Patterico's Pontifications

11/2/2007

What Else is the Los Angeles Times Lying to You About?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:17 am

I’m not through discussing Tim Rutten’s numerous errors in his Beauchamp column. One of them raises a very important question: what does it mean to the credibility of the paper when Rutten says Drudge didn’t provide a particular document — and it turns out Drudge did, but the paper won’t acknowledge that?

To make the point clear, let’s recall exactly what Rutten said.

The Drudge writer, whoever that may be, then went on to list four documents he or she had obtained. [Description follows of the first three.] The fourth document, according to Drudge, was “a signed ‘Memorandum for Record’ in which Beauchamp recants his stories and concedes the facts of the Army’s investigation — that his stories contained ‘gross exaggerations and inaccurate allegations of misconduct’ by his fellow soldiers.”

It was interesting to note that Drudge provided links to the transcripts and report but not to the purported “Memorandum for Record.”

In the documents Drudge posted was a document labeled:

memorandum-for-record.JPG

Click here and scroll to the last two pages to read it. The Memorandum of Concern is the second to last page. The Memorandum for Record, acknowledging receipt of the Memorandum of Concern, is the last page.

Rutten said that Drudge didn’t post the document, but Drudge did.

So Michael Goldfarb and I brought this clear error to the paper’s attention. Here was the defense offered:

Rutten’s assessment is that it was not clear that the memo at the end of the military officer’s report/summary is the same one to which Drudge’s original post referred. The columnist’s thinking: Drudge lists it apart from the final document, but — as Rutten wrote — Drudge provides no link, nor does he say it can be found at the end of the report, seeming to indicate possession of another document, but providing no link. I don’t believe that Rutten’s column warrants correction on that point.

That defense — if you can even understand it — fails for one simple reason. An image is worth a thousand words:

memorandum-for-record.JPG

I have just shown you all the links and proof you need to conclude that Tim Rutten and his paper aren’t telling you the truth about this. What’s more, when confronted with the facts, they refuse to acknowledge and correct them.

Who are you going to believe? Tim Rutten, or your lying eyes?

The document exists, he knows it, and he and his paper are lying to you about it. Pure and simple.

Here’s my question, and I think it’s a very important one: if the paper is willing to lie about this, what else are they lying to you about? And: what if the evidence to show they are lying weren’t in the public domain?

What else is this newspaper telling you doesn’t exist, that actually does?

P.S. I can prove to you that Tim Rutten never saw this document before he wrote his column. Because it confirms Rutten’s claim about what it would say. The Memorandum of Record is not, as the Drudge item mistakenly claimed, a retraction. Rutten is correct to say that the Memorandum is merely an acknowledgement that he has seen a document the Army showed him.

That’s how we know that Rutten didn’t bother to read all the documents. No reporter runs across documentary proof of his claim and fails to note its existence. If Ruttten had seen the document, he wouldn’t have said:

(In fact, signing such a document — if it exists — is not an admission of guilt, but merely an acknowledgment that the person under investigation has been shown the contents.)

And he wouldn’t have said:

Since there was no link to the purported memorandum, we must take its existence on faith.

He would have said something like this:

In fact, Drudge completely mischaracterizes the document titled “Memorandum for Record.” Although Drudge claims the Memorandum is an admission of guilt, it is actually nothing more than a mere acknowledgment that Beauchamp had been shown the Memorandum of Concern.

The fact of the matter is that Tim Rutten skimmed the documents and didn’t notice the Memorandum for Record. So he mistakenly said it didn’t exist.

That mistake has been brought to his attention, and he and his paper are trying to sweep it under the rug.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mickey for the link. The other aspects of Rutten’s weaselly defense are detailed here. Also more here.

17 Responses to “What Else is the Los Angeles Times Lying to You About?”

  1. Amazing.

    A bald face lie. I for one am not surprised, but am disappointed. I made the comment earlier in response to yet another of your LAT exposés of their completely inadequate responses to reader’s questions about their stories accuracy that the misnamed “Readers’s Representative” had to be either lying or stupid or both. I can’t imagine them paying her if she’s dumb, so I went with lying.

    So here Patterico you provide iron clad proof — they are liars.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. “What Else Is The L.A. Times Lying To You About?”

    Ahh Patterico, you’ve just penned the title of a new and very thick book.
    Another book soon out is; “Journalism Is A Snap After My Lobotomy”. (L.A. Times staff writer)

    Todd Roth (3552d4)

  3. Patterico,

    I think you now understand why I said what I said to Matt Welch. I got to the point where I took umbridge at the Times even leaving a free sample on my doorstep.

    I should have sent the example of the Times back to them after my cat had his “say” on the paper while it sat on my doorstep.

    The Times has to realize that they’ve slept with the vermin too long and now are thoroughly infested with fleas, to say the least.

    PCD (f0d1f4)

  4. Patterico,

    Congratulations. You have once again proved the value of having amateurs in their pajamas paying attention to the professionals. It’s not even that Rutten is wrong, it’s just that he needs someone to keep him honest. In the long term the health of the U.S. media depends on incessant, pedantic criticism from every crank with a website, i.e., The Balko Effect. Verily, it is The Balko Effect will save the fourth estate from its own bloated laziness and effete snobbery.

    Fritz (d62210)

  5. “You have once again proved the value of having amateurs in their pajamas paying attention to the professionals.”

    Patterico is the amateur? LAT are professionals? I can honestly say I’ve never thought about it in such terms.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  6. Well, Patterco doesn’t get paid to blog, does he? That makes him an amateur. The “journalists” are paid to do what they do, so that make them professionals.

    Makes it clear that journalism as a profession has sunk very low, doesn’t it?

    LarryD (feb78b)

  7. LarryD, of course you’re right. I’m saying Patterico approaches his blogging with vastly more rigor than the LAT approaches its allegedly major daily newspaper.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere. Is there a document or place “in which Beauchamp recants his stories and concedes the facts of the Army’s investigation”? Or is this the Army’s conclusion?

    If it is in the investigation, does his signing the Memorandum of Record, which is really an acknowledge of receipt of the investigation, amount to an admission?

    ManlyDad (22e85d)

  9. Re: #5, #6, #7 -

    Look at the roots of “amateur” – it’s French for “lover of”. An amateur in the highest sense is one who does what he does out of love for the task, not for remuneration.

    In that sense, it would even be possible to be an “amateur” while doing something you’re getting paid for — if the money is a secondary concern.

    So while there are a lot of amateurs who don’t measure up, I’m not at all surprised that the best of the “amateurs” are doing a better job than most of the “professionals”. Not all — some professionals are also amateurs in the highest sense and do their job out of a love for it — but most.

    Robin Munn (fe5185)

  10. Patterico,
    What else does the LAT lie about? Here is a whopper I remember:
    During the rise of AIDS, the LAT repeatedly lied about the locus of AIDS, denying AIDS was a Gay disease, concentrated in a few Gay ZIP codes. Instead the LAT spent years claiming AIDS was ravaging all populations groups. Their misuse of statistics to “prove” their point was appalling. Consequently, billions of federal dollars intended to prevent the disease, were misspent and tens of thousands gay men died.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  11. Hmmm…. Wonder why the circulation of the LAT Sunday Times has plummeted more than 5% over the last year? I believe the Orange County Register is a better newspaper daily and weekly.

    daveinboca (d0db99)

  12. A leftist agenda runs the LATimes. End of story.

    Banjo (b5278d)

  13. Not that I would want to defend the LA Times, but I do think it important that what Drudge initially said about the MFR was in fact, in error, and has led to this rather inane and extended “he said she said.”

    Drudge did post an MFR, but it was merely the MFR of Beauchamp acknowledging receipt of the formal counseling. It was not, as originally and inaccurately reported, evidence that Beauchamp recanted his stories or conceded the facts of the Army’s investigation. That is perhaps one of the reasons Drudge pulled the documents — they did not include what he said they included, however damning.

    Other documents, such as the exhibits in the AR 15-6 report, may in fact document admissions by Beauchamp that he fabricated contents of his stories, but this MFR does not constitute that evidence.

    Dadmanly (51e570)

  14. Absolutely, Dadmanly.

    And that’s why Rutten wouldn’t have phrased his column the way he did if he had seen it.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  15. I think we are far enough down the road of “analyzing” the New York and LA Times to grasp the fact that the papers are a vehicle for indoctrination and not one that brings facts into our lives. We must come to the conclusion that many very smart people only read what they already want to believe and that they will expel from their universe those with whom they differ. These papers are actually the catechism of the new religion, to be believed literally or you go to Hell. There is no way a really confident intelligence would read either paper if they are looking for facts.

    Howard Veit (4ba8d4)

  16. So is anyone really surprised? I find it hard to get outraged anymore. Bias at LAT and NYT and San Francisco Chronic et al is like watching the sun come up- it happens everyday so you become somewhat immune. It appears that most people seem to be voting with their feet. I for one do not subscribe to a paper other than WSJ.

    RIX (61de34)

  17. I haven’t seen the Drudge post on this, but if Drudge claims that Beauchamp signed an acknowledgement that his stories contained “`gross exaggerations and inaccurate allegations of misconduct’ by his fellow soldiers” then Drudge is lying, because the acknowledgement is nothing of the kind.

    Jack McCullough (955d68)


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