Sunday's "Charges Against a Star Linebacker Raises Questions About Justice" appears at first to be a run-of-the-mill example of politically correct crime coverage. Sports reporter Thayer Evans hinted at racism in a criminal investigation of a black college football player, Oklahoma State Cowboys linebacker Chris Collins, arrested on sexual assault for raping a 12 year-old. But then one remembers the Times' disgraceful coverage of the Duke lacrosse case, and the politically correct becomes pathetic.
"In May 2004, Collins and another man were arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an intoxicated 12-year-old girl at a hotel in Texarkana, Tex., during an after-prom party. Two other men were charged in December 2005. Collins pleaded not guilty in March, after being indicted by a grand jury in December 2004.
This is what Collins is accused of: "Collins, then 17, was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a felony that carries a possible sentence of 5 years to 99 years or life in prison. He has been free on $40,000 bond. Lockhart said that Collins confessed to the police that he had sex with the girl. Lockhart added that the girl said she did not consent."
"The case has created controversy in Texarkana, a small city of 35,000 on the Arkansas border. Collins and the three other men are black and the girl is white; some black residents have questioned whether the case has racial overtones."
Sound familiar? During its shoddy coverage of the Duke lacrosse "rape" hoax, the Times hyped the "racial overtones" of the case against the three white players made by the black stripper who slimed them with false accusations of rape.
The Times at the time wasn't troubled at all by those racial overtones, but played them up in both news pages and columns, most notoriously in a 5,600-word front-page story by Duff Wilson on August 25, 2006 ,which stated: "By disclosing pieces of evidence favorable to the defendants, the defense has created an image of a case heading for the rocks. But an examination of the entire 1,850 pages of evidence gathered by the prosecution in the four months after the accusation yields a more ambiguous picture. It shows that while there are big weaknesses in Mr. Nifong's case, there is also a body of evidence to support his decision to take the matter to a jury." And this: "In several important areas, the full files, reviewed by The New York Times, contain evidence stronger than that highlighted by the defense."
"Evidence" conjured up out of thin air. Conversely, the case against Chris Collins includes DNA evidence, which the Times finds very convincing when it gets convicted killers off death row.
Neither did the Times fret about the "racial overtones" orchestrated by the rogue ex-Durham, N.C. district attorney Michael Nifong, who played up the false charges in front of sympathetic black audiences during the heat of his re-election campaign. He was later removed from office by the North Carolina State Bar.
On Sunday, reporter Thayer Evans slid the race card onto the top of the deck: "Benjamin Dennis, president of the N.A.A.C.P. in Texarkana - whose population is roughly 60 percent white and 37 percent black - said that some of the city's black residents were concerned about the handling of the case, particularly the delay in trying the four men."
Of course, if the trial had been rushed, the Times may have made a comparison to the speedy and unjust trial of the Scottsboro Boys, as the paper is prone to do. No matter what the facts, the Times seems determined to fit them into the same template of white-on-black racism it used in its botched coverage of the Duke "rape" hoax.