Saturday, September 02, 2006

Duke lacrosse: Kicking up a fuss with KC Johnson

KC Johnson, who recently moved to Durham-in-Wonderland, has done it again.

His latest outstanding post is "Fact and Fiction in the New Yorker." It begins:

Paul Boyer’s article in this week’s New Yorker opens with the story of the summer 2003 search committee assembled to select Duke’s new president.

After reading the piece, it’s hard to believe the search committee made the right choice. Richard Brodhead, a former professor of English literature, comes across as divorced from reality, searching for the appropriate Shakespeare phrase to describe his impotence as his faculty and a local prosecutor went out of control last spring.
You can read the entire post here. When you come to the end of it, I think you’ll agree that at least as regards the Duke Hoax, President Brodhead has served Duke neither wisely nor well.

That said, I want to let you know I’ve just kicked up a little fuss with KC as you’ll see from this comment I left on the thread of his “Fact and Fiction in the New Yorker” post:
Dear KC,

I don't mean to sound like a whiner but I've said this before and you've ignored me.

You need to provide readers with a "Generic Comment" option s we can just click on it and we'll leave a message something like :
" Hi KC, You’ve done it again. Another terrific post.

You produce the facts and make your points with such careful reasoning that when I came to the end of your post, all I could say was, ‘Another great one, KC.'"

Thank you for: 1) being part of the fight to undue the Duke Hoax injustices: 2) helping expose the media biases that fueled the witch hunt; and 3) pointing Duke in the direction it needs to go in the Hoax case.


(commenter's name)
KC, Now that I’ve sketched out what almost all of us want to say after reading your posts, you have no excuse for not setting up a "Generic Comment" option.

Thanks for thinking about my suggestion.

Folks, Any of you who've read many of KC’s posts I’m sure will realize what a time-saver a generic KC comment option will be for all of us.

Duke lacrosse: Look at the first newspaper report. ( A repost)

Readers' Note: I published the post below on June 12. I'm reposting now for three reasons:

1) Beginning after Labor Day I plan to advocate hard for an acknowledgement and apology by the Raleigh News & Observer for a series of biased, inaccurate and inflammatory stories, including its Mar. 24 story which "broke" the case.

I analyzed that story in the June 12 post. Thus, the post can serve as a "refresher" regarding one the stories that did so much to turn what should have been a fair, thorough investigation into a witch hunt.

2) In the next few weeks I plan to ask N&O editors a series of questions regarding when the N&O acquired extraordinarily important news that was available before the N&O's Mar. 24 story. I plan to ask when and in what detail the N&O reported that news to readers.

I refer to the extensive cooperation the Duke lacrosse captains who rented the house on N.Buchanan Blvd. provided police on Mar. 16.

My June 12 post notes the absence of any information to readers regarding the captains' cooperation. It’s worth reading the post and the Mar. 24 story and asking: “What if the N&O story had included reporting on the help the captains gave police?

3) DA Mike Nifong did not speak publicly about the Duke case until Mar. 27, but we can be sure that as a DA and candidate for office he read every word of that Mar. 24 front page story about the most important case to ever come his way.

I think it's fair to say that as a DA and Asst. DA with considerable experience with the press, Nifong noticed everything in that story that you and I noticed. Just realizing that should make a reread of the June 12 post instructive.


Melanie Sill, the Raleigh News & Observer’s executive editor for news, has done a lot of cluck-clucking about how The N&O “broke the story” we’ve all come to call the Duke lacrosse case. And she's right about that.

Now let’s take a look at how, on Mar 24, the N&O broke the story under the headlines:

DNA tests ordered for Duke athletes
Lacrosse team reports to lab in rape inquiry
The N&O began:
Durham police had 46 members of the Duke University lacrosse team DNA-tested Thursday in the suspected gang-rape of a woman at an off-campus party last week.

Police think at least three of the men could be responsible for the sexual assault, beating, robbery and near-strangulation of one of two women who had an appointment to dance at the party March 13, according to a search warrant.
As the story moves along, you notice statements like:
A search warrant returned Thursday details the attack the victim described to police.
But the search warrant didn’t detail “the attack the victim described.”

The search warrant only contained details the accuser gave police about an alleged attack.

Why didn't the N&O tell readers that? And “victim?” Where did that come from, you ask?

The N&O explained:
It is The News & Observer's policy not to identify victims of reported sex crimes.
The N&O didn’t say how it knows someone reporting a sex crime is a victim; or whether it just goes ahead and grants victim status and anonymity to anyone reporting what the person says was a sex crime.

But regardless of how The N&O decides such things, the effect of its granting victim status to the accuser was to frame the Duke lacrosse players as the victimizers.

The N&O did that before its readers were even halfway through the very first story they’d read on the Duke lacrosse case.

The N&O went on to say such things as:
” The victim was pulled into a bathroom, and three men held her down, sexually assaulting and sodomizing her, the warrant says. She was kicked, hit, strangled and beaten, she told police.”


“They also looked for artificial fingernails painted with red polish, apparently lost in the victim's struggle.
The N&O worked very hard to get “victim” fixed in readers’ minds.

All told the N&O referred in its story to the accuser as “the victim” or used the possessive “victim’s” a total of 7 times.

Why did The N&O work so hard to present the accuser as a victim? What did the N&O know that justified doing that?

The N&O’s public editor, Ted Vaden,told me in a phone conversation he wouldn't answer that question because: “Frankly, John, there isn’t time to answer every question someone asks, and I’m not going to answer that one.”

If Vaden had answered my question I'd have gone on and asked him whether anyone at the N&O or the McClatchy Company, its owner, ever considered how casting the accuser as “the victim” was framing the Duke lacrosse players?

Here's something else we should all be asking: Why didn’t the N&O tell its readers that the three lacrosse players who rented the house where the accuser said she was gang-raped voluntarily gave statements to the police without counsels present; voluntarily went to Duke Medical Center and submitted to “rape kit” tests; and offered to take lie detector tests?

That all happened days before the N&O broke the story.

It belonged in the story, didn't it?

When you look at the N&O’s “we broke it” story, it’s not hard to understand why the story played out for months the way it did; and why so many decent people were fooled.

But that doesn’t explain why the N&O ran the kind of story it did.

Tomorrow I’ll post on the N&O’s second Duke lacrosse story. It ran the following day, Mar. 25, on the front page under five-column wide headlines:

A woman hired to dance for the Duke lacrosse team describes a night of racial slurs, growing fear and, finally, sexual violence.
It was the N&O's Mar. 25 story, which built on the inflamatory bias set in the Mar. 24 story, that ignited what became the Duke lacrosse witch hunt.

The hysteria and threats of violence that followed the N&O's stories reached the point where responsible community leaders felt compelled to take full page newspaper ads calling on the public to remain calm and let justice take its course.

The Raleigh News & Observer was one of the papers which carried the ad.

The N&O describes itself as "Fair and Accurate."

Democrats do that? And around Labor Day? Really!

Betsy Newmark posts today “A delicious hypocrisy.” It begins -----

Sometimes, the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party can be quite delightful. Powerline and Captain Ed point to this story of how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has hired an organization to send out employees to raise money for the DCCC and support for raising the minimum wage.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), based in Washington, D.C., has hired Grassroots Campaigns, a Boston-based for-profit company with operations in 18 U.S. cities, to conduct canvassing on its behalf. The DCCC's "New Direction for American" agenda, which provides the talkiing points canvassers are taught to use to solicit contributions, includes a call to "Raise the minimum wage."
Fine. But there is a slight problem. Grassroots Campaigns is not paying their workers....wait for it....minimum wage.

Betsy has more about it here.

Imagine the Dems doing that! And right around Labor Day.

Why aren’t we reading more about this story in our MSM? Sure, most MSM reporters and editors are Dems themselves, but they swear that doesn’t matter when they’re on the job bringing us "unbiased news reporting."

And so it goes with the Dems and their MSM allies.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Churchill Series - Sept. 1, 2006

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

In September, 1940 America and Great Britain reached an agreement. America gave Britain 50 destroyers in exchange for 99 year lease rights to naval ports and other facilities in British possessions in the Caribbean and North Atlantic. Most of us today looking back on that agreement will say something like: “Well, that made sense for both sides.”

But the agreement was preceded by months of controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. Some Americans feared the agreement would help propel the country to war. Many in Britain were concerned about sovereignty issues. On both sides there were those who followed the negotiations leading to the agreement with a “calculator” mentality: their side might get the short end of the deal. They wouldn’t stand for that.

President Roosevelt and Churchill conducted much of the negotiations directly between themselves and in secret. Anticipating ultimate agreement, they made arrangements for the swift implementation of the agreement even before it was signed. For example, without public announcement British naval crews were sent to American bases where they were trained to sail the American destroyers.

A final version of the agreement was drawn on September 2, and officials in Washington and London began the signing process.

On September 5 Churchill announced the agreement in the House of Commons. You’ll see in a moment how with brief, effective words he gives “some stick” to those who’d question the agreement, leaving them in the position of questioning an agreement Hitler won’t like but the Admiralty does :

The memorable transactions between Great Britain and the United States, which were foreshadowed when I last addressed the House, have now been completed. …

I have no doubt that Herr Hitler will not like this transference of destroyers, and I have no doubt that he will pay the United States out, if he ever gets the chance. That is why I am very glad that the army, air, and naval frontiers of the United States have been advanced along a wide arc into the Atlantic Ocean, and that this will enable them to take danger by the throat while it is still hundreds of miles away from their homeland.

The Admiralty tell us also that they are very glad to have these fifty destroyers, and that they will come in most conveniently to bridge the gap which, as I have previously explained to the House, inevitably intervenes before our considerable wartime programme of new construction comes into service.

I suppose the House realizes that we shall be a good deal stronger next year on the sea than we are now, although that is quite strong enough for the immediate work in hand.

There will be no delay in bringing the American destroyers into active service; in fact, British crews are already meeting them at the various ports where they are being delivered. You might call it the long arm of coincidence.

I really do not think that there is any more to be said about the whole business at the present time. This is not the appropriate occasion for rhetoric. Perhaps I may, however, very respectfully, offer this counsel to the House: When you have got a thing where you want it, it is a good thing to leave it where it is.
"British crews (and) the long arm of coincidence." Can you help but smile? I’m sure most of the House smiled, too.

In Monday’s post I plan to comment further on Churchill’s remarks to the House announcing the agreement. They illustrate what a superb parliamentarian he was.

Have a nice Labor Day weekend.


Duke lacrosse: A small step toward fairness (Post 2).

On Aug. 19 I posted “Duke lacrosse: A small step toward fairness (Post 1).”

That post reported the results of a matter I’d brought to the attention of John Burness, Duke’s Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, in an Aug. 16 email.

The matter: When I searched Duke’s website using the input words “Duke lacrosse” its search engine returned hundreds of "hits" with the header:

Duke Lacrosse: Information on Sexual Assault…
I could somewhat understand why that header might have been used when the hoax claims were first made, but not now in August.

I also failed to understand why many of the “Duke Lacrosse: Information on Sexual Assault…” headers linked to items such as the university’s announcement of its appointment of John Danowski as the new Men’s lacrosse coach and even in one case to The Coleman Report.

I asked Burness for an explanation and corrections.

On Aug. 19 David Jarmul, Associate Vice President, Office of News & Communications, responded on Burness’ behalf.

Jarmul acknowledged the headers were inappropriate; and said the university had moved to correct them. He regretted that hadn’t been done sooner.

While never doubting Jarmul and the university genuinely sought to correct the headers, a second search using “Duke lacrosse” revealed there were still some headers that had not been corrected.

I called that to Jarmul’s attention in an email in which I included a link to “Duke lacrosse: A small step toward fairness (Post 1).” I made sure to say in the email that I had no doubt of Jarmul and the university’s genuine wish to correct the headers. We can all miss some things.

On Wednesday, Aug. 30, I received from Jarmul an email that included:
After I returned this afternoon, I had a chance to look into this more closely.

I had a colleague check through the first 150 results of a search on "Duke lacrosse" from's search box.

The "title tag" language that concerned you before did not appear in the results. Likewise for a search on "sexual assault." He also tried another combination, "lacrosse and assault," and found nothing in the first 10 pages of hits with the language you saw earlier.

I told you that my web colleagues probably hadn't had a chance yet to make these changes but it appears they made them shortly after you and I last corresponded. (Keep in mind that there can be a lag of several days for the search engine tool to "crawl" through all of these updates.)
I’ve just sent Jarmul the following email:
Dear David:

Since I’m a tech dummy, I don’t understand the tech issues but it looks to me as though you and others at the university have succeeded in making this matter right.

I too searched using various combinations and found nothing that I’d flag.

I want to express my appreciation to you and the others who helped resolve this matter.

I plan to send John Burness a brief email telling him things worked out and that you were very helpful.

I’ll send you a copy of that email and include with it a link to a post, “Duke lacrosse: A small step toward fairness (Post 2)," which lets JinC readers know how you and others helped resolve the header matter.

Again, thank you. And have a nice holiday weekend.


It's a nice outcome but there's so much more to do.

Duke lacrosse: “Solutions” at The Raleigh N&O Editors’ Blog

Readers’ Note: JinC regular visitors know all about the Editor’s Blog. That was where N&O exec editor for news Melanie Sill used to ignore readers’ questions and comments when she wasn’t providing responses that were often misleading or worse.

Well, there was so much reader complaining, especially about the N&O’s biased, inaccurate and inflammatory Duke lacrosse coverage, Sill couldn’t handle it all. So four senior N&O editors have been brought in to help her out.

The Editor’s Blog is now the Editors’ Blog. But the only real change seems to be that the N&O moved the possessive sign in Editor’s one place to the right.

Otherwise, this “new” Editors’ Blog is giving readers the “same old, same old” treatment they got at the “old” Editor’s Blog.

You’ll see an example of that in the comment/post below which I just left on a post thread where N&O managing editor/blogger John Drescher posted his first Editors’ Blog post.



Dear Mr. Drescher:

My name is John and I publish, edit and frequently write for the electronic daily,, where I comment often on the N&O. I also ask questions and comment occasionally here at what used to be the Editor’s Blog. This is my first Editors’ Blog comment.

I’d like to begin by saying, “Welcome to the blogosphere.” I hope a year from now you feel blogging has been a worthwhile experience.

I noted in your post, “Solutions, too,” that you discussed ways a newspaper could better serve readers. You end with this:

“With the printed paper and, we have unprecedented opportunity to start a discussion and keep it going. That’s good for newspapers and good for democracy.”
Hear, hear, Editor Drescher! I applaud your words.

But then I went to the comments and found, as of 10:30 a.m. EDT today, Sept. 1, that four of the five comments had been removed from the thread. Where each comment had been there was a notice. Here’s one:
Comment from: joan foster [Visitor]
08/30/06 at 09:08
Comment moved to Aug. 18 blog post "Recent reporting on lacrosse case"
I wondered, Editor Drescher, just what these “removed” readers said on your post thread inviting discussion “[t]hat’sgood for newspapers and good for democracy.”

So I went to "Recent reporting on lacrosse case" and scrolled down I guess about 50 comments until I came to Joan Foster’s “removed” comment. Here it is in full:
From Joan Foster:

Here's an opportunity to start a discussion and keep it going..? You might pop into tne Lacrosse thread and answer some of the questions piling up again.

Blogging assumes responses will occur on both sides. There are five of you now...and less interaction than before.
Editor Drescher, I find it hard to believe you would remove Foster’s comment since it’s exactly on point to your post. Is it possible a site administrator or someone else removed Foster’s comment? Stranger things have happened at the old Editor’s blog. Would you believe once an entire comment thread was removed?

BTW – Regarding Foster’s very constructive suggestion that to keep a discussion going you “might pop into the Lacrosse thread,” do you know that as of today its been two full weeks since Melanie Sill or any of you other four McClatchy editors have responded to readers’ questions and comments at “Recent reporting on lacrosse case?” In that time almost 40 questions/comments have piled up.

There are many questions I want to ask you. Here are three:

Did you know of the removals?

Did you agree to them?

Can you think of any justification for removing Foster’s comment from a post thread where an editor invites readers to offer solutions to a news organization's print and online problems?



P.S. Some of us who comment here have asked for a "preview” option. Melanie promised to take a look at that but nothing happened. Can you help us get a "preview" option?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 31, 2006

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

In November, 1942 American and British forces executed Operation Torch, a series of amphibious landings in North Africa. It was the first combined Anglo-American operation involving large numbers of ground, air and naval forces. In Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and America we read:

In the early hours of November 8 …American troops landed in French North Arica, capturing Casablanca, Oran and Algiers, and overthrowing the French Vichy regime there.

[Churchill’s son Randolph] was among the British troops who landed at Algiers. That morning he reported to his father: “All goes well between us and the Americans.”

By nightfall it was clear that the landings had succeeded.

“Let me congratulate you,” Churchill telegraphed to [Army Chief of Staff George C.] Marshall, “on all the news so far received of the great events taking place in French North Africa,” and he added with foresight: “We shall find the problems of success not less puzzling though more agreeable than those we have hitherto surmounted together.”

Speaking in London two days later, Churchill declared that Britain’s victory in the Western Desert and the American victory in North Africa constituted “a new bond between the English-speaking peoples and a new hope for the whole world.” (p. 231)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 30, 2006

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

Yesterday’s post concerned Churchill’s stirring “Finest Hour” speech, delivered on June 18, 1940 just after France signed an armistice with Hitler, leaving Britain and the Commonwealth to either negotiate their own armistice with him or fight on alone.

The “Finest Hour” speech was delivered in the Commons and was heard only by the members and a small number of guests in the galleries. In those days, there were no broadcasts or voice recordings of proceedings in the House.
However, the speech’s greatness was immediately recognized; and Churchill was persuaded to deliver it again, this time on the radio a few hours after he delivered it in the House.

The previously unplanned “Finest Hour” radio address came just a day after Churchill delivered a planned address to the nation. It’s very brief but contains the heart and temper of the Finest Hour speech. Here in their entirety are the remarks the British people heard from the Prime Minister on June 17, 1940:

The news from France is very bad, and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune. Nothing will alter our feelings towards them or our faith that the genius of France will rise again.

What has happened in France makes no difference to our actions and purpose. We have become the sole champions now in arms to defend the world cause. We shall do our best to be worthy of this high honour.

We shall defend our island home, and with the British Empire we shall fight on unconquerable until the curse of Hitler is lifted from the brows of mankind. We are sure that in the end all with come right
He spoke just a few weeks after Dunkirk. German troops now occupied Paris. And a few hours before he spoke he’d learned that the passenger ship Lancastria, carrying 3,000 civilians and soldiers from Bordeaux had been sunk by German bombers with almost all hands lost. He forbad the immediate release of the news, fearing its effect on public morale.

Churchill once said that it was the British people who “had the lion’s heart; I was just called upon to give the roar.”

Not true. On June 17 and 18, as on so many other days, he showed his lion’s heart; after which the British people found theirs.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 662-665)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 29, 2006

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

On June 18, 1940 Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth were left to fight on alone as France agreed to armistice terms with Hitler. Churchill went to the Commons that day and delivered what’s become know as “The Finest Hour” speech. It ended:

[T]he Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin. …

The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turmed on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war.

If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free, and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands; but if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science.

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
But the nation and world did not hear that speech because at the time the proceedings of the House were neither broadcast live nor voice recorded.

But the members hearing it recognized immediately it was one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in the Commons. On all sides they urged Churchill to deliver the speech a second time on the radio. He agreed to do that.

About four hours later the BBC interrupted normal broadcasting for the Prime Minister’s speech. It's recordings of that delivery of the “Finest Hour” speech we hear and are still stirred by, even the many of us sho've heard and reheard the words for decades.

Tomorrow I’ll post on all but forgotten remarks Churchill delivered directly to the nation and world the day before his Finest Hour speech. I’ll also discuss a few events besides the fall of France that were pressing on Churchill that 17th day of June,1940.
Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 662-664)

Duke lacrosse: Taylor leaves Times no place to hide

The New York Times is suffering another one of its increasingly frequent embarrassments.

This one's caused by“Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers” (Aug. 25), a 5,800 word story the Times assured readers was about “a body of evidence to support [Durham DA Mike Nifong’s ] decision to take the matter to a jury.”

But the “body of evidence” is 33 pages of single space, typed notes which the lead investigator in the Duke Hoax case, Durham Police Sergeant Mark Gottlieb, prepared months after the events he investigated.

The Times didn't explain why Gottlieb waited so long to create his notes when standard police practice is to write notes at the time of the events being investigated or very shortly (hours, maybe a day or two) thereafter.

The Times failed to explain how Gottlieb developed such an extraordinary memory which, in every detail “recalled,” appears to support the wildly improbable story DA Nifong has been telling the world.

The Times swallowed Gottlieb’s “body of evidence” without so much as a “grain of salt” and passed it on to readers.

Many bloggers have ripped to shreds the omissions, half-truths and contradictions in Gottlieb’s notes and the Times' “Go Nifong” bias. They've dubbed the story “The Gottlieb Files.”

Raleigh News & Observer reporter Joe Neff joined the bloggers with an excellent “Gottlieb Files” analysis in his paper’s Sunday (Aug. 27) edition.

Now America’s most respected legal journalist, Stuart Taylor, examines “The Gottlieb Files” in a Slate article that’s will get a lot of attention in many quarters, including at the Times, where Taylor served as a reporter and Supreme Court correspondent (1980-1988).

Slate's headlines let you know just what Taylor thinks of the Times' "Gottlieb Files" :

"Witness for the Prosecution? The New York Times is still victimizing innocent Dukies."
Taylor leads off:
Imagine you are the world's most powerful newspaper and you have invested your credibility in yet another story line that is falling apart, crumbling as inexorably as Jayson Blair's fabrications and the flawed reporting on Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD. What to do?

If you're the New York Times and the story is the alleged gang rape of a black woman by three white Duke lacrosse players—a claim shown by mounting evidence to be almost certainly fraudulent—you tone down your rhetoric while doing your utmost to prop up a case that's been almost wholly driven by prosecutorial and police misconduct.

And by bad journalism. Worse, perhaps, than the other recent Times embarrassments. The Times still seems bent on advancing its race-sex-class ideological agenda, even at the cost of ruining the lives of three young men who it has reason to know are very probably innocent.

This at a time when many other true believers in the rape charge, such as feminist law professor Susan Estrich, have at last seen through the prosecution's fog of lies and distortions.
That's just the beginning.

Here's a sample of Taylor's treatment of the Times' "body of evidence" :
The Times treats as established fact [Gottlieb's] memo's less-than-credible claim that the sexual-assault nurse told him on March 21 that the accuser had been subjected to "blunt force trauma" consistent with a sexual assault. The piece also glosses over the contradiction between her supposed statement to Gottlieb and her own report. Under "Describe all signs of physical trauma," she listed only nonbleeding scratches on the accuser's right knee and heel.
A few thoughts -

Much of the ground Taylor covers will be familiar to readers of blogs which have taken the lead in shredding the story such as Durham-in-Wonderland, Liestoppers, Betsy Newmark, Johnsville News, William Anderson and JustOneMinute.

But there's reporting in Taylor's article that's important and new, at least to me.

The article also mentions police speculation that the lacrosse players might have slipped the accuser a date-rape drug to incapacitate her. And Joseph Cheshire, Evans' lawyer, noted in a recent e-mail exchange with me that the prosecution "has suggested to the media numerous times in the past that the accuser had been given such a drug." Another deception? "A toxicology report that the defense was informed of last week was negative for any date rape drug in the accuser's system," Cheshire tells me.
That advances the story. Thank you, Stuart.

And this:
Gottlieb had drawn fire before the alleged Duke rape—perhaps unbeknownst to the Times—as a Dukie-basher who reveled in throwing kids into jail for petty drinking infractions, noise violations, and the like, sometimes with violent criminals as cellmates.
I wish Taylor had named his source(s). That report deserves follow-up.

Also deserving follow-up is Taylor’s suggestion that he thinks the police ID photo lineup procedure Nifong and Gottlieb collaborated on may have violated Constitutional protections. Is it time for the feds to step in? I hope so.

What most impressed me about Taylor's article is the directness and meticulousness with which he exposes and labels the Times for just what its been on the Duke Hoax story: an enabler of the injustices committed by Nifong, Gottlieb and very likely others.

Taylor has left the Times no place to hide.

More about Taylor and the impact of his article tomorrow.

Duke lacrosse: Thank you, Bruce Thomas, community leader

A number of Duke professors read this blog. Some are my former teachers. Some I've gotten to know as neighbors or through community and social activities. Many are friends, although I think their number may be fewer now than when I started posting in late March on what was then called "the Duke lacrosse case."

Anyway, yesterday one of those professors made a bet with me. Here's how it started and how it turned out.

We were talking about what was going on here in Durham in late March. The biased, inaccurate and inflammatory reporting by the Raleigh N&O. Ruth Sheehan's "Team's Silence Is Sickening" column. DA Mike Nifong's assurances a gang-rape had occurred and race was a factor. The circulations of the CrimeStoppers Wanted poster and the notorious "Vigilante" poster which the N&O subsequently published and distributed to over 170,000 readers.

Looking back on those March days the Professor, who has the character to admit he was taken in at the time, went on to say something that went like this:

Sure, I was fooled then. We all were. What else could you believe? Look at what the N&O was telling us. Look at Nifong. Everybody believed them. No one was saying anything different.
I said there were people speaking out.

He counted with, "Not any leaders here at Duke or in the community."

I said I could remember at least one community leader who spoke out, and his remarks were published in the N&O.

The Professor asked,” Who?"

I couldn't remember the person's name, but otherwise I was sure of what I was saying.

The Professor said he'd bet I was wrong: no community leader was speaking out at that time against "the howling mob." (the Prof's term)

I said I'd take the bet.

The Professor added that I'd have to show the person had been quoted in the N&O. I agreed.

I said I’d post on our bet and use "Thank you" in the post title. I’d be thanking the Professor for calling an error to my attention if it turned out I was wrong or I’d be thanking the leader for speaking out.

So what happened then?

A search of the N&O's archives revealed the community leader’s name is Bruce Thomas. On Mar. 28, the N&O published his letter to the editor which I republish here in full:
Regarding the March 24 story "DNA tests ordered for Duke athletes" and subsequent articles:

Right or wrong, the Duke men's lacrosse team students deserve a fair and just hearing. The self-righteous "do gooders" have tried and sentenced these boys and have created a vigilante atmosphere.

These self-appointed purveyors of justice show only that they are jumping on the "string 'em up" bandwagon of a bygone era.

Give the school and these students a break -- let the proper authorities sort things out and get the real truth, and not truth by innuendo.

Bruce Thomas
Bruce Thomes provided Duke and the community with an accurate assessment of what was happening and what ought to be done. That's leadership.

It's not Thomas' fault that very few people in leadership positions at Duke and in Durham spoke out as Thomas did, anymore than it's Duke Provost Peter Lange's fault that President Brodhead and almost no Duke faculty members joined Lange in condemning Professor Houston Baker's racist and exploitive letter of March 29.

Thank you, Bruce Thomas, community leader. I hope you see this post.

And thank you, Provost Lange.

Question to my Professor friend and his colleagues: When will I be able to say "thank you" to perhaps 200 Duke faculty members for signing a statement calling for Nifong's removal?

Duke lacrosse: When Nifong's campaign head revealed her core

Yesterday I posted “Duke lacrosse: A Nifong Campaign Disaster.” It’s drawn very informative comments. I hope you read the thread.

I’m republishing one comment on the main page. I’ll explain why after you read the comment which follows in full.



Any “Best of Victoria Petersen” has to include her verbal jousts with Nifong at the Apr 11 NCCU Forum. During the forum Q&A, Ms. Peterson asked Nifong why he had not brought the FBI and the Department of Justice to Durham to investigate the “hate crimes.”

Ms. Peterson also said the complainant in the Duke Lax Hoax should never have been taken to Duke University Hospital because of the conflict of interest (this, of course, nearly one month after the fact).

Ms. Peterson then went on to proclaim that the medical exam results (including the DNA test results) had been “tampered with.”

This “Best of Petersen” entry available at:

At the left of the page click on: “Video: NC Central Forum” and advance the counter to 7:45.



The first thing I want you to know is ME is not me.

I’m me.

ME is he or him, depending on where he happens to be in a sentence at any given time.

Now that we’ve got that straight ----

Bless you ME for finding and sharing that link.

When I started work on the “Nifong disaster” post, I recalled the NCCU forum episode and wanted to include it in the post.

But I couldn’t find a link; I was under work and family deadlines; and I didn’t want to just rely on memory and give someone an opening to say I’d got part of that episode wrong or exaggerated it.

The episode is very important because it so perfectly reveals what Peterson is at her core.

When President Reagan said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Party left me” and when President Clinton said “I never had sex with that woman.” they were revealing their cores.

Nifong campaign leader Peterson reveals her core often, and never more perfectly than on Apr. 11 at the NCCU forum.

Thanks ME from me and, I’m sure, most other readers including he, she and they.


Monday, August 28, 2006

The Churchill Series – Aug. 28, 2006

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

You know about nit-pickers, don’t you? You do something and get it 99% right. But there’s Nitty Picker standing up before the whole town saying:

“Did you all see what that person who reads the Churchill Series got wrong? You did? Well, let me tell you about it anyway.”
Churchill knew all about nit-pickers. Some in the press were on him even during WW II, when he gave magnificent leadership. Churchill was fond of telling this apt, humorous story to put the nit-pickers in their places.
“A sailor jumped into the water at Plymouth to rescue a small boy from drowning. A week later the sailor was accosted by a woman who asked, “Are you the man who picked my son out of the water the other night?

“That is true, ma’am” replied the sailor. “I am the man.”

“Ah,” said the woman. “You are the man I am looking for. Where is his cap?”
I hope you’re back tomorrow.
Cap story from John Plumpton, "Two Great Men, Two Great Themes," speech, The Churchill Centre.

Duke lacrosse: A Nifong campaign disaster

Under the headline, “Citizens' group to support Nifong”, we read in today’s Durham Herald Sun:

Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong, who faces a write-in rival on the November ballot as well as an effort to recall him from office, now has a group on his side.

A "Citizens for Mike Nifong Committee" has formed, aimed largely at counterbalancing a torrent of criticism Nifong has weathered over his handling of the controversial Duke University lacrosse case.
You may be wondering, “What campaign disaster? That all sounds like good news for Nifong.”

The “disaster report” comes in the next paragraph :
The new group was organized by Kim Brummell, a corporate security officer and writer, and community activist Victoria Peterson. Their goal is to keep Nifong in office when the November general election rolls around. (bold added)
Here's some background on Peterson.

In late April The Charlotte Observer reported Peterson had said :
an investigator in the [Duke lacrosse]case told her the woman had been sodomized "with an object."

"He did not say a broom, just an object," said Peterson, who has become a friend and adviser to the woman's family since the party. "He told me she wasn't just raped, she was terribly sodomized."
On May 2 the Raleigh N&O reported on a rally sponsored by the hate group, The New Black Panther Party. The N&O’s report included :
"This is a hate crime, and we want a conviction," declared Malik Zulu Shabazz, the national chairman of the New Panthers, a black separatist group based in Atlanta that is disavowed by the original Black Panther Party. "We are mad and fired up. We demand justice, and we will have justice, one way or the other." …

Shabazz was flanked by Durham school board member Jacqueline Wagstaff and perennial political candidate Victoria Peterson.
In July, 2003 when Peterson announced as a Durham City Counsil candidate, the H-S reported among other items:
Peterson [has been an] active supporter of accused murderer Michael Peterson [ He was later convicted. – JinC] and helped organize a vigil for him outside the jail after his arrest in December 2001.

She has regularly attended the ongoing trial and even was questioned in May about talking with a prospective juror in a courthouse hallway. She is not related to Michael Peterson. …

Over the years, Peterson's activism has touched on a wide variety of issues.

She's protested the high numbers of young black men in Durham's jail, lobbied for better conditions in public housing projects, argued for pistol permits to be cheaper, and objected to gay and lesbian films being shown at the Carolina Theatre.

In 1992, after losing her legislative campaign, she asked the U.S. Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into voting-machine problems. The election subsequently was upheld by the state elections board. …

And in 1999, she attempted to file criminal charges against a Chapel Hill doctor who she said illegally tested her for HIV without her consent. A judge later dismissed the charges
In the October, 2003 primary for 3 seats on the City Council Peterson, according to records faxed to me this morning by the Durham County Board of Elections (archive portions of BoE website are temporarily “down”), ran 7th in a field of 13 candidates and received 5.27% of the vote.

Today’s H-S story quotes Nifong:
"They came to me and told me what they had done," Nifong said of Brummell and Peterson. "I was very pleased. It made me feel good."
Folks, There are some things that defy my powers of parody and ridicule.

Today’s H-S story with Nifong announcing he’s “very pleased” Peterson will help head his election campaign is one of them.

She'll prove to be a disaster for him.

What do you think of it all?

Responding to momofthree

Readers’ Note: For some months, a visitor self-identifying as momofthree has commented here.

Momofthree (mo3) has been kind as regards my Duke hoax posts. But mo3 has also pointed out investigative and legal questions mo3 encouraged me to pursue. Sometimes mo3 has come back to the same questions and given me another prod, always gently and civilly.

I’ve appreciated mo3’s comments and the information mo3’s provided.

I’ve read them all, but I’ve not posted on any and, until about 10 days ago, I’ve never directly acknowledged mo3’s comments.

But at that time, in a “Talking with JinC Regulars and Reader/Commenters” post, I said I’d soon respond to mo3 directly and here on the main page.

Here goes.

Dear momofthree,

Responding to you is also a chance to tell other visitors, some of whom are new to JinC, something about what I try to do here with regard to the Duke hoax. So I’m responding on the main page.

I’ve appreciated all your comments. They’ve informed and encouraged me.

But you can ask, “Then why didn’t you pursue the questions I asked?”

Mainly because your questions have involved fairly complex legal matters; and that’s not my area. While I appreciate being alerted to them, other bloggers have a better understanding of such matters and write more cogently on them

Example: Beginning in May, I wrote a series of posts concerning requests attorney Alex Charns, representing an unidicted Duke lacrosse, has make to the Durham Police Department and the City of Durham regarding a CrimeStoppers poster Charns maintains libeled his client and the rest of the Duke Men's lacrosse team.

Charns you no doubt know, but others reading this may not know, has asked Durham Police and City for a full, public apology and an official investigation into police conduct related to the “Wanted” poster which CrimeStoppers produced and distributed in late March. Durham Police and City maintain they’re done nothing wrong.

As a result of face-to-face and phone interviews with Charns, Police and City officials, and others; and through document reviews and readings of rules and regulations governing Police and City conduct in such matters, I realized I was getting into areas other bloggers could better understand and more effectively communicate to readers.

So I talked to historian and blogger KC Johnson. In addition to being a superb blogger, KC has taught Constitutional law courses at the university level. He agreed to take on Charns/CrimeStoppers as one of his areas of interest.

That enabled me to get back to investigating and posting on matters I feel better able to deal with. For example, establishing when the Raleigh News & Observer first learned of the extensive cooperation the three Duke lacrosse captains who rented the house voluntarily provided Durham police. And learning when the N&O reported that cooperation to readers; and in what detail.

I’ll be posting those questions later today to the N&O’s managing editor, John Drescher, who’s just begun blogging at the Editors’ Blog.

I want you and others to also know I sometimes pass on to other bloggers items commenters have called to my attention that I think they can assess and respond to better than I.

I hope you’ll continue to visit and comment here as you wish.

Finally, since you first started commenting here, I’m sure you’ve noticed and cheered the growth in the number and quality of blogs now regularly covering the Duke hoax.

That’s a wonderful note on which to end.

Every blessing to you and those with you,


Sunday, August 27, 2006

What “Mao” sees now

A young man we’re very fond of goes off to college in a few days. We hosted a luncheon today to celebrate and wish him well.

He’s recently back from an extensive visit to China. Naturally, folks asked him: “What was it like?”

Here’s one episode he shared: He was entering a Shanghai department story in front of which was a statue of Mao. He thought is would be interesting to stand at the base of the statue and imagine the statue had come to life. What would Mao see?

“Across the square side-by-side each other were a Starbucks, a KFC, a Hagen-Dazs, a McDonald’s and a TGIF. I started laughing.”

Duke lacrosse: Times' story "Winners" & "Losers"(Part 1)

You know about the Times’ Aug. 26 story people are calling “The Gottlieb Files,” don’t you?

You're asking:

Who wins - who loses - as a result of the story?

And can we identify short- and long-term “Winners” and “Losers?”

I’ll try to answer those questions in this post and another tomorrow.

Today let's look at “Winners”

Durham DA Mike Nifong
– The Times’ refusal to “pull the plug” in circumstances where that was called for, helps keep Nifong’s “case” on “life support.”

He can go on “hoping for a miracle.”

Who knows, maybe the accuser will refuse to testify.

Then “the second dancer,” Kim Roberts, might say she needs to devote all her time to “bringing out the truth” in her lawsuit for damages against Duke University:

“Like I told Katie Couric, [Duke President] Brodhead’s apology for what was said to me and Precious that night was the right thing for him to do.

But it didn’t relieve my pain or make me whole. Like Reverend Jackson says, “Some pain only money can help.”
At that point, Nifong will say he’s really, really sorry he didn’t have a chance to present his “case” in court.

Durham Police Sergeant Mark Gottlieb
– He’s a big winner at least in the short-term.. Sure his notes came in months after the incidents. He was in the position of the guy at the track who knows the fix in his and the 5 horse will win. He knows just what to say when he gets to the betting window. But the Times took him seriously so he gets away for a while with helping frame three innocent people.

Gottlieb’s going to be protected as the Blincos investigation goes forward. Right now he’s too valuable to Nifong.

But Gottllieb’s “win” now will make him a long-term loser. Police officers are not supposed to frame people. Gottlieb’s a big part of the frame-up. When the truth comes out Gottlieb will very likely find himself in court as a defendant.

Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead – The “Gottlieb Files” story gives him some “cover” as he refuses to speak out about the travesties and injustices inflicted upon Duke students. Brodhead can go on saying something like: “Since the students’ innocence has not been proven in court, I can make no further comment about questions of their guilt or innocence until after trial.

Brodhead’s a short-term winner. As people learn more about how he’s managed the Duke response to the hoax, their criticism grows. I’ll be saying a lot more about Brodhead very soon.

Almost the entire Duke faculty, including it’s much ridiculed “Group of 88.” – They can say, “Well, the Times say there’s more ambiguity than we thought. I want to wait for the trial and get all the facts before I make up my mind.”

Rev. Al Sharpton - He won’t have to answer so many “Tawana Brawley” questions, at least in the short-term.

CBS’ 60 Minutes – A big competitor has “gone first” with its “fall fashion” line. 60 Minutes won’t go with the same style, especially now that they see how bloggers are shreading the Times’ story. If 60 Minutes research and production people have been reading the blogs these last 48 hours (I suspect they have), they’re learning a lot about the case they might have missed.

Also, they’re reading some sharp, very well-informed commentary of the type many of them read after the Texas Air National Guard story. I think that will help them avoid the mistakes they made in the TANG story. This has to be “get it right” time for 60 Minutes It can’t afford to blow two major stories in two years.

Kim Roberts – See under “Nifong” above.

Bloggers – I don’t have to explain why, do I?