April 18, 2007

Terry Moran’s Outrageous Screed

By: David White

Add ABC News anchorman Terry Moran to the list of people who owe Reade Seligman, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans an apology. His recent remarks make Don Imus look like a racially sensitive civil rights activist.

Late last week, on the heels of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper’s public dismissal of all charges against the three former Duke lacrosse players, the Nightline co-host opined that we shouldn’t “feel sorry” for the men who were wrongly accused of gang rape.

The supposed victim, Crystal Gail Mangum, accused the three Duke students of beating, strangling, and sexually assaulting her anally, vaginally, and orally without condoms. Several weeks later, her father told authorities that she had also been penetrated with a broom.

At a “Take Back the Night” rally just days after the stripper’s accusations, the Duke “Progressive Alliance” distributed a flyer indicting all 46 members of the team, urging those with more information to “Please Come Forward.” In the days that followed, other protestors held signs that exclaimed, “Castrate” and “Time to Confess.”

Shortly thereafter, 88 Duke University professors took out a full-page ad in the Duke Chronicle thanking campus protestors “for not waiting and for making yourselves heard.”

For weeks on end, the Duke case headlined each day’s morning talk shows and evening newscasts, dominated the cable channels, and ruled the front pages of the nation’s top newspapers. With a string of hysterical reports, Nancy Grace turned herself into a rabid, one-trick pony during the affair, and the mug shots of Seligmann and Finnerty appeared on the cover of Newsweek under the headline “Sex, Lies, and Duke.”

Throughout the ordeal, the three lacrosse players received death threats from members of the New Black Panthers. And for the rest of their lives, as David Evans told Leslie Stahl on this week’s 60 Minutes, “rape will always be associated” with their names.

All built on a giant lie. Yet according to Moran, we shouldn’t “feel sorry” for the wrongly accused men.

Why? Because, according to Moran, “they were part of a team that collected $800 to purchase the time of two strippers; their team specifically requested at least one white stripper; during the incident, racial epithets were hurled at the strippers; [and] the young men were able to retain a battery of top-flight attorneys, investigators, and media strategists.”

College males and strippers? What a scandal.

Never mind the fact that, according to the latest issue of Newsweek, “Frats and other teams, male and female, were known to hire dancers to strut and carry on while students drank beer and hooted.” By Moran’s logic, if a man who has visited one of America’s 3,000 strip clubs is wrongly accused of rape, he is undeserving of our sympathy.

Requesting at least one white stripper? How racist.

By this logic, each and every one of us is obliged to date blacks, whites, Asians, and other potential partners from every race equally. Any preference would be racist. And that would leave us undeserving of sympathy if we’re ever wrongly accused of rape.

“During the incident,” Moran points out, “racial epithets were hurled at the strippers.”

There is no evidence that Seligman, Finnerty, or Evans used any racial slurs on the night in question. In other words, those three men are apparently undeserving of our sympathy simply because they were at a party where someone used racial slurs. The next time you’re at a party where someone utters crass and despicable remarks, remember Moran’s logic: your mere presence at such an event leaves you undeserving of sympathy if you’re ever wrongly accused of rape.

Finally, Moran criticizes the young men for their ability “to retain a batter of top-flight attorneys, investigators, and media strategists.”

In other words, as long as you can afford legal representation, it’s no big deal if you’re wrongly accused of rape.

The truth, of course, is that Seligman, Finnerty, and Evans were guilty of nothing more than attending a party and drinking some beer. And if they hadn’t mounted a strong defense, they could have spent the next several decades in prison.

Sure, like most male college athletes, it’s probable that the men were often crude. But there’s a huge difference between boorishness and rape. For Moran to ignore that difference is an outrage.

And unlike Don Imus, Terry Moran isn’t a shock jock; he’s the co-anchor of one of ABC’s flagship news programs. If only those who were wrongly-accused of rape had spokespeople like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Then, perhaps, the world would pay attention.

David White, a writer in Washington, is a regular columnist for Brainwash. He is also the host and producer of Inside Washington Weekly, a weekly podcast from America’s Future Foundation.