Friday, April 13, 2007

The Spirit of the Day

The Duke lacrosse players have been vindicated, at least in the eyes of most. They have been through what must have been a nightmare. With a bizarre, but in this country not unusual, prosecutor and a pile on by the ever righteous in the media, they now have survived, can go on with their lives, and just deal with the fact that any google of their names for the rest of their lives will provide the media attacks for all to see.

The New York Times sports columnists were the leaders of the attack on the accused and the Duke lacrosse team in general. Multiple columnists at the paper of record attacked with pompous certainty over many months. By far the leader of this charge was Selena Roberts. Anyone who dares go back and look at her many columns focused on this issue may now be shocked. She was uniformly biased, often hostile and at times just plain cruel in her many written remarks. This was not a slip of the tongue but written content presumably passed by an editor.

While this is perhaps the most egregious example of her willingness to attack at any opportunity, she is in fact a serial offender. One could ask why she writes about sports at all when she seems to live to villify its participants at will. It's easy to see her delight when any young person who fits this profile(great athlete, minimally educated, given millions, in the spotlight) slips in some way. No need to think up an original column that day. Just attack the young person, the team, the agent, society in general, and feel superior once again.

With the Duke lacrosse case there is not a case of 20/20 hindsight for many observers. There was a clear concern within the first week of the event that the young men were being falsely accused, and within two weeks that this was a prosecutor off the rails. That did not deter Ms. Roberts. Her columns were relentless, biased and narcissistic tirades. In the spirit of the day, why does she have continued employment at the New York Times, and the same goes for her editor. Are young affluent white males open season for attack at the NYT with absolutely no standards of journalistic review. Of course she could not use street slang or profanity in the paper of record, but any review of what she wrote will show that she did not need that crutch. Her opinion pieces were at the time appalling, and today she should be held accountable. Any apology is unacceptable.

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