Patterico reader Jim Lakely had the following letter published in the L.A. Times on Monday:
The Times deserves some credit for its timely apology to readers — on the front page, no less — for getting conned into publishing a splashy but false story on the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur. But what can possibly justify the paper’s continued shielding of reporter Chuck Philips’ anonymous sources? One would think that a source forfeits his request for anonymity once his information is proved to be false.
The Times’ attempt to repair its shaken credibility won’t get very far so long as the editors hide the full truth of this debacle from readers.
I doubt that any reporter at the Los Angeles Times has had more leeway in the use of anonymous sources than Chuck Philips. His blockbuster story “Who Killed Tupac Shakur?” made sensationalistic claims without naming a single source to support them.
Now that we have learned that even a Pulitzer Prize winner can be duped, I have called for The Times to investigate Philips’s past stories. But I am not going to sit back and trust them to do the job.
In the coming days and weeks, WLS and I plan to publish more posts raising serious questions about Philips’s journalism and conflicts of interest. We plan to help the investigators at The Times by suggesting questions they should be asking Philips.
Stay tuned to this space. I promise it will be worth your while.
The first, most obvious question is the one raised by Mr. Lakely: who gave you these phony documents?