Sunday, January 01, 2006

LA Times Starts Off New Year With A Correction That's Almost As Long As The Article It Corrected!

OK - Take a deep, deep breath - and start reading!

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Emilio Kosterlitzky — The L.A. Then & Now column in the Dec. 18 California section, which was about Emilio Kosterlitzky, a Russian imperial sailor who enlisted in Mexico's army and later spied for the U.S. while living in Los Angeles, did not credit some of the sources used.

In addition to those cited — Times articles published during Kosterlitzky's lifetime and a 1970 biography by Cornelius C. Smith Jr. — sources included an article by Samuel Truett, assistant professor of history at the University of New Mexico, from the 2005 fall/winter issue of Huntington Frontiers magazine, a publication of the Huntington Library.

The Times column said that during Kosterlitzky's last days at Ft. Rosecrans in San Diego, an FBI agent offered him a job in Los Angeles. Truett's article provided the specifics of that job offer, including the name of the federal agent who hired Kosterlitzky in 1914 to spy on refugees in the U.S. The column called him an FBI agent, but in 1914 the agency was known as the Bureau of Investigation.

The column also said that when Kosterlitzky and his soldiers in Mexico surrendered to U.S. troops to seek American sanctuary from rebels, "according to international law, the neutral U.S. had to hold them as prisoners of war until they could be repatriated." That information should have been credited to Truett.

The column said some called Kosterlitzky "a man without a nation in search of a good fight," language that also should have been credited to Truett.

Other sources used in the column were Times articles published after Kosterlitzky's death, a dispatch from the El Paso Times and the 1935 book "Los Angeles, City of Dreams," by former Times columnist Harry Carr.

In addition, the column reported that Kosterlitzky captured Geronimo but released him because he thought the Indian was an honorable adversary. Kosterlitzky told at least one other version of the Geronimo story; the truth is in doubt.

My thoughts? Not a big deal! A short newspaper sketch on a historical figure is never footnoted with its references. The disputed Geronimo story was the only thing that flagged my interest as I knew there was more than one version of that story.

But compared to recent Times articles with grossly fabricated quotes about what living people did or said (people the Times, of course, never bothered to call) or - even worse - the fabricated quotes in the mornonic LA Times Magazine Wyatt Earp article that even the writer now ADMITS he fabricated (and quotes which the LA Times still refuses to admit are blatant lies - probably because the LA Times knew these were lies even BEFORE they published the article) - are the real sins of the paper.

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