The Press Botches the Carter Case
By Cal Deal
News coverage of this case in the 1970s was a great disappointment, particularly the work of Selwyn Raab of The New York Times and Herb Jaffee of the Newark Star-Ledger. Those two, it seemed to me, were extraordinarily biased in favor of Carter and his defense team. According to former Carter insider Carolyn Kelley, Jaffee even invited Carter to his son's bar mitzvah. That was in 1976, less than a month after Carter got out of prison to await his second trial, Kelley said.
It appeared that most of the press just tagged along, never looking into the facts of the case, indiscriminantly printing whatever Carter and his team said, and otherwise enjoying the circus around a man who had become a cause celebre.
On Dec. 28, 1999, Raab wrote a critique of the movie "The Hurricane" for The New York Times. Not surprisingly, the main thrust of his article was to complain about how little credit Carter's lawyers got in the movie. Why does he care?
Also in the New York Times (2/6/00) columnist Dave Anderson complained about how "shameful" it was that Fred Hogan got so little credit in the movie for obtaining the recantations of Bello and Bradley.
What that article did not disclose is that Dave Anderson had allowed his name to be used in the 1970s by the pro-Carter Hurricane Fund. [Inset: Portion of Hurricane Fund brochure with names of Carter supporters.] He also failed to mention testimony about bribe offers by Hogan, and did not disclose that a judge rejected the recantations because they defied common sense and lacked "the ring of truth."
After all of the incredible testimony about the conduct of Raab and Hogan, it's surprising the Times ran those articles. It appears that memories are short.
TO HELP REFRESH THOSE MEMORIES, I call your attention to a portion of the prosecutor's January 1987 brief concerning bribe offers, recantations, obstruction of justice, perjury -- and the roles of Raab and Hogan.
-- Cal Deal, 2/21/00
From columnist Paul Mulshine of The Star-Ledger in Newark in a story about the beating of Carolyn Kelley:
From Larry Elder, one of L.A.'s most popular radio talk show hosts and a black conservative, on the importance of getting out the true story:
Once again the press and the public have been fooled by Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
The World-Telegram story quotes Carter as saying "The courts said that I was not guilty."
He says the movie is absolutely true, according to the World-Herald story.
Carter reportedly told the audience that he overcame an all-white jury and unreliable witnesses and, the story says, "the dismissal of a passed lie detector test to win his innocence."
I believe Rubin Carter is a triple murderer. Reading about him getting standing ovations from trusting citizens is very disturbing to me. That's why I've put information about the case online. The public needs to know.
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Cal Deal, who built this web site, is a former Deputy News Editor of the New York Daily News and held news department supervisory positions at The Fort Lauderdale News & Sun-Sentinel, The Miami Herald, The Boca News, and The Herald-News (NJ). He was graphics director of The Miami News for seven years until the day it died in 1988.
Deal covered the Hurricane Carter case in 1975-'76 and interviewed Carter in August and December of 1975. His stories were mostly enterprise pieces that revealed new information about the case or explained its key elements. Deal got to know the star witnesses, Pat Valentine and Al Bello, and first saw the movie "The Hurricane" with Valentine at his side. Because of his frequent contact with those key players, he was asked to leave Carter's second trial because he was considered a potential witness. Deal also got to know some of the relatives and friends of the murder victims, who in the 1970s gave him some of the photos and materials that are used in this web site.
For more, read his introduction.