Topic category: Other/General
Laudable LieStoppers: Philip Wood's Miracle
Philip Wood did great good.
When my friend Mike Brown, the former FEMA director, asked me to suggest a guest for the Colorado-based talk radio show on which he was the substitute host, I wanted a LieStopper to tell the Liestoppers story, since LieStoppers is an incredible example of what well-intentioned Americans with differences can do when they are brought together for a common purpose.
Fortunately for the Duke lacrosse players, a fellow named Philip Wood brought together the folks who became LieStoppers.
"Joan Foster," identified as "Attack Poet" on the LieStoppers homepage, because her poetry instilled fear in Hoax supporters who imagined she was a hired poetic pen, was my first choice. She was unavailable on such short notice, so she suggested Bill Anderson (a Liestopper friend, not a LieStopper), then "Baldo," whose cartoons made LieStoppers delightful as well as devastating. "Baldo" was tempted, but deferred to "Tony Soprano." "Tony" it was. Ultimately, the only problems were that an hour was not enough and advance notice was not possible.
Unfortunately, even "Tony" in his hour and I in mine did not get to share all that should be generally known about LieStoppers as both a key player in promoting justice in the Duke case and as an example of what remains possible in America despite the evil dominant in places like Durham and Duke (and Mike Brown was being supportive, so the task was impossible).
Neither "Tony" nor "I" got to pay homage to the best instant response to a desperate attempt by The New York Times to accord a modicum of respectability to a despicable persecution masquerading as a necessary criminal prosecution: a long piece in a Sunday Times that suggested the defendants might really have committed the charged crimes.
IT WASN'T BECAUSE WE DIDN'T WANT TO DO SO! We each answered Mike's questions and were interrupted by commercials. After my hour was over, I emailed "Tony" to point out I had not done it and expressed my hope that he would. But "Tony" did other things of importance, not the least of which was to explain his desire (and need) for anonymity when asked.
THAT too is part of the miracle that became LieStoppers: folks with good reason to be anonymous dedicating themselves to and taking risks for strangers in need, because it is the RIGHT thing to do. (The need, I concede, but that doesn't mean I like it.)
On Saturday, October 13, 2007, I had lunch in Manhattan with a couple of Heroes of the Hoax, Bill Anderson and Mike (Crystal Mess) McCusker, and a representative of the Duke case group of groups, LieStoppers. It was Bills' idea. He emailed me that he would be in Manhattan that day and, to make the idea irresistible, added that The Attack Poet, "Joan Foster," would be there too. I figured that was the day to meet Mike too and he graciously came over from New Jersey.
In addition, the Irrepressible One analogized the 55 who drafted the United States Constitution to the LieStoppers.
Mike can be a wild and crazy guy, but, as usual, he made an interesting point in an attention-getting way.
The LieStoppers were assembled by North Carolinian Philip Wood and include folks north and south and from coast to coast as well as the Heartland (fittingly, "Joan" of the Heartland is the heart of LieStoppers) as well as noble North Carolinians (NOT an oxymoron).
My first contact with LieStoppers came in early September 2006, when I emailed my opinion that LieStoppers' campaign against the rogue prosecutor in the upcoming general election would be even more effective if the LieStoppers were not anonymous.
Mr. Wood graciously agreed:
"Thank you for the note and your insightful comment. You are correct in suggesting that the effectiveness of our endorsement will pale in comparison to similar words being issued by either a completely local publication, a more established entity or a tangible identity."
But Mr. Wood insisted that the LieStoppers could not "out" themselves, but would persevere:
"We cannot become what we are not yet. We are hopeful, however, that the arguments set forth in our endorsement will be echoed and expanded upon by endorsements and commentary that follows from those, such as yourself, whose words carry far more weight than ours.
"Seeded within our endorsement, you will find some information that has yet to be presented elsewhere. We believe that...it is important that people are informed that the term of the Governor appointed DA will be only two years and not four years as has become the common misconception. While the statute is quite clear, we did confirm our interpretation with both the Board of Elections and the Governor's office. We feel that this two year term is an important consideration for those participating in the election yet, despite being advised of this fact, local journalists have failed to bring it to the attention of Durham voters.
"As always, our aim is simply to utilize our blog to bring a bit more attention to the issue while imparting the results of our research and sharing the humble opinions, analysis and conclusions that we have come to based on the best of our collective ability. We are hopeful that our endorsement and the rest of what we offer with our blog, while not as powerful nor as productive as what others may have to contribute, will continue to attract attention will serving as a source of well researched information and carefully considered analysis."
The truth as to the significance of LieStoppers lies between Mr. Wood's humility and Mr. McCusker's hyperbole.
Suffice it to say that Stuart Taylor, Jr. simply described LieStoppers as "an amazing example of journalism of the fly" and he and KC Johnson essentially explained why in Until Proven Innocent, as follows:
"The Liestoppers blog took the lead in demolishing the Times story. In a 3,000-word post that went up at 3:20 A.M. on August 25, just over three hours after the 5,600-word Wilson-Glater article had hit the Times Web site, Liestoppers dissected what it termed 'the unforgivable flaws and omissions in Duff Wilson's article.' The blog stressed that Wilson's 'bizarre' omission of Crystal Mangum's cellphone records and neighbor Jason Bissey's affidavit falsely suggested that there had been a fifty-minute period when a rape could have occurred; in fact, the longest period not ruled out by objective evidence was seven minutes (from 12:31 until 12:38 A.M.). LieStoppers ridiculed Wilson's claim that Crystal's stories were consistent, chastised the Times for its 'incomplete' and 'misleading' explanation of the DNA evidence, and wondered how Wilson could have treated the Gottlieb memorandum as credible."
I emailed back my succinct opinion to Mr. Wood: "Liestoppers' almost instantaneous rebuttal to NYT was a tour de force...."
The United States Constitution is a more important document, but the 55 took a lot more time to write it. Fortunately, the LieStoppers had the Internet!
Michael J. Gaynor
Biography - Michael J. Gaynor
Gaynor's email address is email@example.com.