Thursday, April 19, 2007

Revisionist Hypocrisy

In the latest installment of her campaign to defend the News & Observer's coverage of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax, executive editor Melanie Sill accuses her critics of employing revisionist history in attacking the paper's role in promoting the Hoax.
"Revisionist history

"A lot is being said and written about "media" coverage of the Duke case over the past year. A couple of thoughts. First, "media" is a big bunch. We didn't all do the same things. (TV and Nancy Grace bore little resemblance to The N&O's coverage) That was true in the beginning and became even clearer as the weeks and months wore on.

"I invite you to go back into The N&O archive (using our search, you can search by date to isolate the first few weeks of coverage). ” -- News & Observer Executive Editor Melanie Sill
Accepting Ms. Sill's invitation, we've tested her assertion that Nancy Grace bore little resemblance to the News & Observer.

Travis Mangum and the invisible bruises

Nancy Grace:
Nancy Grace: You said you saw bruises on her face. Where were they?

Travis Mangum: Right up on the eyes and the jaw (INAUDIBLE)

Nancy Grace: And where was the scratch on her arm?

Travis Mangum: It was on her right arm, I believe (INAUDIBLE) And she didn`t tell me a lot of the details, but she did tell me that three boys had raped her. And I asked her where was it at, where did it happen, and she said at that house.
News & Observer:
Father: Injuries were telling
He says he felt 'numb, angry'

“The father of the woman who said she was raped at a party near the Duke University campus said in an interview Tuesday that when he saw her the day after the party, her eyes and face were swollen, her arms were scratched, and she was complaining about her leg.”

She told him she thought some part of her leg had slipped out of joint, he said.

The woman told her father that she had been dancing at a party and that someone had hit her. It wasn't until the next day the woman told her father she had been raped, he said.

"I think she was ashamed. ... I just felt numb, angry," the father said.

The party was at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. and was attended by Duke lacrosse team players. Lawyers for players deny the woman's allegations. No charges have been filed.

In an interview March 25, the woman told The News & Observer that she hesitated to report her story to police but that thinking about her father helped her make the decision.

"I knew if I didn't report it that he would have that hurt forever, knowing that someone hurt his baby and got away with it," she said in the interview.

It is the policy of The News & Observer not to identify people who report sexual assaults to police, or the names of their relatives, in an effort to protect the victims' identity.

The father said Tuesday that early on the morning of March 14, he went to Duke Hospital with his son and waited more than two hours to see his daughter. Doctors wouldn't say why she was there, he said.

The father went home and waited for word from his daughter. Later that morning, she came to her parents' house with her boyfriend.

"After she came home, that's when I knew she had been beaten up," her father said.
The Wall of Silence Hoax

Nancy Grace:
Nancy Grace: Duke's Lacrosse team players appear to be giving police the silent treatment about the allegations of gang rape.
News & Observer:
Team's silence is sickening

Members of the Duke men's lacrosse team: You know.

We know you know.

Whatever happened in the bathroom at the stripper party gone terribly terribly bad, you know who was involved. Every one of you does.

And one of you needs to come forward and tell the police.

Do not be afraid of retribution on the team. Do not be persuaded that somehow this "happened" to one or more "good guys."

If what the strippers say is true -- that one of them was raped, sodomized, beaten and strangled -- the guys responsible are not "good."

This seems an elementary statement, I know.

But I can see loyal team members sitting around convincing themselves that it would be disloyal to turn on their teammates -- why, the guys who were involved were just a little "over the top." In real life, they're funny. They call their mothers once a week. They share class notes with friends. They attend church.

On this night, they were just a little too drunk, a little too "worked up." It was a scene straight out of "I am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolfe. Indicative of the times.

The alleged racial epithets slung at the strippers, who were black? Those were just ... jokes. Ditto for the ugly remarks overheard by a neighbor: "Thank your grandpa for my cotton shirt." Har, har.

After all, these guys are not just Duke students, but student athletes. The collegiate dream.

And the women? They were... strippers, for Pete's sake.

I can see the team going down this path, justifying its silence. And it makes me sick.
The New Black Panthers and the Hoax

Nancy Grace:
GRACE: OK, question. Why are the New Black Panthers there? Even the old Black Panthers, who basically advocated chaos -- they`ve distanced themselves from the New Black Panthers. I don`t believe the alleged victim has asked them to come.

MILLER: Right.

GRACE: What are they doing there?

MILLER: Nancy, it`s very simple. Malik Shabazz is opportunist. We`ve had him on WPTF...

GRACE: Who is Malik Shabazz?

MILLER: He`s the leader of the New Black Panther Party. He -- we`ve had him on the radio. He`s called me...

GRACE: Don't he have a job he has to go to?

MILLER: He`s an attorney, Nancy.

GRACE: Oh, Lord!
News & Observer
Panthers right on, finally

Those were definitely not your father's Black Panthers at Duke University on Monday.

Sure, they looked like the Panthers we romanticized as folk heroes in the 1960s for taking on "The Man." They had the same unsmiling visages, the black clothes with berets broke down to the side, the same impenetrably dark sunglasses.

Much of the rhetoric, unfortunately, was also from the 1960s.

At least at first. For much of the speech by New Black Panther Party leader Malik Shabazz, he assailed white men who "raped black women and were never tried. ... This legacy continues of white men being able to have their way with black women."

Shabazz and his New Black Panther Party were in Durham, almost at Duke's door, to declare "guilty" the white Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a black dancer hired from an escort service.

I dug Shabazz's mantra of "respect for black women" but was disappointed by his failure to acknowledge that, in many instances, "The Man" doing the disrespecting is now black.

How, I asked, can you criticize anyone else without holding black men accountable for their part in the tawdriness-for-hire, the raunchy videos, the demeaning song lyrics?
I said this to myself, you understand, since the New Panthers didn't look like anyone whose ire I wanted to incite.

Depending upon your view, the new incarnation is better -- or worse -- than the original Panthers. The Panthers founded in 1966 in Oakland never backed down from armed confrontation and were labeled by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover the "most dangerous group in America" during the 1960s.

Yet even survivors of that once-feared militant group have disavowed the New Black Panthers, whose fiery rhetoric has caused many to call them racist and anti-Semitic.

I didn't hear any racism, and the New Panthers were respectful, even amiable, toward Durham cops. One, who was packing heat, complied when an officer -- trained to spot the telltale bulge -- asked him to return his gun to his car.

I was fixing to return to my car and dismiss Monday's gathering and speechifying as a mere media event when Shabazz redeemed himself.

After leading a march from Duke to the house where the alleged assault took place, he urged his listeners to "shut down anything that makes an object" of black women's sexuality. He named, among others, the Black Entertainment Television network -- BET, which essentially stands for "Booties Every Time" you turn it on.

I applauded inwardly his comments, but Inez Aguilar, standing beside me, applauded outwardly and enthusiastically.

"I'm in agreement with everything he said about that," Aguilar said. "The way they parade women around [on TV] is just ridiculous. ... That's why I brought my son out, so he can hear that it is not all right to disrespect women."

Right on. My marching days are pretty much over, but if the new or old Panthers ever march on the offices of BET, I'll be right there with them.

If they need someone to hold down BET founder Bob Johnson and make him watch the "Rumpshaker" video for 48 hours in a row, I'll volunteer.

Power to the people, indeed.
Vigilante Sam's Wanted Poster

Nancy Grace:
News & Observer:

Coincidentally, Ms. Sill's invitation is nearly identical to that of Bob Ashley. When asked by email to cite an example of the Herald Sun's "fair" coverage of the Hoax, Mr. Ashley replied simply with a link to the Herald Sun archives.

In many ways, and in many instances, the News & Observer has demonstrated both the best and the worst of the media's coverage of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax. From the Hoax busting reporting of Joseph Neff to the examples above which fail the Nancy Grace test, the difference is night and day. For those of us who have appreciated the efforts of Neff and others at the N&O, it's disappointing to see Ms. Sill add the News & Observer to the long list of Hoax enablers unwilling to recognize, or apologize for, their role in fueling the Nifong/Mangum Hoax.


Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I never thought I'd say something positive about Nancy Disgrace, but at least she was barely bright enough to figure out how much of a racist, opportunistic parasite Shabazz is.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Sill is a joke and a shrill. Only Neff saved the N&O from itself. Sill should resign. Assuming she has neither the dignity nor honor to do what is necessary, she should be fired. Now. Candidly, this isn't even a close call.

Anonymous said...

Best and worst is right. Too bad they all can't be like Neff.

Anonymous said...

LOL! There is nothing more twisted in logic that an Lyncher saying they are fighting injustice!

Melanie, Nobody who can read believes you!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the Liestoppers Team. It amazes me how much viable and factual information you have put forth over the the course of this case.

As much as I enjoy KC Johnson, Liestoppers by far exceeds him in getting the facts out. Almost word for word, I have seen your posts in motions.

Your team is amazing.

stephen said...

Not only does Ms. Sill shoot herself in the foot, it's in her mouth at the time!