Stoking the Fires of the Duke Lacrosse Case

Things have been relatively quiet (at least in public) in the Duke University sex assault case as the parties and their lawyers crank up toward trial. But there is a very interesting story now out in New York magazine that is likely to stir things up a bit for the next week or so. The piece savages both Michael Nifong, the prosecutor who wants to put three Duke lacrosse team players on trial for sexually assaulting a stripper at a party this past spring, and The New York Times, for its coverage of the case.

Kurt Andersen, author, journalist and all-around gadfly contends in a piece called "Rape, Justice and the Times" that the paper has blown it by refusing to be critical enough of the prosecution's case and by being too quick to rush to judgment that a rape occurred at the party. For anyone interested in the case, and I know there are plenty of you out there judging from your past reaction to my past pieces on this topic, it's a good read. Although, to be fair, Andersen falls into exactly the same trap that he accuses the Times of falling into-- coming to a strong and seemingly unflinching conclusion about the guilt or innocence of the defendants before they go on trial.

By Andrew Cohen |  October 9, 2006; 2:00 PM ET
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Andrew, Anderson has not fallen into a trap. Rather, you have.

There is no question about the defendants' guilt or innocence. They are innocent until proven guilty. The state is appealing to resentment and scapegoating in attempting to establish guilt in a case in which it is clear that reasonable doubt exists. That is a serious abuse of the criminal justice system.

Posted by: Tom Kirkendall | October 10, 2006 08:51 AM

If this country ever moves to squash media freedom it will be because of these examples of abusive crap coverage that Duke has received on this!!!!!! At that point journalist cries will fall on silent cedars!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: j simpson | October 10, 2006 03:25 PM

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