Saturday, April 26, 2014

Move Along…Nothing to See Here

The Price of Silence – The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite and the Corruption of Our Great Universities – William D. Cohan (Scribner)

The so-called “Duke Lacrosse Scandal” was one of those stories that instantly peaked my skeptical side. Having spent years as a journalist and talk show host, I had seen many stories come and go and had developed a highly skilled sensibility to detect bullshit, while much of the mainstream media jumped in with both feet or all too often head first only to scrape the egg off of their collective faces later.

While many rush to judge the “rich kids” who allegedly raped the black escort/stripper, hired for an out of control party, I sensed there was a whole lot more to the story. The finely honed sense bore out when the “case” against the Duke lacrosse player crumbled and the district attorney assigned to the case, Michael Nifong found himself the subject of investigation for his conduct in the case, which would later see him disbarred.

Now some eight years after the fact, writer William D. Cohan is out with The Price of Silence – The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite and the Corruption of Our Great Universities, and I have to admit am stumped as to what the goal is here. While Cohan is a Duke alum, I can’t say that he offers even the least bit of new information or insight into the case in the densely written, 650+ pages.

If Cohan is attempting to indict the actions of Duke University, he falls woefully short; while it is unfortunate, the University’s action make up an all too familiar story line of self-preservationist institutions of higher learning. On the other side of the story, the FACTS of the case really are not in dispute and Cohan certainly achieves nothing here to change that.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It appears that Cohan started out to write a book to fit his title; except, that he couldn't find any facts to support his thesis.

Anyway, there was a contract, so the book got cobbled together anyway.

That's all MOO, of course; but if you know anything at all about the case you'll spot the multitudinous errors soon enough.

And then there is the question why a "definitive" book should rely so much on interviews with Nifong and Mangum (hardly, imho, the most reliable or unbiased sources).

In short, if you buy Cohan's slant, then let me sell you a book on how the Scottsboro boys really did assault those women on that train and only got off because their supporters bought off the judges. (Right...) (sarc/off)