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O’Reilly And Goldberg Complain Duke Lacrosse Accuser Not Vilified Enough By “Liberal Media”

Reported by Ellen - April 26, 2011 -

During The O’Reilly Factor’s weekly media discussion with Bernard Goldberg last night (4/25/11), Bill O’Reilly brought up that all-important story – murder charges against the Duke lacrosse rape accuser, Crystal Mangum. According to both O’Reilly and Goldberg, the New York Times proved their bias because they trumpeted her charges against the players and downplayed her arrest. Of course, her arrest really has nothing to do with the rape case or the exoneration of the players which got lots of coverage from the Times. So what O’Reilly and Goldberg were specifically complaining about, though they never came right out and said so, was that the media was suppoedly going softer on her than the players – and the clear implication was that it was because she was black. But even if you accept such a concern as legitimate, it loses any and all credibility when you look at Fox’s coverage of accusations against vs. exoneration of ACORN and the Obama Justice Department over its supposed racial preference for African Americans. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that all three cases involve race. UPDATED with video and a response from an author critical of the Times' coverage of the case.

The first half of O'Reilly's interview with Goldberg was taken up by a discussion of WikiLeaks. Goldberg took what I thought was an admirable stand on behalf of WikiLeaks and its right to publish. But just as I was feeling all warm and fuzzy toward Goldberg, he went on a ridiculous, hypocritical attack against the Times.

Starting at about 4:15 in the video below, O’Reilly complained that while the Times “ran wild” with Mangum’s accusations against the Duke players, the Times “downplayed the coverage about the crimes this woman has allegedly committed… This was one of the most egregious examples of despicable journalism in memory and there was no worse offender than the New York Times.”

Goldberg agreed, “Absolutely.” He opined that “the entire liberal establishment” - by which he meant the academic community, the civil rights community and the mainstream media - “got together and ran roughshod over these three kids.”

Goldberg went on to complain that the case was “a perfect liberal storm. The accuser was a poor black woman, the kids were white, they were jocks, and they were supposedly privileged.”

“(The Times ran) a tiny, tiny story, two paragraphs from a wire service on page B14 of the newspaper,” O’Reilly complained.

Goldberg said, “They could have used that occasion, Bill, to say what did the liberal establishment learn from this – I’ll use the term ‘lynching.’ …Instead, you know what it was? Hey, we’re washing our hands of this. Two paragraphs, that’s it… and it’s despicable.”

A quick search shows that The Times gave plenty of coverage to the Duke players’ exoneration and the disgrace of the prosecutor in the case, Mike Nifong. In fact, the Times found that Nifong paid a heavier price for his mistakes in the case than most prosecutors who commit similar misconduct. Funny, I don’t remember “fair and balanced” Fox News reporting on that in its nearly obsessive coverage of the case.

But had O’Reilly and Goldberg really been interested in the fate of the players, they would have compared apples to apples: coverage of the accusations vs. coverage of the exonerations. Complaining about lack of coverage of Mangum’s crimes is really only a complaint that she was not vilified enough. After all, even if she were a serial murderess at the time of the supposed rape, it would still have been a crime against her.

Mangum’s arrest is somewhat analogous to the arrest of ACORN videographer James O’Keefe for allegedly trying to interfere with the phones of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and his alleged plot to humiliate CNN reporter Abby Beaudreau. Did O’Keefe’s subsequent troubles get anything close to the kind of coverage “fair and balanced” Fox News gave to the ACORN videos? Don’t make me laugh. Not only did Fox News not offer any kind of “what we learned” moment after the ACORN videos were discredited and ACORN exonerated (at least none that even closely rivaled the airtime spent on the accusations), O’Keefe was hailed as a “Power Player of the Week” on Fox News Sunday after he made another questionably edited video, this time about NPR.

O’Keefe’s partner in discredited videography, Hannah Giles, was given a hero’s welcome on Fox News – by none other than Megyn Kelly, the same person behind the relentless promotion of accusations of black racial bias in the DOJ. Media Matters did the math and discovered that Fox devoted 95 segments and more than eight hours of airtime to accusations against the DOJ vs. 88 seconds for the debunking.

Then there’s Andrew Breitbart, the promoter of the ACORN videos and a guy with a discredited record of his own. Did Fox ever sit down with him to discuss what went wrong with the ACORN story? Not that I ever saw. In fact, he was presented as a completely credible pundit in two recent appearances on Fox.

Speaking of running roughshod – ACORN had its federal funding yanked and then went under in the wake of the video releases – and the unrelenting publicity they received on Fox. Where was Fox’s teachable moment there? Set me straight on what I missed, Fox fans. I'm all ears.

One gets the feeling Fox News just didn’t care about any destruction done to ACORN or the Justice Department as the result of those phony, cooked up (by Fox no less) controversies. Meanwhile, O'Reilly and Goldberg are suggesting that Mangum - who has not been making the rounds of cable news shows like Breitbart, O'Keefe and Giles - is the one who has gotten off scot free.

UPDATES:

The video, which I inadvertently omitted last night is posted below.

I received the following interesting email from R.B. Parrish, author of "The Duke Lacrosse Case: A Documentary History and Analysis of the Modern Scottsboro."

In this instance, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you. The Times' coverage of the lacrosse case is well-analyzed HERE
and HERE:

The Times, in fact, stood behind Nifong all the way; so much so that IMHO it reached the same levels of 'reportage' as the Alabama papers which "reported" on the Scottsboro boys' alleged crimes (that is, fiction paraded as fact, to stoke the public's outrage about a crime which never happened).

If we are to avoid such injustices as the lacrosse case in the future, we might do well to demonstrate outrage at a media (and this includes more than the Times) which abandoned its job of fair reporting and its watchdog role over government, to back a prosecutor's false case (in which the accused had been proven innocent by DNA testing two weeks before the first arrests were made).

My response:

Thank you for your comments. I didn't follow the Times' coverage of the case and you may well be correct about the biased reporting. But my point was that a) the Times did prominently cover the disintegration of the case (whether you liked that coverage or not) and b) that Mangum's later legal troubles were not comparably newsworthy. Assuming you, O'Reilly and Goldberg are correct about the Times' general coverage of the case, I don't think Mangum's murder charge - which had nothing to do with the actual rape case several years before - deserved front-page or prominent coverage, as O'Reilly and Goldberg suggested. Nor do I think that it's "back-page" status was any kind of proof of the Times' bias. I don't recall O'Reilly making it a prominent story. It wasn't even a prominent story in this discussion, but the latter half of a discussion about the media.

That said, I think it's quite possible the Times fell down in its coverage otherwise (and I never said otherwise).



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