Why are some incidents widely discussed?

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2013

The tragedy of Cheryl Mangum: As you may have noticed, some topics and incidents get widely discussed by our press and pundit corps.

Other topics and incidents may not get widely discussed. On Saturday, the New York Times gave 83 words to a very unfortunate incident involving a person who long ago seemed to need help.

The Times ran copy from the AP. This was all the Times published, headline included:
NEW YORK TIMES (11/23/13): North Carolina: Woman in Duke Case Guilty in Killing

The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape seven years ago has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 stabbing death of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye, 46. The woman, Crystal Mangum, 34, was sentenced to 14 to 18 years in prison. In 2006, Ms. Mangum claimed Duke lacrosse players gang-raped her at a team party where she was hired as a stripper. After a disastrous local prosecution that led to the downfall of the district attorney, the state attorney general’s office concluded there was no credible evidence an attack had occurred.
We’ll be honest. We hadn’t even heard that Mangum had been charged in this matter.

The so-called “Duke lacrosse case” got massive attention starting in March 2006. By the time the case was resolved in April 2007, it was fairly clear that Mangum seemed to be troubled—that she could probably use some help.

In the recent trial in North Carolina, Mangum claimed that she acted in self-defense. We can’t judge the legal merits of that claim. (It seems she didn’t start the fight which led to the death.) According to the Charlotte Observer, Mangum faces trial on another incident involving an alleged attack on another boyfriend.

The Times gave this matter 83 words. Some major newspapers haven’t mentioned it at all.

Did this incident deserve more coverage? On balance, we don’t necessarily think so. But when we saw this limited coverage, we thought about the massive ongoing discussion of domestic violence accusations involving George Zimmerman.

On balance, we don’t think those incidents rate massive coverage either. But those incidents, which involve accusations, are being widely discussed.

Why are incidents involving Zimmerman producing so much discussion? Yesterday, Howard Kurtz posed that question to Lisa Bloom as part of his new Fox News Channel weekly program, Media Buzz. Tomorrow, we’ll look at what Kurtz and Bloom said about the ongoing Zimmerman coverage.

Kurtz didn’t mention the Mangum case. We were struck by the disparate coverage accorded two sets of events which are somewhat similar.

The Duke lacrosse case was very high-profile. So was the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

Granted, the Zimmerman matter is more current. But we were struck by the very large difference in coverage.

Why was Mangum’s conviction barely covered while accusations against Zimmerman are producing massive discussion? We’ll discuss that question tomorrow. In the meanwhile, notice this:

The New York Times rewrote some of the AP’s reporting. The Times shortened a 209-word report, as is completely appropriate. But as a long-time reader noted, it also changed some of the AP reporting.

What happened in the Duke lacrosse case? According to the New York Times, “the state attorney general’s office concluded there was no credible evidence an attack had occurred.”

Technically, that’s accurate. But this is what the AP report actually said:
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (11/23/13): The three players arrested were eventually declared innocent by North Carolina's attorney general after Mangum's story crumbled and her mental stability was questioned. The Durham prosecutor, Mike Nifong, who championed Mangum's case, was later disbarred.
Accurately, the AP report said the players were “declared innocent.” The New York Times softened that statement. It also fuzzed the accurate statement about Nifong being “disbarred.”

There may be reasons why the Times changed the text in those ways. But here’s a question, the very question Kurtz raised with Bloom:

Why is so much attention being devoted to the fear that Zimmerman might kill someone? Sadly, Mangum has done that very thing.

No one seems to care.

Tomorrow: Kurtz and Bloom

54 comments:

  1. OMB ( Where IS Tawanna Brawley these days anyway?)

    "No one seems to care."

    Compared to George Z? Guess Mangum is kind of like those fabulous
    NAAEP scores.

    "Why is so much attention being devoted to the fear that Zimmerman might kill someone?"

    MIGHT?

    KZ (Still waiting for BOB to disaggregate by race AND income)


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    1. Woops. An extry A in NAEP. Wouldn't want anyone to think we were talking about student athletes or Civil Rights organizations.

      KZ (The Z is for Zarkon, not Zimmerman)

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    2. And an extry N in Tawana. But here's some of the latest.

      http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/08/05/209194252/15-years-later-tawana-brawley-has-paid-1-percent-of-penalty

      Love the pic.

      KZ

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    3. Z is for zilch: As usual you have nothing useful to say.

      Delete
    4. 'AnonymousNovember 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      "Why is so much attention being devoted to the fear that Zimmerman might kill someone?"

      MIGHT?

      KZ (Still waiting for BOB to disaggregate by race AND income)'

      KZ - you beat me to it.

      Wanna bet that he won't discuss Z again, although he is putting out teasers that he will?

      Aha - the test scores twaddle is also crap, is it?

      If at all anyone can draw conclusions from those scores, it is a professional statistician - the blogger is only using them to bash liberals and/or young female achievers.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous @ 10:12

      I only do it so you will have your always ready useful response.

      Zilchy

      Delete
  2. "Why is so much attention being devoted to the fear that Zimmerman might kill someone? Sadly, Mangum has done that very thing."

    And why are we talking about nuclear facilities in Iran, when the price of peanut butter in California has gone down in the past two weeks?

    You are comparing two highly dissimilar events here Bob. Magnum accused some guys of rape and did not get away with it. Zimmerman purportedly killed a young black man and purportedly DID get away with it.

    Accusing rape is not the same as shooting someone with a gun, and having your case declared bogus is not the same as being found not guilty. Do you see the differences there, Bob?

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    1. No purportedly about it, Z killed another human by shooting him with a gun (a cheap gun I might add)

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    2. More gun bashing I see.

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    3. I had to carry a gun most of my life so I notice these type of things d*ckwad.

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  3. Bob might find a hint as two why these two once high-profile cases drew such disparate coverage now in the words "seven years ago."

    Had Magnum been charged with a homicide four months after the Duke case, ya think it might have drawn Zimmerman-level coverage?

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  4. From where I sit answer to Bob's question is obvious: The news media, having once again screwed the pooch on a major story by painting Zimmerman as a psycho-killer racist ass clown is interested in "proving" they were right by citing possible bad behavior now to demonstrate his state of mind then. This, of course, makes no sense whatsoever. Since shooting Trayvon Martin in what overwhelmingly appears to have been self defense George Zimmerman has 1) become a permanent, hugely public social pariah--AKA "the most hated man in America," 2) become deeply in debt with legal bills, 3) at the same time become virtually unemployable, 4) had all of his most important personal relationships with women crumble. If that happened to me, I am quite certain that I would totally flip my nut and can easily see myself doing something crazy like pointing a gun at someone who has declared her intention to abandon me. Those of you who have never experienced true desperation my have trouble imagining what it's like.

    With Crystal Mangum they have exactly the opposite problem. Mangum is a person who they rushed to declare a victim who turned out to be a perpetrator thus demonstrated once again what a bunch of hopeless dupes journalists actually are. Making a big deal out of her murder conviction would be to implicitly make a big deal out their failure to fairly report the case.

    In short they are looking for vindication with George and denial with Mangum. It's that simple.

    This is all mind reading on my part of course, and others are free to take apart my case (though I would appreciate a competing explanation so I too will have something to chew into). Mere ad hominens and name calling will not be considered worthy of response, my precious bitches.

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    1. I have no idea who "they" are, but I am always pleased when one of Bob's loyal disciples rushes to the combox to explain what he means.

      What I do remember is "they" reported a rather sensational case, then "they" stuck with it and reported when it completely fell apart.

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    2. Anon @ 11:18 above hints at another reason you overlooked HB. Zimmerman used a gun. Magnum,
      irony of names notwithstanding, used a knife.

      Best not call attention to the fact that it is the person, not the weapon, that kills.

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    3. Well said, Hieronymus! I was the person who brought this item to Bob's attention. What you wrote were my thoughts. I wrote to the Times' Public Editor, but I assume that was a waste of pixels.

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    4. No irony to the name because it is Mangum, not Magnum.

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    5. Oh, how the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and countless other bastions of liberal self-satisfaction loved the Duke case. Race. Class. Sex. Victimhood. It was the perfect morality tale. Those white jocks at “the Harvard of the South” just had to be guilty. And what a good time we were all going to have lacerating the malefactors while at the same time preening ourselves on our own superior virtue!

      The editorials, the op-eds, the comments, the analyses poured forth non-stop, demonstrating that one of the deepest human passions is the urge to self-righteous pontification.

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    6. Let's hope Bank of America abandons Zimmerman too. Maybe he'll use his firearm for something good for a change.

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  5. "Mere ad hominens and name calling will not be considered worthy of response, my precious bitches."

    Bob, please ban these trolls.

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  6. "I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but the Zimmerman trial is over. Which might explain why TDH blog entries no longer cover it."

    deadrat 11/23/13

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    1. Anon@10:55: Do you think this post is covering Zimmerman? If trolls could read they might not be such trolls.

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    2. Right. A post that brings up Zimmerman by name five times has nothing to do with Zimmerman.

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    3. Right, the post is about the differences in coverage, not who was covered. I understand that it is hard for you to read properly when your mind doesn't work well. Bob has mentioned Finland a lot lately too. Do you think any of those posts were about Finland?

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    4. Oh, lordy, then what is Bob's point? This is about Zimmerman AND Mangum AND the fact that Bob thinks the press should have covered Zimmerman's repeated violent confrontations within weeks of his acquittal as lightly as they covered Mangum's homicide convictions, seven years after she was in the news.

      But no, avert your eyes. Nothing to see here. Bob has told you so And like a good member of his small tribe, you will obey.

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    5. You seem to willfully misconstrue whatever is posted here.

      Delete
  7. This is one of Somerby's more telling critiques of the media to date.
    There is no question about the similarities between Ms. Mangum and Mr. Zimmerman.

    Both made false allegations to police.

    Both had a history of domestic disputes requiring police intervention.

    Both are minorities.

    Al Sharpton played a role in the most famous of many incidents involving both.

    One might ask if sexism could be at fault for the pass being given to the woman.

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    1. Um, what is this "false allegation" by Zimmerman you refer to?

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  8. Today the liberal website Thinkprogress laments the fact that Zimmerman will be defended by a good lawyer. Link http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/11/25/2988941/curious-case-george-zimmermans-public-defender/

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    1. Only progressive people deserve a quality defense. Those who aren't deserve show trial at most.

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    2. Hilarious!!!!
      Exactly how much prison time was served by the bankers and wall streeters who crashed the world's economy through fraud?

      That's the problem, business people are progressives yet they still make believe they are conservatives.

      Delete
  9. "Why was Mangum’s conviction barely covered while accusations against Zimmerman are producing massive discussion? We’ll discuss that question tomorrow. In the meanwhile, notice this:"

    Well, for me, it's because Zimmerman has now accused 5 separate people of attacking him, unprovoked.

    I felt the fact that he had accused two people of attacking him unprovoked prior to accusing Martin of the very same thing tended to discredit his Martin story (a story I don't believe, for a number of reasons).

    Now we can add two more to the list of people Mr. Zimmerman claims have attacked him, unprovoked.

    A girlfriend, a law enforcement person he encountered in a bar, Martin, his wife and/or father in law, and finally, a second girlfriend. Five unprovoked attacks on George Zimmerman.

    There will be a sixth.

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    1. As noted above, this post isn't about Zimmerman. It is about different treatment of two cases by the press. We don't need you to rehash the details of his case.

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    2. Sorry to disabuse you of this notion, but part of the reason that the lacrosse players were exonerated of the rape charges was because elements of the press stuck to the story and dug deeper.

      But I know that doesn't fit the World According to Somerby.

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    3. Excellent post 1:08, and it goes a long way toward explaining why Zimmerman still attracts so much media attention.

      Not that 3:16 could possibly comprehend, however. After all, Bob has already told him what to think about Zimmerman.

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    4. I followed the Duke case very closely, mostly through Prof Johnson's blog. http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/

      The three accused lacrosse players were acquitted because of the DNA test. Also, their lawyer dramatically figured out and exposed a deceptive exhibit from a prosecution expert that was designed to hide the fact that Mangum had had sex with others not on the team.

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    5. How many of those accusations were proved in court?

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  10. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Zimmerman did kill someone.

    LG

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    1. Magnum murdered (crime). Zimmerman killed and it wasn't ruled a murder (not a crime).

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  11. "Why is so much attention being devoted to the fear that Zimmerman might kill someone?"

    You mean, again?

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    1. Magnun MURDERED someone. Zimmerman "allegedly pointed a shotgun" at someone. See the difference? How outraged were you when Magnum was charged with murder? How outraged were you when she was convicted? Can you point to interent posts where you expressed outrage for her MURDERING somenoe? By the way Zimmerman's killing was not ruled a crime. Breaking news: Killing is not always a crime.

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    2. "allegedly"
      How the fuck do you think Martin died, from bad thoughts?

      Let me help you out. Zimmerman killed Martin. With a gun. There is absolutely disputing this fact. It happened. Even Zimmerman admitted that in court.

      Zimmerman's gun didn't kill Martin, Zimmerman did. That he convinced a judge (or jury) that he shouldn't be found liable in the killing, is something altogether different.

      BTW, I'm outraged that Zimmerman can legally possess a gun (the NRA protecting the rights of the "good guys", my ass).

      Looks like we're being protected from Magnun killing someone else. Zimmerman? Not so much. What's not to be outraged about?

      Berto

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  12. Don't worry Al will find his great white defendant one of these days! The only requirement is an accusation and once a careful enough "victim" and they'll finally have their field day wrecking some poor unsuspecting white sap's life.

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    1. Think it might be possible that the kid who went to the convenience store and who wound up dead might be a "victim" too?

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    2. It is harder to think of him as a victim given that he was beating on Zimmerman (based on eyewitness reports). There are so many points at which things could have gone differently for him if he had made different choices. Perhaps he is a victim because none of those occurred to him?

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    3. Like all 17-year old black kids, he should've been armed and trained in the use of a firearm.

      Berto

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    4. If he was never told not to start fights then he might be a victim of a negligent upbringing.

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    5. Yet no physical evidence of such, Anonymous at 7:07 PM.
      Weird, huh?

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    6. Anonymous at 5:15 PM.
      I like where you're going with this. Negligence on the part of the NRA protecting a monster like Zimmerman's (or as the NRA calls him, "one of the good guys") right to possess a gun.

      Berto

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  13. Another young, female reporter from a top college does a lousy job of reporting, this time on the subject of Cheryl Mangum and the Duke lacrosse case.. See http://durhamwonderland.blogspot.com/2013/11/mangum-murder-and-los-angeles-times.html

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  14. H Braintree and Anonymous That Claims Martin Was Beating on Zimmerman,

    Testimony at the trial does not make it clear that Martin beat on Zimmerman at all. Witness J Good testified that he only saw downward arm movements and definitely did not see anyone getting their head banged as Zimmerman claims. Zimmerman's injuries were so mild that I do not see how he could reasonably fear imminent great bodily harm or death. To me his killing of Martin was unjustified. I would have found him guilty.

    Somerby lives in Baltimore, which is over 60% black and has a very high crime rate. I think this in part informs his position on the Zimmerman issue.

    I think Zimmerman suffers from guilt and often guilt can spring forth into righteousness. That guilt feeding righteousness, coupled with his historical disposition for violence, explains his bad behavior since his acquittal.

    Many of us struggle with life's difficulties, and do treat each other horribly, but still without resorting to violence.

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    1. Did you read that, everyone? Bob's opinion on the Zimmerman issue is due to the fact that he lives in Baltimore! Did the jury that acquit Zimmerman of murder live in Baltimore? Are they Somerby's neighbors? Zimmerman haters come up with the weirdest arguments.

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    2. "Zimmerman haters?"
      Just curious, A. Perez, what's not to hate about Zimmerman?

      Berto

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