The Locker Room

The Atlantic’s coverage of the infamous Duke PowerPoint

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:50 AM

Readers of The Atlantic might remember a recent Caitlin Flanagan article, “The Hazards of Duke,” that examined an infamous PowerPoint presentation from a female student assessing multiple male sexual partners.

The initial article now has generated an exchange in the magazine’s pages between Flanagan and the editor of The Duke Chronicle:

Although I took issue with several parts of “The Hazards of Duke” (January/February Atlantic), Caitlin Flanagan’s statements and assumptions about The Chronicle’s news sense with regard to rape charges against a former Duke sophomore misrepresent the paper’s coverage.

To say that The Chronicle and its editors found these accusations “of relatively little interest” is baseless speculation, and to say we covered the story “far more briefly” than the Karen Owen story is inaccurate. The Chronicle published three stories about the rape charges. All three ran on the front page, two of them as the lead story. We have continued to monitor developments in both story lines as they have occurred.

Lindsey Rupp Editor, The Chronicle, Duke University, Durham, N.C.

Flanagan's response?

It is not I, but Lindsey Rupp, who has mischaracterized the essential facts of the case. On what did I base my assertion that The Chronicle covered the rape accusation far more briefly than it did the Owen PowerPoint? At the time my essay appeared in The Atlantic, the paper had published three articles about the rape case, and one letter from an associate dean of the university who questioned the paper’s journalistic ethics in its reporting of those stories. The paper refused to allow its readers to comment on the first two of those stories. In contrast, the paper published a total of 27 pieces concerning, either directly or indirectly, the Owen episode, which garnered a total of 225 reader comments.

This might be the most national attention the Chronicle has received since the even more infamous “Duke lacrosse rape case.”

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