The question is not whether Brodhead abandoned the lacrosse players but why. I'd say it's a classic case of political correctness agenda addiction, for which withdrawal from his position of power is the right treatment
In an article posted on July 3, 2006, I called upon Duke University President Richard Brodhead to resign and explained why:
"After (1) a North Carolina Central State student (Crystal Gail Magnum, the pathetic ex-convict stripper and 'escort' and patently unbelievable accuser in the Duke rape hoax) and (2) a North Carolina law school graduate who went into the Durham District Attorney's office, stayed there until he was appointed (NOT elected) District Attorney, and was about to lose a Democrat primary (and his job) the first time he faced voters (Mike Nifong) unless he suddenly endeared himself to Durham County, North Carolina's black Democrat voters teamed up (1) to try to destroy Duke's men's lacrosse team because her gig as a stripper was not as pleasant and lucrative as she had hoped and (2) to indict three members of the team (three being a much more manageable number than twenty) in the hope that a jury would convict them and a subsequent civil suit against them would be simple, successful and lucrative, the President of Duke University (Richard H. Brodhead) (1) genuflected at the altar of political correctness, (2) treated the accuser as credible and the District Attorney as fair, objective and professional instead of unfair, biased and political, (3) cancelled the Duke men's lacrosse team's season and (4)suspended the two indicted sophomores (the third indictee was fortunate enough to graduate before Crystal finally got around to making him no. 3).
"What has transpired subsequently has demonstrated that the accuser and the District Attorney are the villains (or mental cases) and the Duke Three are the victims of false accusation and prosecution for personal and political purposes.
"Having seriously and senselessly damaged the two sophomores by jumping to the conclusion that their indictments were well-founded instead of realizing that they were being wrongly hounded, Mr. Brodhead should reinstate them immediately. If he has any shame, he will do that. (Then he should resign, because he has done extraordinary damage to Duke University as well as to the Duke Three and Duke needs a responsible President.)"
In a follow up article posted on August 21, 2006, I was optimistic and explained why:
"'Honor and truth and manhood — These are the things that stand, Though the sneer and jibe of the cynic tribe Are loud through the width of the land.' Ted Olson, Floruit, 1912, 'Things That Endure,' Stanza 1. Ultimately, that will prove to be so in the Duke case. Truth (which is anathema to the prosecutor) will overtake falsity (which started first and fast). The accuser will be perceived as a victimizer instead of a victim. The prosecutor, who posed as a hero, will be recognized as a villain, a shameless political opportunist, a zero. The president of Duke University will be exposed as a slave to political correctness instead of a man of courage. And it will be obvious that much of the media was too quick to believe the worst, too determined to be first, too inept to distinguish the genuine from the fake and too slow to correct its mistake."
I was confident that wrongful indictments would not be followed by wrongful convictions, and hopeful that needed reforms at Duke would follow when the Hoax was exposed.
In the same article, I wrote, "I won't lump Messrs. Nifong and Brodhead, but Duke University definitely needs a new President" and set forth the bulk of the text of an illuminating letter from a disgusted North Carolina observer who had not only urged Mr. Brodhead to resign, but deftly explained why.
"When the accusations were made, you as the leader of Duke University had a choice to make. You could believe in the Duke University system, the admissions standards and the truth and honor of those members of the student body who are being accused. Your second choice was to deny any belief in Duke University's tradition of honor and excellence. Unfortunately, you chose to abandon the responsibilities of a leader as you abandoned those who had committed to be members of the Duke community. These accused student athletes made that commitment to Duke University as did their parents. It is both of these groups that you have abandoned by your actions.
" * * *
".... The members of the lacrosse team were consistent in telling the truth and through your actions you said nothing to indicate you believed their statements. By doing so, you sent a message that the lacrosse team was fair game for all those who had a political axe to grind. When some of your own professors accused the team members of a code of silence, you were the one who stood silent. When these student athletes were being dragged through an onslaught of politically correct accusations and commentary, you again stood silent. You never indicated you believed in your student athletes and by implication that they were not honorable individuals.
"The circus atmosphere that existed on and around the Duke campus this spring was inflamed by the actions, or lack of them, by you and your administration.
"The stress, trauma and uncertainty that have been experienced through this ordeal by all the members of the team and their parents would have been moderated if they knew the university stood behind the students to whom it had made a moral commitment by accepting them as members of the Duke student body. As a parent myself, I can only begin to imagine the nightmare being experienced by the boys and their parents.
"Leadership comes with many challenges and responsibilities. Leaders are successful when they exhibit the courage to do the right thing no matter how difficult. If courage is based on honor and commitment, it has a strong foundation. As the great leader Winston Churchill said, 'Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others.' Unfortunately, as a leader, you exhibited a complete lack of courage as events unfolded and your team stood abandoned in front of an onslaught of false accusations and politically correct slander.
"I believe that in your role as president you have failed these student athletes; you have failed their parents who had placed their trust in you as a guardian of their sons; most of all, you failed to validate a system of honor, which should be the basis of student life at Duke.
"While some of the other actions of the lacrosse team that night were less than attractive and acceptable, they could have been dealt with through focused disciplinary actions. I make no excuse for these other activities.
"I do believe by telling the truth and not giving in to those who advocated a politically expedient admission of guilt, the members of the Duke Lacrosse team have demonstrated a standard of honor of which Duke should be proud.
"To again paraphrase Churchill in his war time speech to the students at Churchill's old public [private] school, Harrow, he said, "Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.'
" * * *
"In summary, you have failed these young men; you have failed to demonstrate the courage, sense of honor and strong judgment that a leader must have to be successful. You have failed the parents of these student athletes and, most importantly, you have failed to properly lead Duke University through this difficult challenge. There are situations where the great qualities of leaders emerge or where their worst qualities are exposed. Unfortunately, for all those affected, you have been exposed.
"In fairness to the university and the student body, I strongly suggest you resign so that a leader with the necessary qualities can be appointed."
My conclusion: "Mr. Brodhead is not as vile as Mr. Nifong, but he too is a villain who must go. Much good can come from the Duke case if it is fully appreciated for what it is and people resolve that it — and the acts that encouraged it to be a persecution instead of an investigation — not be repeated."
Time has confirmed all that.
Mr. Nifong is answering to the North Carolina State Bar, but Mr. Brodhead is unrepentant, unremoved and unhurried.
Good news: A Duke news release (6/25/03 ) set forth the criteria that Duke's Board of Trustees would use to select Duke's ninth president. The Criteria and Qualifications Statement included the following desired personal characteristics: "outstanding scholarship, moral leadership, managerial skill and a deep commitment to the values of a liberal education" and "the ability to think strategically, communicate effectively and act decisively."
Bad news: The Board of Trustees chose Mr. Brodhead.
A parent of one of the unindicted members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse team abandoned by Duke under Mr. Brodhead's
"leadership" sent me the following (restrained) evaluation:
"I can't comment on [Mr. Brodhead's] scholarship, since I am not a Shakespeare expert. However, in terms of the other criteria, Brodhead has, in my opinion, fallen woefully short of expectations in his performance in the lacrosse incident, arguably the most prominent in Duke's history. Leadership qualities are best measured under difficult circumstances. Based on this, I believe Brodhead has failed miserably as the leader of Duke University. I think the Board of Trustees did a much better job in selecting the criteria than in selecting the president.
"The Qualifications Statement also listed the responsibilities of Duke's next president. Below are some of the responsibilities which the Board of Trustees specified as 'meriting special attention':
(1) 'Continued strengthening of the faculty and of particular departments, schools and programs.' I could make an educated guess as to which departments and programs this refers and does not refer, and the athletic department in general and the lacrosse program in particular were undermined instead of strengthened under Brodhead.
'Increased representation of women and minorities in the faculty and administration...' This sounds like a noble objective if these representatives are qualified, fair minded and respectful of all students. Unfortunately, this was proven not to be the case with many of Duke's professors in these categories. This objective may have been accomplished at the expense of objective (1) above.
'Continued efforts to ensure recognition, support, and understanding for the many cultures and populations represented in a diverse community of faculty, staff and students.' Apparently the lacrosse players were excluded from the student population that deserved support and understanding. Maybe they were not 'diverse' enough.
(4) "Leadership and management of the University in the context of accelerating social changes that will affect higher education and all other institutions in American Society.' Duke's, and Brodhead's, handling of the lacrosse incident were certainly historic: no university ever treated its students worse than Duke treated the lacrosse players. Hopefully this travesty will eventually lead to positive changes at Duke, and other universities, as well as necessary changes in the criminal justice system in North Carolina. But don't hold your breadth.
"(5) 'Close working relationships with the Board of Trustees and faculty leadership to ensure continued good governance within the University.' It seems that Brodhead's lack of courage and leadership in the lacrosse incident allowed a large segment of Duke's faculty to act irresponsibly, violate basic tenets in the Faculty Handbook, and contribute greatly to the persecution of the lacrosse players. I understand that this has caused dissension among Duke's faculty. Duke's Board of Trustees appears to be unduly influenced by a few individuals, in particular Chairman Bob Steel, and Duke did not govern itself well during the lacrosse incident.
"In the lacrosse incident Duke's ninth president did not fulfill the responsibilities nor demonstrate the desired personal qualities which the Board of Trustees laid out in its Qualifications Statement. The Board of Trustees made a bad choice for its ninth president. It's time to start looking for number ten.
This parent's conclusions are based upon evidence and experience.
This parent compiled some of Brodhead's actions/ inactions and quotes which this parents (and others, including me) believe, clearly helped prejudice the case against the lacrosse players. He got nearly all of the quotes directly from news releases issued by Duke and available on the Duke website. Therefore, there should be no issues of being misquoted or misrepresented.
Set forth below is the parent's summary of Brodhead's body of work showing just how unfair and unbalanced his behavior was.
"In response to the North Carolina Attorney General's announcement that the charges against the three indicted lacrosse players were being dismissed, Brodhead issued a statement on 4/11/07 in which he said: 'From the outset, I have been careful to note that these students were entitled to the presumption of innocence and I looked to the legal system to determine the merit of the charges.'
"Brodhead was careful in including the presumption of innocence wording in his many statements but this was not to protect and support the players but rather to try to limit his and Duke's liability. This wording was usually 'buried' or near the end of his statements, almost as an afterthought. In fact, the preponderance of the very passionate and inflammatory words in his statements would lead a reader to conclude that Brodhead believed that the lacrosse players were bad characters who were very capable of committing the horrific crimes with which they were wrongly charged. And his actions clearly supported a presumption of guilt, not innocence. Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, described this very well in a recent article he wrote about the Duke case in National Review, as follows: 'This year, after all the charges have collapsed like a house of cards, the campus lynch mob-- including Duke University President Richard Brodhead---are backpedaling swiftly and washing their hands like Pontius Pilate. They deny ever saying the students were guilty. Of course not. They merely acted as if that was a foregone conclusion, while leaving themselves an escape hatch. It is bad enough to be part of a lynch mob. It is worse to deny that you are part of a lynch mob, while standing there holding the rope in your hands.'
"While being interviewed by the late Ed Bradley on '60 minutes,' Brodhead attempted to justify his questionable judgment in the case by saying that 'the facts kept changing.' Facts do not change. Below are some facts that Brodhead probably wishes he could change.
"3/25/06 --- In his first official statement that accompanied the cancellation of the lacrosse team's game against Georgetown and its following game, Brodhead opened with 'Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and have no place at Duke.' Canceling these games using these words portrayed the players as guilty of serious crimes. Brodhead went on to say: 'I urge everyone to cooperate to the fullest with the police inquiry while we wait to learn the truth.' Brodhead was fully aware that the team captains had cooperated extensively with the police by giving comprehensive statements, without legal representation, and offering to take lie detector tests. In an unprecedented move the entire team (except the one black member given a pass by the false accuser) had given DNA samples to Durham police. Brodhead's words contributed to the misconception that the players had formed a 'blue wall of silence ' Also, based on information from Durham and Duke Police, Duke officials knew that the false accuser's history and behavior that night made the accusations very questionable.
"3/28/06 --- Brodhead announced the suspension of lacrosse games pending clearer resolution of the legal situation. He repeated some of the words in his 3/25/06 statement. 'Let me explain my own thinking about the suspension of play. Physical coercion and sexual assault are unacceptable in any setting and will not be tolerated at Duke. As none of us would choose to be the object of such conduct, so none of us has the right to subject another person to such behavior. Since they run counter to such fundamental values, the claims against our players, if verified, will warrant very serious penalties, both from the university and the courts.' He later said: 'While I have urged and do urge everyone to cooperate with this inquiry, we have to look to the Durham police to take the lead in the investigation.' Note that the Durham police had a stated and implemented policy of unfairly targeting Duke students. Brodhead closed with 'Sports have their time and place, but when an issue of this gravity is in question, it is not the time to be playing games. Note that Brodhead made these statements shortly after meeting with the team captains who vigorously denied the accusations and publicly apologized for having the party. At this meeting Brodhead said he believed them when they said that these serious crimes did not occur. Further note that Brodhead made these statements and took these actions before the D.A.'s media campaign publicly condemning the players began in full force. Brodhead's behavior gave the D.A. a green light to persecute the lacrosse players with impunity.
"4/5/06 --- Brodhead announced the cancellation of the lacrosse season and the resignation (actually termination) of the Coach. Considering that Duke was aware that a number of Duke athletic teams, fraternities, sororities etc. had also hosted 'stripper parties' and had not been similarly disciplined, Brodhead's announcement gave the impression that he believed that the serious accusations against the lacrosse players were true. In a letter to the Duke Community he stated at the beginning: "Rape is the substitution of raw power for love, brutality for tenderness, and dehumanization for intimacy. It is also the crudest assertion of inequality, a way to show that the strong are superior to the weak and can rightfully use them as objects of their pleasure. When reports of racial abuse are added to the mix, the evil is compounded, reviving memories of the systematic racial oppression we had hoped to have left behind us ' He added: If the allegations are verified, what happened would be a deep violation of fundamental ethical principles and among the most serious crimes known to the legal system. Such conduct is completely unacceptable both within the University and in our society at large. If the truth of the allegations is upheld, it will call for severe punishment from the courts and from Duke's disciplinary system." Brodhead went on with this type of passionate and inflammatory language for four more paragraphs. Not until the end of the eighth paragraph (last two sentences) of his letter did he mention the need to seek the truth through evidence and disciplined inquiry. He later stated: '...there have been reports of persistent problems with the men's lacrosse team, including racist language and a pattern of alcohol abuse and disorderly behavior.' This statement is irresponsible and unsubstantiated. In particular there is no historical evidence that the lacrosse players persistently, or ever, used racist language. In fact, the Coleman report concluded: 'By all accounts, the lacrosse players are a cohesive, hard working, disciplined, and respectful athletic team..... Their reported conduct has not involved fighting, sexual assault or harassment, or racist behavior.' Note that the vast majority of the lacrosse players' alcohol related violations were for underage and/or public drinking and not for abusive or dangerous use of alcohol. In this regard their behavior was not atypical of Duke students and college students in general.
"4/20/06 --- Brodhead ,in speaking at the annual meeting of the Durham Chamber of Commerce, said: 'If our students did what is alleged it is appalling to the worst degree. If they didn't do it, whatever they did was bad enough.' Brodhead made this statement shortly after Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were indicted on 4/17/06 and after it was publicly announced (4/10/06 ) that initial DNA tests failed to connect any of the players to the false accuser.
"6/5/06 --- In a letter to the Duke community Brodhead stated: 'But none of us has direct access to the criminal investigation, and until the full evidence is presented, none of us can know with certainty what did or did not happen.' In fact, the defense attorneys had offered to provide Duke with their complete files on the case and Duke refused! Also by this time it was very clear that the DA had engaged in egregious prosecutorial misconduct, there was significant exculpatory evidence and no inculpatory evidence, and that the credibility of the accuser and her multiple stories were very much in question. Referring to the Coleman Committee's Report on the lacrosse team, Brodhead stated: "Though it did not confirm the worst allegations against the team, the Coleman Committee documented a history of irresponsible conduct that this University cannot allow to continue.' Brodhead does not mention any of the many positive things about the lacrosse players which the Coleman Report documented. Brodhead's decision to reinstate the lacrosse team was presumably influenced by the very favorable findings of the Coleman Report, yet he fails to mention these in his community letter.
"7/25/06 --- Brodhead responds in a letter to the Friends of Duke University that he is 'eager for our students to be proved innocent at trial.' Of course under the U.S. judicial system the purpose of a trial is not for the accused 'to be proved innocent'. This statement from Brodhead appears to indicate that he may have actually been hoping for a trial since this would help justify Duke's and his actions. I guess he was not concerned with the potential consequences of a trial for his three innocent students who, if convicted, would face 30 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
"12/22/06 --- In a statement issued in response to the D.A. dropping the rape charges against the players, Brodhead said: 'The district attorney should now put the case in the hands of an independent party, who can restore confidence in the fairness of the process. Mr. Nifong has an obligation to explain to all of us his conduct in this matter.' Amazingly, this is the FIRST time that Brodhead questioned the fairness of the process, nine months after the D.A. started to persecute the players with a series of acts and omissions that blatantly violatied the rules and standards of prosecutorial conduct as well as common decency. .It's interesting that Duke law professor James Coleman publicly called for an independent prosecutor to take over the case 6 months earlier, when it was obvious that the players rights to due process were being violated by the actions of a rogue prosecutor.
"While I believe that the above statements and actions by President Brodhead clearly prejudiced the case against the lacrosse players, his silence and inaction in response to certain events may have been just as damaging to the players. Below are some examples of Brodhead's deafening silence and inaction.
"(1) Brodhead refused to meet with the lacrosse parents. Many of the parents were in Durham for the Georgetown game scheduled for 3/25/06. Duke abruptly announced that the game was being canceled on the day of the game. The parents were obviously upset because Duke's actions portrayed the players as guilty of the serious accusations. In addition, the parents were also angry and concerned that Duke officials had advised the players not to engage attorneys and not to tell their parents. These actions were reprehensible given the potential seriousness of the charges the players were facing. Other Duke officials did meet with the parents on 3/25/06 and at this meeting it became clear that Duke was interested in protecting Duke and not its scholar athletes. In fact, at the meeting Duke officials chastised the parents for retaining criminal defense attorneys for their sons. Brodhead issued his first of many harmful statements on the lacrosse incident that day without discussing the issue with the parents. The first time Brodhead met with the parents was in February of 2007 and I understand from participants that the meeting did not go well.
"(2) In late March and early April of 2006, campus protesters, in a terrible rush to judgment, condemned the lacrosse players and carried signs with slogans such as 'Castrate' and 'Time to confess'. Vigilante posters with the players' pictures on them were distributed around campus and the players were branded as rapists. This, together with biased , inaccurate and inflammatory reporting by the mainstream media, created a lynch mob atmosphere reminiscent of the Jim Crow South and placed the lacrosse players in physical danger both on and off campus. Brodhead did not publicly criticize these actions or express concern for the lacrosse players' safety.
"(3) On April 6, 2006, 88 Duke employees (mostly professors) took out an ad in the Chronicle (the student newspaper ) which is now referred to as the Listening Statement. Using race based language, the ad stated that something happened to the false accuser and praised the campus protesters for not waiting. This contributed to the lynch mob atmosphere and further endangered the players. Some of these signatories continued to make public statements denouncing the lacrosse players and some even persecuted individual players in their classes. One professor unfairly failed a lacrosse player in her class and the player filed a suit against this professor and Duke that Duke chose to settle under a confidentiality agreement (the grade which already had been recalculated and raised to a D became a P). It seems that the actions of these professors violate certain requirements in the Duke Faculty Handbook relating to treating all students with respect and consideration. Yet as far as we know, Brodhead has not criticized these professors nor disciplined them in any way. In fact he has publicly supported these professors.
'(4) On April 13, 2006, Durham police entered Duke dormitories (without a search warrant) and attempted to interrogate some lacrosse players knowing that these players were represented by counsel. This is a violation of the North Carolina state bar ethics code and of questionable legality. Brodhead had no comment about this serious violation of his students' rights.
"(5) On May 18, 2006, Reade Seligmann received death threats inside and outside a Durham courtroom. These threats were well documented and reported, yet Brodhead did not publicly denounce this despicable behavior against one of his students. It seems that Brodhead showed more sympathy and support to the false accuser than to his own students.
"(6) As far as I know, Brodhead has said nothing and done nothing in response to the Durham police's stated and implemented policy of unfairly targeting and disproportionately punishing Duke students.
"(7) For more than six months after the incident, Brodhead did not reach out in a supportive way to the three indicted boys and their families. I understand that only after one of Duke's Trustees learned that Brodhead had not been in contact with the families, and urged him to do so, did Brodhead attempt to contact them.
"(8) Brodhead did nothing as his own students were denied due process under the law. He sat by silently as the Durham D.A. blatantly violated rules and standards in the worst ever example of prosecutorial abuse in a prominent case. It was obvious very early on to most clear thinking, open-minded people that the D.A. was out of control, the false accuser was lying and the lacrosse players were being railroaded. Why did it take Brodhead so long to reach this conclusion?
"After reading the above would any reasonable person think that Brodhead supported the lacrosse players or even treated them fairly? Simply stating that the players should be presumed innocent is not support, especially when most of his words and actions were consistent with a presumption of guilt. The presumption of innocence is a basic right that the players are given under the law, not by President Brodhead. They deserved and needed more from their college's President. Unfortunately he gave nothing. The question is not whether Brodhead abandoned the lacrosse players but why."
I'd say it's a classic case of political correctness agenda addiction, for which withdrawal from his position of power is the right treatment.
Shakespeare scholar Brodhead seems to have been infected by this quotation from King Henry IV: "Can honour set to a leg? no: or an arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? no. Honour hath no skill in a surgery, then? no. What is honour? a word. What is in that word honour? what is that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? he that died o' Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no. Doth he hear it? no. It is insensible, then? yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I'll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon. And so ends my cathecism."
He should have taken this one from Othello to heart: "Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls: Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him, And makes me poor indeed."
For the ordeal of the lacrosse scholar-athletes, Mr. Brodhead bears blame.
Alas, he is filled with sinful pride instead of suitable shame.
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.