in the case of Crystal Mangum, the liberals and leftists who control NPR tell listeners: “we decided that there was enough that remained unknown about the accuser and her motivation that we would not use her name on the air.”

No doubt man-haters and the ardently politically correct applaud your “ethics” and “open season” policies.

But fair-minded people are turned off by NPR’s gender-biased double standard.

I posted this email at my blog. I’ll post in full any response you care to make.


John in Carolina

3 ----- Folks, I’ve stopped giving money directly to NPR and my local NPR affiliate, WUNC in Chapel Hill, because they tilt liberal, left and PC.

If you currently contribute to NPR or an affiliate, I hope you’ll consider stopping your direct giving.

We all, of course, contribute indirectly to NPR and its affiliates via the various forms of government support they receive.

Each year at pledge time I contact one of the businesses that support WUNC. I ask the business to consider dropping its support because of the station’s news bias and political agenda.

Again, I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

Mind you, I’m not one of those who wants to put NPR out of business. I think it’s the best liberal/leftist talk radio out there. I listen in sometimes.

It just doesn’t get my support; its sexual assault “ethics” and “open season” policies being two reasons why not.

What do you all think?

Cc: WUNC public relations

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Churchill Series – July 16, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: The following post first appeared on February 1, 2006. I’m publishing it today in slightly revised form because many of you have become series readers since then. This is one of my favorite posts. I hate the thought that any of you have missed it.


For most of World War II, the noted Oxford historian Isaiah Berlin served in the Foreign Office; assigned to the British Embassy in Washington, where he wrote dispatches assessing current American political, economic and social issues.

Churchill became a regular and admiring reader of Berlin's dispatches. He told his aides if Berlin returned in England, he wanted to meet him.

The Prime Minister's wish was swiftly passed on to Foreign Office staffers and others.

Not long afterwards, word came back to Churchill's aides that Berlin was indeed in England. They arranged an invitation for him to join a luncheon the PM was hosting at 10 Downing Street. When arranging the seating plan, they placed Berlin close to Churchill.

Now, readers, we come to one of those "bumps in the road."

Not for the first time, eager government staffers didn't get it all quite right. That’s why a surprised Irving Berlin received a luncheon invitation just days after arriving in England with a USO show.

Author Stefan Kanfer tells us more:

Berlin showed up at Number 10. The PM addressed him as Professor and grilled him about the progress of the war.

Bewildered, the composer answered in monosyllables, until a frustrated Churchill gave up and turned to the guest on his left.

Later (Churchill) commented: “Berlin’s like most bureaucrats. Wonderful on paper, but disappointing when you meet them face to face.”
Perhaps the aides later comforted each other with something like: "Simple enough mistake. Both I. Berlin, you know."
Stefan Kanfer, "The Americanization of Irving Berlin." City Journal (Spring, 2002)

INNOCENT: This Made Me Smile

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

At Friends of Duke University I learned Brown University’s student newspaper, The Daily Herald, has just published an extensive and very interesting interview with Reade Seligmann, who’s transferred to Brown from Duke.

Seligmann is, of course, now recognized by millions and he talked about that which reminded me of a funny story former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming once told.

He was on a long, slow-moving check-out line in a supermarket. The woman behind him kept leaning to one side and then the other, obviously wanting to get a better look at him but not wanting Simpson to know what she was doing.

But finally just as she had leaned to one side as far as she could, Simpson turned and they were face-to-face. The woman straightened up and the following exchange took place:

“Do you know you look just like that Senator, Simpson I think his name is.”

“Yes, Ma’am, I do.”

“I’ll bet people come up to you and say that all the time.”

“Yes, they do.”

“You must just hate that.”

I hope you’re smiling and have a good week.

The Panel, “Antidotal” & a Prig

The panel headed by former NC Supreme Court Justice Willis Whichard and charged by Durham’s Mayor and City Council with investigating police conduct that led to the arrest and indictment of three innocent men includes members who’ve served as police officers and one who’s been a DA.

That’s caused some citizens to ask whether the panel will perform its work free of what in gentle terms we’ll call “professional courtesy.”

On the thread of this post, Anon @ 10:23 considered the matter and offered informed and incisive commentary that was understanding of those about whom she spoke at the same time she made clear that understanding people’s behavior doesn’t excuse it.

Anon @ 10:23’s comment drew a response from another Anon to whose comment I then responded.

First, Anon @ 10:23 (comment unedited):

There is antidotal evidence that individuals have trouble punishing peers or people they work with.

The DA’s office and the DPD are really a small community. Over the years they go from just professionals in their field to friends. You go to conferences; you go to each other’s offices: there are celebrations; maybe there’s soccer; or church; or farmer’s market. You get to know wives and children and their parents. You wonder what will happen to them. You wonder “Could I have gotten caught up in this?”

My husband was a police polygrapher for many years. He said that most everyone had secrets. There was one judge who was often driven home in a cruiser because of his drinking habit. There was an ADA who was a terrible womanizer. Others had expensive meals with wives or friends comp’ed. The city was about the same size as Durham.

I know nothing about Mr. Whichard. I do hope he follows the evidence wherever it leads.

I hope that he draws a line in the sand that says breaking the law will not be tolerated in the DPD or the DA’s office.

While the whole country is watching, he has the opportunity to help restore the damage that was done by Mr. Nifong and others.

I wish him well
In response to that, Anon @ 10:44 commented:
What is antidotal evidence?
To Anon @ 10:44 I said:
I think in this case “What is antidotal evidence?” is a response by a prig to a very thoughtful comment that contained a spelling or word usage error.
I used “prig” as defined in the dictionary: a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, esp. in a self-righteous or irritating manner.

Message to Anon @ 10:23 – I hope you keep visiting and commenting.

Message to everyone – A few years ago I posted on some English king whose name I can’t remember. But I’ll never forget the Anon comment I got a few hours after I posted. It went something like this:
You have a nice blog and I don’t mean to flame you, but it’s his reign, not rain.
I made the correction and still smile when I think of that comment.

BTW – Does anyone know weather it’s supposed to reign tomorrow?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

INNOCENT: Is Whichard in a jam?

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

A commenter at the Raleigh News & Observer’s Editors’ Blog thinks Justice Whichard is in a jam:

Willis P. Whichard, chair [of the panel charged by Durham’s Mayor and City Council with investigating police conduct that led to the arrest and indictment of three innocent men,] is in a jam. His problem is whether to roll over and participate in a cover-up of the Duke Lacrosse frame or do the right thing by helping expose the Durham Police Department’s complicity.

Mr. Whichard is a former State Supreme Court Justice and member of the NC Senate and House. By all accounts, he’s reputable and has an admirable public service record. At age 67, his legacy would seem secure.

One hopes Mr. Whichard doesn’t throw away what he’s earned by not doing his duty. Recent revelations from depositions made for Mike Nifong’s State Bar trial seem to show a conspiracy between him and the Durham PD. Mike Nifong didn’t frame those three young men by himself - he obviously had help from some in the police department. The public needs to know who it was and why it was done.

Walter Abbott
Ruston, LA
What do you folks think?

I’m planning to post often concerning the Whichard Panel. In fact, I hope to have a post up later tonight.

I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Moore, “Sicko,” and “We”

National Review Editor Rich Lowry saya:

Michael Moore set out to make a movie attacking the American insurance industry and ended up attacking the American character. By the end of his movie SiCKO, his plaint is less about American resistance to government-run health care than its overarching rejection of collectivism. As Moore puts it, everywhere else it's "a world of we," but here a "world of me."

His voice thus joins a vast, age-old chorus of left-wing bafflement and disillusion at American exceptionalism -- our national traits that have prevented the development of a statist politics along continental European lines.

Moore's explanation for this phenomenon is typically twisted: Americans are saddled with debt from college loans and health care, and that keeps us from demanding French-style pampering from our government for fear of foreclosure by The Man.
Tellingly, Moore picks up this theory in an interview with Tony Benn, an old-school British socialist of the sort who simply doesn't exist in the U.S.

Here, our left-wing politicians vote for war funding before they vote against it, always trimming to keep from rubbing too strongly against the American grain. Moore fervently wishes that grain were different, and he celebrates all countries where government has a vaster reach and tighter grip -- from Cuba to France.
The rest of Lowry’s column is here.

America has many problems. We would only add to them by going “the French way.” Even the French seem to realize they’re headed in the wrong direction.

That’s why President Sarkozy was elected.

Anyway, if Americans want a stagnant economy, double digit unemployment and declining world power, we don’t have to imitate the French. We can just bring back Jimmy Carter.

Cross Burnings, Seligmann & The H-S’s Double Standard

Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley’s column today is titled: “Interest in news wanes among young.”

Ashley begins:

I doubt anyone in my line of work is surprised any more(sic) by studies that indicate young people are less likely to read a newspaper than their elders. . . .

Most newspapers, this one included, have struggled mightily to reverse or at least slow that trend, partly out of a sense of survival and partly because most of us in newspapers really do believe we perform an important function in informing citizens.

But a new study out last week not only adds new and, I must confess, discouraging weight to that analysis. It also bodes ill, I think, for civic participation and discourse generally.
Ashley then offered readers the usual MSM “explanations” for the decline in readership among the young while failing to consider why newspaper readership is declining among all age groups.

You can read the rest of Ashley’s column here. I just sent him the following email:

Dear Editor Ashley:

Your column today was a missed opportunity to consider why so many Durhamites, regardless of age, are turning away from the Herald Sun.

Yes, most newspapers are experiencing circulation declines, but some are experiencing increases.

In the last two years few newspapers in America have been more favorably placed to experience a circulation increase than the H-S.

We have rapid population growth, rising personal incomes and a booming economy. And for the last 15 months the Duke Hoax has played out right in the middle of your circulation area. It’s not only one of the most important news stories in Durham’s history; it’s a national and international story as well.

Yet with all of that going for you, the H-S has experienced a sharp circulation decline.


I think a major reason is that you so often spin and suppress news rather than just straight out report it. Another is that you don’t have an even-handed editorial policy.

I’d like to illustrate what I’m talking about.

On May 25, 2005, there were three crosses burned in Durham by persons who’ve never been identified.

The next day your front-page story included many details of the burnings, comments from Mayor Bell, police and others as well as some history of cross burnings in the South.

The following day you editorialized saying the cross burnings should be condemned regardless of whether they “ were the work of ignorant pranksters [or] the work of unrepentant racists stuck in a time warp.”

The cross burnings were an important news story which warranted extensive coverage, including follow-up stories you provided. Your lengthy editorial condemning the cross burnings was also appropriate.

But now consider what you did with another important news story that played out in Durham almost exactly a year later.

On May 18, 2006, Reade Seligmann, his parents and his attorney, the late Kirk Osborn, were forced to walk to the Durham County Courthouse through a gauntlet of racist New Black Panther Party members and other hate-filled people shouting physical threats at Seligmann.

Once inside the courtroom, Seligmann faced an even worse situation from the NBPP members and their fellow racists. One newspaper’s report included this:
From the gallery one onlooker shouted: 'Justice will be served, rapist!' Seligmann largely ignored the taunts, but as he left came the call 'Dead man walking!' and he blanched.
Seligmann later described himself as “terrified.”

The next day in a story headlined “Defense to get accuser’s phone data
Seligmann’s lawyer, Nifong spar; police to preserve notes,”
the H-S reported in the fifth paragraph :
With protesters demonstrating outside the judicial building, Superior Court Judge Ron Stephens admonished those in the packed courtroom to be quiet and respect the proceeding.
Your story made no mention of the New Black Panthers or other racists threatening Seligmann.

The H-S didn’t seek a statement from Mayor Bell or anyone else regarding how they felt about racists shouting death threats at a peaceful citizen who was participating in a Durham court hearing.

And although on May 19 and 21 the H-S editorialized on various aspects of the Duke lacrosse case, you didn’t see fit to mention the ordeal Seligmann endured or condemn the racists.

Why not, Editor Ashley?

Why in your “news columns” did the H-S mislead readers by referring only to “protesters demonstrating outside the judicial building?”

Why did you suppress the news of the NBPP's and other racists' threats?

Why didn’t you tell readers Judge Stephens admonished the courtroom to be silent in response to the threats shouted at Seligmann?

If you want young people to read the H-S, why not develop an even-handed approach to news reporting and editorializing?

Will the H-S really hurt itself if you give up the double-standard that leads to news suppression and spin?

Durham doesn’t benefit from what you’re doing now. That’s why readers of all ages continue to abandon a newspaper many of us once welcomed into our homes.

I published this email at my blog. If you’d like to respond to it, I’ll publish your response in full.


John in Carolina