By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Erin Cox story descends into smears and retractions

Looks like someone is trying to smear Erin Cox, the North Andover High School student who was suspended from the volleyball team and lost her captain’s position after she said she went to a party in order to drive home a friend who was drunk. Here’s the lead of a story now online at The Valley Patriot:

The Valley Patriot published a story this morning citing Law enforcement sources in North Andover who claimed High School student Erin Cox was to appear in court on charges of possession of alcohol.

The Valley Patriot has since learned that this information was false.

If you click to read the whole story, you’ll see that it only gets worse. Keep in mind that one of the few on-the-record accounts we have is from a police officer, Brian Neeley, who absolved Cox in a statement that was originally reported by The North Andover Citizen:

Erin did not have the slightest odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her person. She was polite, articulate, steady on her feet, and very remorseful for her decision to go into the residence but was only helping a friend out that had called her for a ride.

Keep an eye on this one. There’s more to come, I’m sure.

Wednesday morning update: There is a lot of clarifying detail in this story in today’s Eagle-Tribune. The key takeaway is that Cox’s parents say Officer Neeley told everyone at the scene that they would be charged being as minors in possession of alcohol — even if they weren’t, you know, in possession of alcohol. That strikes me as the key fact that would explain Tuesday’s attempted smear.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.


Brendan Nyhan on “The Politics of Scandal”


Globe publisher calls BBJ report “misleading”


  1. What ever happened to police officers backing up their own? They seem to have thrown Officer Neely under the bus!

  2. Lou Gawab

    I was under the impression that she wasn’t at the party…but only came when she was called by a friend to “pick her up”. Was she at the party all along? Whether she was charged with alcohol or not…this appears to be a story that has changed from the version we were first introduced.

    Like the SUV and the motorcyclists story? Like the Trayvon Martin story? Maybe I am not simply pessimistic…but when a story narrative runs through the media a a neat tidy little package “she was only picking up a friend!” I am skeptical that we are only getting the side of the story one party wants to present.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Lou: She had to go to the party to pick up her friend. Maybe she even had to spend a little time walking around, finding her friend and getting her out the door. I don’t see any inconsistencies here.

  3. Lou Gawab


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén