Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Duke Chronicle Hysterically Censors Message Board Regarding Sex Show

Duke Students for an Ethical Duke President Ken Larrey has at times been critical of the Duke Chronicle's coverage of certain issues and has at other times been critical of disturbingly overt attempts by the Chronicle to slander Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, at least one of which has been characterized as everything from "journalistic malpractice" to "an unwarranted cheap shot" by both experienced, internationally renowned columnists and other Duke Chronicle columnists.

For whatever reason, the Duke Chronicle seems to be making an especially frantic attempt to keep the Sex Show story under wraps. Ken Larrey posted two comments that were critical of yet another misrepresentation of Larrey's words and quotes. For this story, Larrey corresponded with the Chronicle by email this time to avoid any potential mistakes, yet somehow they managed to completely botch it all yet again while writing a flagrantly biased article. Having written two stories so far on the show, both heavily weighted with comments complimentary of the show, the Chronicle has yet to write a single news story mentioning anything significant that took place on stage at the Sex Workers Art Show of February 3rd, aside from this lone description from its Feb. 4 article:
"The remainder of the event featured political statements, musical theater, a mild dominatrix act, the elaborate removal of clothing and an anal sparkler for the grand finale. Audience member reactions ranged from rowdy cheers to awkward silences."
You be the judge. Compare it to the video. Does that sound like real reporting from the Chronicle? It's a good thing we still have Kristin Butler's exemplary work.

The two critical comments posted by Larrey were removed as soon as he informed Chronicle editor David Graham, as well as Tina Mao and Leslie Griffith of those two comments. The Chronicle has repeatedly removed those two comments from the message board all day long, though they have been reposted by others and Larrey himself. No other comments have been censored, and there is no vulgar or inappropriate language. This is the first time to our knowledge of the Chronicle ever doing something of this sort.

We may delve into possible reasons for the Chronicle's censorship later, but here are the original two comments:

Ken Larrey
posted 2/12/08 @ 12:47 PM EST
I regret that I am again disappointed with the Chronicle, but for crying out loud, please get my quotes right.

Senior Ken Larrey, founder of Duke Students for an Ethical Duke, said he takes offense at the show and that his organization has "gone to considerable efforts to publicize" the issue.

Nowhere in my email correspondence with Tina did I say that I was offended by the event, and that certainly does not have a darn thing to do with why Duke Students for an Ethical Duke has been publicizing the issue, as I made very, very clear. We are not in the business of establishing moral standards. We are pointing out the truly extraordinary sets of double standards Duke maintains and Duke's unwillingness to follow it's own rules when certain people or ideological agendas are concerned.

I could not have made that more clear, and I am very disappointed that you reduced our entire correspondence to this inaccurate clip.

Ken Larrey

Ken Larrey
posted 2/12/08 @ 12:59 PM EST
Additionally, I am astounded that this explanation by Annie Oakley was printed, unchallenged:

"'Sex workers hired by student and feminist organizations to tell their stories is vastly different than a drunk lacrosse team hiring strippers to perform as strippers.'"

Give me a break. "To tell their stories" is simply NOT a fair characterization of what happened, and it is certainly not the conduct at issue, so again, by all means, see for yourselves what the show was about at ethicalduke.blogspot.com, where we have posted pictures and video.

It's astonishing that the Chronicle did not bother to even describe on its own any of the events that actually took place at this show. Nor did it quote anyone else describing any of the events. How can you possibly justify that?

The Chronicle's coverage is getting really, really ridiculous, and it is an extraordinary disservice to the Duke Community.

Ken Larrey

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