Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NYT Under The Microscope for Duke Rape Coverage

The New York Times delivered the worst coverage of the Duke Rape case. Because it's ostensibly the paper of record, it's reach extends like slithery tentacles through most of the Media. They drive the narrative and, in this case, they drove the misinformation campaign. Duff Wilson's coverage was especially egregious, a fact I noted at the time:

Now, you might think after those two paragraphs citing "1,850 pages of evidence", that loads and loads and loads of damning material was disclosed. Uh oh! Those Duke devils deserve damnation. Fer shur! You might think that, but there's just nothing there. Here it comes:
Crucial to that portrait of the case are Sergeant Gottlieb’s 33 pages of typed notes and 3 pages of handwritten notes, which have not previously been revealed.
But wait, those 3 pages of handwritten notes were written during the investigation. Where did this booklet-length typed notes come from?

The sergeant’s notes are drawing intense scrutiny from defense lawyers both because they appear to strengthen Mr. Nifong’s case and because they were not turned over by the prosecution until after the defense had made much of the gaps in the earlier evidence.

Joseph B. Cheshire, a lawyer for David Evans, one of the defendants, called Sergeant Gottlieb’s report a “make-up document.” He said Sergeant Gottlieb had told defense lawyers that he took few handwritten notes, relying instead on his memory and other officers’ notes to write entries in his chronological report of the investigation. (Hahahahaha! This is where the evidence lies? Duff and Jon, you're kidding right? That this is giving you hope that the case will go the way you want with potentially innocent guys going down based on a dude's long-term memory and "other officers"?)

Mr. Cheshire said the sergeant’s report was “transparently written to try to make up for holes in the prosecution’s case.” He added, “It smacks of almost desperation.”

Desperation, indeed.

And then, on page two of this fair article, the pictures of the three young men, are again plastered. Still innocent, I recall, until proven guilty. You know what? If DNA and timing and every other detail of this case supported the woman of high honor making this claim, I might not feel so bad with their pictures revealed. But give me a break, the evidence is flimsy, but the pictures and names do elicit "frat boy rage"--a new disease started by Bush hatred. (I can just hear liberals saying, "I bet that's just the kind of guy George Bush was when he was in college. Rich, privilaged and WHITE!")
So we're talking about that Duff Wilson and his defender Bill Keller. KC Johnson is noting the outrageous excuses for the Time's/Wilson's misinformation that comes on the heels of this report by American Journalism review. KC Johnson notes Keller's deception:
Keller also was misleading at best and inaccurate at worst when discussing Duff Wilson’s 5600-word, front-page August 25 magnum opus.

The article, he asserted, “wasn’t a perfect piece, but it was a detailed and subtle piece that left you with no illusions about the strength of Nifong’s case.”


The Attorney General’s report said that Nifong had no case—that there was no credible evidence on which to base a prosecution.

The Times said, “By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong’s case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury,” since “in several important areas, the full files, reviewed by The New York Times, contain evidence stronger than that highlighted by the defense.”

Wilson’s story left readers with the “illusion” that Nifong had “a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury”—when the Attorney General of North Carolina, who also conducted “an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation,” asserted exactly the opposite.

Keller also creatively reinterpreted how the article used Mark Gottlieb’s “straight-from-memory” report. The notes, he mused, “were interesting not because they proved the crime was committed, which they did not, but because they showed you for the first time what the prosecutor claimed he had, what was the basis for filing his charges.”
From the AJR:
Michael B. Nifong--the district attorney who pursued Seligmann, Finnerty and teammate David Evans even as evidence of their innocence mounted and his case imploded--was held accountable for his actions. Hours after Seligmann testified, Nifong announced his intention to resign; the next day, he was disbarred.

The media incurred no such penalties. No loss of license, no disciplinary panels, no prolonged public humiliation for the reporters, columnists, cable TV pundits, editorial writers and editors who trumpeted the "Duke lacrosse rape case" and even the "gang-rape case" in front-page headlines, on the nightly news and on strident cable shoutfests.
No, the media, including The Times, incurred no penalties--unless you consider drastically falling readership, declining ad revenue and dropping stock prices penalties. But really, on the personal level that media, even Mass media, has become, individuals have paid no price. Duff Wilson still has a job. Duff Wilson has not been held to account. Duff Wilson, representing the New York Time's and his editors continued to drive the narrative even after the preponderance of facts leaned way in the other direction.
"It was too delicious a story," says Daniel Okrent, a former New York Times public editor, who is critical of the Times' coverage and that of many other news organizations. "It conformed too well to too many preconceived notions of too many in the press: white over black, rich over poor, athletes over non-athletes, men over women, educated over non-educated. Wow. That's a package of sins that really fit the preconceptions of a lot of us."
And the preconceptions still preexist the cultural conditions. Will the Time's coverage change? Not if this case is any indication:
A college athlete accused of a gang rape (involving a 12-year-old girl of another race). Underage drinking acknowledged by all sides. A university (Oklahoma State) allowing the athlete to play despite the pending charges.

Surely these developments would arouse the fury of the New York Times, triggering multiple Page One stories and denunciatory columns from the likes of Selena Roberts and Harvey Araton.
KC Johnson notes:
The allegations of racial injustice that the Times detected don’t appear to have come to the notice of either the Oklahoman or the Gazette, even though articles in both papers, especially the Oklahoman, were not unsympathetic to the accused player.

As Clay Waters noted, “the Times seems determined to fit them into the same template of white-on-black racism it used in its botched coverage of the Duke ‘rape’ hoax.”

By the way, there’s been no sign of a Group of 88-like statement at Oklahoma State.
Nope, the elites in this country cannot let it go. They don't want to let it go. Every single race-studies, cultural studies, feminist studies should come under the heading "Victimology: Be An American Hero, Be A Victim--of The Right Gender & Color".

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