To the Duke Lacrosse Players, Ann Coulter Apologized
Ann Coulter apologies are not common. Presidential aspirant and former United States Senator from North Carolina John Edwards is not likely to receive one. But, to the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team members, Ann apologized (in her own way), for letting herself be gulled by what she usually is quick to recognize: New York Times lies
(and Ann's initial public comments on the Duke case were temperate).
I do wish Ann had referred to Mr. Edwards as a maggot (slang for a despicable person) instead of a faggot ("a male homosexual--often used disparagingly"), but much too much has been made of a bad word choice and much too little of the absence of Mr. Edwards' voice in the growing chorus of support for the persecuted (and even wrongly and wrongfully prosecuted) Duke lacrosse players.
When it comes to the Duke case, Mr. Edwards should be condemned for what he has NOT said.
Ann has written three clever columns of the Duke case, the first of which was entitled "Lie down with strippers, wake up with pleas" and dated April 19, 2006.
Ann was pessimistic and opened with this blast: "However the Duke lacrosse rape case turns out, one lesson that absolutely will not be learned is this: You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don't hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money."
To be sure, Ann blasted the strippers too: "Also, you can severely reduce your chances of being raped if you do not go to strange men's houses and take your clothes off for money."
Ann harshly hammered home her point: "While we're on the subject of things every 5-year-old should know, I also recommend against dousing yourself in gasoline and striking a match."
Ann took care not to publicly prejudge the Duke case--"no one 'deserves' to....be raped or falsely accused of rape for a mistake. I have always been unabashedly anti-murder, anti-rape and anti-false accusation — and I don't care who knows about it!"--but Ann described the strippers as "victims."
Ann was NOT lambasting the players; she was lamenting the American condition:
"It shouldn't be necessary to point out that girls shouldn't be bar-hopping alone or taking their clothes off in front of strangers, and that young men shouldn't be hiring strippers. But we live in a world of Bill Clinton, Paris Hilton, Howard Stern, Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman,' Democratic fund-raisers at the Playboy Mansion and tax deductions for entertaining clients at strip clubs.
"This is an age in which the expression 'girls gone wild' is becoming a redundancy. So even as the bodies pile up, I don't think the message about integrity is getting through.
"The liberal charge of 'hypocrisy' has so permeated the public consciousness that no one is willing to condemn any behavior anymore, no matter how seedy. The unstated rule is: If you've done it, you can't ever criticize it — a standard that would seem to repudiate the good works of the Rev. Franklin Graham, Malcolm X, Whittaker Chambers and St. Paul, among others."
On that score, Ann was wrong: the politically correct crowd, led by Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong, The New York Times, the local Durham newspapers, the Group of 88 and The New Black Panthers, were more than willing to condemn the lacrosse players.
Ann addressed the "deep-seated societal fear of being accused of 'hypocrisy'" applicable to "behavior touching on morals" and castigated, among others, "every man who's ever been at a party with strippers think[ing] he has to defend all men who watch strippers."
Ann's conclusions: (1) "we're all rotten sinners, incapable of redemption on our own"; (2) "[t]he liberal answer to sin is to say: I can never pay this back, so my argument will be I didn't do anything wrong"; (3) "the Jewish answer is...something other than, 'therefore, what I did is no longer bad behavior' — or the Talmud could be a lot shorter"; and (4) "[t]he Christian answer is: I can never pay this back, but luckily that Christ fellow has already paid my debt."
This year Ann wrote two pieces on the Duke case.
The first, titled "Stripper Lied; White Boys Fried" and dated January 10, 2007, not only pronounced the rape charge false, but pilloried the Group of 88: "About a month after members of the Duke lacrosse team were falsely accused of raping a stripper last year, 88 members of the Duke faculty fanned the flames of hysteria by signing a letter announcing that they were 'listening' to students 'who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism.'"
Ann wrote of "iron-clad alibis" and "professors... need[ing] a new example of 'racism and sexism' at Duke since their case in chief has turned out to be a fraud."
Ann's conclusion: "In lieu of a gang rape perpetrated by high-stepping white male athletes against a poor black woman, the Duke lacrosse case has turned out to be another in a long string of hoax hate crimes in which whites are falsely accused.'"
Facts cited to support the conclusion included: (1) "[t]he lacrosse players denied that any rape had occurred and immediately submitted their DNA to the state, confident that the DNA would prove them innocent. It did: Not a trace of DNA from any of the lacrosse players was found on the accuser, though this girl had more DNA in her than a refrigerator at a fertility clinic"; (2) the accuser "had DNA from five other men, which ought to have raised suspicions about her story that she had not had sex with anyone for the week before the alleged gang rape"; (3) the accuser offered "several versions of events," including Ann's "personal favorite...the one in which Elvis came back from the dead and sexually assaulted her" (Note: Ann was being satirical, not literal there); and (4) the accused previously accused "a group of men of gang-raping her" and "[o]ne more time and it's officially considered a hobby [Note: more humor].
Ann boldly called for fairness for the Duke case defendants: "despite the vast privilege, untold wealth and bright shiny whiteness of the defendants, they are still under criminal indictment in this case" and "face up to 30 years in prison for a crime every sane person knows they did not commit. Ah, the life of the privileged!" [Note: The rape charges had been voluntarily dismissed, so up to 20 years].
Having ignored the egregious misconduct of the Group of 88 in her first article, Ann more than made up for the omission this time:
"Duke English professor Cathy N. Davidson recently wrote an opinion piece defending her signing of the 'listening' letter, noting that it was 'not addressed to the police investigation,' but rather 'focused on racial and gender attitudes all too evident' after the alleged rape. She explained that the letter had merely 'decried prejudice and inequality in the society at large.'
"This would be like defending a letter written during the Dreyfus affair on the grounds that the letter did explicitly accuse Alfred Dreyfus of treason against France, but simply took the occasion of his arrest to decry the treasonable attitudes of the Jews in society at large."
Nor did Ann let the Group of 88's "larger truth" myth stand unrebutted:
"Professor Davidson's column—written when it was clear to everyone except Nancy Grace that three innocent men were facing 30 years in prison for a rape they did not commit—notes that she remains 'dismayed by the glaring social disparities implicit in what we know happened on March 13' and says the incident 'underscores the appalling power dynamics of the situation.'
"OK, this one they made up, but the case still illustrates a larger truth!
"If anything, our awareness of the 'power dynamics of the situation' is too high. What we need is a little of that skepticism liberals bring to every single criminal case that is not a white-on-black crime or a rape case involving Bill Clinton.
"The truth, as opposed to the larger truth, is that the allegedly powerful white males are at risk of losing their freedom at the hands of a lunatic accuser and a power-mad prosecutor. Meanwhile the allegedly powerless poor black woman has destroyed people's lives with her false accusations, for which she will walk away scot-free.
"Don't liberals ever have to pony up at least one example of a powerful privileged white male trampling on the rights of a powerless black woman in order to keep droning on about powerful privileged white males? Every real-life example invariably turns out to be a hoax, among the most spectacular the Tawana Brawley case and now the Duke lacrosse case. "
Ann stated that "false reports of racist hate crimes on college campuses have averaged about one a year for 20 years" and decried that, the "larger truth" excuse notwithstanding:
"Liberal professors believe that crying wolf is valuable for calling attention to the societal problem of wolves, even though there's never a wolf in any particular case. Evidently, awareness of an alleged societal ill—of which we have no actual examples—is worth ruining the lives of three innocent people. After all, they're just powerful white men.
"At the next White Males of Privilege meeting, someone ought to bring up how they can use their vast power to win the right not to be put on trial for crimes they didn't commit."
Ann occasionally goes overboard, but she does have insight AND wit.
A week later, Ann followed up with "The Stripper has no clothes," which is especially memorable for Ann owning up to having been gulled by The New York Times and acknowledging that Stuart Taylor Jr. was right from the start on the Duke case.
"Stuart Taylor Jr., the liberal but brilliant legal reporter for the National Journal, described The New York Times' coverage of the Duke lacrosse rape case as '(w)orse, perhaps, than the other recent Times embarrassments.' For a newspaper that carries Maureen Dowd's column, that's saying something.
"As the Times' most loyal reader, this came as welcome news. I had briefly suspected the Times was engaging in fair reporting of the alleged rape case at Duke University. Taylor's article documenting the Times' massive misrepresentations restored order and coherence to my world."
Ann avoided expressions like "I'm sorry," "I apologize" and "I made a mistake," but she did acknowledge that The Times tricked her too.
Then Ann berated The Times for its duplicity:
"The first part of the story -- the lie part -- was angrily reported in the Times. But as the accuser's story began to unravel, the Times gave only a selective account of the facts, using its famed lie-by-omission technique.
"Among the many gigantic omissions from the Times' pretend-balanced article ('Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers') is the fact that the only remaining particulars about the case that are not completely exculpatory come from a memo by Sgt. Mark Gottlieb -- written four months after the alleged incident."
Then Ann excoriated Sergeant Gottlieb:
"Gottlieb, the lead investigator on the alleged rape case [Note: it's disputed whether Mr. Nifong took over that position], took no contemporaneous notes when he interviewed the accuser, but rather waited for the facts to come in -- and his case to be falling apart -- to write a memo recalling her statements during that initial investigation. The statements he recalled were surprisingly favorable to the prosecution!
"The only problem with his memo, besides being preposterous on its face, is that it is contradicted by the contemporaneous notes taken by other people involved in the investigation. Indeed, the only thing Gottlieb's memo was consistent with were the facts as the prosecution was then alleging them."
Wonder what Ann meant by The Times' "famed lie-by-omission technique"?
Ann gave this example:
"The Times 'No Answers' article gave no indication that Gottlieb's memo was written four months after the alleged rape, but rather refers to it as the policeman's 'case notes,' falsely suggesting the notes were taken during the investigation and not after the frame-up."
Then Ann detailed deception in those "case notes":
"Beginning with the strongest invented evidence from Gottlieb's 'case notes,' the Times reported that the nurse who examined the alleged rape victim told Gottlieb that the 'blunt force trauma' seen in the examination 'was consistent with the sexual assault that was alleged by the victim.'
"Or at least that's what Gottlieb wrote four months after talking to the nurse. It's not what the nurse wrote the night she examined the accuser. To the contrary, the only sign of physical trauma the nurse noted in her written report immediately after examining the accuser were some superficial scratches on the woman's knee and heel.
"Indeed, in all 24 pages of the report prepared by doctors and nurses who examined the accuser the night of the alleged rape, there is no mention of any 'blunt force trauma' or any injuries other than the scratches."
In addition to misrepresentation of the accuser's physical condition, those carefully (and belatedly) crafted "case notes" contained misdescription of alleged attackers:
"Also contradicting Gottlieb's hindsight memo were the notes taken by another policeman during their interview with the accuser -- not four months later -- saying she described [one of] her assailants as 'chubby,' with a 'chubby face' and weighing '260-270' pounds.
"That description fit none of the eventual defendants -- whom she repeatedly failed to pick out of photo lineups until Gottlieb finally gave up and presented her with a photo lineup of only Duke lacrosse players, to ensure that she couldn't guess wrong [Note: she could, but she was led to believe that she couldn't].
"But according to Gottlieb's hindsight memo, the accuser described one of her rapists as 'baby-faced, tall, lean' -- just like one of the actual defendants!"
Warming to her task, Ann continued to pound The Times and Sergeant Gottlieb:
"In repeatedly citing Gottlieb's after-the-fact memo as if it were the Rosetta stone of the case, the Times also neglected to mention Gottlieb's dark history with Duke students.
"Gottlieb repeatedly jailed Duke students charged with minor infractions such as carrying an open beer or playing loud music, often throwing them in cells with violent criminals. He was not so tough on nonstudents, releasing one caught with marijuana and a concealed .45-caliber handgun.
"A review of Gottlieb's record published in the Durham News & Observer showed that, in the previous year, when he patrolled an area that included both a 'crime-ridden' public housing project and Duke off-campus housing, he arrested 20 Duke students and only eight nonstudents. During that same period, the three other officers in that district arrested two Duke students and 61 nonstudents."
Having thoroughly discredited Sergeant Gottlieb, Ann explained that "Gottlieb's memo is the linchpin of the prosecution's case, and every single other fact in the case exonerates the defendants" and "condemned partisan witch-hunts of the prosecutors and policemen the Times lies to defend."
Where is John Edwards on the Duke case?
His former law partner, Wade Smith, is defending Collin Finnerty, but Mr. Edwards has not publicly spoken on the case in a meaningful way.
The Associated Press reported that Mr. Edwards responded to Ann's unfortunate joke involving him, rehabilitation and the word (faggot) used by a black actor starring on "Grey's Anatomy" to describe a co-star this way: "I think it is important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention. I also believe it is important for all of us to speak out against language of this kind; it is the place where hatred gets its foothold, and we can’t stand silently by and allow this kind of language to be used."
I agree that such language should not be used, but what is much worse is that Mr. Edwards has been "stand[ing] silently by" during the corruption of the North Carolina criminal justice system known as the Duke case. Ann should have skipped the joke and referred to Mr. Edwards as a wimp (a person regarded as weak or timid and especially as unmanly).
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.