Last night ESPN aired a new episode in their 30 for 30 documentary series. “Fantastic Lies” was a searing look back at the Duke lacrosse case/hoax/scandal.
Overall, it was an outstanding piece of work. Admittedly, it skimmed over a great many points and left out others. That is inevitable when you have to cover a complex, year-long, story in 90 minutes of television.
For what it is worth, here are a few of the points about the case that deserve more attention.
Reporters and pundits did not just attack the members of the lacrosse team. They attacked anyone who tried to defend the team and its players. The documentary really should have included the brave stand made by the Duke women’s lacrosse team and the vitriol they received from the press for proclaiming their belief in the ‘innocence’ of the men lacrosse players.
Journalists were not just wrong about the case. They were arrogantly, viciously, proudly wrong.
Failure was not inevitable. Some people were not caught up in the perfect storm. “Fantastic Lies” would have been much better if it had included the thoughts from someone like Stuart Taylor on the failure of the media.
The documentary lets the MSM off the hook. It lets the clowns and kommissars claim that failure was inevitable because the story was “a perfect storm.”
More detail on this point can be found here:
A small point but a telling one:
Duke lacrosse: The AJR review
Duke lacrosse: Can the MSM look into the mirror?
Duke lacrosse: “Totalitarian Whiff”
When the documentary hid this fact it continued a long tradition of smokescreens and fig leafs. In that sense it is emblematic of the media cover-up that has gone on for ten years. The MSM cannot look in the mirror and admit its mistakes.
“Fantastic Lies” whitewashes ESPN’s participation in the media mob that abetted Nifong.
Which is why this happened:
The Gang of 88 still rules the roost in Durham. The MSM still falls for hoaxes like the Rolling Stone story on UVa and “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”
None of the MSM outlets that messed up so horribly did anything to reform themselves. Nor did the Duke administration.
When Evan Thomas of Newsweek tried to defend the magazine’s indefensible rush to judgment he came up with one of the most quoted lines of the whole saga.
“We just got the facts wrong. The narrative was right, but the facts were wrong."
And that is what ties this into the Trump phenomenon. Journalists and their lapdog media critics keep whining that millions of people ignore their rigorous fact-checking and debunking of Trump’s claims and promises. They say they are puzzled and I bet they are. If they really understood what was happening they would be terrified.
Millions of voters ignore the MSM attacks on Trump because they assume the MSM is filled with liars who prefer the Narrative (i.e. propaganda) to facts and truth. That is not entirely correct and it does not make Trump a good choice for president, but it does help explain why so many happily ignore the MSM.
If the old media has lost power, it is because they wielded it recklessly and unwisely.
One last point in Trump’s favor.
When the MSM ginned up their unthinking outrage mobs, professional conservatives and Republican politicians were slow to respond. Some happily ran with SJW pack. Most hid and hoped it would blow over.
When a Trump supporter says they like DJT because “he fights”, the background context is the craven cowardice of resercons like Tucker Carlson and gutless politicians too numerous to mention.