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Saturday, 2 July 2011

Why The New York Times Reporting On Straus-Kahn Case Is Bad Reporting?

With civilized society not functioning properly without justice and society even turning into ‘jungle raj’ without it, people even sacrifice their lives for the sake of it. While a civilized justice system offers punishment to those who break the law, it makes sure that even criminals are entitled to justice.
A thief cannot be assaulted by a mob. Law takes its course. Similarly, although her profession is to make love with many people and her character cannot be said to be ideal, a forceful sex with a prostitute is still regarded as rape. That is what a civilized society is all about.



Although differing on her terming it an assault and him saying that it was a consensual sex in the Straus-Kahn saga, both agree on the occurrence of a sexual act. Neither we nor the judge being privy to the happenings but having to rely on the evidence provided, justice is seen to be done if the following three factors are given due respect.




  1. Her oral evidence - called symptom in medicine.
  2. Her physical evidence - called sign in medicine.
  3. Immediate circumstances.

Let’s go deeper:

  1. The symptoms: Without a doubt, women have falsely accused men of rape for various reasons. And many men have suffered. In this case, various claims are made about the lady’s past to diminish the value of her oral evidence. Even then, while a wrong claim clearly shows an evil intention, a right claim about her past still does not exclude a present assault.  
  2. The signs:  If her lawyer is telling the truth, her valva had bruises and her shoulder ligament was torn. If proven recent, they mean a lot. While even an animalistic passionate sex would not result in those injuries, especially the later one, her immediate reporting to the hospital staff, then to the police, rules out a passionate encounter. Her lawyer could lie; but such a public lie could cost him his career.
  3. Circumstances: Her spitting of semen indicates the possibility of oral sex. If so, it also raises the question why her teeth dint injure his manhood. While evidence from immediately involved hotel and security staff, if in her favor, adds to her oral evidence and lessens the effect of her bad past, her reported continued work in another room can easily form an added tragedy of ‘do as you are told’.


In this scenario, The New York Times reports about the case at http://adf.ly/1yYPI While it airs good part of Mr. Kahn - his position, not his bad part- French women’s accusation, it almost fills the report with her bad associations. The fact is that irrespective of her being associated with bad people or even breaking the law; she simply cannot be sexually assaulted. Even if she is a habitual liar, if supported by physical and circumstantial evidence, she could still be telling the truth now. In this scenario, while reliance more on her past, not his, doesn’t add to neutral reporting, report not extending to immediate post coital circumstances that could fetch evidence from the unstained security and hotel staff doesn’t add to investigative journalism.

Its reporters seem to have access to the forensic test report. It airs, ‘.. evidence of sexual encounter was found’.
While this itself upgrades the lady from the projected unreliable person capable of using imagination to accuse people for benefit, to one who, at least, tells the truth that sexual act did happen albeit refusing a consensual one, it also suggests that the lady’s lawyer did not tell the truth. In its delivered justice, while it doesn’t inform us whether the shoulder injury was mentioned in the report, it leaves out the importance of hotel and security staff.

Suddenly, in this reporting at least, The New York Times doesn’t live up to its standards. With the report giving more credence to case influencing people, the question, ‘Is capitalism at work?’ suddenly raises its head. Or is there a French connection?

Irrespective of its reporting, a properly delivered justice can see either punishment of the guilty or a free man in route to being the President of France. The latter case will, however, also air the vulnerability of being a man in these dangerous times - more so if powerful.

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