In this weekend's unsigned opinion piece, the Herald Sun falsely states of Lewis Cheek: "Yet he still withheld a formal decision on whether he would actually campaign for the office." In fact, Mr. Cheek stated very clearly in a formal news conference that he would not campaign for the office. Statements by Mr. Cheek that directly contradict the Herald Sun's inaccurate assertions include: "I will not run a campaign." and "I'm not going to have any further connection with the campaign, with the election, with anything after I finish answering questions today."
The editorial continues to disseminate false information when it offers the evaluation that Mr. Cheek said supporters shouldn't vote for him: "Cheek said being district attorney would be too much of a distraction from the business of his Durham law firm, so supporters shouldn't vote for him after all." While a creative imagination is to be applauded, we can't say that we find its proper place of expression to be the opinion pages of a pseudo major daily newspaper. How they came to the faulty conclusion that Mr. Cheek encourages his supporters to not vote for him after all is beyond us. More accurately, what Mr. Cheek said publicly was "The people will be able to directly state whether they are satisfied with the status quo. They will state that themselves...In June the people spoke with signatures on a petition. In November the people will speak with votes at the ballot box. I want to emphasize to you that what I am saying is that the people will speak... Lewis Cheek isn't going to be speaking. It's up to every individual voter to make up his/her decision on what they might believe is the right thing to do." Lewis Cheek clearly DID NOT say that his supporters shouldn't vote for him after all.
The effort by the Herald Sun to offer an exact opposite version of what Mr. Cheek stated, makes it appear that they are disinterested in reporting the truth. Mr. Cheek spoke very clearly about what he thought the voters should do. Some might even say that his words and direction were a clear endorsement of Anybody But Nifong. We question whether the Herald Sun's blatant misrepresentations were an effort to manipulate the community which it should be expected to serve. It appears that even the Nifong camp is accepting the reality that this election has become a referendum on Mr. Nifong himself. According to the News and Observer, Nifong's campaign director, Julie Linehan, admits that Cheek's decision has offered a situation where the choices on the ballot would be Nifong and Anyone But Nifong. "I wish he had said, 'Don't vote for me,' " she said. "Voting for him [Cheek] is voting for 'Not Nifong.' " In light of the fact that Mr. Cheeks own words and the statements of the Nifong campaign directly contradict the statements made by the Herald Sun we expect that a printed, front page retraction of these false statements and a public apology to the good people of Durham might help us to reconsider our assessment of this apparent propoganda campaign.
As for the article referred to initially here, we find the title to be quite deceptive. Please tell us, Mr. Stevenson, which attorney's are haggling? The article offers several legal opinions to the effect of his "revelation" being harmless to the defense and but a single opinion to the contrary. The several to one ratio of disagreement hardly seems to demontrate the controversy implied by the title. While we seem to recall reports of semen from two residents of the home being found at the time results from the initial DNA testing were released, we do concede that news of Mr. Evans being the source of DNA found on a towel in hallway to be genuinely a new report.
We can't help wondering if the more significant detail, which was conveniently glossed over in this article, was that semen from an unindicted person was found at the scene of the alleged crime. An objective observer might conclude that the semen on the floor of the bathroom not belonging to any of the falsely accused young men might be as relevant as the discovery of semen inside the accuser also belonging to someone other than than any of the three people accussed. It appears, however, that objective observers are as difficult to find at the Herald Sun as they are to find in the District Attorney's office.