Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Media Rush To Duke's Defense

By Andrew Cohen, Imbecile

My Rebuttal Letter to the WP Editor:

Andrew Cohen Proves Fools Don’t Always Rush In

After reading Andrew Cohen’s latest tripe suggesting a media “Rush to Duke’s Defense” (June 27th), one cannot but conclude that he has just awoken, bearded like Rip Van Winkle, and sauntered on over to have a looksie at what all this fuss in Durham is about. His base premise, that journalists “are tripping all over themselves to quickly and repetitively report the biased view of the young men’s defense…” when, “[u]sually, reporters breathlessly take everything prosecutors and the police say at face value, often to devastating effect upon criminal defendants,” could not be more uninformed, vacuous, misleading and ironic.

Cohen obviously missed the first month and a half of mainstream media coverage of this hoax. He obviously missed the breathless rush to publish and air every slanderous utterance of D.A. Nifong during his more than 70 press briefings within the first five days of the story breaking into the mainstream press. He obviously missed the breathless rush to convey to a nation Nifong’s “absolute certainty” that these privileged “hooligans” had committed the alleged crime. He obviously missed the breathless rush to report Nifong's suggestion that the accuser was given a "date rape" drug on the evening in question, despite no blood work having been taken of the accuser at the hospital in the twenty four hours immediately following the alleged event. He obviously missed the breathless rush to televise Nifong physically acting out, with great dramatic flair, the manner in which the accuser was allegedly choked from behind, although she specifically denied having been choked to both the SANE nurse-in-training and the investigating police officer at the hospital. He obviously missed journalists "tripping all over themselves" to report Nifong's smug dismissal of the importance of DNA results to the strength of his case with the assertion that DNA evidence would not be likely to be found if the attackers used condoms. Turns out that the accuser has specifically denied condom use by her attackers at the time of the alleged event. He obviously missed the repeated airings of the “Wanted Poster,” which referenced both the Durham Police Department and local CrimeStoppers organization, bore the team “mug shots” of 43 white players, and urged them all to “Please Come Forward.” He obviously missed the television footage of lacrosse players entering the Durham Police lab to voluntarily submit their DNA samples. While their heads were covered under advice of counsel to avoid individual identification in media airings, they nonetheless appeared, in the skewed aired snippets, every bit guilty rapists. Cohen obviously missed Nifong’s Blitzkrieg pandering to the black community in advance of his primary election, his suggestion that the players were hiding behind their rich "daddies," and his vow not to allow "some Duke lacrosse players raping a poor black girl" to be the nation's impression of Durham. Cohen obviously missed the laughable, if innumerable, media pieces virtually equating the “criminal” team behavior of open-container possessions and public urination with a predisposition to rape.

The mainstream media did in this case exactly what Cohen says it “usually does…to devastating effect upon criminal defendants.” Too bad Cohen missed it.

Only now, as it becomes clearer by the day that the remaining “certainty” regarding Nifong’s Folly is its ultimate dismissal on motion for lack of prima facie proof, is the media “tripping all over themselves” to wipe the egg off their collective faces and get it right.

Franklin Lakes, New Jersey


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