Hit & Run

The Question of the Hour

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Just who at The New York Times does Mike Nifong have naked pictures of?

This sprawling attempt to reanimate the Durham DA's Duke rape case and his reputation is downright baffling in spots; mysterious in total. Like MSNBC's Dan Abrams said eariler today, the story is an embarassment to the Times.

Taking the lead investigator's notes and using them as a narrative doesn't really tell us anything we didn't already know about the case while managing to gloss over the huge holes in Nifong's case. Just the differences in what the accuser and the second stripper, "Nikki," recall about the evening call into question somebody's version of events.

The Times leads with the shocker that the investigator found the accuser to be in pain and bruised several days after the rape supposedly occurred. This supports the indictment of three men who were in the same house with the accuser for few hours several days before exactly how? And then there is the bizarre lesson in American race relations the Times is intent on grafting onto the case:

What is more, regardless of one's opinion about the prosecution, to read the files, with their graphically twined accusations of sexual violence and racial taunts, is to understand better why this case has radiated so powerfully from the edgily cohabited Southern world of Duke and Durham.

I read that three goddamned times and still have no idea what is says. I do know, however, that one reason the case radiates powerfully is that the Times insists on writing huge fucking, go-nowhere stories about it.

But what makes me the most crazy is that I missed my chance to work at the Times. You see, once upon a time, I had a summer job working for a beer distributor in Durham. The A&Ps in the black part of Durham, of which there is much, got the malt liquor. The Kroger near Duke's campus mostly got imports and wine coolers.

A five-part series on alcohol and the edgily cohabited Southern world of Duke and Durham slipped through my fingers.