Sorry to have been absent for awhile, but I am happy to note that while I've been giving a speech this evening to a North Carolina group (the Fair Trial Initiative) devoted to helping poor death row inmates, most of the responses to critical comments that I would have been motivated to write have already been covered quite well by others. I add a few observations:
The following is tiresome: "Not to worry, there are thousands of poor people of all races whose stories of police and prosecutorial misconduct will never make the headlines of any national newspaper, talking head TV show or outraged blogger." I would wager the commenter a hot fudge sundae that I have written more than ten times as many published articles over the years about injustices to poor people than the commenter ever has. I would also wager that the commenter cannot site many (if any) examples of prosecutorial misconduct directed against poor people in recent years that is as egregious as the misconduct of Nifong here. More to the point, since when is it a plausible critique of an article decrying especially grotesque injustices to human beings to say that less affluent human beings, too, suffer injustices? If you are are the victim of an armed robbery, should you keep quiet because less privileged people than you have been victims of armed robbery more often? Is there a more flattering way to describe such logic than to say that it is shallow. . . well, I'll save the noun.
As for Anonymouseducator's "Lets not pretend that most of the Duke lacrosse team would have been accepted at Duke if they didn't play lacrosse": Has this commenter ever complained about admissions preferences for preferred racial minorities, which are considerably weightier than those for lacrosse players? I acknowledge the possibility that some groups (perhaps including a few of the lacrosse players) are given undue preferences because of status as athletes or as racial minorities. So which of these admissions preferences should be assessed as more problematic? The one that leads to a 100% graduation rate and GPA's on a par with the class as a whole, plus a lifelong harvest of friendships and valuable lessons in clean competition, teamwork, and endurance in the face of difficulty? Or the one that leads to dramatically sub-par academic and graduation rates plus racial isolation, self-segregation, and discord? For extra credit, Anonymopuseducator, please take a guess which of the preferences described above is the lacrosse preference and which is the racial preference.
"Privileged jocks": The only substantive content of this phrase is that by accidents of birth, such individuals are born into relatively affluent families and have through hard work developed their innate athletic gifts to the point of becoming college athletes. Just what, pray tell, is reprehensible about that? Would you like them better if they were born into poor families and had joined violent gangs or drug rings?
On our criticism of the NYT's 8/25/06 monstrosity versus the quoted passages thereof: I am mystified as to why anything in the passages quoted by the commenters casts the slightest doubt on our criticisms, and would be grateful for an explanation.