News Media Take Lumps Over Duke Lacrosse Coverage


The news media are coming in for criticism over coverage of the Duke lacrosse case, says the Baltimore Sun. “There was an initial, preconceived notion about what the overall narrative of the story was about,” said Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. “It was: ‘Elite, spoiled white boys degrade and humiliate poor, black woman.’ And then, over the next couple of months, you saw the pendulum swing in the complete opposite direction. It became: ‘Loose, unstable black woman accuses nice white boys of rape.’ Both of those narratives were excessive, and the reporting behind them could not substantiate the conclusions.”

“A lot of the commentary has been uninformed and underinformed,” said Philip Wood, a marketing executive in Raleigh who last summer started a blog, LieStoppers (, to poke holes in the case being developed by Durham District Attorney Michael B. Nifong. , who later removed himself from the case and is being investigated for prosecutorial misconduct. Wood and Stuart Taylor Jr., a former Times reporter who is writing a book about the Duke case, were critical of New York Times coverage. Wood assailed the Herald-Sun in Durham, N.C., for “thinly veiled” articles favoring Nifong.


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