Silencing and Rape Discussions: Nancy Grace on Duke Rape Case

Discussions of silencing (e.g. Langton, Hornsby, MacKinnon) often mention how difficult it is to be properly understood when discussing rape. Usually the focus in these discussions is on systematic *mis*understanding. But here’s a great example that consists of simply not paying attention. At all. Watch as he gets called out on it.


(Thanks, Andrew, who got this from Fail Blog.)

UPDATE: Mr J is convinced this must be satire. If so, it’s good satire. Do any of you know whether it is?

20 thoughts on “Silencing and Rape Discussions: Nancy Grace on Duke Rape Case

  1. I hope people who think there’s no need for feminist complaints look at this. Crimes against women? Below threshold of interest! Even though he had the rape stats too.

  2. Note that, at the time that the male anchor begins to discuss the “stats,” the screen behind him does in fact display a lacrosse scoreboard; after Nancy Grace points out the error, the screen changes. Presumably, there must be some other technician or producer, and not the anchor, who’s controlling this. So it seems unlikely to me that the anchor has simply not been “paying attention,” or that he is intentionally disregarding Grace.

  3. This has to be a setup. How else to explain, not just the scoreboard graphics, but the actual footage of lacrosse players? What, Clark Goldband and the producer both happened to make the exact same bizarre mistake at the same time?

  4. Or it isn’t a bizarre mistake. They were waiting for his cue, and weren’t tracking what NG was saying. E.g.,

    Cue to CG
    Sports clips!

    It maybe that they tuned her out some time ago. After all, while she goes after murdering moms, many of the alleged perpetrators are – gasp! – the other gender.

  5. Yes, I wondered about the screen too. My take was that the people controlling the screen messed up, and that the guy talking paid attention only to the screen, totally ignoring what NG was saying. Which– on reflection– might well happen on any story, and needn’t be specific to rape. And might not even be indicative of a “don’t listen to the boring woman” attitude– for all I know it’s a standard pattern of laziness to fall into with this job.

  6. i’m inclined to agree with mr jender. her response to him is very un-news-anchor. (i’m not familiar with this newsperson, tho. maybe it is in keeping with her style?)

  7. Grace’s program is now CNN’s legal analysis program – headline news at night has a number of these ‘special interest’ programs. I’m not sure what it was then. Her behavior in the clip is quite typical. I should think men around her experience her manner quite negatively, which might be behind part of what is going on. “Just tune her out” might be a mantra.

    I really like her, but I’m embarrassed to say that a certain person I watch news with finds her nearly unwatchable.

  8. JJ’s comment squares with those I read on the Failblog discussion, and others I found on the web when trying to figure out if it was a satire.

  9. I ended my casual watching of Nancy Grace’s show after a couple weeks of her coverage of the Duke rape case. I was appalled by how aggressively she challenged anyone who had doubts about the alleged victim after no incriminating DNA evidence could be produced from the small bathroom in which the woman claimed to have been raped by three people.

  10. I agree with Rob. I think she is part of the media problem because she jumps on bandwagons of hysteria driven news. I am a mother whose mentally ill son was falsely accused of sexually abusing an 8 yr. old girl many years ago. There’s a lot to the story of the child but Baltimore news vilified my son for a week straight many years after he took the plea offered. He was days late in registering a change of address and served years in prison for this.
    The girl finally told the truth, that he did “nothing” that “he was one of the nicest people you’d ever know”, etc. She sends letters of apology to this day. My son’s case is under appeal but it may never be resolved. It seems people pay a lot more attention when they think someone is guilty than when they find out he might be innocent.
    Only one newspaper in Baltimore dared to follow the story objectively, the Baltimore City Paper.
    Why did this girl lie? She was jealous of her older sister’s relationship with my son and as she said she “lied all the time”. She said if anyone had ever asked her to take a lie detector test, she would have told the truth. She lived in a home with a mother/sister who were drug addicts and prostitutes ..she had 3 uncles who were violent and had a history of being in prison. The neighborhood is known for prostitution and drugs and my son moved there because he “got a good deal” on a house rental.
    There’s a lot more of these cases that most people would believe and what the mostly men go through and their families is pure hell. My son lives isolated from everyone; he’ll never be over this.
    These kinds of cases are handled very badly. I’ve learned much more than I ever cared to about them. But there is a growing movement in the U.S. to try to get lawyers, judges, police and social services to do more to separate the REAL child abusers from ones who have become victims themselves, like my poor son. The media, especially people like Nancy Grace, run with these and create feeding frenzies among the public who can’t get enough. The lawyers, mostly, don’t care, get paid for less work if they get men to take a plea and too many judges don’t want to put their seats in jeopardy by appearing soft on child abuse.

  11. Suetiggers, thank you for your important remarks; I’m so sorry to hear of the terrible experience you and your son have had.

    Have you checked out What Sorts of People (see our blog roll)? They are very concerned about failures in justice toward people who are in some ways different, disabled.

  12. Thank you JJ Since this happened to my son Kenneth, I’m always looking for ways to improve the justice system in these kinds of cases. I’m certainly no legal scholar and never had more than an ordinary interest in the law. But this has changed my life so much. Most people probably never have to think about how terrible the legal system can function and an accusation of child abuse almost electrifies people in one direction…against the accused. I honestly did not want to know how many people have had this kind of false accusation made against them. It is an ugly business discovering how many twisted people there are in the world who would encourage a child to lie about something this awful and about how poorly investigated many of these cases are done.
    Efforts to do something about it are only beginning and there’s a great deal of resistance. It’s a David and Goliath effort because most people just assume if someone is accused, they are guilty or if there’s smoke, ….
    At first, I was very skeptical even though this happened to my son but the more cases I read about, the more I started to see that so many of the stories were just unreal and terrible miscarriages of justice. One man who was falsely accused, David O’Hara in Western Pa. is now one of the directors of the False Allegation Support Team F.A.S.T. and he had a particularly terrible experience and after a long, hard fight was found innocent of all charges against him. He now has a multi-million dollar suit against those agencies that should have been ascertaining his innocence instead of using the law to automatically assume his guilt based on no solid evidence at all.
    Below are a few groups trying to change the laws so they will be more fair in these cases. But there is a lynch mentality in many people about this accusation and the media feeds it. I don’t think I will live to see this set right. It’s so complex because so many agencies have the mind-set that children don’t lie about these things. And the registry is full of people that aren’t dangerous or violent. Men, for example who are having consensual sex with teen prostitutes who lie about their age and look older. These men may be scumbags but they’re not dangerous and even if they deserve to be arrested, fined, put in jail, whatever…to be put on a sex offender registry with people who are truly dangerous to children seems wrong. And even the ACLU can’t help with this.
    OK thanks again JJ I hope others may become interested in this situation. I’ve heard of men commiting suicide, of their houses being burned down, of having no place to live. Recently, I heard of one freezing to death because a shelter wouldn’t take him in. And lumping everyone together on that registry does not help protect the civil rights of men who pose no danger to children. It just increases the level of fear and paranoia in the U.S. and there’s way too much of that already.

    http://reformsexoffenderlaws.org/index.php

    http://constitutionalfights.wordpress.com/
    http://www.gasorr.org/
    http://www.rsolcc.org/
    http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/groups/
    http://false-allegations-team.com/fasthelp.html
    http://nacac.org/parentgroups/allegations.html
    http://www.sodefnd.org/

  13. great;thanks! One word of warning to other readers; it turns out links in messages can trigger the spam detector. Fortunately, I checked and got this one out of spam jail.

    Do you think it is getting better? I remember when the nursery school Satan cult scare, people did actually set children up, even if unknowingly. I’ve been assuming there’s mmore sophistication now.

  14. It is not getting better. My son Nathan who has never harmed anyone, was sexted by a boy in Grand Junction, Colorado. The boys mother caught him at it and accused my son of soliciting the photos. This boy also had been pestering my son for photos of himself, and Nathan, not knowing he was dealing with a child, pulled a couple of generic ones off the internet and forwarded them as a brush-off.
    The only evidence was a video tape of the victim interview, where it shows the boy admitting that he had not told his age, and then shows the investigator coaching the boy into lying. The D.A. at first handed Nathan’s lawyer the tape that had part of the audio deleted,and they had to wait a while for a undamaged copy. When the lawyer pointed out to the prosecutor that the tape proved Nathans innocence, the prosecutor said it didn’t matter. He also overcharged and threatened my son with 20 years in prison if he didn’t plea bargain to a felony 6.
    My son is sentenced to 18 mos. work release far from home in Grand Junction and 4 years probation. He is now being punished for not being able to find a job there. His sentence however was suddenly reduced to 6 mos with good behavior, just a few days after I sent a letter to Sen. Jim Webb about this. I had also included a reference to Richard Gardner’s article about revising the 1974 Child Abuse Act. Now I just cry and hope and fight with the RSOL to end this abomination.
    The name of this prosecutor is Jeremy Savage, and I am hoping to see him lose his license.

  15. MEN (and WOMEN) WHO ARE NOT DANGEROUS DO NOT BELONG ON THE SEX-OFFENDER REGISTRY

    People on the registry (far too many innocent or not dangerous) have been murdered, committed suicide, had their homes set on fire, been evicted, lost their jobs,etc.etc. Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life. One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he’d slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.
    Eighty-seven percent of people who were arrested for sex crimes had not previously been convicted study.of such an offense, according to a 1997 study. Just 14 percent of all sexual assault cases involved strangers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. These are examples of who is on the dreaded registry:
    1. Romeo and Juliet liasons, false accusations of vindictive teens against an older teen (18 or 19)
    2.False accusation by vindictive parents in child custody cases and/or family feuds- There are more of these than most people would believe. There are many reports of people who admit to having lied about being molested when they were younger. Now they would like to have the person wrongly convicted on their testimony set free.
    3.mutual consensual sex- but being 3 yrs. and 1 day older than the willing teen (can bring and has brought multiple felony indictments)
    4. Sex between consenting teen prostitute (who looks older and even may have lied about her age) with an adult male
    5. Criminal charges that later are dropped for insufficient proof but not appealed in time, so still on registry
    You would never know it, but the number of truly dangerous pedaphiles is relatively small.
    But check out the registry. You’re liable to see people who look like your mailman, grocery clerk,etc.etc. And ones who look like they fit the profile could be the least guilty and vice verse. But under the Bush administrations’ extremely high politicized Dept. of Justice, the numbers have been growing exponentially. And as long as politicians and the media can make reputations and/or money out of this issue, it will breed fear and hysteria and ruin men (mostly) and their families’ lives who do not deserve to have this !

    Where are the churches on this issue? Where are people who say they care about justice? Watch MSNBC’s Witch Hunt produced by Sean Penn and two courageous filmmakers. http://video.aol.com/video-detail/an-american-witch-hunt-trailer/2503773105
    Another group that is fighting for change in this area is :
    http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/index.php

    Unfortunately, the most important group that should be to fighting against the sex offender laws and public registration and help is the ACLU and so far, in most states, they have been powerless to help. So, the numbers grow and so does the paranoia and so does the vigilantiism.

  16. MEN (and WOMEN) WHO ARE NOT DANGEROUS DO NOT BELONG ON THE SEX-OFFENDER REGISTRY

    People on the registry (far too many innocent or not dangerous) have been murdered, committed suicide, had their homes set on fire, been evicted, lost their jobs,etc.etc. Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life. One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he’d slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.
    Eighty-seven percent of people who were arrested for sex crimes had not previously been convicted of such an offense, according to a 1997 study. Just 14 percent of all sexual assault cases involved strangers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. These are examples of who is on the dreaded registry:
    1. Romeo and Juliet liasons, false accusations of vindictive teens against an older teen (18 or 19)
    2.False accusation by vindictive parents in child custody cases and/or family feuds- There are more of these than most people would believe. There are many reports of people who admit to having lied about being molested when they were younger. Now they would like to have the person wrongly convicted on their testimony set free.
    3.mutual consensual sex- but being 3 yrs. and 1 day older than the willing teen (can bring and has brought multiple felony indictments)
    4. Sex between consenting teen prostitute (who looks older and even may have lied about her age) with an adult male
    5. Criminal charges that later are dropped for insufficient proof but not appealed in time, so still on registry
    You would never know it, but the number of truly dangerous pedaphiles is relatively small.
    But check out the registry. You’re liable to see people who look like your mailman, grocery clerk,etc.etc. And ones who look like they fit the profile could be the least guilty and vice verse. But under the Bush administrations’ extremely high politicized Dept. of Justice, the numbers have been growing exponentially. And as long as politicians and the media can make reputations and/or money out of this issue, it will breed fear and hysteria and ruin men (mostly) and their families’ lives who do not deserve to have this !

    Where are the churches on this issue? Where are people who say they care about justice? Watch MSNBC’s Witch Hunt produced by Sean Penn and two courageous filmmakers. http://video.aol.com/video-detail/an-american-witch-hunt-trailer/2503773105
    Another group that is fighting for change in this area is :
    http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/index.php

    Unfortunately, the most important group that should be to fighting against the sex offender laws and public registration and help is the ACLU and so far, in most states, they have been powerless to help. So, the numbers grow and so does the paranoia and so does the vigilantiism.

  17. Paedophiles actually have a only slightly higher recidivism rate than other convicted sex offenders-15% vs 3-5%. For both groups the recidivism rate is significantly lower than for other criminals. Therapy in particular is more useful than the registry.
    Our law makers are well aware of these stats, but choose to ignore them in favor of looking “tough on crime”.
    The D.O.J. is investigating all complaints of prosecutorial misconduct. On April 21, about 90 Chief Federal Judges from around the nation met with Eric Holder to discuss this ( National Law Journal, April 2009 )

  18. First of all, I apologize for the duplication of my writing above. I was trying to edit it and that’s what happened. (not very pc savvy)
    Christine, I am pleased to know you are with RSOL (http://www.reformsexoffenderlaws.org/index.php). I am with Maryland’s RSOL and would like very much to write to you personally. Can we do that via this blog?
    I’ve been an active feminist since my 20’s and I am 69 this year. But this is still a woman’s issue in my book because in many instances, it is our brothers, fathers, son’s, family and friends who this is happening to. And even though it happens more to males, I’m sure some of the females it has happened to do not deserve the kind of extreme legal punishment and personal loss that most suffer for acts that are mostly non-violent.
    The rigid moralists will disagree no doubt, but there has been and is a raging hysteria in the U.S. about sexual offender cases (and even what gets called a sexual offender case).
    A heady mix of ambitious, zealous states attorneys, opportunistic politicians, lawyers all collude to feed the prurient public appetite . Most judges are too afraid to speak against what is happening, assuming they know or care. An increasingly mindless media appeals to the lowest common denominator in reasoned thought on the topic. And seeing a pervert on every corner sells very well. It’s been dubbed “Sex Panic” and has become a new popular type of Puritan porn. It’s America’s dirty little not-so-secret latest attack on civil liberties dishonestly hidden under the skirt of protecting children.

  19. Hi suetigger, First let me thank you for your message of hope on our national web site. I told my son about it, and it gave him heart.
    It is true that in this country there is a unique tension between Puritanism and sex. We do everything we can to suppress it, and this leads to an unhealthy obsession with everything sexual.
    Americans are very dis-functional about sex.

  20. I almost forgot, I am with Iowa- CSOR. We just went on-line this week, and I will be contacting S.O.’s in Linn County to let them know about us.
    Did you know that in Nazi Germany 1,000 women marched on Hitler’s headquarters in Berlin to demand the return of their Jewish husbands, and they got them back?

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