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Justice Delayed (Half-a$$ed apology from Drive-By Media trade journal for DukeLax Frame)
American Journalism Review ^ | July 17, 2007 | Rachel Smolkin

Posted on 07/17/2007 1:40:56 PM PDT by abb

From AJR, June/July 2007 issue Justice Delayed August/September Preview » Many in the media jettisoned caution--and the presumption of innocence--in their coverage of an alleged rape by Duke lacrosse players, and were too slow to correct the record as the case unraveled. But some journalists distinguished themselves with skeptical and incisive reporting.

Related reading: Naming Names

By Rachel Smolkin Rachel Smolkin (rsmolkin@ajr.umd.edu) is AJR's managing editor.

As Reade Seligmann choked back tears on the witness stand, the 21-year-old Duke University lacrosse player dubbed "Flustered" by teammates was poised, compelling and clearly hurting. He told of a world turned "upside down" and of experiencing "as lonely of a feeling as you can ever imagine" after he was indicted for allegedly raping a stripper at a team party on March 13, 2006. He described the stinging slights from former friends, the terrifying death threats--and the inescapable media horde.

On April 18, 2006, Seligmann and teammate Collin Finnerty were arrested on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense and first-degree kidnapping. After posting bond, Seligmann hurried out the back of the Durham County Jail, but there was no hiding from the media. "We pretty much had to run to our car to get there," he told a hushed courtroom and a disciplinary panel of the North Carolina State Bar on June 15, 2007. "From that initial bum rush to our car, that was the beginning of just a media frenzy for an entire year, and it continues now."

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.

Of course, Nifong had information and power the media did not. His failing in the case cannot be overstated, nor can it be equated to that of a throng of journalists and pundits, however odious some of their reporting and commentary. But the media deserve a public reckoning, too, a remonstrance for coverage that--albeit with admirable exceptions--all too eagerly embraced the inflammatory statements of a prosecutor in the midst of a tough election campaign. Fueled by Nifong, the media quickly latched onto a narrative too seductive to check: rich, wild, white jocks had brutalized a working class, black mother of two.

"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."

The lessons of the media's rush to judgment and their affair with a sensational, simplistic storyline rank among journalism's most basic tenets: Be fair; stick to the facts; question authorities; don't assume; pay attention to alternative explanations.

"The outcome of this whole story is square pegs can't be fit into round holes, and we saw the dangers of what happens when modern media attempts to do that," says Duke senior Ryan McCartney, who for much of the saga was editor of the Chronicle, the independent student newspaper. "Hopefully this case will kind of go down in the books as a lesson to media organizations on all levels to...second-guess themselves any time they think a story is clear-cut."

Too often, the preconceptions--rather than the facts--dictated not only the tone of the coverage but also its volume and prominence. "I think that you begin by being prudent," Okrent says. "And that's not the way that the American press began on this story. You begin by being prudent and, as things develop, that determines whether you amp up the volume or not. Here it began with a roar at the very start. It went in the wrong direction. If it had begun calmly and prudently, it never would have become a roar."

snip


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dbm; dukelax; durham; makingitup; nifognism; nifong; trialbymedia; zogbyism
This is the best we will get from the Drive-Bys...
1 posted on 07/17/2007 1:41:01 PM PDT by abb
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To: abner; Alia; AmishDude; beyondashadow; Bitter Bierce; bjc; Bogeygolfer; BossLady; Brytani; ...

ping


2 posted on 07/17/2007 1:41:48 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: 04-Bravo; aimhigh; andyandval; Arizona Carolyn; backhoe; Bahbah; bert; bilhosty; Caipirabob; ...

ping


3 posted on 07/17/2007 1:42:42 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb

http://www.ajr.org/article.asp?id=4380

From AJR, June/July 2007 issue
Naming Names
Should news organizations identify the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case?

By Sally Dadisman
Sally Dadisman is an AJR editorial assistant.

“It was Crystal Gail Mangum’s own words that brought supporters to her side.”

These words led a front-page story in Raleigh’s News & Observer April 12 as part of its coverage of the denouement in the Duke lacrosse rape case. The mainstream media had consistently named the three athletes accused of raping Mangum, but her name was almost universally absent from stories until the charges were dropped.

The News & Observer, like other major news organizations, had withheld her identity as part of a longstanding policy not to name reported victims of sexual assault. The rules aim to protect victims from the stigma associated with such crimes. But some media critics wonder whether these policies do more harm than good: Do they help perpetuate the stigma? Do they imply a presumption of guilt by naming the accused and not the accuser? Is the practice outmoded, now that victims’ names in high-profile cases are widely available on the Internet?

In the Duke case, these delicate questions were further complicated by an unusual set of circumstances: After Mangum’s shifting story unraveled, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper on April 11 declared the accused “innocent” of all charges.

No mainstream outlets released her identity before the prosecution dropped rape charges in December 2006 (kidnapping and sex-offense charges were still pending). At that time, Fox News Channel’s “The Big Story with John Gibson” broadcast a tape of defense lawyers saying her name. The Chicago Sun-Times, CBS’ “60 Minutes,” the Charlotte Observer and the New York Post printed her name after Cooper’s announcement. AJR decided to name Mangum in this story, based on Cooper’s declaration and the fact that her allegations have been discredited.

Many major news organizations, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday and the Associated Press, followed their policies and still did not name her.

Locally, news organizations split: While the N&O named her, Durham’s Herald-Sun did not. On television, local CBS affiliate WRAL and NBC affiliate WNCN named her; ABC affiliate WTVD did not.

News & Observer Executive Editor Melanie Sill says editors solicited input from advocates for sexual assault victims, defense lawyers and ethicists, among others, as they considered how to proceed. “They almost uniformly did not want to see the newspaper identify sexual assault victims,” Sill says. “But at the same time, they thought this case was exceptional, and they didn’t protest or criticize us afterwards.”

snip


4 posted on 07/17/2007 1:44:43 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb
"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."

Anyone know if Nancy Grace has done any updates on the innocence of the players and the disciplinary actions taken against the Fong?

5 posted on 07/17/2007 1:49:31 PM PDT by Enterprise (I can't talk about liberals anymore because some of the words will get me sent to rehab.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Duke ping


6 posted on 07/17/2007 1:51:21 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: Enterprise
Anyone know if Nancy Grace has done any updates on the innocence of the players and the disciplinary actions taken against the Fong?

She's not uttered the words Nifong, Duke, Lacrosse, or anything related to the case since the rape charge was dropped back in December. To my knowledge.

7 posted on 07/17/2007 1:52:40 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb
"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."

...not quite right - it fit the preconceived notions of liberals.

8 posted on 07/17/2007 1:53:27 PM PDT by ghost of nixon
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To: Enterprise
Anyone know if Nancy Grace has done any updates on the innocence of the players and the disciplinary actions taken against the Fong?

Does anybody know if Wendy Murphy has issued an apology ?

9 posted on 07/17/2007 1:53:49 PM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: abb
...the media quickly latched onto a narrative too seductive to check...

Tells you all you need to know about "journalistic ethics".

10 posted on 07/17/2007 1:54:35 PM PDT by PBRSTREETGANG (Apparently my former party considers me an "ugly nativist".)
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To: XeniaSt
Does anybody know if Wendy Murphy has issued an apology ?

Last time this witch was on TV, she was still trying to push the story that rich Dukies paid off Crystial to kill the case.

11 posted on 07/17/2007 1:56:13 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: abb

Did Wendy mention “naked cartwheels”? She’s loves to do that.


12 posted on 07/17/2007 2:05:10 PM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: abb
But, the MSM is still blowing the story. Now, the story is about the "off with their heads" attitude of the President of Duke and 87 of its faculty. (One of the Gang of 88 took back his charges and apologized.) We at FR are contributing to that useful result if it occurs.

Congressman Billybob

Latest article, "Enforce Zina's Laws"

13 posted on 07/17/2007 2:05:20 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob (Please visit www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: abb
...the next day, he was disbarred...

Inprisonment for as long as those innocent kids would have been given is what he should serve AT A MIN!

14 posted on 07/17/2007 2:06:22 PM PDT by Inquisitive1 (I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance - Socrates)
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To: abb

stripper and rape in the same sentence should have given any normal person pause.


15 posted on 07/17/2007 2:16:21 PM PDT by packrat35 (PIMP my Senate. They're all a bunch of whores anyway!)
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To: abb

Bump! Good, lengthy article. Just finished reading it.


16 posted on 07/17/2007 2:18:14 PM PDT by Drew68
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To: abb

http://youtube.com/watch?v=A-JgTnR2jkk

I know the daily show isnt a favorite around here, but this is great.


17 posted on 07/17/2007 2:21:02 PM PDT by Illuminatas (Being conservative means never having to say; "Don't you dare question my patriotism")
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To: abb
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
18 posted on 07/17/2007 2:49:10 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Illuminatas

OMG that was an absolute BEATING!

...and I liked it.


19 posted on 07/17/2007 2:51:37 PM PDT by Pete98 (After his defeat by the Son of God, Satan changed his name to Allah and started over.)
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To: Illuminatas
That is funny!
20 posted on 07/17/2007 3:04:55 PM PDT by NEPA
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To: Illuminatas

ROFLMAO! I hadn’t seen that one, and I thought I had kept up with everything on this case.


21 posted on 07/17/2007 3:23:08 PM PDT by abb (The Dinosaur Media: A One-Way Medium in a Two-Way World)
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To: ghost of nixon; abb
"It conformed too well to too many preconceived notions biases 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 biases of a lot of us [liberals]."
22 posted on 07/17/2007 3:59:15 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: abb

The lessons of the media's rush to judgment and their affair with a sensational, simplistic storyline rank among journalism's most basic tenets: Be fair; stick to the facts; question authorities; don't assume; pay attention to alternative explanations.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Riiiiiiight.


Liberal journalists don't practice any of that today.

They are paid propaganda hounds with an agenda. The words "integrity" and "professionalism" are what they expect everyone else to adhere to - not them.

23 posted on 07/17/2007 4:03:09 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

perfect!


24 posted on 07/18/2007 8:11:44 AM PDT by ghost of nixon
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To: abb
Thank God the boys had an alternative media. This is one you can sleep well at night over, abb. Let’s try to catch as many others as we can. I will never give up watching. We just need to make sure they can’t shut this media down.
25 posted on 07/18/2007 12:10:57 PM PDT by Constitutions Grandchild
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To: Illuminatas
http://youtube.com/watch?v=A-JgTnR2jkk
I know the daily show isnt a favorite around here, but this is great."

This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Viacom International Inc.

I was too late.

26 posted on 07/19/2007 9:36:52 AM PDT by sweet_diane ("They hate us 'cause they ain't us.")
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To: Constitutions Grandchild
"Thank God the boys had an alternative media."

Isn't that the truth. It took me months to convince my mom that these boys did not rape that girl. She still thinks if its on "that damn internet of yours", then it is just wishful thanking and wrong. She's a work in progress.

Scary to think what would happen to these boys without it.

27 posted on 07/19/2007 9:42:05 AM PDT by sweet_diane ("They hate us 'cause they ain't us.")
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To: abb

Many people should be in jail over this. Many people should be sued. Nothing like that will happen, since the authorities have waited until it’s all over, and a mind-numbed public has forgotten, to just let it all disappear.
There will be no jail for the criminals nifong and the female stripper. This is an injustice.


28 posted on 07/19/2007 9:46:39 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: abb

During the dismissal of the charges against the student athletes, the “new” prosecutor announced that they were not going to pursue Magnum for her role in the debacle. I hope that when the lawsuits are filed that she and Roberts are named as parties defendant so that their depositios can be taken and their versions of events compared to Nifong’s.


29 posted on 07/19/2007 11:02:25 AM PDT by John Galt's cousin ("Innocent until proven guilty" is more correctly phrased: "Innocent UNLESS proven guilty.")
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To: John Galt's cousin

depositios = depositions
whoops


30 posted on 07/19/2007 11:07:15 AM PDT by John Galt's cousin ("Innocent until proven guilty" is more correctly phrased: "Innocent UNLESS proven guilty.")
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