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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  May 25, 2007
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Duke Case: Stuart Taylor Led The Way

Mr. Taylor put it simply: the mainstream media does not like to explore its own errors and few newspapers are willing to admit their biased coverage. NO KIDDING!

For years Stuart Taylor covered legal issues for...The New York Times!

But, with respect to its coverage (or should I say exploitation?) of the Duke case, Mr. Taylor excoriated his former employer instead of making excuses for it or looking away.

Example: Mr. Taylor's memorable "Witness for the Prosecution? THE NEW YORK TIMES IS STILL VICTIMIZING INNOCENT DUKIES, Slate, August 29, 2006.

The first three paragraphs of this exquisite expose left no doubt that Mr. Taylor's insistent focus on the facts had left him contemptuous of the way The Times had treated the Duke case:

"Imagine you are the world's most powerful newspaper and you have invested your credibility in yet another story line that is falling apart, crumbling as inexorably as Jayson Blair's fabrications and the flawed reporting on Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD. What to do?

"If you're the New York Times and the story is the alleged gang rape of a black woman by three white Duke lacrosse players—a claim shown by mounting evidence to be almost certainly fraudulent—you tone down your rhetoric while doing your utmost to prop up a case that's been almost wholly driven by prosecutorial and police misconduct.

"And by bad journalism. Worse, perhaps, than the other recent Times embarrassments. The Times still seems bent on advancing its race-sex-class ideological agenda, even at the cost of ruining the lives of three young men who it has reason to know are very probably innocent. This at a time when many other true believers in the rape charge, such as feminist law professor Susan Estrich, have at last seen through the prosecution's fog of lies and distortions."

Then on a sabbatical from The National Journal to work on a book on the Duke case, Mr. Taylor used Slate as a forum to rebut the disgraceful 5,600-word page one reassessment by Duff Wilson and Jonathan Glater in the August 25, 2006 issue of The Times.

Mr. Taylor graciously noted the article's "flaws are so glaring that it was shredded by bloggers within hours...."

True!

Then Mr. Taylor shredded the shreds.

Example: "The Wilson-Glater piece highlights every superficially incriminating piece of evidence in the case, selectively omits important exculpatory evidence, and reports hotly disputed statements by not-very-credible police officers and the mentally unstable accuser as if they were established facts. With comical credulity, it features as its centerpiece a leaked, transparently contrived, 33-page police sergeant's memo that seeks to paper over some of the most obvious holes in the prosecution's evidence."

Mr. Taylor explained how cunningly The Times deceives its readers.

Example: "The Times piece mentioned most of this exculpatory evidence but understated its cumulative weight and gave unwarranted credence to contrary evidence of dubious credibility, such as the Gottlieb memo."

The problem, in Mr. Taylor's words: The Times treated the Duke case as "a fable of evil, rich white men running amok and abusing poor black women."

Fittingly, Mr. Taylor approvingly quoted a defense lawyer who noted the great irony of the Times article's "strong implication that defense lawyers have deceived the public... in an article about a prosecutor who has and continues to deceive the public about his case."

Mr Taylor's conclusion: "Nifong must be praying for jurors as easily deceived—or as willing to see past the evidence to what they want to believe—as Wilson and Glater of the Times."

Strong, but true, words.

At the “The Duke Lacrosse Case: A Rush To Judgment and Journalism’s Future” program held on May 22, 2007 at the National Press Club, moderator Alicia Mundy shared a revealing anecdote about Mr. Taylor.

Hero of the Hoax La Shawn Barber reported it this way: "Taylor, columnist and co-author of Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case, realized very early on that prosecutor Mike Nifong didn’t have much of a case. He rushed a column to print in April 2006, worried that his column might be old news and others would beat him to the punch with this revelation. Taylor assumed many other journalists had reached similar conclusions, and he wanted to get his piece in. He was wrong. His was the only opinion piece from a member of the mainstream media (MSM) who was skeptical about the case."

BULLETIN: Since the piece was by Stuart Taylor, one was enough! The facts eventually would educate the educable public and the wrongfullu indicted would not be wrongly tried, much less wrongly convicted.

When I read Mr. Taylor on the Duke case in May of 2006 (after my mother's final illness and funeral), I was sure that despite the formidable forces of political correctness, the Duke Three would be exonerated and it was a matter of time, depending upon the fruits of the defense's investigation, leaks from those disgusted with what was happening and how long it took the defense to publicly attack Mr. Nifong and expose him as a shameless political hack who would do whatever to win a Democrat primary in order to keep his job. Mr. Taylor had written that "the available evidence le[ft] [him] about 85 percent confident that the three members who have been indicted on rape charges are innocent and that the accusation is a lie" and designated a Duke case rogues gallery that did NOT include the then indicted players, but "include[d] more than 90 members of the Duke faculty who have prejudged the case, with some exuding the anti-white racism and disdain for student-athletes that pollutes many college faculties" as well as "former Princeton University President William Bowen and civil-rights lawyer Julius Chambers [who] went out of their way to slime the lacrosse players in a report on the Duke administration's handling of the rape scandal — a report that is a parody of race-obsessed political correctness."

Mr. Taylor, a Princeton rugby player as well as a lawyer and America's top legal commentator, had a special insight into and appreciate of scholar athletes like the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team AND the benefit of a call from the father of an unindicted player who was so confident that the felony claims were bogus that he invited Mr. Taylor to investigate. (THAT invitation surely came from a man who knew he could trust his son to tell him the truth, since Mr. Taylor would follow the evidence instead of fabricate "reasonable doubt" if there really had been a kidnapping, a rape or a sexual assault.)

It was not at all surprising to me that Mr. Taylor tentatively concluded early during the Hoax that Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong should be investigated and proceeded to certainty over time.

Mr. Taylor:

"Then there is Mike Nifong, the Durham, N.C., district attorney who is prosecuting the case. In addition to the misconduct detailed in my April 29 column, he has shielded his evidence (if any) from public scrutiny while seeking to keep the rape charges hanging over the defendants by delaying any trial until next spring.

"Nifong and a certain Durham police officer should themselves be under criminal investigation, in my view, for what looks like possible intimidation of a disinterested defense witness, a cabbie who had been transporting one defendant at the time of the alleged rape."

It turned out to be even worse than even Mr. Taylor initially thought. By June of 2006, I was writing:

"Mr. Nifong should have wondered about the credibility of the accuser when the DNA samples were eagerly provided, or at least when the DNA found inside the accuser was determined not to have come from any of the Duke lacrosse players but from several other males.

"And the DNA results should have led Mr. Nifong to conclude that the indictments should be dismissed.

"But, Mr. Nifong, for whom the black vote was decisive in his Democrat primary win last April, still has to face the voters in November, and pretending that he has a case may seem preferable to admitting an egregious mistake.

"The key question now is not whether any of the Duke Three [is] guilty of any of the charges against them — they are not — but whether Mr. Nifong is reckless and stubborn, or worse.

"Mr. Nifong should be polygraphed. Ironically, he may be one who should be prosecuted."

Ethics charged are pending against Mr. Nifong, and I hope that justice is meted out to him in every possible forum.

Thanks to Mr. Taylor, there will be more justice than there otherwise would have been.

The National Press Club flyer on the Duke case program read: “Spurious rape charges against members of the Duke University lacrosse team triggered a year’s worth of emotional news stories, blogs, and 24/7 media specials. Many allegations were flung and many reputations ruined, but in the end all charges were dropped. Now, the original prosecutor himself faces potential charges, and journalists must work through the wreckage to find lessons for the future.”

Rem Reider, editor of The American Journalism Review, said during the program that “in the heart of the chase,” it’s tough not to rush to judgment and not get caught up in with the mob.

But Mr. Taylor did not make excuses for journalist, observing instead that it was “pretty darned obvious” to any reasonable reporter by mid-April that the Duke case was full of holes. He discussed the DNA and how Mr. Nifong himself said the DNA would tell the story, ruling out players while proving others were involved.

In March 2006,lacrosse team co-captains issued a statement through Duke University, asserting that (1) there was no rape, (2) they were innocent and (3)the DNA would prove it, just as the prosecution had said.

There was no DNA match, but Mr. Nifong continued to prosecute (or, as I prefer, persecute).

Mr. Taylor asked why the media didn’t press Mr. Nifong about this. After all, the prosecution had said the DNA results would exonerate the innocent, so why, in the absence of a match, did Mr. Nifong continue with this case and the national media ignore the lack of a DNA match?

The answers are obvious: (1) Mr. Nifong was running for office and playing the race card hard and (2) the national media was determined to treat the prosecution as credible as long as possible, because it fit the agenda and promoted a so-called "higher truth," even if the facts did not support it.

La Shawn Barber:

"It was obvious that Stuart Taylor is no fan of the New York Times. He said the NYT was 'infected' with political correctness, which affects the editors, reporters, and the way the paper covers news. A reporter named Joe Drape had written something about the Duke case, which the defense liked. They sent him information, hoping he’d do a big story about the mounting exculpatory evidence. Taylor, who must have first-hand knowledge of this, said Drape’s editors took him off the story and didn’t run it. The paper put another reporter [Duff Wilson] on it."

So much for The Times' "All the news that's fit to print" motto.

Mr. Taylor put it simply: the mainstream media does not like to explore its own errors and few newspapers are willing to admit their biased coverage. NO KIDDING!

Mr. Taylor added that even this far down the road, The New York Times still is printing errors about the Duke case. Query: are they really errors, or deliberate falsehoods?

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

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.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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