Political Correctness

This will be an occasional series of notes
on how the media, through its actions, promotes political correctness.
Entries so far:

The Duke Rape Allegations
Muslims, Jews, and Double Standards
The Killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman


  1. a lewd or immoral woman

  2. a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman
    sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse

Applied opprobriously to a woman; strictly, a lewd or sensual woman.
Not now in decent use; but formerly common in literature.
In mod. use, esp.
a malicious or treacherous woman;
of things: something outstandingly difficult or unpleasant.

?a1400 Chester Pl. (1843) 181
Whom calleste thou queine, skabde biche?
1575 J. STILL Gamm. Gurton II. ii,
Come out, thou hungry needy bitch.
1675 HOBBES Odyssey XVIII. 310
Ulysses looking sourly answered, You Bitch.
1712 ARBUTHNOT John Bull (1755) 9
An extravagant bitch of a wife.
1790 WOLCOTT (P. Pindar) Adv. Fut. Laureat Wks. 1812 II. 337
Call her Prostitute, Bawd, dirty Bitch.
1814 Byron Let. 15 Oct. (1830) I. 586
It is well that one of us is of such fame,
since there is a sad deficit in the morale of that article upon my part,
all owing to my ‘bitch of a star’,
as Captain Tranchemont says of his planet.
1833 MARRYAT P. Simple (1834) 446
You are a..son of a bitch.
1904 KIPLING Traffics & Discov. 165
After eight years, my father,
cheated by your bitch of a country,
he found out who was the upper dog in South Africa.
1913 D. H. LAWRENCE Sons & Lovers I. iv. 60
‘Look at the children, you nasty little bitch!’ he sneered.
1931 T. E. LAWRENCE Let. 10 June (1938) 722
‘She’ says the incarnate sailor,
stroking the gangway of the Iron Duke,
‘can be a perfect bitch in a cross-sea.’
1931 R. ALDINGTON Colonel's Daughter I. 50
What a preposterous old bitch that woman is.
1944 WYNDHAM LEWIS Let. 20 Aug. (1963) 378
For it may be a bitch of a Peace.
1956 S. BECKETT Godot I. p. 37
That's how it is on this bitch of an earth.

The powers-that-be in the media/cultural complex,
upending six centuries of literary history,
seem to be busy trying to decree
that the word “bitch” is no longer acceptable.

Things have become so extreme that
even when one woman calls another woman a bitch,
the powers-that-be wish to declare that unacceptable:

McCain Defends Reaction to Clinton Jab
The Associated Press, 2007-11-14

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said Wednesday
he responded appropriately
after a woman used the word “bitch”
to describe Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“She made a comment, I made light of the comment,
and then I said very seriously
I treated and continue to treat Senator Clinton with respect
and I’ve said that many times,”
the Arizona senator told reporters at his Phoenix office.
He chuckled when a reporter brought it up.

When asked whether he thought the woman’s comment was funny,
McCain said he reacted that way because he wanted to move on.

“I can’t dictate what other people say _ that’s not my business,”
he said.
“Nor is it an appropriate role for me to play
in a gathering at a restaurant,
and if anybody thinks that I should,
then I think they have the wrong idea of what gatherings are all about.”

At the campaign event on Monday, the woman asked McCain,
“How do we beat the bitch?”

McCain laughed along with the crowd as he said,
“May I give the translation?”

“That’s an excellent question,” he added.
“I respect Senator Clinton.
I respect anyone who gets the nomination of the Democratic Party.”

McCain said Wednesday he’s sure the New York senator understands.
[I’ll bet!]

“Senator Clinton and I have a very good relationship,” he said.
“She understands I’ve always treated her with respect,
and I’m sure that’s been the reaction of her campaign.”

Clinton’s campaign did not immediately return telephone calls for comment.
On Tuesday, CNN’s Rick Sanchez raised the question of
whether McCain should have admonished the woman.

“Most people who have seen it are looking at it as a real mistake on his part
in terms of the way he handled it,”
Sanchez said on the cable network’s “Out in the Open.”

McCain vs. CNN
by Howard Kurtz
Washington Post, 2007-11-15

John McCain, who is drawing criticism
for not challenging a South Carolina voter's vulgar reference to Hillary Clinton,
yesterday issued a letter
accusing CNN of having "stooped to an all-time low"
in trumpeting the incident.

On Monday night, when a woman at a town hall meeting
asked how Republicans could beat Clinton --
calling her a word that rhymes with “witch” --
McCain smiled as the crowd laughed and said it was an “excellent question.”
After citing a poll showing him beating her in a general-election matchup,
the senator from Arizona said:
“I respect Senator Clinton.
I respect anyone who gets the nomination of the Democrat Party.”

Anchor Rick Sanchez led off his “Out in the Open” show with the video, saying:
“This could be real bad for John McCain. . . .
No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton,
is John McCain done as a result of this? . . .
I think he could be in trouble for this from women.”

Campaign manager Rick Davis, in a fundraising letter,
charged the “Clinton News Network” with “gratuitously attacking” McCain.
He said that CNN
“owes John McCain an apology because of the outrageous behavior” of Sanchez,
and that
“the liberal media” are “trying to stop the McCain comeback.”

Sanchez sees no need for an apology, saying McCain
“has not addressed what many would see as embracing a word
that is demeaning to women.

[I get so tired of this sophistry
coming from the feminist über-bitches and their male fellow-travelers.
The term “bitch” in no way refers to all women,
but rather to a specific type of woman:
pushy, aggressive, the opposite of a lady.

Note also that the person who spoke the word was herself a woman.
Was she demeaning herself, according to Mr. Sanchez?
A self-demeaning woman?]

He did not seem to respond appropriately to an offensive word,”

[Again, offensive to the hyper-PC and bitchy feminists.]

Sanchez said, and instead is
trying “to get people to focus attention . . . on the messenger.”

Rhymes With Front-Runner
By Eugene Robinson
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2007-11-16

[The beginning of this op-ed; emphasis is added.]

“That’s an excellent question” normally doesn’t make
the list of utterances
that can get a candidate in trouble on the campaign trail.
But this presidential campaign isn’t what anyone would call normal.

John McCain gave that anodyne response Monday
at a “town hall” event in South Carolina
when an elegant woman, of patrician bearing,
posed this question about a possible Democratic nominee:
“How do we beat the [expletive]?”

The expletive in question
is a highly derogatory word used by rappers
to describe the scantily clad women
who gyrate in the background of racy music videos.
It’s the word that former first lady Barbara Bush was hinting at
when someone asked her opinion of Geraldine Ferraro and she replied,
“I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich.”

It’s hard to write a newspaper column about
a word that most editors won’t print in a family newspaper.

[Back to the comments of KHarbaugh:]

The word, of course, is “bitch.”
It does seem to be true that the word bitch is becoming, like the word nigger,
a word that it is no longer acceptable to say, write, or print.

A natural question is, what used to be the situation?
I checked the Washington Post’s articles for 1987, as an example,
and found 56 articles that used the b word.

Were they all describing rap music,
or condemning the use of the word?
Some examples, including context:

All Dolled Up
by Nina Hyde
Washington Post, 1987-08-16

Susan Lucci doesn’t feel any less a scoundrel
if she wears a short skirt or a long one as Erica Kane,
television’s most enduring bitch,
in “All My Children.”

Wooing and Winning
Conflicting Advice on Ways to Meet, Manage or Marry the Elusive Male

by Sandra McElwaine
Washington Post, 1987-09-22

Then it is time to clinch the deal by enhancing your relationship.
Upgrade your vocabulary; praise him continually.
Don’t talk dirty.
Wait until he employs the first expletive.
Above all,
be a bitch.
Nice girls don’t succeed;
bitching will keep him coming back for more.

[She can’t be serious.]

Rebecca West: A Woman Of Independent Ways
by Dennis Drabelle (Drabelle is a contributing editor of WP Book World)
Washington Post Book World, 1987-10-04

When, after 10 fractious years, the affair with Wells ended,
West entered into a brief, disastrous liaison
with the press magnate, Lord Beaverbrook.
His impotence-along with a few other sexual fiascos-
undermined her feminine self-esteem.
She feared she had developed into
that stereotype of antifeminist propaganda,
a castrating bitch.

[I doubt that West herself, at that time,
was too worried about “antifeminist propaganda”;
she was born in 1892.]

Okay, enough from 1987.
Back to 2007:

The B-Word? You Betcha.
By Andi Zeisler
Washington Post Outlook, 2007-11-18

[Some comments from KHarbaugh:]

This article demonstrates that
feminists are more than willing to use the word bitch,
and when they do,
it is clear that they are not talking about all women,
just about a sort of behavior that some women exhibit,
and also, about the women who exhibit that behavior.
In other words, the word is not “demeaning to all women,”
as the high priests of political correctness
in the media, culture, academia, and the legal system
would have it.

A further example of such usage by feminists
is the 2002 New York Times bestseller
The Bitch in the House.

Even more extreme examples of such usage can be found at the web site
Heartless Bitches International,
which defines “bitch” as
“Being In Total Control, Honey”
(talk about ball-busting!),
and poses such questions as:

“Have you HAD IT with people telling you that you are


“Do you want to SMACK women who play ‘helpless’
just to gain male attention and stroke male egos?”

(in both quotes, the capitalization is that of the original).

(Which suggests another question:
What would be the reaction of feminists
to a web site, say www.neanderthals.com, which
or a man who
asked the question:
“Do you want to SMACK women who are

The answer, of course, is clear:
You see, in the mind of the feminists,
it is perfectly okay for them to intimidate, threaten, and bully
women with less testosterone than they,
but let a male try to do to them
what they do to other women, why,
It’s a federal case!
Cry bloody murder!
Cry rape, harassment, and abuse!
And the media, academia, and legal and political systems will eat it up,
and say
“Oh, you poor dear.
What have all those beastly men done to you now?
How many millions will it take to heal
the vast, unmeasurable pain and suffering
those beasts have caused you?”.)

In fact,
“Being In Total Control, Honey”
pretty well captures what all too many feminists are after:
ensuring that their men,
as I have, in my personal experience, heard described,
“Do what they’re told.”

But back to the acceptability of the word bitch,
a fundamental question is:
If feminists are allowed to use the word,
than why shouldn’t everyone else be allowed to use it?

It seems absolutely shameful that
America’s federal legal system has made allegedly saying the word bitch
worthy of a 6 million dollar fine.
Talk about Orwellian speech control,
all due to the feds,
and a jury that they managed to find
in the liberal city of New York.

What total hypocrisy that feminists themselves use the word bitch,
but then fine the bejabbers out of a man (or his deep-pocketed organization)
who dares to use it.


From the 2006-01-10 Washington Post (emphasis added):
Samuel A. Alito Jr. sought to reassure senators yesterday
[2006-01-09, the first day of his Senate confirmation hearing] that
divisive policies he once advocated as a government lawyer
do not necessarily signal how he would rule
if confirmed to the Supreme Court....

Why is it that policies advocated by conservatives are “divisive,”
while policies advocated by liberals are not?

In media-land, this (mis)usage seems to be prevalent
no matter how popular the policy may actually be.
For example, majorities of Americans consistently poll as opposing
affirmative action and
late term abortions, especially those of the partial-birth kind.
It can be safely assumed, I believe, that Alito, as a young lawyer,
advocated positions consistent with those majorities.
So how can advocating policies which the majority favors be considered divisive?
Is it somehow less divisive to advocate a policy favored by the minority?

The conclusion, from this and many other examples,
seems to be that, in media-land,
the only voices that really count are those of
Jews, blacks, radical feminists, and homosexuals.
Anyone favoring traditional values is, as the Washington Post stated, “divisive.”

The Duke Rape Allegations

For extensive coverage of this case,
see the blog Durham-in-Wonderland by K. C. Johnson,
or Wikipedia
(which has the name of the accuser, one Crystal Gail Mangum).

Guilty Until Proven PC
By Taki Theodoracopulos

Unequal Justice
By Steve Sailer

Rape Case Is Seen as Symbol at Black College in N.C.
Charges Against Duke Lacrosse Players
Underline Racial and Economic Divide on Two Campuses
By Anne Hull
Washington Post, 2006-05-07

“It’s like they can't believe that any white man could rape a black woman.”

Making a mockery of the race issue
By Robert L. Woodson Sr.,
Washington Times, 2006-05-16

New Filing in Duke Case Aims to Refute Allegations
New York Times, 2006-06-09

Lacrosse Players’ Case a Trial for Parents
Faith in Their Sons’ Innocence Sustains Them Amid Ravages of Scandal
By Anne Hull
Washington Post, 2006-06-10

Jocks and Prejudice
New York Times, 2006-06-11

Prosecutor's Silence on Duke Rape Case
Leaves Public With Plenty of Questions

New York Times, 2006-06-12

From Duke Rape Case to Duke Rape Hoax
By Michael J. Gaynor,
The Conservative Voice, 2006-06-28

Doubts about Duke:
Had Duke Case Collapsed?

The prosecutor insists his rape case is strong.
One big problem: the facts thus far.
By Evan Thomas and Susannah Meadows
Newsweek, 2006-06-29

Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers
New York Times, 2006-08-25

[This is a long (5,700-word) article,
full of facts, new and old, about the investigation.
Below are a few fragments of the article about which I have questions.]

She [the accuser] also told the police that she had last had sex
about a week before the party,
with her boyfriend.
His DNA was the only positive match with samples taken from her body.

[How long does DNA-identifiable material
remain in a woman's body after she has intercourse?
Assuming that she doesn't became pregnant (which did not happen here),
would it really last a week?]

Duke Rape Suspects Speak Out
60 Minutes' Ed Bradley Talks To The Accused Lacrosse Players,
Who Have Never Before Been Interviewed

CBS News, 60 Minutes, 2006-10-15

Over the past six months,
60 Minutes has examined nearly the entire case file,
more than 2,000 documents,
including police reports, witness statements and medical records.
The evidence 60 Minutes has seen
reveals disturbing facts
about the conduct of the police and the district attorney,

raises serious concerns about whether or not a rape even occurred.

Charges of Rape Against 3 at Duke Are Dropped
New York Times, 2006-12-23

The woman, who said she was attacked
while performing as a stripper at a lacrosse team party last March,
has repeatedly asserted that she endured violent penile penetration.
She said this
to the first doctor who saw her,
to the sexual-assault nurse,
to the sexual-assault doctor,
to detectives
and in her own handwritten statement to the police,
records show.
She also consistently said she was forced onto her hands and knees
and raped from behind.

Yet when questioned again on Thursday afternoon by Mr. Nifong’s investigator,
the woman said for the first time that
she could no longer be sure what had penetrated her.

DNA Witness Jolted Dynamic of Duke Case
New York Times, 2006-12-24

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

On the stand at a pretrial hearing was Brian W. Meehan,
director of a private laboratory that performed extensive DNA testing
on rape kit swabs and underwear collected from a stripper
only hours after she said that she had been gang-raped
by three Duke lacrosse players after performing at a team party in March.
Mr. Meehan’s tests on the swabs and underwear had detected
traces of sperm and other DNA material from several men.

But his tests had found something else, too:
none of that DNA material was from the three players,
or any of their teammates.

Mr. Meehan had promptly shared this information with Michael B. Nifong,
the Durham district attorney.
Yet his summary report — the one that would be turned over to the defense —
mentioned none of this.


[The testimony from Meehan]
added substantially to the long list of questions about
the accuser’s credibility and Mr. Nifong’s judgment.
The woman had told investigators that before the party,
she had not had sex for about a week.
How, then, to explain the DNA?

And given her description of a brutal gang rape,
how could the most sensitive DNA test available
fail to find even a single incriminating cell?
why had Mr. Nifong failed to disclose this information for so many months,
and repeatedly told the judge that there were no such results?

Looking back, defense lawyers describe Mr. Meehan’s testimony as
a moment that opened a window on the tactics of a prosecutor they say
is all too willing to trample state law and ethical duties to get a conviction.
In the most unvarnished terms,
they accuse Mr. Nifong of deliberately hiding test results —
results they say further confirm their clients’ innocence.

Duke Rape Case Prosecutor Faces Ethics Charges
N.C. Bar Association Cites Remarks to Media
About Character of Accused Athletes
By Aaron Beard
Associated Press, 2006-12-29

Duke President Renews Call for District Attorney to Leave Case
New York Times, 2007-01-09

“We entrust our conflicts to the law to provide a path to a fair resolution,”
[Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead] wrote.
“But to earn this faith from the public,
those who work in the legal process must behave with elemental fairness
and regard for the rights of those involved.
We need and deserve for that faith to be restored.”

Duke Accuser Contradicts Herself
New York Times, 2007-01-12

In an interview last month with a district attorney’s investigator,
the woman who has accused three Duke lacrosse players of sexual assault
contradicted critical evidence and parts of her earlier accounts,
dealing a new blow to a faltering case.


The state bar has filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Nifong
for what it said were prejudicial public statements.
The executive committee of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys
has called on him to drop out of the case.
He has also been widely criticized for withholding exculpatory DNA evidence.

In the interview, the woman, 28, a stripper and the mother of three children,
said she was attacked after she and another woman had danced at the party.
She said the assault occurred between 11:40 p.m. and midnight on March 13.

That contradicts
time-stamped photographs of her dancing at the party after midnight,
as well as
a next-door neighbor’s report
of seeing the two women entering the house at midnight.

Although the woman had told the authorities
that all three men sexually assaulted her,
she now said two had.
The third, whom she identified as Reade Seligmann,
was only present in the room, she said.


The interview is the first time anyone from the prosecutor’s office
talked with the woman about the case.
She has made five comprehensive statements,
interviews with a sexual assault nurse and detectives,
recorded remarks at the photo lineup with the police,
a statement in her handwriting and
the interview with Mr. Wilson.
Each statement contradicts parts of the others.

Prosecutor Asks to Exit Duke Case
alternate URL
New York Times, 2007-01-13

The district attorney in the Duke lacrosse sexual assault case
asked the state attorney general on Friday
to take over the troubled prosecution,
saying he faced a conflict of interest
because of ethics charges filed against him by the state bar,
officials involved in the case said.


Defense lawyers were jubilant,
openly predicting that no prosecutor in the state
would continue with a case
that hangs almost entirely on the shifting accounts of the alleged victim,
a stripper who claims
she was assaulted after performing at a team party in March.
The woman, who was consulted before Friday’s recusal,
remained firm in her desire
for the case to go forward against the three former lacrosse players,
an official involved in the case said.

The players face charges of kidnapping and sexual offense
that could put them in prison for decades.


Friday’s action marked a stinging professional defeat for Mr. Nifong,
who has faced accusations
of incompetence, prosecutorial misconduct and ethical violations
for his handling of the case.
In his letter to Mr. Cooper,
Mr. Nifong said the accusations of ethical wrongdoing,
which were brought last month by the state bar,
presented him with a conflict of interest
between defending his own conduct and prosecuting this case.

“He feels very disappointed that he can’t go on for her,”
said David B. Freedman, Mr. Nifong’s lawyer in the ethics case.
“Mike at this point, as a result of the bar complaint,
doesn’t want to be a distraction to the case
or take away from the prosecution of the case,
which the witness still feels very strongly about.”

According to friends,
Mr. Nifong’s resolve had begun to falter
even before the ethics charges were brought against him.

At a court hearing on Dec. 15,
a DNA laboratory director admitted that he and Mr. Nifong
had deliberately withheld exculpatory information from a report.
Mr. Nifong prided himself on integrity,
having been a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War,
yet the laboratory director’s testimony and his acknowledgment of the error
undercut his reputation.

Things only worsened from there.

Some fellow district attorneys advised Mr. Nifong privately in Raleigh on Dec. 19 to take himself off the case.
Mr. Nifong felt stunned and subdued, friends say,
yet still could not bring himself to exit.
In an interview with The New York Times two days later,
he described such a step as tantamount to
letting defendants handpick their own prosecutors.

But then the North Carolina State Bar filed an ethics complaint on Dec. 28,
taking him to task for his early public comments about the case.
It was an unprecedented rebuke for a prosecutor in the middle of a legal brawl.
The next day, the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys
issued a news release asking him to recuse himself immediately.

Mr. Nifong’s friends told him he had two choices:
dismiss the case or ask the attorney general to take it over.
It was a bitter decision, friends said.
His reputation hung in the balance.
Mr. Nifong decided he had to do something
he had left to his investigators over the 10 months since the alleged assault:
talk about it directly with the woman he called “my victim.”


On Friday, [the accuser] and Mr. Nifong spoke by telephone.
She again said she wanted to go forward.
she was not happy about Mr. Nifong’s giving up of the case,
the official said,
she said she understood his reasoning and pledged to cooperate with any new team.

In Durham, Mr. Nifong’s exit was greeted with relief on all sides.


Mr. Nifong compounded his troubles with seemingly avoidable blunders,
most in the earliest weeks, before anyone was indicted.
  • He ordered a lineup that violated standard police procedures

  • He spoke misleadingly in public about evidence in the case
    and disparaged the Duke lacrosse team as “hooligans”
    whose “daddies” would “buy them big-time lawyers.”

  • He refused to hear out defense lawyers
    who proffered photographs and phone records
    intended to prove their clients’ innocence.

  • Most significantly, he mishandled the DNA test results by failing to turn them over to defense lawyers for seven months.

After the indictments,
he was repeatedly outgunned and outmaneuvered in the courts and in the news media
by some of the best defense lawyers in North Carolina.

Never was the mismatch clearer than on Dec. 15,
when defense lawyers pounced on his handling of the DNA test results.
In court that day, with family and friends of the defendants in the audience,
Mr. Nifong seemed almost disengaged, slumping in his seat,
asking few questions as the defense team delivered body blows to his case.

Even before the DNA hearing,
dozens of people had filed complaints against Mr. Nifong with the state bar.
Mr. Nifong initially responded
by saying he welcomed a review of all the lawyers —
once the case was over.

He misjudged the bar.

A special section of the bar’s ethics code
applies to public comments by prosecutors — but not private lawyers —
and the bar had opened an investigation on March 30,
just three days after Mr. Nifong began his media blitz.

The investigation culminated in last month’s formal complaint,
which accused Mr. Nifong of making
improper, inflammatory and misleading comments about the case.
Mr. Nifong is to appear before a bar disciplinary committee on May 11.


[N]o one can remember the North Carolina bar
ever filing a complaint against a prosecutor for prejudicial publicity,
much less in the middle of a case.

Not only did Mr. Nifong misjudge the bar,
he misjudged the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.
Back in September,
the conference had sent Mr. Nifong a letter offering help with the case,
including support staff, a shadow jury and advice on responding to defense leaks.

“We try to take care of our own,”
Thomas J. Keith, one of four district attorneys who signed the letter,
said in an interview this month.
Mr. Keith recalled Mr. Nifong’s response:
“Tom, thanks for the letter, but I don’t need any help right now.”


Any hope he had of regaining their [his fellow district attorneys] support
probably ended three days later, on Dec. 22,
when Mr. Nifong dropped rape charges against all three defendants,
though he continued to press other sex offense charges.
Mr. Nifong said he had acted after the woman told his investigator
she could not be certain she had been penetrated by a penis.
Although he did not say so at the time,
the woman also changed several other major aspects of her story during that interview,
including that
just two, not three, lacrosse players had taken part in the attack.
The third, she said, had only stood by.

Among his peers, the questions were obvious:
  • Why had he not closely questioned his victim months earlier?

  • How could he pursue a case
    with such divergent accounts from the key witness?

  • Where was the proof?

The state bar filed its complaint on Dec. 28.
Better than anyone,
the district attorneys understood its rarity and potential political significance.

“That is what pushed us into action,” Mr. Keith said.

Two weeks later,
Mr. Nifong asked the state attorney general to take over the case.

More Ethics Charges Brought Against Official in Duke Case
New York Times, 2007-01-25

The North Carolina State Bar filed a second, more serious round of ethics charges yesterday against the district attorney in Durham, N.C.,
accusing him of “systematic abuse of prosecutorial discretion”
in the sexual assault case against three former members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

The bar complaint said the district attorney, Michael B. Nifong,
had illegally withheld DNA evidence from defense lawyers
and then intentionally misled the presiding judge and bar officials
about doing so.

New Ethics Allegations In Prosecution at Duke
Bar Says DA Lied, Withheld Evidence
By Sylvia Adcock
Washington Post, 2007-01-25

The North Carolina State Bar filed additional charges of ethics violations Wednesday against embattled Durham District Attorney Michael B. Nifong,
the original prosecutor in the sexual assault case
against three Duke University lacrosse players.

the bar had accused Nifong of violating a code of professional conduct
that prohibits attorneys from making improper pretrial public statements,
citing dozens of interviews in the news media
shortly after the case became public last spring.
But in an amended complaint filed yesterday morning,
he was also accused of
withholding evidence from defense attorneys
and making false statements to the judge, the lawyers
and the bar's grievance committee.


At a Dec. 15 hearing on the lacrosse case, Nifong told a judge
that he was unaware of the potentially exculpatory DNA test results --
which the bar complaint said was a
“"false statement of material fact to a tribunal.”

During the hearing, the lab director testified that
he and Nifong had discussed what would be disclosed at a meeting last spring.
After the hearing, Nifong told a reporter,
“we were trying to, just as [the lab director] said,
trying to avoid dragging any names through the mud”
a statement that implied that he was aware of the results
and aware that the information had been intentionally omitted,
according to the bar complaint.
[Emphasis is added.]

The Edwards-Marcotte Fiasco
by KC Johnson

[KC Johnson quoted Amanda Marcotte as follows:]

In the meantime,
I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area
and good fucking god is that channel pure evil.
For awhile,
I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke
are being persecuted just because
they held someone down and fucked her against her will—
not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out.

Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore
without people getting all wound up about it?

So unfair.

Yes, how dare a rape victim
act confused and bewildered like she was raped or something.

Natalia, do you know the details of the case?
If so,
why do you think a women enthusiastically jumped into a sexual situation
with men making slavery jokes at her?
what is your theory on why she supposedly looooooved having sex
with guys holding her facedown on the bathroom floor?
There’s no “if” they behaved in a disrespectful manner.
We have conclusive evidence that happened.

This is about race and class and gender in every way,
and there’s basically no way this woman was going to see justice.
In her part of the country,
both women and black people are seen as subhuman objects
to be used and abused by white men.

[Marcotte, when confronted over this, deleted the post.
She might well have described it as transparent exaggeration.]

All Charges Dropped in Duke Case
New York Times, 2007-04-12

RALEIGH, N.C., April 11 — 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.

The attorney general, Roy A. Cooper, said the players — Reade W. Seligmann, David F. Evans, and Collin Finnerty — had been wrongly accused by an “unchecked” and “overreaching” district attorney who had ignored contradictory evidence and instead relied on the stripper’s “faulty and unreliable” accusations.

“We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations,” Mr. Cooper said at a news conference.

“We have no credible evidence that an attack occurred,” he added.

Mr. Cooper said he had considered but ultimately rejected the possibility of bringing criminal charges against the accuser, who continues to insist she was attacked at a team party on March 13, 2006, and asked him to go forward with the case. Mr. Cooper said his investigators had told him that the woman “may actually believe the many different stories that she has been telling.” He said his decision not to charge her with making false accusations was also based on a review of sealed court files, which include records of the woman’s mental health history.

Mr. Cooper reserved his harshest criticism for the Durham County district attorney, Michael B. Nifong, at one point even depicting him as a “rogue prosecutor.”

“In this case, with the weight of the state behind him, the Durham district attorney pushed forward unchecked,” said Mr. Cooper, who took over the case in January. “There were many points in the case where caution would have served justice better than bravado. And in the rush to condemn, a community and a state lost the ability to see clearly.”


At an emotional news conference of their own on Wednesday,
the three former teammates, flanked by defense lawyers and families,
spoke of relief and vindication, but also of
their lingering anger toward Mr. Nifong and many in the news media
for what they described as a rush to believe the worst about them.

“This entire experience has opened my eyes up
to a tragic world of injustice I never knew existed,”
Mr. Seligmann said.
“If police officers and a district attorney can systematically railroad us
with absolutely no evidence whatsoever,
I can’t imagine what they’d do
to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.
So rather than relying on disparaging stereotypes
and creating political and racial conflicts,
all of us need to take a step back from this case and learn from it.

“The Duke lacrosse case has shown that our society has lost sight of the most fundamental principle of our legal system:
the presumption of innocence.”


When the accusations arose, Mr. Nifong was in a close political campaign.
Appointed acting district attorney in 2005 by Gov. Michael F. Easley,
he was seeking election against a better-known opponent.
Mr. Nifong, who mentioned the case at some campaign appearances,
won the crucial primary election — and most of the black vote
on May 2, weeks after announcing indictments against two of the players.


All Charges Dropped Against 3 at Duke
By Peter Whoriskey and Sylvia Adcock
Washington Post, 2007-04-12

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

RALEIGH, N.C., April 11 -- Rather than simply drop the remaining charges against three former Duke University lacrosse players, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper turned the tables on the prosecutor Wednesday and, after castigating him as a “rogue” who acted out of “bravado,” said he could face a criminal investigation for his pursuit of the sexual assault case.

“We believe that these cases were the result of a tragic rush to accuse and a failure to verify serious allegations,” Cooper said. “There were many points in this case where caution would have served justice better than bravado.”

A criminal investigation of Durham District Attorney Michael B. Nifong is a “possibility,” he said, noting that the North Carolina bar is already investigating an ethics complaint against him. Nifong did not return calls to his office, but his lawyer, David Freedman, told ABC News that “he pushed the case as long as he did because at that point he believed in this case.”

The attorney general’s announcement draws to a close a racially charged legal drama that opened with the three white players being vilified as privileged “hooligans” -- Nifong’s word -- who had gang-raped a black stripper at an off-campus team party on March 13, 2006.

But after reviewing the case for 12 weeks and interviewing witnesses and the accuser, Cooper’s team completely recast the scenario.

There was no credible evidence of an attack -- there was no DNA evidence and no witnesses at the party who could corroborate the accuser’s account, Cooper said. The accusation also was not consistent with time-stamped photographs and phone records, he said.

A written summary of the factual findings that investigators relied on to conclude that no attack occurred will be released next week. Cooper added that perjury charges against the accuser were considered but rejected, because she appears to believe in her uncorroborated and sometimes contradictory accounts of a sexual assault.


“It’s been 395 days since this nightmare began,
and finally the day has come for closure,”
said Evans, who attended Landon School in Bethesda.
“It’s painful to remember what we went through in those first days.
It’s just a testament to all of our character that we never lashed out. . . .
To have people in the media
relating you to Hitler and other terrible people from history
when you have done nothing wrong --
that is character to sit there and take that.”


[E]ventually a reporter asked about strippers being present at the party.

“We’ve lost a sense of proportionality here,”
said James P. Cooney III, a lawyer for Seligmann.
“No one’s proud of that party, and they’ve expressed regret for it.”
But to suggest that the party justifies these charges is ridiculous,
he said.


Irving Joyner, a law professor at North Carolina Central University
who has been monitoring the case for the NAACP, said
the black community will want to be satisfied with the reasons for the dismissal --
especially since early days in the case,
black leaders were concerned that
a low-income black woman’s word would not be taken
against that of privileged white men.

Joyner added that he is
“troubled and concerned by the carnival atmosphere being created here --
that these three men are somehow coming home for a victory party.”


DNA tests did not turn up matches with the players, and material from several other males were found in the accuser's vagina and on her underwear. Her accounts were marked by significant discrepancies, [North Carolina Attorney General] Cooper said, though he added that in some sense she may not have been lying.

“Our investigators who talked with her and the attorneys who talked with her over a period of time think that she may actually believe the many different stories that she has been telling,” Cooper said. “In reviewing the whole history there are records under seal that I’m not going to talk about, but we believe it is in the best interests of justice not to bring charges.”

Duke's sorry faculty
by Vincent Carroll
Rocky Mountain News, 2007-04-12

Revisiting The Times’s Coverage of the Duke Rape Case
By BYRON CALAME, Public Editor for the NYT
New York Times, 2007-04-22

THE official declaration of the innocence
of three former Duke University lacrosse players
accused of sexually assaulting a stripper
triggered a flood of critical e-mails to the public editor.
Many readers focused their ire on
The Times’s massive Aug. 25 “portrait” of the case,
or on the paper’s outspoken sports columnists.
Others called on me to agree that
a liberal bias favoring the dancer, who was African-American,
had corrupted The Times’s coverage,
or to urge the paper to apologize to the three young white men.


The Aug. 25 review of the Duke case was nearly three times as long
as any previous story about the investigation.
The article made extensive use of 1,850 pages of prosecution evidence
to which Duff Wilson, the straightforward lead reporter on the story,
had obtained access.
The key document — exclusive to The Times —
was the 33-page typed “case notes” report of
Sgt. Mark D. Gottlieb, a Durham police investigator.

Sergeant Gottlieb had acknowledged to defense lawyers,
the Aug. 25 article reported,
that he “took few handwritten notes,
relying instead on his memory and other officers’ notes
to write entries in his chronological report of the investigation.”
Further complicating The Times’s decision
to give substantial weight to the Gottlieb report,
the document was in the last batch of evidence
that Mr. Nifong turned over to the defense
as required by the state’s criminal-case rules.
That led one defense lawyer to call the report
a “make-up document” that had been
“written to try to make up for holes in the prosecution’s case,”
the article stated.

Largely on the basis of the sergeant’s report, the Aug. 25 review was significantly less skeptical about Mr. Nifong’s case than a solid 1,600-word June 12 story that had described “a growing perception of a case in trouble.” The August article presented a summary paragraph — the “nut graf,” in newsroom parlance — whose final sentence amounted to The Times’s certifying the district attorney’s case as worthy of a trial.

“By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants,”
the paragraph stated,
“the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks.
But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence
gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation
yields a more ambiguous picture.
It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong’s case,
there is also a body of evidence to support
his decision to take the matter to a jury.”

This overstated summary was a major flaw in the article that has overshadowed other worthwhile aspects of the story, such as the list, high up, of weaknesses in the prosecution case. Reading the article last August had left me concerned that Times journalists were not sufficiently skeptical in relying so heavily on the Gottlieb notes. I had voiced my concern then to Matthew Purdy, the investigations editor, who had assumed responsibility for news coverage of the Duke case in June. He assured me the paper was continuing to scrutinize Mr. Nifong’s case and behavior.


In one striking instance in the article, however, The Times decided
Sergeant Gottlieb’s “case notes,” apparently based on his memory,
were more credible than
the handwritten notes of a fellow police investigator, Officer Benjamin Himan.
Mr. Wilson said he had been told that
the sergeant relied “largely” on Officer Himan’s handwritten notes
when the two of them met the accuser on March 16 of last year
to ask her to describe her attackers.
Officer Himan’s handwritten notes show
she described all three as chubby or heavyset,
although one of the three eventual defendants was tall and skinny.

“In Sergeant Gottlieb’s version of the same conversation, however,
her [the accuser’s] descriptions closely correspond to the defendants”
and included one who was tall and skinny, the Aug. 25 article reported.
So the Times article prominently listed
Sergeant Gottlieb’s recollection of the accuser’s mentioning
a tall and skinny attacker
as one of three revelations from the prosecution files that showed
the documents contained “evidence stronger than that highlighted by the defense.”
Despite the paper’s full disclosure of the sergeant’s aversion to note-taking,
I find that news judgment flawed —
one allowing critics to foster a perception of the paper
as leaning toward Mr. Nifong.

Finally, a word about the name of the accuser.
Some readers have called for The Times to name her now that the three accused young men have been declared innocent. A few of the readers appear to think it would be good journalism, but others seem to be more interested in retribution or punishment for causing the falsely accused so much grief.

Times editors discussed whether “to stick to our policy of not naming accusers in sexual assault cases,” Mr. Keller told me, “and decided to do so.” My first instinct was that The Times should strongly consider adopting a policy of naming false accusers. Then I decided that the mental health of the Duke accuser and the failure of Mr. Nifong to limit the harm she caused by doing his job responsibly combined to keep this case from being a good one on which to debate such a policy change. But I hope Times editors will soon consider holding a discussion, free of deadline pressure, about what purpose the tradition of not naming sexual assault victims serves when their accusations are proved to have no merit.

Credibility Issues’ Undid Duke Case, Report Says
New York Times, 2007-04-28

The North Carolina attorney general’s investigation of the Duke lacrosse case
found that the accuser had “insurmountable credibility issues,”
including frequently changing statements that were contradicted by physical evidence, photographs, other witnesses and her own previous assertions.


“No medical evidence confirmed her stories,” [the report] said.
A sexual-assault nurse examiner “based her opinion
that the exam was consistent with what the accusing witness was reporting
largely on the accusing witness’s demeanor and complaints of pain
rather than on objective evidence.”

Falling Short on Fairness
By Deborah Howell, ombudsman for the Washington Post
Washington Post, 2007-04-29

The Duke story was a tangle of issues --
racism, sexism and economic privilege.

[What a left-wing statement.
Economic privilege is a fact of life in capitalist societies.
Why is it an issue?

Sexism? Racism?
However one defines those, they have nothing to do with criminal offenses.
But the radical left and its agents in the government and the media
make every attempt to punish possible sexist or racist behavior
through social, economic, or legal sanctions.
We must be on guard against these attempts to try to criminalize people
on the basis of what they say or think.]

Many African Americans, especially women,
could identify with the woman,
who said she was raped by well-off white college athletes

at a March 2006 party;
she had been hired to perform as a stripper.

[Just what justifies that?
Are there many African American women
who have been raped by well-off white college athletes?
I do not recall ever hearing about such, outside of this accusation.
(Of course, there was always Tawana Brawley.)
Or is this just another part of
the campaign of the left-wing to demonize the politically incorrect?]

Ethics Hearing for Duke Prosecutor
New York Times, 2007-06-13

Lab Chief Explains DNA Report in Duke Case
New York Times, 2007-06-14

At Ethics Hearing, Duke Prosecutor Is Called Unprofessional
New York Times, 2007-06-15

Facing Sanction, Duke Prosecutor Plans to Resign
New York Times, 2007-06-16

[The end of this article:]

[Former prosecutor Michael B.] Nifong
watched without visible expression Friday morning as
[one of the former defendants, Reade W. Seligmann]
described how people in familiar restaurants and on the Duke campus
turned against him after the charges were filed.
Mr. Seligmann said
people in a restaurant he ate in every day and considered friends
put up a “Wanted” poster showing the entire Duke lacrosse team.

“The feeling on campus was as lonely as you can imagine,” he said.

[I am really, really surprised that the Duke campus community
would react like that.
That people are presumed innocent until found guilty is, of course,
supposedly one of the basic tenants of American society.
But beyond that, I personally found the very idea
that upper-class, privileged college men would rape a black stripper

So why did the Duke campus community, and much of the elite liberal media,
buy into this story as they did?
What could more clearly indicate
the delusions and biases of America’s liberal elite,
and the extent to which college campuses
are centers of brainwashing and indoctrination
into the political correctness which, since the 1960s,
has come to possess that elite?]

Prosecutor in Duke Case Disbarred by Ethics Panel
New York Times, 2007-06-17

Muslims, Jews, and Double Standards

Iraqi Leader Embraces Terror Fight in Speech to Congress
by Kate Zernike
New York Times, 2006-07-27

An excerpt, with emphasis added:
Earlier, in a breakfast with Congressional leaders,
Mr. Maliki,
who is a Shiite Muslim,
bristled at repeated requests to denounce
the militant Shiite group Hezbollah,
and when pressed would say only
that he condemned terrorism around the world.

What is the relevance of telling us, in this context,
that Mr. Maliki is a Shiite Muslim,
other than to contrast that with his reluctance
“to denounce the militant Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah”?

Now consider this hypothetical news story:
Mr. [fill-in-a-name-here],
who is an American Jew,
bristled at repeated requests to denounce
the expansionary Jewish state Israel...

Is not the relevance, or lack thereof, of the religious identification
exactly the same in each case?
Yet clearly it is unacceptable, in the American media,
to make the second connection,
while it is perfectly acceptable to make the first.
I claim that this is a transparent double standard,
and one all too typical of the kind that world Jewry demands.

The Killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman

MSNBC Fixes False Report Which Made Zimmerman Look Racist, Doesn't Acknowledge Error
By Randy Hall
newsbusters.org, 2012-03-30

Following in line with their broadcast television colleagues
who deliberately edited the audio of a 9-1-1 call of George Zimmerman,
the Florida community watch volunteer who shot teenager Trayvon Martin,
to falsely impute racist motives to him,
MSNBC.com, in an unbylined piece did the exact same thing in text form,
stripping out vital information which made Zimmerman
appear to be racially motivated against Martin, who is black.

After being criticized, MSNBC.com restored the proper context
but never posted a retraction, correction notice, or an apology for doing so.

[What is most significant about this, in my opinion,
is that at least some of the views
of those who presume to impute racial motives to Zimmerman
appear, by their comments, to be basing their opinions
on the edited, incomplete transcript.
The correction seems to have received far less attention in the media
than the original incorrect version.]

NBC to do ‘internal investigation’ on Zimmerman segment
By Erik Wemple
Washington Post Blog, 2012-03-31

[The critical part of this report is:]

As exposed by Fox News and media watchdog site NewsBusters,
the “Today” segment took this approach to a key part of the dispatcher call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

Here’s how the actual conversation went down:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

The difference between what “Today” put on its air and the actual tape?
In the “Today” version,
Zimmerman volunteered that this person “looks black,” a sequence of events
that would more readily paint Zimmerman as a racial profiler.
In reality’s version,
Zimmerman simply answered a question about the race of the person
whom he was reporting to the police.
Nothing prejudicial at all in responding to such an inquiry.