Man Without Qualities

Friday, August 01, 2003

The Like Of It Now Happens

The Man Without Qualities (here and here) has pointed out that the inter-racial aspect of the Kobe Bryant rape case is being willfully avoided by the media - especially the mainstream media - which are mostly entirely avoiding all mention of the issues raised by this troubling aspect of the case or relegating such issues to brief, oblique references tucked at the back of long articles.

But the racial aspects of the Kobe Bryant case will probably not be brief, oblique or possible to relegate to the back of any media bus. And that's starting to become apparent:

ABC News has learned that an Eagle County sheriff's deputy involved in the investigation was named in a previous racial profiling settlement. In 1995, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office agreed to pay $800,000 after being sued for racial profiling. More than 400 ethnic minorities said they were wrongfully pulled over when driving on the nearby interstate. One officer named in the lawsuit is a now a key investigator in the case against the NBA superstar.

An ABC News legal expert and former prosecutor said this new information could be damaging to the prosecution's case.

"I think this is explosive evidence, and I am shocked that in fact the authorities in Eagle County had this individual, these people, involved in this case because again, this (shows) shades of Mark Fuhrman and the OJ Simpson case," legal expert Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom told ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Be sure that the defense is going to bring this up and if that investigator or the people involved in the profiling case take the stand, they will be cross-examined about it. (The defense) will definitely try to bring it out in front of the jury. We saw that in the beginning of the case, them trying to assert, essentially, that this was a racially biased or motivated case."

Sources familiar with the prosecution also confirmed to ABC News that the district attorney is aware that there were no witnesses of any kind to the alleged sexual assault on June 30 at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera. There were previous reports in the media that some hotel guests may have heard a struggle.

What is particularly amazing in this article is the admission by the ABC "expert" that We saw that in the beginning of the case, them trying to assert, essentially, that this was a racially biased or motivated case. Well, maybe "we" saw it, but "we" did not report it very much or very clearly - that is, if "we" refers to representatives of the media. So, for the bulk of the public, this report is left to arrive with the effect of a watermelon crashing on a city sidewalk. Nice work, media professionals!

One device being widely and disingenuously employed to allow the mainstream media to not discuss the racial issues in this case (or issues that will lead inevitably to racial issues) is a phony "concern" for the privacy of the victim/accuser. (Example: The Los Angeles Times has a policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault in most cases. The Times also has not published details of the accuser's background to protect her privacy.) But her race and all of the racial issues raised by this case could be disclosed and discussed as frankly, easily and extensively as her sex and the gender issues raised by this case without invading her privacy. Further, that evasive device is leading the mainstream media into some unintentionally hilarious double-speak, as with this pearl from the Denver Channel: The identity of the 19-year-old Colorado woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape has not been disclosed publicly but her name, address and phone number have been posted on numerous Web sites.

In most contexts, information that has been posted on numerous Web sites is considered the most public information of all. Just by way of example, campaign finance reform advocates often urge that the names of contributors or other people active in the political process be really, effectively made available to the public by putting it all on the internet. Not in the Kobe Bryant case. In the Kobe Bryant case information posted on numerous Web sites has still not been disclosed publicly. The inter-racial aspects here seem to propel the mainstream media through some particularly bizarre and silly looking glass (along with the judge hearing the case, with his weird gag orders purporting to punish media publishing information already posted on numerous Web sites).

There is more to come. Amazingly, even the articles today reporting the "explosive evidence" of "racial profiling" do not mention that the accuser/victim is white. Are we supposed to believe that the Eagle County Sheriff's Office might harass racial minorities, but of course would never be involved in bringing a rape case against an African-American just because his alleged victim/accuser is white? Even where there were no witnesses other than the victim/accuser?

By the way, some people are saying that Mr. Bryant lied to investigators. If he did lie, he was just lying about sex - which every William Jefferson Clinton supporter "knows" is no big deal. Mr. Clinton was of course found by a federal judge to have lied in a sex abuse lawsuit arising from his efforts to intimidate sex from an Arkansas state employee - Paula Jones - abusing his status as governor.

As an aside: Mr. Clinton avoided most of the possible claims Ms. Jones might have brought against him simply through the expiration of applicable statutes of limitations (she waited too long to sue). Many allegedly abusive Catholic priests have also been spared sexual abuse lawsuits and indictments by the running of such limitations periods - an occurrence deemed so intollerable by the California legislature that it enacted an unconstitutional ex post facto law retroactively extending the limitations period for such sex crimes. The Supreme Court recently overturned that California ex post facto law with respect to criminal charges, but the Court's decision does not reach the right of a state (such as Arkansas) to pass such a law reviving civil actions.

Link thanks to Eric McErlain

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