In the December 30, 2008 News & Observer article titled, “Governor rakes the press: Easley accuses N&O of ‘hatchet job,’” Governor Easley bemoans what he feels is unfair treatment towards him by the press. In the large scheme of things, the media (including the press) is very favorable towards North Carolina state agencies and works with them, especially when it comes to the criminal justice system.
The media has reined in any positive news stories that might put former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong in a positive light. For example it refuses to inform the public that Mr. Nifong is the only prosecutor ever to be disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar since its inception. It also refuses in large measure to acknowledge that a committee member of a group which supports Mr. Nifong filed a complaint with the State Bar against prosecutors James “Jim” E. Hardin and Freda Black for withholding exculpatory evidence (possibly a murder weapon) from the defense attorneys whose client was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life. The newpapers (News & Observer and Herald Sun) also refuse to run the comic strip “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper,” which would afford its readers another point of view and insight into the disbarment of Mr. Nifong and other injustices and disparities within the state’s criminal justice system.
The media is working closely with the state to see that Wilson prosecutor Bill Wolfe is protected from the complaint of prosecutorial misconduct due to the 39 month incarceration of James Arthur Johnson without probable cause. Furthermore, it is keeping the public ignorant about major events that are taking place in the “accessory after the fact” charge against Mr. Johnson. The News & Observer refused to even acknowledge that in November 2008, private sector special prosecutor (paid at extra expense by North Carolina taxpayers because no salaried state prosecutor was willing to prosecute such a frivolous case) W. David McFadyen decided to bring the case to court (again, wasting taxpayer money). McFadyen’s not prosecuting this case because Johnson (who solved the Brittany Willis murder) wiped his fingerprints off the victim’s car. He is vilifying Johnson and prosecuting him in order to protect prosecutor Bill Wolfe.
Additionally, the media is in cahoots with the Wilson prosecutors (the Attorney General’s Office, and the state) to prevent Johnson from having the appearance of being an actor who did the community service (and receive a reward) by having the friends and family of Brittany Willis renege on the $20,000.00 reward which Johnson clearly earned. The state, with the help of the media, has gone out of its way to destroy the reputation and life of this young African American boy (who had no prior criminal record, was a popular student, and, like Brittany Willis, loved soccer), in order to protect a prosecutor who had no ethical compass. The Wilson prosecutor had no physical evidence linking Johnson to the crime, and when their only witness (the vengeful confessed killer Kenneth Meeks) stated that he implicated Johnson only because Johnson had snitched on him. Lacking their star (albeit murderous) witness, Prosecutor Wolfe then arranged for two eyewitnesses (both with connections to the Wilson Police Department) to make his case. However, when Rev. Dr. William Barber, II, from the NAACP brought media attention to the case, the prosecutors thought better of using their phony witnesses, knowing they could not stand up under scrutiny outside of the Wilson city limits.
The Wilson prosecutors, with their ineptitude and malice, divided the city of Wilson largely along racial lines, and now the judge hearing the Johnson case, denied a change of venue motion from the defense last month. Instead, Judge Milton Fitch, Jr., to give the appearance of presiding over a fair trial, proposed busing in jurors from a neighboring county. All of these shenanigans are taking place and the News & Observer and other media are doing their part for the state by keeping quiet and keeping the public ignorant.
There is no doubt that the justice system is headed toward convicting a young man who helped authorities solve a heinous crime, in the interests of protecting a prosecutor who follows the tenet of "selective justice based on Class and Color," and at the wasteful expense of the Tar Heel taxpayers. The media will allow this travesty to take place. A travesty in magnitude that is second only to the prosecution, persecution and disbarment of Mr. Mike Nifong, an incorruptible prosecutor who gave 27 years of exemplary service to the state of North Carolina, a Christian, and a decent, honorable family man.
Governor Easley should put things in perspective. When it comes to the press and the media, he really has no grounds for complaining.