Times Tried to Keep Race Angle Alive Before Obama's "Beer Summit"

President Obama's Thursday afternoon "beer summit" may have passed uneventfully (despite the threatening presence of noted gaffemaster Joe Biden) but the Times tried to keep the race angle alive this week in the controversy over the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.

A front-page story last Friday clearly took Gates' side in the matter. This week, the Times pounced twice on a trivial discrepancy in the police report to make hints that some racial impropriety on the part of Sgt. James Crowley. He's the officer who arrived at the scene and charged Gates with disorderly conduct after a confrontation outside Gates' house on July 16, whenthe rantingprofessor accused Sgt. Crowley of racial profiling.

Heather Mac Donald, a Manhattan Institute scholar, called the Times out for Tuesday's "ludicrous" effort by reporter Abby Goodnough, "911 Tape Raises Questions in Gates Case."

Goodnough vaguely hinted at some racial impropriety but never laid out any specific complaints:

The woman who called 911 to report a possible breaking and entering at the home of Prof.Henry Louis Gates Jr.told the dispatcher that she had "no idea" if the two men she saw were breaking in and said that, in fact, they might live there.

A recording of the call, released on Monday by the Cambridge Police Department, raised new questions about the case, which ended in the arrest on July 16 of Professor Gates, a prominentHarvardscholar, on a disorderly conduct charge. The charge was later dropped.


Police officials have stood by the report in interviews, but on Monday, Ms. Whalen's lawyer said she had never mentioned race to Sergeant Crowley.

"She didn't speak to Sergeant Crowley at the scene except to say, 'I'm the one who called,'" said the lawyer, Wendy J. Murphy. "And he said, 'Wait right there,' and walked into the house. She never used the word black and never said the word backpacks to anyone."

Cambridge police officials did not return a call seeking comment on the inconsistency.

Mac Donald responded:

The race industry's exertions in keeping alive its indictment of Sgt. James Crowley grow ever more ludicrous. Today's entry is a full New York Times storyhyperventilatingover a trivial discrepancy between the 911 call reporting a possible break-in at Gates's house and Crowley's police report. The 911 caller, Lucia Whalen, told the dispatcher that she was "not really sure" whether the men on the porch were black, white, or Hispanic, in response to the dispatcher's query. "One looked kind of Hispanic, but I'm not really sure," she said. Crowley's report, written nearly an hour after the incident, recounts that Whalen told him at the scene that she had seen "what appeared to be two black males with backpacks" on the porch.

Mac Donald didn't see the point:

The proper response to this latest pseudo-controversy is: So what? Whether or not Whalen mentioned the race of the suspects is irrelevant. Crowley questioned Gates based on location, not race; he had been told of a possible burglary at Gates's home, and here were two men in the house, exactly as described.

On Thursday the Times filed a similar story by Katie Zezima hinting at bad intent on the part of Sgt. Crowley - "Caller Says Race Wasn't Mentioned To Officer In Gates Case."

Take it away, Heather Mac Donald:

Why is it racist to mention a suspect's race in a 911 call? TheNew York Times still doesn't explain, but apparently many other people share its view that only a bigot would give police officers a full description of a potential criminal.

Reporter Zezima noted that Lucia Whalen, the person who made the famous 911 call about a possible burglary at Gates' home, has gotten threats, leaving her in the strange position of having to defend herself for reporting a possible crime:

Lucia Whalen, whose 911 call led to the arrest of the Harvard professorHenry Louis Gates Jr.at his home, made her first public comments Wednesday, saying that at no time had she mentioned race to the responding police officer.

Ms. Whalen's statements contradict the police report filed by Sgt.James Crowley, who said she told him outside Mr. Gates's home that she had seen "what appeared to be two black males with backpacks" on the porch of the yellow single-family house....Ms. Whalen, 40, her voice cracking and body shaking, said she was deeply hurt by the reaction to the incident on July 16 and had been the target of threats. She said she was reluctant to speak out earlier but finally decided to do so with the support of her husband, Paul, and her family.

"When I was called a racist, I was the target of scorn and ridicule because of things I never said," she told the reporters gathered in a park here at midday. She added, "The criticism hurt me as a person but also hurt the community of Cambridge."

The response by Whalen, who works for Harvard Magazine, shows how strong the P.C. impulse runs in Cambridge (not that it helped her from attacks from the "tolerant" left):

On Wednesday, she said she hoped that with the tapes out, "people can see that I tried to be careful," adding that she never thought that her words "would be analyzed by an entire nation."