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July 24, 2007

NYT Admits Some Blame For Hyping "Racial Overtones" Of Duke Not-A-Rape Story

Oh, darn, sorry. I'm mixing up two stories.

What I meant to say was that the NYT stands behind its Duke Not A Rape reportage and furthermore still refuses to correct numerous egregious mistakes of "fact." And editor in chief Bill Keller even adds to the NYT's errors in defending its previous errors.

Criticism of [the paper's Duke] performance, [Keller] claimed, has “in some instances been unfair to the point of hysteria.” (Keller provided no specific examples of this “hysteria.”) Problems, he asserted, were caused by the Times not initially “focusing a lot of investigative energy on the story.” (In fact, the Times ran nearly two dozen stories before the first two indictments, suggesting the paper was focusing heavily on events in Durham.)


Yet Keller raised serious doubts about the good faith of his analysis by making misleading or outright inaccurate statements in the AJR interview. For instance, according to Smolkin, he suggested that “reporters’ jobs were complicated initially because the defense wasn’t talking.”

In fact, the initial Times reporter on the case, Joe Drape, was given extraordinary access to defense sources in late March and early April. Even at this stage, before indictments, some defense lawyers were open to sharing material with the Times—as they were open to sharing material with Mike Nifong.


More problematic, Keller’s assertion that the Gottlieb memorandum [featured prominently in one of Times' worst articles on the Not A Rape, claiming there was vast evidence supporting the charges even as the case was publicly imploding] “showed you for the first time what the prosecutor claimed he had, what was the basis for filing his charges” is out-and-out untrue. Nifong repeatedly stated that two items formed “the basis for filing his charges”: Crystal Mangum’s version of events from the rigged April 4, 2006 lineup; and the report of SANE Nurse-in-training Tara Levicy.

But don’t take Nifong’s word for it: the Gottlieb memorandum couldn’t have formed “the basis for filing his charges” for an obvious reason—it didn’t exist when charges were filed....

How, Keller was asked, should the media handle the case now? Providing “more, better reporting.”

Sounds reasonable. Perhaps, then, the Times could share with readers—and with the Attorney General—the basis for the following reporting, from the August 25 article: “The dancers stopped. An argument ensued. Using a racial epithet, someone yelled that they had asked for white dancers, not black ones. That much is agreed. It was 12:04 a.m. March 14.” [emphasis added]

In fact, the only people related to the case who agreed with this version of events were Mike Nifong and (sometimes) Crystal Mangum.

That thing about everyone agreeing on the timeline is crucial -- because everyone besides Nifong and Mangum says the party broke up at 12:45, when two of the accused had long ago left the party, and therefore could not have been involved in a rape which (presumably) occurred just moments before Mangum's hurried departure.

Unless, of course, one postulates that Mangum was raped by three men, then went out to finish her set, shared laugh with the boys, including the single remaining of her rapists (there's a photograph of her laughing at 12:30), and then, when she cleared her head enough to realize she'd been raped, finally managed to escape her no-longer-present attackers are mere 40 minutes later.

Not sure why it took that long. I guess maybe Steve McQueen and James Garner ran into a snag digging the tunnel.

But the Times is very, very concerned about the "racial overtones" in a new rape case, one that alas does not fit the metanarrative.

In rape cases that fit the metanarrative, "racial overtones" are a good thing, of course, as they provide so many teachable moments about race, class, and gender.

But in rape cases where the victims are the wrong color and the accused rapists are very definitely of the wrong color, there are no possible teachable moments, and, hence, "racial overtones" only create, as the NYT's headline has it, "Questions of Justice."

Incidentally, the case is about four men raping a 12 year old girl.

Not stat rape, either.

Oh: I guess I should mention, in fairness, while there's DNA evidence, apparently, thus proving sex (and therefore statutory rape), we shouldn't presume the men actually forcibly raped the girl. It's possible the (forcible) rape accusation was concocted.

Statutory rape of a 12 year old girl is no laughing matter itself, though.

And, whatever the facts, I don't seem to remember the Times' main story on the Duke Not A Rape case being headlined, "Racial Overtones in Duke Rape Case Lead To Questions of Justice."

Well, sure, that was pretty much their headline in every story, but backwards. The "Questions of Justice" being asked were "Why are these boys not yet convicted and imprisoned on the word of drugged-up schizophrenic fabulist stripper/whore? She's black. They're white. Duh. What is the hold-up here?"

digg this
posted by Ace at 12:28 PM

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