The New York Times alone has mentioned the Scottsboro Boys case from the 1930s nearly 20 times since 2002 (expanding the “news” part of “newspaper” just a bit), so I think I’m entitled to spend at least one more week luxuriating in the Duke lacrosse players’ total vindication and the exposure of a Southern liberal prosecutor as a corrupt hack.

Twenty years ago, disbarred Duke prosecutor Mike Nifong would have been Time magazine’s Man of the Year. Vanity Fair would have photographed him sitting in a Porsche under the headline: “Speaking Truth to Power.”

One hundred years ago, he would have been lynching innocent black men. Southern liberals have stayed the same; only their victims have changed.

To watch the complete destruction of this foolish and evil man, Michael Nifong — despite the mainstream media’s best efforts to portray him as a modern-day Atticus Finch — is as great a moment as the annihilation of Dan Rather. Katie Couric’s self-immolation is just a bonus — when it rains, it pours!

It is as great as Clinton’s impeachment (which The New York Times is already claiming never happened in a front-page Week in Review article by Sam Tanenhaus on May 20).

The fact that we keep catching liberals in such blatant falsehoods shows you what they used to be able to get away with.

When the falsely accused Duke lacrosse players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were indicted, Newsweek put their mug shots on its cover.

Months after the story first broke and most of the exculpatory evidence was known, an opinion piece — I assume it was an opinion piece — in The Washington Post began: “She was black, they were white, and race and sex were in the air.” No, that’s not the tagline for a new reality show — it’s the first line of a legitimate story in a U.S. paper. It was downhill from there. The Duke case was “reminiscent of a black woman’s vulnerability to a white man during the days of slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crow.”

In fact, the case was reminiscent of the Scottsboro Boys case, but this time the falsely accused rape defendants were white. If only the press had dubbed them the “Durham Boys,” that would be a great title for the Lifetime TV movie about this case that will never be made.

The accuser’s history of making false accusations of gang rape, the players’ alibis and the prosecutor’s lies were all known to The New York Times when it reported on Aug. 25, 2006, 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.” By “body of evidence,” the Times was apparently referring to a smattering of racial and sexual stereotypes earnestly believed in Hollywood and in newsrooms across America in defiance of the facts.

The Times article also noted, “In several important areas, the full files, reviewed by The New York Times, contain evidence stronger than that highlighted by the defense.” The “stronger” evidence consisted of obvious lies told by the prosecution and lustily repeated by the Times.

Shockingly, even when the jig was up, and the attorney general of North Carolina announced that the accused were innocent, much of the mainstream media continued to withhold the accuser’s name.

According to various postings on the Internet, Fox News Channel was the only national television station to show the false accuser’s photo, and CNN never even revealed her name.

From my research, it appears that CBS News named Crystal Gail Mangum and showed her picture. (Of course, this being CBS, the picture may have been forged.) But the only time her name came out on CNN was by non-CNN employees during live press conferences and one time when a guest slipped it in — you should pardon the expression — during a discussion of Nifong’s disbarment hearing, unaware of CNN’s policy of protecting the names of women who make false accusations of rape.

The New York Times has yet to name the woman who falsely accused three men of committing a brutal gang rape.

The Times “public editor” described the paper’s delusional coverage of the Duke case after the first several weeks as “basically fair.” The Times Sports editor, Tom Jolly, said he was “very comfortable” with the coverage, saying the case had two main elements: “One was the allegation of rape; the other was the general behavior of a high-level sports team at a prestigious university.” That’s when you know your newspaper might have a wee hint of a liberal bias: when even the sportswriters are left-wing crackpots.

Apparently, the Times editor did not see this possibility as an “element” of the case: A liberal prosecutor incites a racial conflagration weeks before an election in a heavily black voting district by using the incredible claims of a stripper to falsely accuse three innocent white men of gang rape.

After the dust clears, perhaps we can expect a Mary Mapes-type book from Nifong explaining how the rape really did happen after all, or a book from Joe Conason on how the people who brought Nifong down were a conspiracy of “Nifong-haters.”

You can’t win a victory like this without some liberals being affected. Bush may be an ineffective communicator, but that doesn’t mean all thought stops in the rest of the country. Well-educated liberals, who have wealth and homes and children, begin to freak out as they get to know their apparent allies. They have something to lose from allowing insane people to run the country.

Even now, in conservatism’s darkest hour, we continue to see the transformation of responsible liberals. It happened with Clinton, with Gore’s election tantrum, with 9/11, with the Swift Boat Veterans, with Dan Rather and now with Michael Nifong. The rolling reconfiguration of the country can’t help but to proceed in a molecular way.

A few more victories like this, and someday the phrase “sensible liberal” may make sense again.

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