Sunday, November 7, 2010

MSNBC hypocritical in its suspension of Olbermann

Phil Griffin, MSNBC President, made the decision to suspend Keith Olbermann without pay from his program on that cable station after he became aware that Olbermann had made political contributions to three Democratic campaigns last month. According to the New York Times article, Mr. Olbermann donated $2,400 to three campaigns, which evidently violated policies in place at MSNBC. In reaching his decision to act against Mr. Olbermann, Mr. Griffin consulted first with Steve Capus, President of NBC News, and Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC-Universal. Mr. Griffin was actually quoted in an early Friday, November 5th, afternoon statement as saying, “Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

To add fuel to the fire, Bob Steele, the Director of the Prindle Institute for Ethics at DePauw University, issued the following comment on the subject, “When a journalist becomes an activist, the principle of independence is not just eroding, it’s corroding from within.”

Donating a paltry sum to a several political campaigns pales in significance to the outlandish act of brazenly lying to the public… as Susan Filan did in an online article. Ms. Filan is the Senior Legal Analyst for MSNBC, and in an article in 2007 titled “Nifong’s punishment severe, appropriate,” she fabricates a story in which she accuses former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong of asking his son to attend his hearing before the North Carolina State Bar. The statement is given as fact, as though she was in the Nifong living room and heard it firsthand. She compounds the libelous statement by using it to attack Mr. Nifong’s character… suggesting that he had selfish motives in “asking” his son to attend his hearing… possibly to gain pity or sympathy she conjectures.

Since I first read the article by Ms. Filan, I had doubts about its veracity as I wondered how she would be privy to such information. Surely she was not a guest in the Nifong household when the comments were made. I thought that she most likely had caught a video tape in which Mr. Nifong might have mentioned that he asked his son to attend his hearing. I didn’t know exactly how she came about her information, but because she used it as a basis to denigrate Mr. Nifong’s sensitivities and parenting skills, I thought that she had a basis for making the claim that Mr. Nifong asked his son to attend his hearing. So, I thought that I would just verify her statement by asking the Nifongs directly. I must say that I was not at all surprised to learn that the MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst statements were nothing more than a figment of her imagination. It never happened. In fact, what happened was to the contrary. Mr. Nifong asked his son not to attend the hearing, but he insisted on showing support for his embattled father… like any good son with proper upbringing would do.

MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst Filan accused Mr. Nifong of using his son and taking advantage of him, but as it is now clearly apparent, Ms. Filan is the one who took advantage of Mr. Nifong’s son. She used him to get in a flagrant below the belt jab at Mr. Nifong. The evidence is all laid out in the Investigative Reports section of the official Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong website (

As was plainly pointed out in the writings in the investigative reports, including several other blogs on the topic, what is truly alarming is the unwillingness of the individuals at MSNBC to investigate themselves or take any action whatever. I wrote to Ms. Filan in December 2009, asking for any documentation or source for her statement about the alleged conversation between Mr. Nifong and his son. She refused to respond. When I wrote to Rick Cotton, the General Counsel of NBC-Universal and Jeff Zucker, the CEO of NBC-Unversal, all letters sent to them by certified mail were returned with the word “refused.” They are doing their best to protect Ms. Filan and to continue to mislead viewers who go online to read her 2007 article.

Now I don’t know if Mr. Steele would consider fabricating a story to use in order to attack someone’s character unethical, but I certainly do. In fact, I would consider it to be a far more egregious act than doling out a few bucks to the campaign coffers of a few politicians. MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst Susan Filan’s article and the reaction (or more accurately, inaction) of Mr. Cotton and Mr. Zucker to my queries about it directly bring the credibility of NBC News into question.

One thing is apparent to me, however, and that is that the mainstream media, and most media in general, have a well entrenched bias against Mr. Nifong. To them, any story that sheds any favorable light on Mr. Nifong is not “newsworthy.” They go to extremes to ignore it. Will New York Times writers Brian Stelter and Bill Carter write about Susan Filan lying to the public? I doubt it. Not because they do not want to, but that the Powers-That-Be who pay their salaries and upon whom their livelihoods depends will quash any attempt to do so. As has been pointed out in the News section of our website, Rae Evans, mother of Duke Lacrosse defendant Dave Evans, worked as an executive at CBS News for more than a decade… and of course she has strong ties with many in the news media.

Phil Griffin can levy sanctions against Keith Olbermann for a bit of trifle, but when it comes to serious matters of intentionally lying to the public as documented in the Susan Filan incident (the Senior Legal Analyst of MSNBC), you can count on him to go along with Rick Cotton and Jeff Zucker… acting like an ostrich and sticking his head in the ground… acting oblivious to the potential for great harm she’s doing to his company, and to the news media in general.

As far as suspending Mr. Olbermann indefinitely without pay, I think it was an ill-advised and petty response. Reinstate Keith Olbermann immediately. The person who is deserving of suspension and other punitive actions for fabricating stories is the person that all of the MSNBC and NBC-Universal executives are circling the wagons to protect.

Susan Filan LINK:


Kilgo said...

Duke lacrosse team accused of gang rape

The Abrams Report MSNBC
3/29/2006 1:48:13 PM ET

A student working as a stripper to pay her way through college says members of the Duke University lacrosse team gang raped her at a team party.

Authorities have taken DNA samples from 46 of the 47 members of the lacrosse team in an attempt to find the three players an exotic dancer said beat and raped her at a party where she was hired to perform on March 13.

According to court documents reviewed by the "News and Observer," a local paper,

“When the woman and another dancer began their routines, one of the men watching held up a broomstick and threatened to sexually assault the women. They left, but were followed out by a man who persuaded them to return. That’s when three men pushed her into a bathroom and began the assault, which she said lasted for 30 minutes."

Samiha Khanna from the “News and Observer” down there who interviewed the alleged victim in this case.

DAN ABRAMS, HOST, "ABRAMS REPORT": All right, so what did she tell you?

SAMIHA KHANNA, REPORTER, “NEWS AND OBSERVER”: Well first, she sort of wondered how I had found her, and I assured her that her identity was not revealed in the newspaper and it was not going to be revealed, as we don’t publish the names of sexual assault victims. The first thing she told me was she reported it because she feels as though generally speaking, people don’t really take this type of assault seriously.

And she has a young daughter; she also was concerned for her family. Knowing that this had happened to her she couldn’t live with that. She wanted to report it and sort of get the allegations out there of what had happened.

ABRAMS: What did she say happened exactly?

KHANNA: Basically, we just sort of went over the same details that the police had offered. She was a little hesitant to discuss everything in detail. Naturally, she was still in shock and still very tearful, and also her children were present. She was watching them, so it was a little bit difficult to talk about the details, but she did say that she had been called to this location for a job. As the “News and Observer” has previously published, she believed that this event would be a small party, perhaps a bachelor party, with no more than maybe five men.

Kilgo said...

When she arrived with one more person from the agency she realized that the crowd, in fact, was over 40 men in this house next to east campus. She worried about the fact that there was no security, and a neighbor that I interviewed actually says that he saw the women outside. The victim was hesitant. She didn’t want to go inside. She said I had never done this before and the other woman he describes sort of comforted her. She went in and she says that immediately there were comments being made, derogatory comments to her as a woman and also based on the fact that of her race. She is black and she says that her accusers are white.

ABRAMS: Now, how does she know that the alleged perpetrators were members of the lacrosse team?

KHANNA: I didn’t actually get the chance to ask her that in detail how she was able to verify that. But the police have actually been able to verify that this was a party held for or attended by most of the members of the team. I’m not sure exactly if all attended, but most of the people there were members of the team. The three people who actually live in the house are three team captains we’re being told by Duke officials. So that’s how they are able to corroborate that information. I’m not sure that she was aware at the time that they were members of the lacrosse team.

ABRAMS: And all she claims that she knew was that she was going with a colleague I guess you’d call them, to dance at a party?

KHANNA: That’s what she’s told me. She got the call about 8:30 that night; she was to show up at about 11:30. The first time that she had ever met that co-worker she says was at that location.

ABRAMS: All right. Samiha Khanna thank you very much.

KHANNA: Thank you.

Kilgo said...

ABRAMS: Mike Nifong's office is handling this case. Now I know that you have not been able to hear what we’ve been talking about up to now? But the one question that we were talking about is how can you be so certain at this point that the perpetrators were actually members of the Duke lacrosse team?

MIKE NIFONG, DURHAM DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, the information that we have received from the people who were at the house was that all of the people at the party were Duke lacrosse players with the possible exception of two fraternity people who were there at some point that evening with another member of the Duke lacrosse team. Obviously, we are awaiting DNA results from tests that have been done so far. We expect those next week, and depending on the results of that, it may be necessary to extend the scope of the search, but we at least have an idea of the direction which that would go.

ABRAMS: I assume based on the fact that you requested DNA from 46 of the 47 members of the team that there is DNA evidence that was found that’s relevant to the case.

NIFONG: We hope that there will be DNA evidence that will be relevant to the case. We cannot know that for certain until all of the evidence has been tested.

ABRAMS: Did all of the players who you requested DNA from, and my understanding is it was from 46 of the 47, all of the white players on the team because the alleged victim said that the perpetrators were white, did all of them agree to give their DNA?

NIFONG: They all submitted pursuant to the identification order of the sampling that was requested.

ABRAMS: So it was requested or did you demand it?

NIFONG: There was a court order that is called an identification order, and it set out the reasoning behind the request, and specified what the subjects would be requested to do.

NIFONG: Their failing to do so could result in a court taking action against them, but there was no failure to do so.

ABRAMS: Are you convinced there was a rape here?

NIFONG: I am convinced that there was a rape, yes, sir.

ABRAMS: And why are you so convinced of that?

NIFONG: The circumstances of the case are not suggestive of the alternate explanation that has been suggested by some of the members of the situation. There is evidence of trauma in the victim’s vaginal area that was noted when she was examined by a nurse at the hospital. And her general demeanor was suggestive of the fact that she had been through a traumatic situation.

Kilgo said...

ABRAMS: When you say an alternate explanation that’s being offered by some of the people who were there, what is that?

NIFONG: Well, I don’t want to go into a lot of the details of the evidence right now, but obviously, the story that these people were hired to dance and were asked to leave is the alternate story.

ABRAMS: So that there was no sexual activity at all is the alternate story?

NIFONG: That would be the alternate story.

ABRAMS: Final question. Do you intend to pursue charges against players, people who were there at the house, but did nothing to stop it, if a rape occurred?

NIFONG: Well, I have not made that decision yet. It will really depend on evidence. I don’t suspect that everybody who was in the house necessarily had the same view of what was going on, and so I can’t really say that right now. As a general rule, mere presence at the scene of a crime does not constitute evidence of participation in that crime.

There is, however, an exception under aiding and abetting law for people who because of a particular relationship that exists in this case being teammates of the people who were perpetrating the crime, their presence at the scene could be seen as encouraging or condoning the activity, and under those circumstances, it is possible that some other people could be indicted.

ABRAMS: Have you been satisfied with Duke University’s response?

NIFONG: I’m not sure to what you are referring to when you say Duke University’s response. They obviously are dealing with administrative issues that do not directly involve the criminal charges here. Certainly Duke has not done anything to interfere with the investigation. And I really don’t have an opinion about such things as canceling the lacrosse season, as some people have suggested.

ABRAMS: Mike Nifong thanks a lot for taking the time. We appreciate it.

NIFONG: Yes, sir. Thank you.

Kilgo said...

ABRAMS: Susan, if you were the prosecutor here based on the law that D.A. Nifong was just laying out, would you be considering pursuing charges against other people who were present at the house, but who didn’t engage in the alleged rape?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. Under the theory that he explained, this aiding and abetting theory. He’s not saying just by being there and not doing anything to stop it you’re in trouble. But if you’re in that room and you don’t take any action to stop it and you’re in the bathroom where the assault is taking place, that can clearly be seen as encouragement, as condoning and as aiding and abetting.

And if you’re in that bathroom where those guys are allegedly gang raping that victim, you’re in as much trouble under a different theory as the guys who did it themselves. The other thing is there seems to be a lot of physical evidence that the prosecutor can use here. She lost four false fingernails, four red fingernails and those were found at the scene.

She also said that she put up a fight and scraped the heck out of one of her assailants, so it’ll be interesting to see if somebody has got some marks on their skin. She also left behind a cell phone and a purse in that bathroom. If there’s going to be a claim that it was consensual, that’s inconsistent with consensual. That is much more consistent with a forcible rape.

ABRAMS: Susan, real quick, 15 of the 46 players, this surprised me, who gave DNA had prior charges, most of them very minor charges, public intoxication and things like that.

FILAN: And public urination.

ABRAMS: Yes, exactly. Relevant to the case?

FILAN: You know I mean I think at that level college kids will be college kids, boys will be boys. I don’t think that’s where this becomes serious, but once it elevates to this level, and also, Dan, there’s a witness that corroborates her story that she came outside and then she went back inside. That’s how she tells the story.

And don’t forget there’s also racial slurs. I don’t even want to repeat on the air what was allegedly said to this poor woman. But that adds a whole other level to forcible rape, strangulation, sexual assault and now racial slurs? This just gets uglier and worse.

ABRAMS: Yes. This is a dark day for my university, which I love very much, and, you know, sorry to have to cover a story like this, but I can’t let my personal affiliations prevent us from covering what is an important story down at Duke University.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Kilgo! lets return to those heddy days when the lies went unchallenged and all those troubling facts weren't getting in the way of your prejudices. It's a shame that truth caught up with you and your ilk.

There, now. Just pretend nothing happened after 3/29/2006. Repeat after me: "No one can disprove my prejudice. No one can disprove my prejudice. No one can disprove my prejudice."

Walt said...


I don't think you can accuse Susan Filian of lying when she offered an opinion that Nifong's punishment was appropriate. While I disagree with her conclusion, it is impossible to claim that she is lying about an opinion. For the record, Nifong's punishment, disbarment and one day in jail was far too lenient. He should have been incarcerated for a much longer time, not to mention being disbarred.


Kilgo said...

Ah yes, the "heddy" days when everyone at Duke and in Durham
were lying, banging pots in front of the Buchanan whore house.

Let's fast forward and see where Ms. Filan stands in the fall of 2006.

Defense in Duke rape case keeps swinging
Filan: The D.A. is not withholding crucial evidence from the defense

Updated: 4:23 p.m. ET Oct 12, 2006

Susan Filan, MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst

The defense has come out swinging once again. They have written a letter to D.A. Mike Nifong accusing him of withholding crucial evidence in the Duke lacrosse rape case. They claim the D.A. has not turned over the contents of statements the accuser made to the D.A., nor have they received key police reports.

A copy of that letter was placed in court files, and a copy was sent to the judge presiding over the trial and to other attorneys. They might as well have taken out an ad on national television as well in order to get their message across. Because the parties are under a "gag" order now, the only way the defense can continue to try their case in the media and not in the courtroom is to file motions or write letters that become part of the court file which is a public record.

The letter was delivered to the D.A. when he was out of town attending a conference and could not be reached for comment.

Kilgo said...

The D.A. is not withholding crucial evidence from the defense. My position is the D.A. may have a work product privilege which precludes him from having to disclose the contents of his conversations with witnesses when preparing their testimony for trial.

More importantly, the D.A. has no reason to withhold crucial evidence from the defense. A prosecutor who plays such a foolish game risks having that evidence precluded at trial. In this case, if the accuser's testimony is ruled inadmissible because it was not properly disclosed to the defense prior to trial, the D.A. has no case. This case cannot proceed to trial without the victim taking the witness stand and testifying under oath.

Her cross-examination is going to be one of the most brutal and aggressive cross-examinations in trial history. Usually, in a rape case, the defense has to be careful not to be too tough on the victim lest they alienate a potentially sympathetic jury. But in this case, the defense is going to go scorched earth approach. The defense is so convinced their clients are innocent and that the victim is lying, they cannot afford to do anything but go nuclear.

The D.A. has expressed confidence in his case. The D.A. has a duty not to prosecute a case he knows he cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt. But the D.A. does not have a duty to drop a tough case. This is a tough case, no doubt, and it may ultimately prove to be unwinnable, in large part because of pre-trial publicity and a prejudiced populace from which to select a jury of one's peers. But if the D.A. believes a crime was committed, no matter how difficult the case, or how problematic the victim, the D.A. has an obligation to take the case to trial and let the jury decide.

Justice is not a game, and hide the ball is not an option.

Anonymous said...

So, Kilgo, the facts caught up with Ms. Filan and she changed her tune, right?

She'd be OK in you and Sid's book if she just stuck with her initial view that the players [each and every one of them, because you and Sid like to attack them as a group with no distinctions] were whoremongers, the defense attorneys were lying hacks and "something happened" to Crystal, right?

Who's the hypocrite, Kilgo?

Sidney Owes His Readers an Apology said...


I want to thank you for your comments.

Your transcript of the MSNBC interviews with Khanna and Nifong and the comments by Abrams and Filan demonstrates how thoroughly dishonest—or delusional—our host really is. As we know, Sidney maintains that the media has been unfair to Nifong, a bias he attributes to the Carpetbagger Jihad. You remind readers that the initial coverage of this case was almost uniformly pro-Nifong, with Filan maintaining a favorable opinion as late as October. Moreover, much of the early coverage improperly presumed the guilt of the players. Sidney simply pretends that this initial coverage did not exist.

Thank you for calling him out so effectively.

Nifong Supporter said...

Walt said...

I don't think you can accuse Susan Filian of lying when she offered an opinion that Nifong's punishment was appropriate. While I disagree with her conclusion, it is impossible to claim that she is lying about an opinion. For the record, Nifong's punishment, disbarment and one day in jail was far too lenient. He should have been incarcerated for a much longer time, not to mention being disbarred.


Walt, Susan Filan stated that Mike Nifong asked his son to attend his hearing before the State Bar. This statement in her article is denied by the Nifongs. She is unwilling or unable to provide a source or reference for the statement, and the big-wigs at NBC refuse to accept my certified letters regarding this subject. In stating that Mr. Nifong asked his son to attend his hearing, Ms. Filan outright lied. She fabricated a story that she then used to criticize his character. Because MSNBC, like CBS and other mainstream media are biased against Mr. Nifong, none of them what to address the issue.

Susan Filan, MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst, lied to the American people, and that includes you, Walt. It's all documented in my website in the Investigative Reports Section.

The next Investigative Report will be about Duke's discrimination against me for being a supporter of Mike Nifong. It should be posted by the end of the week.

Anonymous said...

Sid, either Filan lied or Nifong lied. You don't seem capable of entertaining the alternative explanation.

Most of the rest of the world would have no problem believing that, given a choice between Nifong and any random Joe out of the phone book, Nifong would be the lier.

Anonymous said...

"Susan Filan, MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst, lied to the American people"

Either that OR Cy Gurney lied to you, Sid. Did you consider that?

Use those investigative skills, Sid...You blindly accept the words of the NIFONGS on this matter?

Anonymous said...

Crystal told Sid she was innocent of the arson charges. That was good enough for him.

Me, I'll wait to see if there's a trial and then decide.

Nifong Supporter said...

Anonymous said...
"'Susan Filan, MSNBC Senior Legal Analyst, lied to the American people'

Either that OR Cy Gurney lied to you, Sid. Did you consider that?

Use those investigative skills, Sid...You blindly accept the words of the NIFONGS on this matter?"

It only makes common sense to believe the Nifongs, after all, the issue has to do with a conversation between Mr. Nifong and his son. How do you suppose Ms. Filan came to the conclusion that Mr. Nifong asked his son to attend his hearing? Surely she was not witness to such a private conversation. I wrote Ms. Filan and asked her to name her source. She ignored me. And the general counsel and president refused letters I sent to them by certified mail. They are trying to cover up. Face it. Ms. Filan lied! And she lied in order to attack Mr. Nifong's character. If anyone at that station had a fraction of the courage and integrity that Mike Nifong has, then he/she would respond to me in good faith instead of refusing my letters... unopened.

A lack of courage on the part of the owners of the Carolina Panthers cost them the opportunity of having Michael Vick as a quarterback. Vick was demonized just like Mike Nifong, and like the Carolina Panthers, people of the cash-strapped county of Durham will suffer as well.

Also, Coming in the next day or two will be the Investigative Report regarding Duke University's discrimination against me.

Anonymous said...

Riiiight....The Nifongs have no reason to lie to you. Keep repeating that mantra.

I generally refuse to open junk-mail, too....I see no problem with what MSNBC has done.

Anonymous said...

Mike Nifong is on record stating "I am very proud of my son. I wanted him to be proud of me. And I felt that it was important for him to see this."

It's easy to see how someone could interpret that statement to mean that Nifong asked his son to attend the hearing.

Anonymous said...

Of course, by "this" Nifong was referring to His State Bar ethics trial, not CGM's vajayjay. Or was he?