There is a remarkably embarassing display being presented up in Durham, North Carolina where an egomaniacal and paternalistic prosecutor is playing out his warped concept of "Great White Father" with the unthinking and blinkered support of the local black population.
And it is truly sickening to behold.
Part of me wants to write about this through some long exposition on the sickness that is creeping ever more deeply into our ability to employ rational common sense, but it's not in me right now. There's just too much "noise" going on in my world right now. I have posted about this Duke Lacrosse Case twice already (April 7th -- It Appears That The Duke Lacrosse Team Has Been Royally Screwed; April 24th -- Say What!?!). But today I do have some incredible links that are just jaw-dropping to me; the absurdity of this case is truly mindboggling.
 For an indication of how some New York folks take a critical look at the outrageous agenda journalism of the New York Times, review Rape, Justice and the 'Times' -- New York Magazine
 For a review of the outrageous abdication by the "small" local paper of investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth, review the fantastic blogger KC Johnson via Durham-in-Wonderland:
The district attorney flooded the Herald-Sun with advertising, spending more than $7,500 on various Herald-Sun ads. Freda Black, though better funded, spent scarcely half as much on the Durham newspaper.
The relationship, it appears, has been mutually beneficial. The ad-strapped Herald-Sun received a disproportionate boost in advertising revenue. Editor Bob Ashley, meanwhile, has overseen a pro-Nifong news/editorial barrage characterized by excluding all mention of anti-Nifong items; blatantly distorting the remarks of Lewis Cheek; publishing an article on the DNA evidence that bordered on journalistic fraud; and claiming that Nifong was “unopposed,” despite Cheek’s presence on the ballot.
It’s worth noting, however, that yesterday’s article by John Stevenson contained a (subsequently verified) scoop—that the three accused players, plus Kim Roberts, would be appearing this Sunday on 60 Minutes. The article was also scrupulously fair, quoting from the police statements of Roberts and the accuser’s “driver,” Jarriel Johnson.
I hope this Stevenson piece signals a return to more balanced journalism, at least on the news pages of the paper. Early in the case, Stevenson produced several good articles, suggesting that he is capable of solid journalism when not straightjacketed by Ashley.
At the very least, yesterday’s story must have produced chills in the offices of Nifong and the Durham Police. Stevenson says it’s unclear whether Johnson cooperated with 60 Minutes. An even more intriguing question: did any police officers involved in the investigation secretly cooperate with the news program?
 Jaw-dropper number 1: read this whole piece from The Johnsville News blog and tell me something isn't seriously wrong with prosecutor Nifong.
 Jaw-dropper number 2: read this whole piece from The Johnsville News blog and tell me, again, something isn't seriously wrong with prosecutor Nifong.
 For a review of the outrageous abdication by the "big" local paper of investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth, review their own October 5, 2006 Editors' Blog post at the News & Observer. But let me warn you, it ain't pretty, especially if you give a damn about objective journalism. For example, this reader lays it out:
Dear Ms. Williams:
I hate to do this to you, and I am going to try and do it in a nice way, but I am about to point out in dramatic fashion that you are not being real truthful here.
You said you did not publish the quote from the interview of the accuser because it was unsubtantiated opinion. You said that was standard journalism at your paper. I say -- NONSENSE.
Here is what your paper wrote in an article entitled, "DA changed bond status for second dancer," on April 22:
I was not in the bathroom when it happened, so I can't say a rape occurred -- and I never will," Roberts told the AP Thursday in her first on-the-record interview. She previously told her story on television; she was pictured in silhouette, and her name was not used.
She began wondering about the character of the players after defense attorneys released photos of the accuser and leaked information on both dancers' criminal pasts.
"In all honesty, I think they're guilty," she said. "And I can't say which ones are guilty ... but somebody did something besides underage drinking. That's my honest-to-God impression."
DA Changed Bond Status For Second Dancer
Did you get that? Let me repeat it for you:
"In all honesty, I think they're guilty," she said. "And I can't say which ones are guilty ... but somebody did something besides underage drinking."
Is that unsubstantiated opinion? Well, I certainly think so, and so do your readers. Do you really think that we are so stupid that you can pull this bull on us?
This is not even the most important point. It is irrelevant whether the accuser was stating unsubstantiated opinion or not from both a legal and journalistic standpoint. The mere speaking of the words that she uttered is legally relevant AND NEWS.
The accuser's statements about her fellow dancer should be printed in your paper to show the state of mind of the accuser. The issue here is not whether "the opinion" meets some level of quality for opinion, the question is what does this woman think about her fellow dancer WHO IS A PUBLIC FIGURE BY VIRTUE OF HER NOTORIETY. That is important from a legal standpoint to show her state of mind, bias, etc. This is very important. Whether the words of the opinion are true or not is not at issue. They are not relevant for their truth, they are relevant as a window into the mind of a very public figure. This makes the mere utterance of the words important and newsworthy.
If George Bush stated that Dennis Hastert is a crazy fool, would that be withheld from print because it was an "opinion?" Of course not. The mere speaking of those words, whether opinion or not, is NEWS. I can see refraining from printing scurrilous accusations, but when the speaker is the accuser in a very public and very notorious rape case, her opinions are NEWS (regardless of whether they are "substantiated") and they should be printed.
This editor is hiding behind the standard canard used by reporters when they don't want to print something. Oh, that's not fact, that's opinion. Trust me, if it was something they wanted to print, you wouldn't hear anything about it being opinion, it would be priinted.
This entire episode is Shameful, and the N&O's conduct in perpetuating and fueling the HOAX with it's abysmal early coverage is equally shameful. Do not add further to the shame by hiding the accuser's accusations against her fellow dancer.
Ms. Williams, you owe us a response to this post, and I am sure that we will not let up on you until we get one. You need to publish that quote now.
Obviously, that's not (in boxing terms) a jab or a grazing blow -- that's a damn knockout.
 For a review of the outrageous abdication by the "big" local paper of investigative journalism and the pursuit of truth, review the October 11, 2006 Editors' Blog post at the News & Observer. An angry reader frames the subject nicely:
The 60 Minutes website is now reporting Kim (the second "dancer" )will be interviewed on Sunday night. A photo of her from the program shows a startling make-over.
How well things have gone for Kim since Melanie and Linda (or whoever) decide to omit the Accuser's dainty little details about her! How nice for her. I hope she's sent a "Thank you" note.
She has been interviewed and, no doubt ,handsomely compensated by Vanity Fair magazine. The Hoax has been a windfall for her. Would this have been possible if at any time...in all these months...Linda and Melanie (or whoever) had told their readers what the Accuser actually said?
Kim is able to present herself in a glow of victimhood...because she had assistance from this newspaper.
One wonders do they also omit other details from stories about politicians and famous folk THEY LIKE...while telling ALL on folks with whom their Agendas clash. Is that "Journalism..N&O style today? No? well, how can we have confidence in that? Behold the NEW KIM...the N&O creation!
Well, we saw it here. They omitted details about Kim's actions that night...from the Accuser herself. They NEVER amended their story. To this very day.
If you are angry watching Kim present herself on Sunday night, if her personal enrichment in this tragedy offends you....if you watch her...wondering what the N&O knows...remember WHERE she got help. Right here, ....when the accuser's story was "cleansed..and Kim was then able to make deals and money and "spin this to her advantage"...with a nudge and wink from the N&O.
 Finally, I close with a piece that is not to be missed from the Liestoppers blog, "A Conspiracy of Truth." Read the whole thing: it lays the case out and makes a persuasive case for what this whole event is premised upon. For the sake of clarity, it should be remembered that the writer is not dwelling on the original hoax or con -- that of the two strippers -- which gave rise to this entire event because the writer believes they have been demolished already. That said, I want to post two lists contained within the opinion piece. First list:
A good con man attempts to disguise his con by playing up the “facts” that support his deception, while ignoring the genuine facts that might alert his marks to the truth. With the deftness of a street hustler, the enablers who encouraged the Wall of Silence Hoax apparently did exactly that. While promoting this invented conspiracy of silence, no mentions of the following facts were made:
- On March 16th, the residents of 610 Buchanan, voluntarily, and without legal representation, submitted statements and DNA samples to police. Further, they offered to submit to polygraph examinations. Police declined the offer.
- Lead investigator Sgt. Mark Gottlieb indicated that the residents of 610 Buchanan were being cooperative with the investigation. “The residents of the house have been cooperative with DPD in locating any suspects”The Chronicle
- All 46 players willingly complied with the highly unusual non-testimonial identification order, despite the shaky basis for its request (A basis which has since been contradicted multiple times by the District Attorney himself.)
- After the cancelled meeting, the only effort made by prosecutors or investigators to interview the players appears to have been in the course of their surreptitious entrance into a Duke dorm, where police without warrants attempted to furtively interview multiple players without the benefit of their legal counsel.
- Not only was there no apparent effort to communicate with the lacrosse team in the presence of their attorneys, there was also no willingness to meet with or view exculpatory evidence from the indicted player’s attorney after charges were brought.
And the second list:
Counting The Initial Deceptions
1. Police did not approach the entire lacrosse team with a warrant on March 16th, nor did anyone refuse to cooperate on that date. A warrant was served on March 16th, and each resident of 610 Buchanan asked to cooperate did exactly that.
2. The refusal above did not exist and therefore cannot have been the cause for the non-testimonial order.
3. In reality, the team cancelled one meeting in order to retain counsel first, and did not miss “several chances to cooperate.”
4. The "really, really strong physical evidence" was really, really strong enough to be disregarded when it matched someone other than any of the members of the lacrosse team. The DNA found in the accuser belonged to her boyfriend, and not to any of the lacrosse players.
5. Durham Police went to the house on March 14th in response to the 911 call by Kim Roberts, and not in response to the rape allegations. In her 911 call, Kim Roberts complained of racial slurs, but assured the dispatcher she was not hurt in any way.
6. Police did not return to the house on March 15th with a warrant. The warrant was not issued until March 16th.
*While the details of #5 and #6 may seem petty, the addition of the phantom visits on additional days helped to create the intended impression that there was a concerted effort to avoid cooperation.
In the ensuing days, we would see the Wall of Silence Hoax grow rapidly out of these misrepresentations. CrimeStoppers (or somebody claiming to be CrimeStoppers) and the News & Observer issued vigilante posters, professional protestors and deceived neighbors gathered for vigils prominently featured on the nightly news. The loudest voice of all, that of the Hijacker of the Hoax, would soon chime in.
That hijacker, ladies and gentlemen, is the prosecutor himself -- Mike Nifong.
Simply incredible. I title this post "African American Failure On Full Display" because throughout this entire episode, one cannot escape Black American personal responsibility for either (1) creating the event -- the stripper, or (2) generating the hoax -- the stripper, or (3) enabling the frenzy -- the black community of Durham -- when most black people around the country knew damn well this was bullshit, or (4) getting in bed with an idiotic, nerdacious white boy who is too damn anal to see straight -- again, the black community of Durham. I can't believe they have rolled with this fool of a prosecutor in such an unthinking way and they have (at least publicly) declined to deliver the shame on this stripper that she so richly deserves.
Again, for the record, I'm not saying nothing unbecoming occurred at this house that night. But that is not now the point and it never has been the point. It appears to me that only a juvenile or agenda-driven mindset can't figure that out.