Monday, April 10, 2006

Duke lacrossse, the Times, and Alex Kuczynski: updates, revised thoughts, and rambling

A few thoughts on previous posting subjects:
  • Lawyers for the Duke lacrosse players say that there's no DNA match with the victim. If these guys turn out to be innocent and the crime never happened, all the better for everyone involved. The episode would still go down as a case study in institutional arrogance and how not to come clean.
  • I recently shredded the Times's website redesign. I don't take it back, but some of my bigger gripes have been ironed out. The site has featured better photos, the headline in the lead story has been in a bigger and bolder typeface, and it's doing a better job putting together its multimedia package. Still think it's a jumbled mess, but some of the biggest, most easily remedied headaches have been addressed.
  • For the first few months of this site's life, we regularly shredded the hell out of the New York Times styles sections. The problem with this project? Having to read the Times styles sections. Try it. It's made me even more bitter and crotchety -- as if that's even possible. Yet again, we were ahead of the curve where The New Republic is concerned, as the venerable publication currently features a head-to-toe critique of the Times's nosedive into conspicuous consumption. Alex Kuczynski gets plenty of discussion, and it's not pretty.
  • You've heard about Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article about a U.S. attack on Iran. Now, go read it. It's chilling. Here's a taste: "A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was 'absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb' if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do 'what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,' and 'that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.'"
  • Someday, I'll revisit John Roberts and Sam Alito. But not tonight.
  • Why the hell am I so absorbed in the Italian elections?
  • And why the hell has The Sopranos been so good this year?


22280 said...

No matter what happens in the Duke case, a large group of people will have jumped to a conclusion that ends up being completely wrong. This is sort of what I was warning about earlier. I don't know if the accused are guilty or not, but they're handling this exactly as I would if I were in their position.

CrimeNotes said...

Really? I think their every move has been wrongheaded and a basic invitation to conclude their guilt. Not since OJ said he was going to find the real killers has someone accused of something heinous behaved so brazenly.

My original critique was more about the administration than the guys, but I think there's enough grief to go around. The administration was slow to respond and declare that there'd be a public accounting. They were only motivated to put on a public face when one of the guys said that he wanted to skin strippers.

Meanwhile, you had defense lawyers arguing things about an e-mail in favor of stripper-skinning being a complete defense, and making their entire case based on proceduralisms and burdens of proof instead of actual innocence. If I were accused of something like this, and I were innocent, the response would be hell no, and to say that these accusations are outrageous.

My only caveat is that maybe more clearheaded things were being said and done and not reported publicly. And the only sympathy I have for these guys (including the administration) is that they were blinded by this and weren't aware of how their words played to the outside world.

But the reason you have professionals around is to make these kinds of calls and not turn shaky.

CrimeNotes said...

Incidentally, if you ever want to be depressed, look up "duke lacrosse" on blogsearch.

People are fucking nuts.

22280 said...

you might be right about the administration and the lawyers - i was referring to the players, whether they're innocent or guilty.

here's what i'd do if i were in their position:

a) hire a lawyer
b) shut my mouth until my lawyer told me to open it (which would hopefully be never)

there are probably many reasons to dislike these lacrosse players - whether they're innocent or guilty. but their decision not to go all "I did not have sex with that woman" on us isn't one of them.

CrimeNotes said...

It's always hard to know when to act like a lawyer and when to think about playing to a public audience. Maybe the moral is, you'll always have assholes like me second-guessing.