Saturday, July 02, 2005

Why Can't The LA Times Tell The Truth About Its Mistakes?

First, thanks to Mickey Kaus of KAUSFILES for the above link.

The linked post describes how the LA Times totally screwed up on their reporting a law passed by the Riverside Board of Supervisors. Here is what Mickey Kaus has to say:

Speaking of real-world facts, Conor Friedersdorf catches the LAT reporting on the front page about a legislative event--the approval of an anti-Sudafed provision in Riverside--that didn't actually happen. The paper then weaseled out of printing a correction. ... When I do that I get nasty emails! ... True, even diligent reporters can get it wrong. But was the LAT diligent? There are two bylines on the initial story but no evidence that either reporter actually attended the meeting at which the controversial law was voted on. ... Yes, it would be terrible for Southern California if we lost this valuable civic resource!

After reading the two versions of the story in the linked post, it is clear the LA Times reported on what the proposed ordinance was originally going to be, but as they (apparently) didn't actually attend the meeting, they didn't realize that a totally different ordinance was actually voted on. Kind of like, say... reporting on what happened at a sporting event before the sporting event happened and then discovering that the people who had said they were going to be there, were not there.

Sounds familiar?

But did the LA Times print a retraction saying that totally screwed the pooch on this one? Did they apologize to their readers on the front page for a publishing a totally false front page story?

Yeah, right.

Now when I read the next day's cover-up, I mean, follow-up story at the time, I have to admit that I was confused as hell as to what had actually happened. And guess what - that was the whole point! To keep us from realizing that they had pulled a Mitch Albom.

However, there is a big difference between when Albom did and the LA Times is trying to pull off. All Mitch Albom did was to write a story in advance (due to the deadlines of his column) about a game he did not attend in which two players were going to be in the stands, but ended up not attending.

That, however, had no impact on the real story that was being told.

Here, though, the LA Times wrote a story on a front page event - and then got the facts totally wrong since the reporters - presumably - not only did not bother to attend the meeting, but also - apparently - never bothered to follow up with interviews after the meeting.

And yet not only will the LA Times not apologize for this error - they won't even admit it!

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