April 23, 2006

The NYT Public Editor give a big wet kiss to the NYT's hysterical coverage of the Duke lacrosse goat rodeo

New York Times ombudsman Brian Calame, perhaps taking time out from watching the old "Law & Order" reruns where he apparently gets his worldview, reviews his newspaper's overheated interest in this ridiculous farce and finds it A-OK. Let's just note that the word "hoax" never appears in his essay. He concludes:

"A final thought, based on my review of The Times's performance: Covering the legal proceedings that seem likely to focus on the extremely serious charges of sexual assault and kidnapping is vital. But the paper needs to keep an eye on the allegations and reports about the racial insults voiced by various players, and on the lacrosse team's seemingly flawed culture. If the rape and kidnapping charges do not hold up, the story doesn't end. The Times should be prepared to continue covering what is done about the racial-insult allegations, given the prominence of the team and the university."

"If the rape and kidnapping charges do not hold up, the story doesn't end." Uh, wouldn't the story then be how the Newspaper of Record got hoaxed into publicizing at vast length an absurd tale made up by a drunken stripper?

What I'm struck by is the complete lack of self-awareness in the media. Even with a fair number of discussions of how all this is pre-figured in Tom Wolfe novels, the key concept from the "Bonfire of the Vanities" of the hunt for the Great White Defendant just hasn't register with the press. A Google search for "Duke lacrosse" and "Great White Defendant" brings up only 13 different sites, most of them inspired by me.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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