Friday, September 22, 2006

The Exact Moment When Durham Cheerleader Ashley Turns Into The Universal Butt of The Joke

The Bob Ashley "Fan" Club appears to be growing rapidly. Over the past week the Duke Hoax blogosphere has taken aim directly at Nifong hip-hugger Ashley and his Herald Sun newspaper with pointed questions directed at his slanted approach to all things Nifong. Among the many highlights (if you’re not Ashley):

John in Carolina contrasts the News and Observer’s coverage with the Herald Sun’s:

About that Ashley H-S report that defense attorney’s “admittedly approved” the polling. Here’s how the N&O reported on that: In a motion prepared late Wednesday afternoon, attorneys for the three defendants asked a judge to deny Nifong and said they told him in August that they intended to conduct polling. The survey was scientific, the lawyers said, and limited to 300 interviews.

Why didn't Editor Bob Ashley's paper tell readers the attorneys said they told Nifong about the polling in August? Why say instead the attorneys "admittedly approved" the poll?

JinC also gives us some background on Ashley’s debut with the Herald Sun and the paper’s downward spiral from then until now:

Three years ago, The Durham Herald Sun was a respected community newspaper owned by a local family. Then in late 2004, the H-S was sold to a privately held The Paxton Media Group, based in Paducah, Ky.

Paxton sent Ashley to Durham to run the H-S. On Ashley’s first day, scores of long-time H-S employees were summarily fired and escorted by security guards from the H-S building. They weren’t given reasons for their firings, other than they were no longer needed. They weren’t even allowed to return to their desks to say good-bye to friends and colleagues, some of whom they’d worked with for more than 20 years. Ashley explained that was because of "security reasons."

When a newspaper’s circulation is declining as its region grows and its weekday “A” section advertising averages less than two full pages a day, that paper’s headed for “a crash and burn,” even if its editor was once “Duke of Paducah.”

Professor KC Johnson points out Mr. Ashley’s aversion to truth in journalism:

The "votebook" inaccuracy isn't the first time the Herald-Sun has wildly distorted news regarding the Cheek effort. In a July 30 editorial, editor Bob Ashley opined,

-On Thursday, 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.

In fact, Cheek had said exactly the opposite regarding how his supporters might vote. As N&O reporter Benjamin Niolet noted after the county commissioner's press conference,
-Cheek . . . said anyone dissatisfied with Nifong could vote for him. Cheek said that he would vote for himself but would stay out of the election and the campaign.

Why would Ashley misrepresent Cheek's statement?

In another offering, Prof. Johnson directs our attention to the Herald Sun Hilarity :

Then there’s the Durham Herald-Sun, which has combined plodding pro-Nifong editorials with “news” articles whose one-sided nature borders on journalistic fraud, topped off by a pattern of simply ignoring newsworthy items that can’t be framed in pro-Nifong terms.

Talk Left poster Tony Soprano pokes fun at Ashley’s Herald Sun and others in a comment on “reaction” to the News and Observer’s upcoming, “Who is Nifong” article:

In my zeal to cover this case and leave no stone unturned, I made some phone calls to get comments, opinions, and predictions on this upcoming article on Nifong in the N&O:
…The Durham Herald Sun asked me to wait a minute and then the reporter was heard asking an assistant if Mr. Nifong was done editing their article announcing the upcoming article.

The Herald-Sun is "a dead man walking" to use a phrase we've heard before in Durham.

TJN notes, in another fine article, the Herald Sun’s death spiral:

The Herald-Sun may be another casualty of the Duke rape hoax. The case has been an acid test for North Carolina journalists. It looks like the acid from this case may peel away the remaining dead flesh from the corpse of The Herald-Sun.

Crystal Mess offers combination jabs at Ashley with “More Herald Sun Hilarity” and “Nifong the Ghost Writer”

The September 16 letter of "Jimmy D. Haynes" is so full of misleading falsehoods that I must conclude one of three things:
1) His real name is Michael B. Nifong;
2) His real name is Bob Ashley, or;
3) His real name is "Liar."

In case you were not privy to the email circulating the Herald Sun’s mail server this week with the subject line of “The Exact Moment When Durham Cheerleader Ashley Turns Into The Universal Butt of The Joke” which contained a link to our entry into the Ashley “love” festival, our contribution can be found here:

As if further evidence of Ashley’s extreme bias in favor of all things Nifong was needed, Beth Brewer of the Committee to Recall Nifong - Vote Cheek has informed LieStoppers that Mr. Ashley expressly denied her permission to reproduce any Herald Sun articles on her campaign’s website with the exception of a guest column penned by Lewis Cheek and a handful of Letters to the Editor. Not surpisingly, DA Nifong’s campaign site is lined with pro-persecutor Herald Sun articles.


Anonymous said...

Paxton Media in Paducah, Ky., is parent company of Durham newspaper. Paxton put Ashley in the job.

Anonymous said...

Excellent reporting! Thank you.

I missed this gem initially!

Keep up the great work!