Penn & Teller TV - AJR online - American Thinker online -
Spring break 2006: a stripper accuses three members of the Duke University lacrosse team of raping her in an off-campus party. Durham County, North Carolina, district attorney Mike Nifong jumped on the case immediately. One problem: it seems the young men charged with rape were innocent. Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s8e4: Criminal Justice, Showtime 2010
Many in the media jettisoned caution – and the presumption of innocence – in their coverage of an alleged rape by Duke lacrosse players, and were too slow to correct the record as the case unraveled. But some journalists distinguished themselves with skeptical and incisive reporting ...
Too often, the preconceptions – rather than the facts – dictated not only the tone of the coverage but also its volume and prominence. ‘I think that you begin by being prudent,’ Okrent says. ‘And that’s not the way that the American press began on this story. You begin by being prudent and, as things develop, that determines whether you amp up the volume or not. Here it began with a roar at the very start. It went in the wrong direction. If it had begun calmly and prudently, it never would have become a roar.’ AJR online article Rachel Smolkin September 2007, ‘Justice Delayed’
The Supreme Court this week refused to hear an appeal from the Duke lacrosse players stemming from the false accusations of rape in Durham in 2006. Effectively, that ends their civil rights lawsuit, and precludes their ever having a day in court in which their full stories may be told.
And that in itself provides a paradigm of the state of justice in America today. Perhaps no case presents such an obvious example of abuse of the legal system.
Recall that three players were falsely accused of rape; that their university, in a quick PR move, decided it would position itself as a victim (along with the supposed ‘victim’ of the rape), and threw its students under the bus: it denounced them in classrooms and from chapel pulpit and apologized all over town for something that never happened. (It also denied them a disciplinary process wherein they could have presented their proof of innocence; it even refused multiple offers to examine that evidence – the university did not want to know, did not want to have to know, that they were innocent). American Thinker online article 11th October 2013