The Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax refuses to fade away, no doubt to the chagrin of New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller.
The Times features prominently in a comprehensive article by Rachel Smolkin in an upcoming edition of the American Journalism Review. Smolkin delivers a week-to-week dissection of the credulous media coverage given to false rape charges by a stripper against three Duke lacrosse players. Smolkin talked to former Times public editor Daniel Okrent, who was critical of his paper's coverage at the time and remains so.
"Charges Against a Star Linebacker Raises Questions About Justice" appears at first to be a run-of-the-mill example of politically correct crime coverage in the New York Times. Sports reporter Thayer Evans hinted at racism in a criminal investigation of a black college football player, Oklahoma State Cowboys linebacker Chris Collins, arrested on sexual assault for raping a 12 year-old. But then one remembers the Times' coverage of the Duke lacrosse case, and the politically correct becomes pathetic.
"In May 2004, Collins and another man were arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an intoxicated 12-year-old girl at a hotel in Texarkana, Tex., during an after-prom party. Two other men were charged in December 2005. Collins pleaded not guilty in March, after being indicted by a grand jury in December 2004.
With Bush giving a press conference about the war in Iraq, Thursday wasn't exactly a slow news day. Yet the New York Times found room on Friday's front page for Winnie Hu's story about American Indian lacrosse players, "American Indians Widen Old Outlet In Youth Lacrosse." Meanwhile, readers got to watch political correctness trump the paper's corporate-line feminism.
"While the teams do not wear native clothing or have tribal sideline chants, the players say they adhere to the spirit of the game played hundreds of years ago. For instance, the Onondaga Red Hawks and the Tonawanda Braves do not allow girls to play, and male players on some other teams forbid women to touch their sticks for fear such contact could cost them the protection of the Creator during games. If a stick has been touched by a woman or girl, some native lore says it must be put away for seven days, and some Tonawanda players have been known to discard or give away such sticks."
Politics has once again managed to work its way onto the pages of ESPN. I recently wrote about Kenny Mayne adopting "Obama!" as a new signature call. For the record, Mayne wrote me to say that he was an independent, didn't intend any political overtones by "Obama!" and didn't realize, when agreeing to endorse Progressive Insurance, that head honcho Peter Lewis is a huge donor to a variety of left-wing causes including MoveOn.org.
This morning's online ESPN edition brings an article by Jason Sobel discussing, among other things, Tiger Woods' political potential. The item is prompted by Woods' appearance this week as host of a new tournament at the famed Congressional Country Club, just outside D.C. Observes author Sobel: "Hey, he's already among the world's most recognizable figures. Now he practically holds the key to the nation's capital by bringing professional golf to an area that was devoid of any tournaments when the tour's schedule was first announced. It's no secret that Congressional's first club president also happened to be a U.S. president, as Herbert Hoover resided in that capacity and fellow commanders in chief William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson acted as founding life members."
That's when things get sticky. In lauding Woods, Sobel says "Tiger is as as distinguished as Barack Obama, as eloquent as Hillary Clinton, as esteemed as Rudy Giuliani."
Big HT to Larry Elder, who brought this up on his radio show Tuesday (5/5/07). And thanks, Les!
On the May 26, 2007, episode of his syndicated radio show "Costas on the Radio," veteran sports broadcaster Bob Costas asserted that George W. Bush was not even "among the 500 most qualified people to be President." He then stated that it is "an inescapable fact," that "all doubt has been removed," that the Bush presidency is a "tragically failed administration."
Apparently in earlier recent episodes of his show, Costas had hosted guys like Tim Russert, Bernard Goldberg, Bill O'Reilly, and Bill Bradley. So it seems that Costas felt the need to air a few things out on this particular day. (All emphasis mine:)
Some people may wonder about the [political] feelings that I've expressed, and I won't get into all the particulars. I think it is now overwhelmingly evident, if you're honest about it, even if you're a conservative Republican, if you're honest about it, this is a failed administration. And no honest conservative would say that George W. Bush was among the 500 most qualified people to be President of the United States. That's not based on political leaning. If a liberal, and I tend to be liberal, disagrees with a conservative, they can still respect that person's competence and the integrity of their point of view.
In a failed attempt by the New York Times to provide some balance to its shoddy pro-prosecution coverage of the Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax, Sunday's Sports section featured sports reporter Pete Thamel's profile of the reinvigorated 2007 Duke lacrosse team, which that morning was on the verge of making it to lacrosse's "Final Four" (Duke advanced, winning the day's match against instate rival North Carolina).
Yet in "This Time, Spotlight Is Kinder to Duke," Thamel managed to locate ubiquitous popular culture commenter Robert Thompson to make the defensive suggestion that while the Duke players may have been innocent of rape, they may have been guilty of…being college students:
The New York Times' quest for social justice knows no out-of-bounds, judging by the front-page placement Wednesday of "Study of N.B.A. Sees Racial Bias in Calling Fouls" by sportswriter Alan Schwarz. Years after failing to secure Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor the right to golf at Augusta National Golf Club, the Times has now turned to the plight of multimillionaire NBA players who get bad foul calls.
"An academic study of the National Basketball Association, whose playoffs continue tonight, suggests that a racial bias found in other parts of American society has existed on the basketball court as well.
"A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.
Blogger, law professor and case expert KC Johnson has noted the Times has never corrected falsehoods in the timeline in Wilson's August 25 story. Wilson's Saturday piece hews closer to the truth, but without acknowledging his original errors.
Sports fans checking the box scores this morning got a lesson in "transsexualism" when they opened the LA Times. Mike Penner, one of the paper's sports writers, announced in his column he is taking a few weeks off. When he returns he’ll be known as Christine Daniels.
The column detailed Penner's 40-year struggle with “transsexualism.” He said that “extensive therapy and testing” show that his brain was “wired female.” He defended the “medical condition” as “widely misunderstood” and a “natural occurrence.”
When three white Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a black stripper were finally declared innocent by the attorney general of North Carolina earlier this month, New York Times critics focused on the paper's lousy coverage of the case, including Times Watch (citing research by law writer Stuart Taylor Jr.) and most prominently Fox News anchor Brit Hume on his April 12 "Special Report."
Even as the case fell apart and other liberal media outlets backed away, the Times issued a notorious 5,000-word portrait of the case on August 25, 2006, in which reporter Duff Wilson concluded that there was enough evidence against the players for local prosecutor Michael Nifong the case to trial.
As usual, company man Calame lets the Times off easier than it deserves, but his mild, overly faithful criticism does tease out a few nuggets of insight.
It's hardly news that sportscasting, MSM-style, offers no respite from liberal politics. Particularly so when it comes to the ABC/Disney owned ESPN, the sports network that pressured Rush Limbaugh to resign from its Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show for saying what was on his mind about media treatment of Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.
Even so, it came as something of a shock to observe that one ESPN personality is turning his on-screen appearances into an opportunity to promote the candidacy of a Dem presidential contender. Many sportscasters have their signature calls. From Stuart Scott's "boo-yah!" to Chris Berman's "back-back-back gone!," several of the ESPN announcers utter idiosyncratic phrases to underline signal athletic accomplishments. Fair enough. But watching ESPN's Kenny Mayne over the course of the last few days, I was surprised to notice that he has coined a new call. Home run at a crucial moment? Three-pointer to take the lead in a basketball game? "Obama!", exclaims Mayne.
If in the wake of the Imus incident the Rutgers women's basketball players had spurned an invitation to meet with President Bush, do you think ABC might have told us about it? Natch. But when those same players blew off a chance to meet Hillary Clinton, ABC managed to put a positive spin on matters.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton finally dropped by Rutgers to meet with the school's women's basketball coach -- but the players themselves skipped the half-hour meeting, citing their studies and Imus fatigue.
"Many of the players were in study hall from eight to noon and some had finals," explained a Rutgers source who said the players were "tired" of all the attention. "These young women need to do their classes, and wrap their spring semester."
It's enough to give a guy flashbacks to co-eds shooting him down for a Saturday-night date because they had to study.
In the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax, New York Times columnist Peter Applebome spoke out against the "socially conscious left" that was ready to convict the innocent Duke lacrosse players without evidence. Was fellow Times columnist Selena Roberts listening?
"The rape case that cost three Duke University lacrosse players a year of their lives and much more of their youth finally ended on Wednesday, when North Carolina Attorney General Roy A. Cooper said what many people have long known: all three were totally innocent of the charges against them.
According to TV Newser, football fans can probably expect some liberal bias in the upcoming NFL season. Keith Olbermann, the reliably left-wing MSNBC host, will become the co-anchor of NBC’s "Football Night in America":
MSNBC host Keith Olbermann is returning to network sports after a six year absence as a co-host of NBC's Football Night in America.
"This will, obviously, be great fun and a great privilege for me," Olbermann says. "To be reunited with NBC Sports, and Dick, and the entire production team, produces all the warm-and-fuzzies you'd be expecting. And even if they weren't old friends and colleagues, to get to work with the nonpareil of sportscasters in Bob, and the most insightful and honest of sports analysts in Cris, will be rewarding and challenging. I hope I can hold up my end of the equation."
Readers may recall that, back in 2000, radio star Rush Limbaugh auditioned to join ABC’s "Monday Night Football" broadcast, an act that horrified the Washington Post and other liberal outlets.
Thursday's New York Times was the only major newspaper to lead with the big news out of North Carolina -- the state's attorney general is dropping all charges against the three former Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of the sexual assault of a stripper at an off-campus house.
The story by Duff Wilson and David Barstow, "Duke Prosecutor Throws Out Case Against Players," noted:
"North Carolina’s attorney general declared three former Duke University lacrosse players accused of sexually assaulting a stripper innocent of all charges on Wednesday, ending a prosecution that provoked bitter debate over race, class and the tactics of the Durham County district attorney."
After sliming the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a stripper, Times sports columnist Selena Roberts returned to school on Wednesday with "A First Class Response to a Second-Class Putdown," about the Don Imus-Rutgers University women's basketball team controversy, in which the talk radio host denigrated the team by referring to them as "nappy-headed ho's." Roberts gushed about the Rutgers' players speaking truth to power:
"Of grace and dignity, without a single boob joke for ratings or a raunchy sidekick for on-air laughs, the women wearing Rutgers scarlet managed to capsize society’s power differential yesterday….But possessing the power differential means bullying someone your own size. With the ear of a national audience, Imus denigrated women who have revealed the courage to play a sport in its pure, fundamental form even though it is often branded inferior to the dunk style of men. The gals absorb enough put-downs as it is."
This marks huge hypocrisy on the part of Roberts, given that in the Duke lacrosse case, she eagerly sided with two separate bases of "power "-- an out-of-control local prosecutor, Michael Nifong, who now faces an ethics complaint from the North Carolina state bar*, as well as a politically correct college faculty and administration eager to side with what they considered an oppressed minority victim.
Instead of profiling the great Arnold Palmer or sizing up the competition on the first day of the Masters tournament, the Washington Post took the time to complain about a liberal standbye: gender discrimination.
"Augusta Chairman Averts Issue of Women" screamed the Post headline on April 5.
Writing about new Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, reporter Leonard Shapiro said, "he refused to be drawn into a discussion that marked the tenure of his predecessor."
Shapiro chose to bring up old news -- the 2003 controversy when women's groups opposed the private golf club because of its entirely male membership. One result was that the Masters was aired commercial-free that year.