Monday, 3 April 2006

The media's eye of the storm

Since there’s no real news today (again, doubtless because Mike Nifong is well away from the nearest camera), here’s the latest on the media navel-gazing.

Rush Limbaugh has helpfully lived up to his reputation as a big fat idiot by referring to the alleged victim in the case as a “ho.” Yet another person to add to the pile of media morons loosely connected with this case.

Meanwhile, another media crapstorm has emerged as the News and Observer’s public editor takes the paper to task for its decision to publish an unrebutted interview last week with the alleged victim in the case, a choice defended by the paper’s executive editor. One wonders about this little tidbit of the editor’s response:

We took care in editing the story not to introduce new accusations—the basics were the same as in police reports, which had already been made public.

This would seem to indicate that the alleged victim had additional accusations beyond those previously alleged—you don’t need to be careful if no more accusations were made.

In other N&O business, John in North Carolina notes that a person claiming to be the mother of one of the members of the lacrosse team has posted a comment to the blog of the paper’s Metro columnist, Ruth “Don’t Call Me Cindy” Sheehan, who has taken to the paper’s pages on two occasions to excorciate the whole men’s lacrosse team.

Thursday, 13 April 2006

House's rule

I’ve had a little bit of fun with Ruth Sheehan in the past, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you in the direction of her News & Observer column from today. I’m not sure if it’d be worse if the allegations were untrue, but I do think it would be quite disturbing. That said, I think we all hope and pray that this woman really wasn’t assaulted, much less that she was assaulted by people that are part of our community—in particular, the possibility that I may have taught one of the assailants is almost too horrible to contemplate.

The catchphrase of Greg House is “everybody lies.” As a professor, I probably get lied to at least once a day; there’s the occasional whopper, like the student I had at Millsaps who fabricated a whole conversation with me to get out of a co-curricular commitment she made, but most are rather more mundane. The whoppers are rare, but they do happen. I really don’t know whether to hope this is one of those or not.

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Back to the future

A reader draws my attention back to the April 2 public editor column in the News & Observer, in which Ted Vaden wrote in regards to the rape allegations against (then unnamed) members of the Duke lacrosse team:

[N&O deputy managing editor Linda] Williams said editors and the reporter discussed the fairness issue at length before interviewing the woman and publishing the story. The governing decision, she said, was to print only information from the interview that conformed with the police reports. “We limited for publication the statements from the woman that were in line with what she said in the police report,” Williams said. Other information from the interview has not been published.

I noted before managing editor Melanie Sill’s rebuttal, which also alluded to the fact that the paper chose not to print additional statements made by the accuser.

One would hope that the N&O will soon make public any parts of the original interview they previously redacted that are consistent or inconsistent with the defense’s statements about the events of the evening of March 13–14.