Monday, April 16, 2007

Snooze Room Strikes Again

With an unsigned report on yesterday's installment of '60 Minutes', The Herald Sun again demonstrates its willingness to distort truth in order to hype the now dead Nifong/Mangum hoax. With blatant disregard for accuracy, the Herald Sun purposefully misconstrues the words of State Attorney General Roy Cooper while suggesting that the exonerated victim's of the Hoax were declared innocent for reasons other than their factual innocence. As usual, the Snooze Room does not miss an opportunity to downplay the misconduct of rogue prosecutor Mike Nifong at the expense of its journalistic credibility.

The Herald Sun writes:
Racial strain factor in Cooper declaration

State Attorney General Roy Cooper says the strains the Duke lacrosse case inflicted on Durham's racial climate played a role in his decision last week to declare the three defendants innocent of sexually assaulting an exotic dancer.

Cooper made the comments on Sunday night's CBS "60 Minutes" news program in response to a question from interviewer Leslie Stahl, who described Durham as a "racially roiled" city because the dancer was black and the players white.

Cooper also said it was his duty to "call out" Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong for actions in pursuing the case that Cooper considered "offensive." [ 60 Minutes ]
Its difficult to understand why the Snooze Room would so egregiously misrepresent the words of AG Cooper. Anyone who viewed the airing of '60 Minutes' will know that Cooper did not state that racial strain was a factor in the exoneration. The Herald Sun, however, preys upon those who did not watch the show while providing inflammatory ammunition for those who have chosen to suggest that the exoneration of the innocent victims of the Nifong/Mangum Hoax was based on ulterior racial motives.

What the Snooze Room describes falsely as a consideration for the declaration of innocence was in reality described as a factor considered in not pursuing charges against the false accuser.
"But the attorney general also announced he would not press charges against her for filing false police reports.

"Is the decision purely about her mental state or did you also take into account what this might do to this community which was already roiled in racial tension? Were you afraid that it would exacerbate more racial tension?" Stahl asks Cooper.

"We did consider it. We did talk about it. But we think in the best interest of justice, that it was not the right thing to do," Cooper says. [ 60 Minutes ]
The Snooze Room pretends that Attorney General Roy Cooper found the case "offensive" when instead the AG described Defendant Nifong's misconduct in taking "advantage of his enormous power" and overreaching as "offensive."
"In exonerating the three young men, Attorney General Roy Cooper did something almost unheard of: he publicly and harshly rebuked a fellow law enforcement official, calling Nifong a rogue prosecutor who ignored the facts.

"In his news conference, Cooper sounded offended and outraged by this whole thing.

"When we have a prosecutor who takes advantage of his enormous power and overreaches like this, then yes, it’s offensive, and yes, it’s my duty as the chief law enforcement officer of this state to call him out on it," Cooper tells Stahl.

"Now, there's a difference between a prosecutor who makes mistakes and a prosecutor who sets out deliberately to railroad someone. So are we dealing with a situation where someone was sloppy, or someone was very deliberate and malicious?" Stahl asks.

"I do not know what his motives were. Regardless of his motives, the result was wrong. What happened was wrong," Cooper says.
Anyone who has taken note of the Herald Sun's repeated failures to adhere to journalistic standards throughout the duration of the Hoax will not be surprised by the continued distortions. Following '60 Minutes' October expose' of the Hoax, the Herald Sun took a similar tack with an unsigned editorial that Duke University Professor of Law James Coleman described in a letter to the editor as turning "the case into an ugly caricature."
“Your editorial about the recent "60 Minutes" report mischaracterizes both what the district attorney's role has been in the Duke lacrosse rape case and why some of us have criticized him. Like much of the media hype that has surrounded the case, your editorial turns the case into an ugly caricature by suggesting that the decision to prosecute the Duke students was made by a valiant prosecutor on a white horse who is defending a helpless black woman who "ranks near the bottom of society." That is what the prosecutor also suggested when he told a largely African-American audience that he personally would protect "this black girl" from the hooligans at Duke. I find that characterization of the case offensive and patronizing. Why do you say the accuser is "near the bottom of society?" She is an apparently talented student and mother who dances to support herself and her child. She is a woman, not a "black girl." Trying to make this case about race and class has done a great disservice to Durham. From the start, it should have been handled as just an alleged rape that had to be investigated and prosecuted if the evidence warranted it. As someone who has criticized Nifong's handling of the case, I have not called for him to dismiss it; rather, I have suggested only that a special prosecutor be appointed who can make the kind of disinterested decisions about the case that Nifong has shown himself incapable of making. If the case goes to trial, it should be based on the strength of the evidence against the defendants, rather than as a convenient way to shift responsibility for ending what now appears to be a highly questionable prosecution to a judge or jury.”
While it may be no surprise that the Snooze Room again fails to report accurately, the resulting aspersions cast upon the innocent victims of the Hoax, apology offered for the rogue prosecutor, and fuel added to the manufactured but divisive racial context of the Hoax are no less offensive and no less damaging to the community it pretends to serve and the profession it so poorly represents.

1 comment:

Alia said...

Leslie Stahl asked the leading question. It was obvious to me, SAG Cooper knew it to be a "set-up" question.

The Media made a lot of money off the LA Riots - another disgusting display of "social justice".