Topic category: Other/General
John Stossel's "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity" and the Duke Case
John Stossel's latest book--Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity--has twelve chapters on particular topics: (1) Clueless Media, (2) He and She (sexist myths and incorrect stereotypes), (3) Hating Business, (4) Monster Government, (5) Stupid Schools, (6) Consumer Cons, (7) Legal Extortion, (8) Experts for Everything (making nonsense plausible), (9) The Power of Belief (not about religion, but belief without evidence), (10) Our Health, (11) Perils of Parenting and (12) The Pursuit of Happiness.
Mr. Stossel's book is a great read for anyone and especially suitable for Duke case follower. The Duke case involved lots of myths and lies (on which those who demonized the lacrosse team had a monopoly) and downright stupidity (on which there was no monopoly, co-captains hiring strippers and hosting a stripper party being downright stupid too) as well as (1) "[c]lueless [and worse] media," led nationally by politically correct and agenda-driven New York Times and locally by Durham's Herald-Sun, (2) "sexist [and racial--blacks can be racist too] myths and incorrect stereotypes" shamelessly promoted by the politically correct crowd, (3) hating (and envying) the wealthy, (4) "Monster [state and local] Government" (and uninvolved federal government), (5) a "stupid school" administration, scores of hateful faculty members and plenty of gulled students at both Duke University and North Carolina Central University (false accuser Crystal Gail Mangum's school), (6) conning of "consumers" (the voters of Durham County, North Carolina) by Durham County, North Carolina District Attorney Michael B. Nifong and his allies and supporters in government, politics and the media, (7) "Legal Extortion" (attempted, the defense never was going to pleas bargain, the late Kirk Osborn (Reade Seligmann's attorney) put out his client's genuine alibi and moved to remove Mr. Nifong from the case for misconduct and David Evans attorney Joseph Cheshire infuriated Mr. Nifong so much that Mr. Nifong reportedly declared an intention to remove his private parts without surgery or anesthesia, (8) "experts" including television commentators Wendy Murphy, Nancy Grace and Georgia Goslee and North Carolina Central University Law Professor Irving Joyner who prolonged the Hoax, (9) the awesome power of "belief without evidence" that the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team were guilty of kidnapping, rape and sexual offense or covering it up; (11) the "[p]erils of parenting" (the families of the team members, especially those wrongly prosecuted, suffered enormously) and (12) "[t]he [p]ursuit of [h]appiness" (vindication) and its eventual attainment in the form of dismissal of all of the charges and a declaration by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans are "innocent."
Reviewer Tucker Anderson at Amazon.com: "[Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity] is bound to evoke a wide range of emotions in most readers - anger, shock, disbelief, relief, incredulity, laughter, surprise and finally gratitude that we have honest reporters such as John Stossel and the real experts upon which he relies to help us separate the truth from both the simple falsehoods in which we commonly believe and the often malicious lies and scams to which we are all too often exposed. As John explains in his introduction, his investigative team consistently gets out their shovels and digs through a lot of nonsense and deception to discover the truth."
A lot of shoveling had to be done before the Duke case finally was won. But it was done and justice finally won.
Reviewer Vince Dollmann on Amazon.com: "a must read. john tells it like it is. at least someone is not in fear of both the left & the right. go john go!!!"
Reviewer Steve Burns on Amazon.com: "John Stossel from 20/20 fame has written a book that first exposes a myth and then tells the truth about the myth..... Mr. Stossel is a libertarian (not a conservative or republican) and a free market capitalist, so some of his conclusions will shock liberals and many conservatives."
Reviewer "ironman96" on Amazon.com: "The great thing about this book is that it challenges a lot of ideas we assume to be true. Some of his arguments may convince you and some of them won't. However, if you are a thinker, you will enjoy this challenge and enjoy engaging in these questions. Get past whether this is a conservative or liberal book--that's not the point."
Neither the left nor the right had a monopoly on the truth in the Duke case, but the Hoax was a Democrat disgrace and, collectively, the right was "righter" than the left.
Reviewer Tucker Anderson: "...John's willingness to challenge commonly held beliefs in such areas as economics, politics, the environment and government regulation will undoubtedly outrage many of those individuals whose 'special interests' are being skewered.... his most biting criticisms are reserved for his associates in the press and most acerbically for the politicians who want to both control our lives and perpetuate their power while claiming to be our friends."
With respect to the Hoax, many people across the political spectrum learned (or should have learned) that some of their assumptions were not true.
We learned that young white scholar-athletes from well-to-do to wealthy (but out of state) families could be wrongly prosecuted in Durham, North Carolina by a political opportunist first-time political candidate desperate to win and convinced (rightly) that he could if he played the race card.
We learned that the political and criminal justice system in North Carolina permitted or facilitated the frame (a terrible shame) until the prosecution's concealment of exculpatory evidence was publicly exposed in open court and the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys and North Carolina Governor Michael Easley decided that waiting for the Duke case to be tried and remaining silent was unwise.
We learned that the Durham Police Department and the Durham County District Attorney's Office served Mr. Nifong instead of justice.
We learned that Attorney General Cooper was willing to state the obvious--that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans--were innocent, but not to prosecute the false accuser and that former Democrat Party chairman and Collin Finnerty attorney Wade Smith was quick to publicly state that was fine.
We learned that the North Carolina criminal justice system needs major reform, not fine tuning. Bt the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys still will work to undo some of the reforms previously made and apologists will minimize North Carolina's problems and shout from mountain tops (at least figuratively) that the Duke case is an aberration and not a symptom of a systemic problem.
Please do read Mr. Stossel's book.
Michael J. Gaynor
Biography - Michael J. Gaynor
Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.
Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.
The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.
Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.
Gaynor's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.