Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A serious question

This whole Duke-non-rape story, now that it has fallen apart completely, has been a disaster every which way: it has destroyed young men's lives, it has destroyed (justly) a district attorney's career, and it has destroyed the credibility of the alleged non-victim. And the media did not bathe themselves in any kind of glory in covering this matter.

It is a hideous story.

All that aside, can someone explain to me why the wingnuts have always been so crazed about this thing?

Really. Seriously. It's never been clear to me where the juice is coming from.

UPDATE: Ask, and you shall receive. The media. It's always about the media. From the never-let-you down InstaPundit.

LATER: Prof. Reynolds responds (which happens to be in the same link as the one in the update, just scroll down). I'm not sure if he's on to something, but the thoughts of Radley Balko have more of a ring of truth to me:

[T]o hear law-and-order right-wingers like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, or the Powerline crew scream about prosecutoral excess, the rights of the accused, and political opportunism on the part of a prosecutor these past few months really strained all credulity. Yes. I'd love to think their interest in this case was motivated solely by their sense of justice. But come on. Does anyone not think the race and class of the accused, the race and class of the accuser, and the politics of feminism and anti-feminism had something to do with their sudden embrace of and familiarity with NACDL talking points?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe these conservatives have gotten religion. Maybe in the future, O'Reilly, Hannity, & co. will actually make a cause celebre about cases where the accused aren't rich white kids with high-paid attorneys accused of raping a poor black woman. I'm skeptical.


These kinds of injustices happens to all people, of course. It's just that most of them don't make the newspapers. The do also tend to happen disproportionately to black people, and to poor people who can't afford big-shot attorneys. And they happens far more frequently than most conservatives I know would ever care to acknowledge.

The right-wingers who left their law-and-order perch to hustle to these players' defense were no less politically motivated than the left-wingers who left their rights-of-the-accused perch to condemn them.

The right-wingers just happened to be right this time.

That sounds right to me. Or, as I told one of my emailers: "I guess the real question is this: Had this story not transpired the way it did (and the accusations were true), would these same blogs be covering it with as much fervor as they are now? I'm guessing not." She disagreed, but like Balko, I'm skeptical.

UPDATE XVII: Ugh. So now Prof. Reynolds is in why-I-care-about-guilt-vs.-innocence high dudgeon (which was never the point of this post), and links to Jonathan Wilde, a seemingly sincere-sounding fellow who voices his concern over whether Jose Padilla is found guilty or innocent (too bad he initially identifies him as "Edgar"). I'd buy that line of reasoning, and I agree that the Padilla case is a miscarriage of justice, except after conducting a search of Mr. Wilde's archives, I can't seem to find any posts discussing Edgar, Jose or Miguel Padilla's guilt or innocence. Perhaps he can direct me to some posts in which he actually delves into a topic that he identifies as an important matter.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 10:47 PM

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