We Just Could Be Watching
The Duke Rape Case
All Over Again
How's Tawana these days, Al? Do you keep in touch?
America, we have a problem. No, not the one Rev. Al's been whipping the mob up over in Sanford, FL for the past month.
The Old Media is out of control. Time and again it has sensationalized cases with racial overtones or attempted to try cases in the media.
We are a nation of laws. Public pressure and media screaming for blood has no bearing on how justice is done in this country.
From what I saw at that press conference yesterday, Angela Corey had better remember Mike Nifong.
Can't believe this national case just fell into my lap!
What a boost for my career!
In the Duke rape case, if prosecutor Mike Nifong had done his due diligence there never would have been any charges filed against the members of the Lacrosse team.
And after all the facts came out, a lot of people were upset with Mike Nifong, and justifiably so.
But let's remember who was urging - no, DEMANDING - that Mike Nifong punish these racist Lacrosse players? Let's remember the atmosphere that was deliberately created at the time that case was being formed.
The Old media quickly sensationalized the case in racial terms, tried the case in the media, found the Lacrosse players guilty and demanded that they be brought to 'justice'. Even faculty at Duke wrote a public letter throwing the players under the bus and claiming this was a teachable moment for the entire country.
Well Your Honor, I was just...uhm.....giving people what they wanted....
Nifong was doing what was expected of him by the mob. He responded to the very public pressure to 'do something' to punish these obviously racist privileged white kids who had most certainly raped this young black woman.
Prosecutors are human. Their job is to be impartial and to carefully weigh evidence. Public pressure and mobs screaming loudly for a certain outcome are supposed to have no effect on the deliberations of justice and the law in this country. This is how we know the rights of the individual cannot be subsumed to the desires of a mob.
By the time Mike Nifong actually sat down and looked at the actual evidence of the case and realized there WAS no case, it was too late. In his mind, he was caught. He had filed the charges to give the mob what it wanted, and to boost his political career. What was he supposed to do now? Call a new press conference and 'fess up to what had happened?
"Gee, I'm sorry folks. I let all the media hysteria and the mob howling for blood get to me, and I didn't carefully examine the evidence first, and uh, we actually CAN'T prove in a court of law there was a rape. In fact, now that I've actually taken the time to study what the evidence actually shows, I should probably be filing charges against Crystal Gail Mangum for making a false accusation."
OK maybe not so great for my career after all.....
He couldn't do it. Or to be more accurate, he wouldn't do it. Instead, Nifong engaged in behavior that led to his disbarment. And 24 hours in jail.
The Duke case was 6 years ago. That's been enough time for the dust to settle, the passions to subside, and for investigative journalists to carefully study how several innocent young men who certainly exercised bad judgment in hiring a stripper for a party ended up being nationally branded as a bunch of rapists and offered up to to a mob for 'justice' by an ambitious prosecutor seeking to boost his career.
One thing that cannot be overlooked or stressed enough is the role the national media at the time played in fomenting a witch hunt:
Nifong initially garnered strong support in some quarters such as the national media and feminist and African American groups for his willingness to pursue sexual assault charges made by Crystal Gail Mangum, a black woman who was working as an escort and stripper, against white members of the Duke University lacrosse team.
In the early days of the case, Nifong received a particular boost from what seemed a partisan position taken by the New York Times.
In their 2007 book Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustice of the Duke Lacrosse Case, KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor Jr. sharply criticized The New York Times for their editorial judgment and its effect on the case investigation. They argued that the original reports by Times reporter Joe Drape tended to exonerate the accused players, which contradicted the Times' editorial stance, and that this led to Drape's quick dismissal and replacement by Duff Wilson, who took a pro-prosecution stance.
The Times also carried stories on the case by sportswriter Selena Roberts, who asserted that "something happened March 13" without acknowledging that this was taking the unproven charges of the prosecution and announcing them as fact.
Initial coverage (March-April 2006)
The case attracted widespread media attention almost from the moment it became public. The apparent circumstances—three white males (David Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty) from privileged backgrounds at an elite university apparently taking advantage of a student and single mother (Crystal Gail Mangum) from a crosstown black college (NCCU), trying to make ends meet by working as a stripper and escort—seemed tailor-made for wall-to-wall coverage. However, once the case deteriorated, critics saw it as a stinging showcase of bias in the media and the university system.
It fit the racial template of white men abusing a black woman. It fit what certain people believe about America, that there is racism here that is deep, endemic and systemic. It 'proves' something. So they politicize it, nationalize it, and turn it into a 'teachable moment' for the whole country in order to bring about 'change' - usually some badly thought out 'hate crimes' law.
Every criminal case has a period of time between which the event occurs, and the wheels of justice and the law begin to turn. Eyewitnesses have to be interviewed, evidence gathered, forensics results returned, then District Attorney's have to carefully weigh all this and figure out what charges they can actually prove in a court of law, if there are any, etc.
People used that gap of time between the publicizing of the supposed rape and the actual coming out of the real facts to push their agenda and push it loudly. They loudly wailed that their version of what happened 'proved' what America is 'really like' and unless you immediately give in and give the mob what they want, you were 'defending' racism.
Even Duke faculty joined the mob hysteria when 88 members signed a letter that was published in a newspaper and made national news:
The Duke case was just 6 years ago, and the lessons learned from it should be prominent in many people's minds and you would hope people would have learned something from that rush to judgment.
Yet what have we been watching in Sanford FL for the past month? We've watched the media and the racial hucksters do the same damn thing all over again.
The number of walkbacks, errors and retractions the Old Media has had to make in just the past month on this story is damning. A partial list can be found here:
10 'Facts' About The TrayVon Martin Shooting That Turned Out To Be Wrong
I could not get over how many times Special Prosecutor Angela Corey smiled during her press conference yesterday as she announced she was charging George Zimmerman with 2nd Degree Murder:
Free ice cream for everyone! Wheeeeee!!!!
Does that look like somebody enjoying herself? It does to me. Early on in the Duke Rape Case, Mike Nifong was evidently also enjoying all the attention, delighting in the approval and applause of the mob as he gave them what it wanted. Was she announcing a murder charge or having a national coming out party? Both?
Most disturbing to me is how Corey talked about having personal contact with Martin's family, even to the point of praying with them.
“I will confirm that Mr. Zimmerman is indeed in custody,” Angela Corey, the special prosecutor in the Trayvon Martin case, said at a press conference on Wednesday night. She said that she had started the process of charging George Zimmerman with second-degree murder, and that before stepping up to the microphone she had spoken to “those sweet parents”—Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin—and told them what she was doing to get “justice for Trayvon.” The first time she met them, she said, they had prayed together, but she told them she couldn’t promise anything. This evening, she helped to deliver them some compensation for their tenacity and love in pursuing the case, if not—and this would have been impossible—for the loss of their son.When has Corey scheduled her prayer with George Zimmerman and his family?
As MacsMind points out at his blog:
It’s not a secret that I believe that Angela Corey made not a decision not based on the law, but on politics. As I stated before Corey is up for a difficult reelection in November. Governor Scott’s selection of her has political reasons as well. But that’s circumstantial. I can’t prove it. However, the fact that she brought forth an unwinable case in selecting a second degree murder charge. Remember that Corey isn’t going to try the case, that wasn’t her mandate. The case will now be turned over to local prosecutors who will continue the case. She can now kick back run for reelection and always say, “Hey I charged him!”
This is correct. Corey's work is now done. She has likely dropped an unwinnable case into the laps of the local DA's office. There were noises made about 'new evidence' that supposedly came to light that allowed her to file a 2nd Degree Murder charge, but what that evidence could be is still unknown at this time.
There are plenty prominent examples in the past of the Old Media rushing to judgment and leading to all kinds of miscarriages of justice. The Duke Rape certainly isn't the only one:
1. Richard Jewell: The security guard at the Atlanta Olympics who found bomb and alerted everyone, only to be framed in the media as having planted the bomb himself:
2. The Little Rascals Case: Innocent people became the victims of a media-driven modern day witch hunt. Several were actually sent to prison for long sentences before reason prevailed. Just one of the child sexual abuse cases of the 1980's-90's where plenty of people were tried - and convicted - in the media.
3. The Gabrielle Giffords Shooting: Old Media didn't even wait a day to begin charging that gunman Jared Loughner must have been a right-wing Tea Party-type driven to finally act because of an 'atmosphere of hate' supposedly created by people like Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. When the facts came out, it was revealed that Loughner wasn't Conservative, was politically Leftist, didn't listen to talk radio, and had had mental problems for years before the Tea Party even existed.
Watch Jacob Weisberg at Slate laboriously try to connect the dots:
Here's Debbie Wasserman-Shultz still repeating this narrative after all the facts had come out:
They have a narrative. They are just waiting for an excuse to use it. And when a case even remotely close to what they 'need' for their narrative comes along, they shoehorn it to fit even if it means trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.
And when you point out what they are doing, they keep telling you what an awful person YOU are.
George Zimmerman will get his day in court. The evidence will be heard. But my impression of the way the media has handled this case remains what it was from the beginning. As Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again."
UPDATE: Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has read the arrest affidavit filed by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey and said tonight on MSNBC's Hardball that:
“Most affidavits of probable cause are very thin. This is so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge,” Dershowitz said. “There’s simply nothing in there that would justify second degree murder.”
Dershowitz said that the elements that would constitute that crime are non-existent in the affidavit. “It’s not only thin, it’s irresponsible,” said Dershowitz.Very strong words from a man considered one of the top lawyers and defense attorneys in the country. This reinforces my impression that this prosecution took a turn for the political thanks to mob rule, and it makes what is unfolding in Sanford even more like the Duke Rape case.