Brent Bozell
On Nov. 22, with the national media focused on the 50th anniversary of former President John F. Kennedy's death, few noticed the story of a jury in North Carolina convicting Crystal Mangum of murder in the 2011 kitchen stabbing death of her boyfriend Reginald Daye. Why should that fact fixate the national media?

On its own, it shouldn't. But in 2006 and 2007, Mangum's false charges of rape against three Duke University lacrosse players caused a national tsunami of media sensation, an angry wave of prejudiced coverage presuming the guilt of rich white college boys when being accused by an African-American stripper.

More than any other media outlet, The New York Times trumpeted Mangum's rape accusations, even after they fell apart. As other liberal media were backing away, the Times published a notorious, error-riddled 5,700-word lead story on Aug. 25, 2006, by Duff Wilson, who argued there was enough evidence against the players for Michael Nifong, the atrocious local prosecutor (who would later be jailed and disbarred), to bring the case to trial.

Within the Times, perhaps the most aggressive accuser was then-sports columnist Selena Roberts, who made a habit of comparing the accused Duke lacrosse players to drug dealers and gang members.

Roberts continued to lob charges of white privilege in her last column on the subject in 2007: "Don't mess with Duke, though. To shine a light on its integrity has been treated by the irrational mighty as a threat to white privilege. Feel free to excoriate the African-American basketball stars and football behemoths for the misdeeds of all athletes, but lay off the lacrosse pipeline to Wall Street, excuse the khaki-pants crowd of SAT wonder kids." She lamented, "some news media jackknifed as they moved from victim's advocate to angel-tinting the lacrosse team."

To Roberts, the false accuser never stopped being the victim. Roberts never wrote a retraction for her columns that relentlessly championed a false narrative. She is the Al Sharpton of sports columnists.

The coverage ended. Well, there was one small trickle of news. In December 2010, The New York Times ran a tiny wire item in the sports section about the Duke lacrosse "victim" being found guilty of "misdemeanor child abuse and damaging property. A Durham County jury convicted Crystal Mangum, 32, of contributing to child abuse or neglect, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer after a February confrontation with her live-in boyfriend."


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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