“A collective sort of reverse insanity has descended upon the media” as reporters cover the Duke lacrosse players charged with raping a stripper at a party, says CBS and Washington Post commentator Andrew Cohen. Reporters often take everything prosecutors and the police say at face value, often to devastating effect upon criminal defendants.
This is not happening in the Duke case, in which journalists are tripping all over themselves to report the biased view of the young men’s defense attorneys, family members, and other supporters. The prosecutor, after saying a bit too much too early about his case, now is saying nothing at all, leaving the defense spin unchallenged and gaining both in perceived credence and volume. Cohen says there is no balanced coverage in the Duke case; rather, “just one defense-themed story after another.” He cites as an example a Newsweek story that helped fuel a new round of recriminations against Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong. Cohen mentions defense attorney Bob Elkstrand’s “deep bias in favor of the people he is describing to Newsweek — otherwise he wouldn’t be worth his weight in gold lacrosse sticks as an attorney.”