Narratives, Nonsense, And Media-Driven Character Assassination: The Manning Saga Continues

The Washington Post now KNOWS why Peyton Manning “sexually assaulted” former University of Tennessee athletic trainer Jamie Naughright: She “may have” accused him of cheating in class. Scoop!

Well, maybe not. We don’t know, since there are a few pages of Naughright’s lawsuit that the Post claims could be cheating accusations that are not released to the media; but since Al Jazeera recently claimed that Peyton Manning used steroids during the year he recovered from neck surgery in 2011, why, everyone KNOWS that Manning is a cheater.

(Google searches tell me that the Post has taken upon itself to be the anti-Manning vehicle much like the New York Times led the way in media coverage when the NYT was stubbornly backing the prosecution in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case. The NYT decided to go with the leftists’ narratives on rape and race, and pointedly ignored mountains of exculpatory evidence until its coverage totally ran aground. While the Post tried to pile on, too, including stories like this, nonetheless it could not match the Grey Lady for outright false reporting. However, in the Manning saga, it seems that the WaPo is determined to have Duke Lacrosse II.)

First, and most important, we do not know what was redacted in Naughright’s 2002 lawsuit against Peyton and Archie Manning, because no one is talking, at least not on the record. However, nowhere in the WaPo story does reporter Will Hobson use the code words, “sources said.” Instead, he hints at it using a deposition from the 2002 case in which Naughright’s lawyers interviewed then-University of Tennessee Athletic Director Doug Dickey:

Q: “Were you aware that in 1994 Dr. Naughright was a guest lecturer in a course taught by Carmen Tegano?” A: “No.” …

Q: “Do you recall it ever being reported by Carmen Tegano, or anyone else, that Dr. Naughright had spoken to Carmen Tegano about the possibility of Peyton Manning having committed academic fraud in that course?” A: “No.”

This is a most interesting development, right? Peyton Manning must have “sexually assaulted” Jamie Naughright because she accused him of cheating. So, that also fits the “Manning the cheater” narrative.

However, there is a problem with that, just as there have been major problems with this whole case narrative that the news media apparently does not wish to address. In a recent interview with the Post, Tegano laughed off the idea that Manning had to cheat in that class:

“It was a one-hour pass/fail class that was required of all athletes, and under no circumstances did Peyton Manning cheat. The class was based on attendance … It was an orientation class,” Tegano said. “Do you think he needed to cheat in a pass/fail class? … We’re talking about a man who graduated with one of the highest grade-point averages in his class.”Given that

Given that real-live academic fraud does exist in higher education, and not just at the University of Tennessee, it is easy to make accusations; and narrative-following journalists like Hobson are not anxious to veer off the easy path and search for answers, since most readers (and editors) will believe whatever they write, anyway. And Peyton Manning the cheater is a nice narrative that will allow Hobson and other sportswriters to avoid doing serious research, and it easily dovetails with the Peyton Manning sexual assault narrative.

It is instructive to me that Hobson and other journalists cannot see a bigger picture, as apparently they want nothing to interfere with their narrative-driven logic. It would be quite difficult for an athlete to commit “academic fraud” in a class with no exams and attendance-based grading unless the athlete were to cut a deal with the person taking attendance to mark him “present” even if he were not there. Somehow, I doubt seriously that a person who graduated Magna Cum Laude as an undergraduate at UT would need to cheat in a one-hour pass/fail class in order to pass, especially since other athletes whose academic performances were not in Manning’s league also passed.

At some point, one realizes that we are dealing with nothing less than all-out character assassination by the news media, all because Peyton Manning, who is white, had the gall, the effrontery, to quarterback a team to a Super Bowl win over a Cam Newton-led team that was heavily favored and led by a black quarterback. While as an athlete I can understand the kind of disappointment Newton felt after the loss – and I am not on the hate-Cam bandwagon because of his ill-fated press conference – nonetheless the hatred directed at Manning because Newton received bad publicity truly is amazing.

There is another point to this whole sorry affair that needs to be made, and that involved the Great Big Narrative that has been driving Manning’s post-Super Bowl coverage. According to the media, the Big, Powerful Manning Family viciously destroyed Naughright’s brilliant career by defaming her in a 2000 book. (One of my friends on Facebook excoriated me for my LRC story because, in her words, the Mannings “smeared” the poor woman.) While a few people in the media like Clay Travis have stood behind Manning, most of the media, especially the WaPo and ESPN, have been absolutely craven.

One needs to step back and apply real logic, as opposed to the narrative-driven, two-plus-two-equals-five logic that the media has pursued. Let us go back to the original lawsuit that deals with the 1996 “mooning” incident in the UT training room during spring football drills witnessed by Jamie Naughright (then Jamie Whitted). When she settled with UT for alleges “sexual harassment” in 1997, the Manning affair was one out of 33 points she made in her complaint. It is quite doubtful that the alleged “mooning” business was the reason Whitted received $300,000 from the university.

We also should note that the whole “mooning” incident was heavily covered in the Tennessee media during that time. For all of the false “no one ever talked about this” claims we have read from writers like Shaun King, people did talk about it, and reporters wrote about it extensively. There were no secrets in the media, and I knew some of the writers personally; and to a person, they have said they did not cover up anything.

(As one female athlete who was at UT during that time and clearly supports Manning told me, “It was a men’s locker room, for goodness sakes. What do you expect?” Yes, she admits, the mooning was in bad taste, but one should expect bad taste in that setting and not overreact.)

This controversy passed, but the 2000 book “Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy” has a short passage about the “mooning” incident in which Naughright’s name is not mentioned. He does mention that Naughright had “a vulgar mouth,” and that he was surprised it went as far as it did. (Right after the incident, Manning called Naughright to apologize; and he also sent her a registered letter of apology, but she did not respond.)

At that time, Naughright was director of the athletic training educational program at Florida Southern College. (She earned her doctorate at UT, which is why Shaun King always refers to her as “Dr. Naughright.”) In 2001, Florida Southern demoted her, removing her from her directorship, and Naughright left FSC in December of that year.

Naughright claims that the passage in the book is what led to her demotion, although there clearly would be nothing official from FSC on that subject. Furthermore, she claimed in her 2002 lawsuit that the passage kept her from finding new employment. The 2002 lawsuit, as I noted in my previous article on this case, was the first time she alleged Manning actually made contact with her with his private body parts.

A number of commentators have said that Manning broke a “nondisclosure” agreement regarding the case, yet I don’t think that is the situation. First, and most important, Peyton Manning was not a party to the original lawsuit and was not bound by any agreements made in the settlement between UT and Naughright. I am not aware of any legal agreements that Manning made with Naughright (but would stand corrected if someone were to show such a document to me).

Second, had Manning left out the incident, then many of those same sportswriters who have criticized him for including it would have claimed he was “whitewashing” his career because the original “mooning” was heavily covered in the media. Furthermore, Naughright’s suit against Manning was for defamation, not a breach of any nondisclosure agreements.

One thing should be pointed out: Naughright has had a reputation for vulgar and obscene speech, and I have had contact with people who knew her then and have agreed with Manning’s characterization. Furthermore, it is highly doubtful that, if she were the world-class, “force-of-nature” trainer she claimed to be in her 2002 lawsuit, a few curse words would not have kept her from further employment, given that many coaches in both men’s and women’s college sports are known for X-rated speech. Not only that, but Naughright’s $300,000 settlement with UT was common knowledge in the collegiate athletic world; and if anything would have served as a barrier to her employment in that arena, it would have been her lawsuits.

In short, if the truth is a defense against libel, slander, and defamation, then there was nothing in that passage that defamed Naughright. Furthermore, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Mannings did anything else to damage Naughright’s career. There is no record of phone calls to powerful people, no public statements, no threats, nothing. Had the Mannings engaged in a defamation campaign, as Naughright, her attorneys, and so many in the media are alleging, then where is the evidence? The so-called evidence is a small passage in an obscure book that does not give a false picture of Naughright’s speech characteristics.

(Yes, her lawyers interviewed people who claimed otherwise, but I can trot forward a list of people who can name chapter-and-verse in favor of Manning’s words. There also is more, including her numerous calls to reporters to a point that some have characterized as harassment. Furthermore, it is doubtful that she was demoted at FSC because of what Manning wrote in the book; and if she did not have a vulgar mouth while working at FSC and was the model employee she claims to have been, then there would be no reason for college officials to demote her, at least for “vulgarity.”)

The sports network ESPN did a documentary in 2004 on the incident, but Manning was not quoted on camera. As part of the settlement of the 2002 suit, there was a nondisclosure agreement, which was why Manning did not make any comments. Naughright sued Manning again, this time in 2005, claiming that Manning made statements to ESPN. However, two months later, Naughright filed for dismissal, with the case allegedly being settled, and the case file being ordered destroyed in 2014.

Again, I must emphasize that in 1996, no one claimed that Peyton Manning made physical contact with Naughright. Instead, she made that allegation in the 2002 lawsuit, but while she had one sympathetic witness (Malcolm Saxon, then a member of UT’s track team), not even he stated that Manning had made contact with Naughright, as she alleges.

For all of the accusations that the “powerful” Manning family “destroyed” Naughright’s career, we are speaking of one passage in a book that was not exactly a New York Times bestseller. Moreover, the passage only said she had a vulgar mouth, and Manning hardly was the only person making that claim.

If Naughright claimed that Peyton Manning had committed “academic fraud,” and if that claim were not true, then it would not be surprising if he disliked her. One would think that if someone were to claim “academic fraud,” then one might pick a real course that had real exams and real grades. Given there was nothing “academic” about this particular one-hour, pass/fail course, it is not difficult to draw the conclusion that maybe Naughright just didn’t like Manning and decided early to go after him.

Let us step back and look at the big picture. Two weeks ago, Peyton Manning achieved what no one believed was possible just a few months ago. He was badly injured and was benched for backup Brock Osweiler, and most observers had concluded that Manning was finished.

When Manning’s injuries had healed enough for him to return to practice, he took snaps with the scout team, which also is known as a “practice squad” or the “taxi squad.” (These are players who are not on the roster and do not play in games. Their purpose is to help the players on the regular team get ready for games.)

Many quarterbacks, and especially future hall-of-famers, would have refused such duty and would have wreaked havoc with the coaching staff. Manning quietly did what was needed, even though such a demotion would have been truly humiliating. However, in the last regular-season game against the San Diego Chargers, Osweiler faltered, and Manning came in and led his team to victory.

He then played all the snaps for the two playoff games and the Super Bowl. Manning, who at 39 is the oldest quarterback ever to have won a Super Bowl, was not spectacular, and he certainly was not the Peyton Manning of even two years ago; but the Denver Broncos won, and that was all that mattered. At least then.

Today, Peyton Manning is being trotted out by the Left as the poster child of sexual violence and worse. That he sexually assaulted no one doesn’t matter when leftists are on a crusade.

To watch the media pile on Manning in the pursuit of what clearly are false charges is a reminder that American journalists have learned nothing from the Duke Lacrosse Case or the faux rape case at the University of Virginia. Instead of applying elementary logic and trying to find out what actually occurred, journalists run after the narratives and create havoc along the way. If lies are trotted out as truth and innocent people run over, who cares? The narrative comes first.

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

WATCH What Happened As Soon As Bernie Sanders Walked Onto ‘The View’ Set

Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist, wants to become the president of the United States so he can supposedly affect social change. With his big win over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire on Tuesday, he’s one step closer to realizing his goal.

Socialism, according to Websters dictionary is, “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.” Socialism is also counterproductive to capitalism, the current economic system at work in the United States. Websters makes a distinction between the two defining socialism as “a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.”

On Thursday, Bernie Sanders was on The View, celebrating his victory. As soon as Sanders came on stage, all the hosts of the show stood up, and gave Sanders a warm embrace, noticeably different the welcome Mike Huckabee, a Republican presidential candidate, received when he was guest on the show in December.

For Sanders, the studio audience was seemingly elated as they maintained a long, standing ovation and loudly chanted “Bernie, Bernie!” After receiving hugs from the talk-show hosts, and acknowledging the roaring applause from the crowd, Sanders took his seat. After a question or two from the hosts, Sanders immediately started describing his socialist positions.

He immediately dived into income inequality, calling for the United States to be a “nation of fairness.”

Commenting on student loan debt post-graduation Sanders asked, “We’re punishing people for trying to get an education. What sense is that?” Instead, Sander’s proposes that college should be “tuition-free.”

Sanders then equated Wall Street executives as criminals. Sanders stated over the last 20 years the redistribution of wealth has gone from the middle class to the richest 1 percent. Sanders reiterated President Obama’s campaign line calling for large multi-billion dollar corporations to pay, “their fair share” in federal taxes.

Sanders said assault weapons should not be sold in the U.S. and likewise, said he wants to work with President Obama to expand instant background checks.

When asked about Michael Bloomberg running as an Independent Sanders commented, “I couldn’t live with that if the result was we elect some right-wing Republican.”

Sanders concluded his visit to The View by calling for judicial reform stating too many African Americans and Latinos are imprisoned, and stated the government needs to do more to combat unemployment in African American communities, which he claimed was higher than 50 percent.

Immediately After Trump Won New Hampshire, Huffington Post Imploded In A Very Public Way

The liberal news outlet The Huffington Post did not hold back in expressing what it thought of Donald Trump’s victory in Tuesday night’s Republican New Hampshire primary.

In bold red letters, its headline read “NH Goes Racists, Sexist, Xenophobic,” in reference to Trump’s nearly 20 point trouncing of his closest rival in the field.

Huffington Post splash page

“The Huffington Post had announced last month that each of its stories on Trump would feature an editor’s note calling the candidate a ‘liar,’ ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobe,’” TheBlaze reported

The outlet explained its reason to Politico: “Yes, we’re planning to add this note to all future stories about Trump. No other candidate has called for banning 1.6 billion people from the country! If any other candidate makes such a proposal, we’ll append a note under pieces about them.”

“The Huffington Post has struggled with how to cover Trump’s presidential campaign. Last summer, it announced that it would publish stories about Trump in its ‘Entertainment’ section rather than its ‘Politics’ section. This arrangement became increasingly untenable as Trump became the Republican front-runner,” Politico reported, adding, “In December, The Huffington Post was forced to reverse course and begin covering Trump as a serious presidential candidate.”

In its New Hampshire primary election night coverage, the Post reported what it believes is a thorough line in the Trump and Bernie Sanders candidacies: “The message from New Hampshire was clear: Voters fed up with Democrats and Republicans alike desire a politically incorrect outsider, one not beholden to special interests or rich donors, one who can actually break the perpetual gridlock in Washington.”

Image Credit: Fox News

Image Credit: Fox News

Watch: Sarah Palin Loses It On Today Show Hosts When They Ask Wrong Question- ‘That Was A Promise!’

When her interviewers strayed from the political to the personal, Sarah Palin fought back Monday against the hosts of Today.

Palin, who endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, was fielding questions about Trump, Ted Cruz, and Monday’s Iowa caucuses when Today co-host Savannah Guthrie shifted the ground to ask the former Alaska governor about the arrest of her son, Track, in a domestic violence incident. Guthrie asked about comments Palin made at the time of her son’s arrest that Guthrie interpreted to mean Palin was blaming President Obama for “some of the PTSD that’s out there.”


“I never said that,” Palin fired back. “You guys brought me here to talk about Iowa politics and the caucus tonight, not to talk about my kids. And that was a promise. But as things go in the world of media, you guys don’t always keep your promises evidently.”

Matt Lauer asked Palin if she regretted her comments about the president and PTSD.

“What did I say that was offensive? I don’t regret any comment,” Palin said. “Because I didn’t lay PTSD at the foot of the president. I did say … adamantly that there is much more that the Commander in Chief can do to prove he respects our troops and will let them do their job.”

Palin then challenged the Today hosts to find the quote they were referencing, admonishing them that finding a specific quote to use “allows the media to be more credible.”

Before the show went to a commercial break, Today host Matt Lauer insisted no promises were made.

“Well, I was told that this interview is about the caucus tonight in Iowa,” Palin replied.

During the discussion of politics and the Iowa voting, Palin said the Republican Party is in a good position as “good candidates” Trump and Cruz are at the top. When asked whether it was a difficult decision to choose Trump when she had supported Cruz in his election to the U.S. Senate, she replied she wanted Cruz to continue to serve in the Senate and have Trump in the White House.

h/t: TheBlaze

Donald Trump, National Review, And The Battle For The Conservative Mind

The editors and writers of National Review recently did something extraordinary. They came out en masse against a Republican candidate during the primary. Their “Against Trump” symposium and accompanying “Editors introduction” offer up a barrage of attacks on Donald Trump’s surprising presidential candidacy.

For the symposium, National Review assembled an enormously diverse group of conservative thinkers, from “movement conservatives” to more “establishment” types, to “conservatarians.” Clearly, this is no monolithic bloc. Yet there they are—an eclectic bunch of odd bedfellows making the same core argument: Donald Trump is not a conservative based on any meaningful definition of the term.

The National Review’s writers make this case fearlessly, meticulously, and thoroughly. In past and current statements or actions, Trump has violated virtually every pillar of conservatism. Some of his positions defy constitutionally limited, liberty-motivated government (e.g. his support of eminent domain); contradict traditional values (e.g., his sometimes support for Planned Parenthood); and call into serious question whether he really is a foreign-affairs conservative by any measure (e.g. his protectionist proposals on trade or his willingness to contemplate Russian hegemony in the Middle East). On whether Donald Trump is a consistent, true conservative … the case is arguably closed.

But if National Review editors’ intent was to cause Trump supporters to question their loyalties, such efforts are doomed to fail for one simple reason: Many Trump enthusiasts are not the reliable conservatives that National Review wishes them to be. Consider:

One widely touted source, YouGov, reports that only 13 percent of Trump voters describe themselves as “very conservative” versus 20 percent that describe themselves as liberal or moderate. Only 30 percent of them say that they identify with the Tea Party movement, according to a Newsweek summary of the YouGov data on Trump. In short, the “Trump is not especially conservative” refrain doesn’t work with his supporters because neither are they.

How can it be so? How can it be that the Republican currently garnering a large plurality of support in a crowded but highly qualified field of candidates (many of them unquestionably conservative) is the one with the feeblest conservative credentials and some of the most heretical statements and positions?

One plausible and compelling answer to this question is embodied in Tim Groseclose’s path breaking book, Left Turn. The book covers an awful lot of ground, beginning with a detailed demonstration of how to define, quantify, and trend liberal media bias; and an amazingly rich and systematic account of how liberal media bias actually happens in practice. These are, in themselves, hugely important contributions.

But the most relevant finding of the book is reflected in its subtitle: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. Simply put, liberal media bias is exerting an independent effect on the “political quotient” of the average American and is moving it steadily and substantially leftward. By Groseclose’s math, media bias has shifted the average American political quotient approximately 20 percent further left, to the point where it is worth about 8 points in presidential elections in favor of Democrat candidates. That is significant.

Other widely accepted data sources validate the trend, if not the causes. According to recent data from Gallup, the percentage of Americans who identify as “conservative” outnumbers “liberals” by 37 percent to 24 percent (with 35 percent identifying as moderates). But in 1992, that same percentage for conservatives was 43 percent versus 17 percent for liberals. A 26 point gap between conservatives and liberals has shriveled to 12 points in just over 20 years.

Is America still the “center-right nation” it is so often assumed to be? Perhaps. But it is far less so than it was, not even a generation ago. True, the fight isn’t fair. Undoubtedly, liberal media bias forms colossal, perhaps even insurmountable headwinds for conservative ideas.

Regardless, it seems abundantly clear that the conservative punditry is overestimating the conservatism of the Republican and national electorates. Just to offer a couple of examples, the current Republican front runner frequently argues against entitlement reform. Worse still, the Republican candidates (as a group) are talking less about the debt and deficits than at any other point in recent memory.

Put differently, conservatives must confront the simple reality that they are losing the argument. This being the case, at least one truth is manifest: effectively making the case for conservative ideas is more important today than ever before. Conservatives can either take up this fight, or accept being mere enablers in the self-reinforcing “triumph” of American liberalism.

Certainly, conservatives can (and should) also debate the wisdom of their flagship journal taking such a definitive stance regarding one particular candidate this early in the cycle. But the effort to clearly define and passionately argue for true conservative ideas is really the best hope they have. In this battle for the conservative mind, National Review’s contribution has always been and continues to be, invaluable.

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