I was shocked and appalled to read your cover story "Sympathy for the Devils?" by Hal Crowther. That an article could be published about something the magnitude of the Duke lacrosse case and be so devoid of factual basis deeply troubles me. Because the article is a rambling mess of unfounded accusations of racism and elitism, I will keep my response brief.
The intellectual bankruptcy of Mr. Crowther's article is revealed very early on with this statement: "At this stage, decency dictates a perfect neutrality about who may be telling the truth. We know for certain that one of these defendants, who lawyered his way around a gay-bashing incident in Washington, is an individual of questionable character and self-control."
Collin Finnerty's Washington, D.C., case has not been heard by a court. The facts of the incident are not known and in no way "certain." The incident was not "gay-bashing" and Collin Finnerty was not charged with a hate crime. He agreed to do community service instead of fight the charges. It is simply unfathomable that in two consecutive sentences your publication would demand "perfect neutrality" in a case with stacks and stacks of public documents, yet conclude "for certain" that a contested event with virtually no public documents shows that Mr. Finnerty is "an individual of questionable character and self-control."
On top of that, Mr. Crowther suggests that considering facts that are publicly available is somehow racist. Mr. Crowther categorically dismisses all sworn court motions and attached documents as paid defense spin. He states, "If you feel a compulsion to believe them, you're the one who might catch a glimpse of your inner racist in the mirror."
I don't know how for a single second you can justify deciding to print this nonsense.