The Selena Roberts Angle

Aug 3, 2009
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I know there is a risk of giving this more traction that it deserves, but I have seen it mentioned twice now and I assume it will become one of the talking points of the pro-LA campaigners. Better to have it out now and in the open.

As some of you may know, in March 2006 Selena Roberts, then a reporter with the New York Times, wrote a very polarized article about a group of predominantly caucasian Duke University lacrosse players allegedly involved in the gang rape of an African-American stripper. I won't link it as there are a million links to be had with a simple Google search.

The players vehemently denied the allegations made against them by the dancer. Roberts took the "we wouldn't be giving their story much credence if they were black" angle and basically said they were guilty as charged, but was proven terribly wrong when the truth surfaced: that the dancer's story was a sham, the boys were innocent, and the case had been manipulated by the corrupt local prosecutor Mike Nifong (the only person who actually went to jail over the entire mess).

It looks like the Pharmstrong crowd are now attempting to correlate the recent SI article by Ms. Roberts with the prior Duke fiasco.

In essence, they weill say, we have a reporter who is more than willing to write a personally biased piece without fully researching the facts, but heavily introducing her own opinion.

The differences, of course, will be conveniently overlooked:

1. Mike Nifong was a local DA, not the federal Justice Department, and he had well-known political asperations.

2. Nifong controlled the entire prosecution, while the federal case is being presented to a Grand Jury. They alone will decide if indictments are handed down.

3. Roberts has a co-author this time.

4. Most of what is included in the article has ALREADY been corroberated prior to it's publication.

4. The SI article is the result of endless hours of reserach and interviews with many, many witnesses and people knowledgeable, whereas Niifong controlled most if not all of the prosecution's evidence and there was only one witness for the prosecution (the dancer).

Nevertheless, I will bet we will see more of this angle against Roberts taken in the very near future. As I said, better to get it out now and discussed.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Well put.

Also most of the SI story has multiple sources. It does not rely on one questionable witness and a DA. Each point has 2-3 sources.

Wonderboy even twitted about it....common tactic, attack the messenger to confuse the message.
 
May 26, 2010
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Race Radio said:
Well put.

Also most of the SI story has multiple sources. It does not rely on one questionable witness and a DA. Each point has 2-3 sources.

Wonderboy even twitted about it....common tactic, attack the messenger to confuse the message.
i think wonderboy would love to start shooting the messengers
 
Jan 5, 2010
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Great post, MacRoadie. I didn't realize that Selena Roberts was the same reporter. It is unfortunate that the people who are working on this seem to be such easy targets for the Armstrong camp. Floyd, Selena, et al. The one who strikes me as the most genuine is Emma O’Reilly. I would love to hear more from her. What I’ve read was very intriguing. She seemed not to have the baggage and ulterior motives that many others do. I remember a feature on her in Cycle Sport magazine early on where Armstrong sang her praises. A lot has changed!
 
Of possibly greater relevance, Roberts wrote a well-researched book on A-Rod, who was guilty as charged beyond question, and the book basically bombed. Sold very few copies, and generated very little discussion. A-Rod became a WS hero, and is adored in NY. Then again, he did confess (after he had little choice).
 
Jul 14, 2009
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a little tidbit that you may want include in your Duke Lacrosse trial facts. Even though none of the players were convicted all will receive very,very large sums of money paid by the taxpayers due to police misconduct. Another very strange and polarizing thing about the case. The more the press reported "facts" it became an huge racial issue. Gang members called for rapes and assaults to be carried out on Duke students because the gangs felt they had the pulse of a part of the community and were sure that the young go-go dancer/stripper/liar/criminal would not get justice for the crime committed against her...the one that didn't happen..many things in common with Armstrong..the call for punishment for a crime he has yet to be accused of is deafening. We used to call it going off halfcockt which has become the norm
 
The actual NYT article is not easy to get a link to. Here it is, as originally reported. You must have an NYT account (free) to read it.

She wasn't the only reporter who got it wrong. The entire media was, because Nifong led people astray. It should be known, as fitandfast says, that Roberts was partly criticized as much for counter racism and elitism (Roberts is white) as reporting on non-facts. Here are some other key links that should be read.

She was criticized two years after the Duke case for not admitting she was wrong, and continuing to focus on thoughts that misogyny and even rape goes unreported, and upper-class whites don't like to be investigated when they remain very private, and that his was part of the Duke case. Here is the aforementioned interview with the Big Lead.

Roberts is no stranger to controversy. As Merckx notes, she was a key reporter who researched into Alex Rodriguez steroid use, and ended up facing his wrath. He used the same tactic of criticism because of the Duke case I expect Armstrong's minions to take.

The conservative political site NewsBusters refers to her as a liberal (translation = weak) biased reporter.
 
Aug 3, 2009
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Absolutely.

Roberts gets no quarter from me on any of the Duke fiasco. I certainly wasn't whitewashing it, I simply wasn't going to try to condense all of the events into a single forum post. That's why I specifically stated there are plenty of links available with a simple search.
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No problem. I just kind of felt a duty as a moderator to facilitate, that's all.

The big problem the Armstrong camp has in attacking Roberts (if they do so) is that her article is one of many that's been written, and several more are likely to follow from other publications. If they put too much stock in discrediting her and more articles with more evidence is written, or an indictment is handed down, it's going whiplash them. It will make them look desperate, and inadvertently lend credence to her writing.
 
Jan 20, 2011
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Well race and gender politics have nothing to do with Lance's doping allegations so there really is no risk of bias.
 
Jul 24, 2009
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While I wouldn't compare him to Nifong, Novitzky doesn't exactly have a pristine record. Sure, nothing has stuck yet, but Nifong didn't have a checkered past before the Duke case either.

Expect Lance to attack Novitzky in the press as more and more stuff comes out.
 
Not that you're saying this will happen, but I don't know how anyone could possibly look at Novitzky's aggressive investigation in the past with BALCO and extrapolate that to imply he's doing what Nifong did with Duke. That's such an absurd stretch.

Johnny Cochran used what would have to be considered aggressive tactics in defending OJ Simpson, and just about every legal pundit alive later considered it courtroom brilliance (and he got his client cleared in the face of a mountain of evidence).

I'm sure Lance and his team have done and are doing all they can to get as much dirt as possible on Novitzky. Miller, Williams and Faraole as well. The problem is, as the old saying goes, they aren't he ones under GT investigation, he is And if any sort of dirt, if there is any, starts to stick to any of them, they can step aside and be replaced while the investigation continues. A luxury Lance doesn't have.
 
SilasCL said:
While I wouldn't compare him to Nifong, Novitzky doesn't exactly have a pristine record. Sure, nothing has stuck yet, but Nifong didn't have a checkered past before the Duke case either.

Expect Lance to attack Novitzky in the press as more and more stuff comes out.
Well so far he's limited it to weak taunts via "Juan Pelota" .
 
Merckx index said:
Of possibly greater relevance, Roberts wrote a well-researched book on A-Rod, who was guilty as charged beyond question, and the book basically bombed. Sold very few copies, and generated very little discussion. A-Rod became a WS hero, and is adored in NY. Then again, he did confess (after he had little choice).
The book Roberts wrote about A-Rod became very boring very quickly. But that was moreso the fault of the subject matter.

Alex Rodriguez, aside from the way he used to play baseball, is only compelling as a target of media ridicule and for his grotesque contract.

There really isn't anything interesting about him outside of that.

The other thing is, American sports fans really don't care that much about steroids*, which is why the allegations in the book that Rodriguez was suspected of being a 'roid-head going back to his high school days didn't resonate with anyone.

(*Mostly because I feel if they were widely available more people would take them, but that's another subject for another day)
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Not that you're saying this will happen, but I don't know how anyone could possibly look at Novitzky's aggressive investigation in the past with BALCO and extrapolate that to imply he's doing what Nifong did with Duke. That's such an absurd stretch.
Absolutely but as the law school saying goes when you have the law on your side pound the law
when you have the facts on your side pound on the facts
when you have neither
pound the table

they are trying to draw comparisons and analogies and trying to get the debate as far away from the real story and the facts as possible.
funny you mentioned Johnny Cochran because basically the Chewbaca defense on South Park is just arguing same thing here
Cochran

...ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!
Gerald Broflovski
Damn it!... He's using the Chewbacca defense!
Cochran
Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending lance armstrong, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! lance armstrong is innocentThe defense rests.[1]
:D
 

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