Patterico's Pontifications

4/15/2008

L.A. Times Still Deciding What to Do with Chuck Philips

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:19 am

Editor & Publisher reports that the L.A. Times is still not sure what to do with Chuck Philips:

Editor Russ Stanton, who is in town for the Capital Conference combined media convention, told E&P that Philips “remains active and on the payroll,” but added “what he is going to be doing in the future is still in the process of being defined.”

The editor and publisher both seem to think this is an isolated incident, and that they’ve done everything they can do:

Looking ahead, Stanton said the controversy will not be a detriment to his efforts to make the paper successful: “I think it propels us forward, I don’t know how else to do it. I think we dealt with it as fairly as a newspaper can.”

Publisher David Hiller, who appointed Stanton to replace O’Shea, also offered no excuses, saying: “Things like that happen. What is important to do is to step up and acknowledge that we made a mistake. We draw a lot of attention. It is like the old saying that a million planes land safely every day, if one has a problem, it gets attention.”

The plane crash analogy is apt in one way and inapt in another.

Usually after a plane crash, authorities try to find out what went wrong, and disclose it to the public, as a way of assuring that the same thing won’t happen again. Here, we know that the problem goes beyond forged documents, since the paper has declared its lack of faith in what were supposedly numerous sources. But what did happen? And how do we know it won’t happen again? The paper won’t say.

But the analogy is inapt because it assumes that all Philips’s past stories were sound, like planes that have already landed. They don’t know that. Stories can crash and burn years after the fact — and if they were written using similar methods as this one, it’s not even a particularly unlikely prospect.

Less self-satisfaction and more self-examination, please.

14 Responses to “L.A. Times Still Deciding What to Do with Chuck Philips”

  1. I find the LAT’s invoking of the airplane analogy especially ironic, since MSM coverage has always been driven by that precise policy.

    Chickens, meet roost.

    jim2 (a9ab88)

  2. I think we dealt with it as fairly as a newspaper can

    Translation: We consider the matter closed…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  3. “…it’s not even a particularly unlikely prospect…”

    With the dedication that you and WLS have shown on this subject, we know that the above will happen, and that the suits at Tribune Co. will not look back upon this episode as one of their finest hours.

    Hey, who knows, you guys might even get a Pulitzer out of it.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  4. It is like the old saying that a million planes land safely every day, if one has a problem, it gets attention.”

    I’m not so sure this is an apt statement. I think the odds of the LAT misreports the news is less than 100 to 1.

    rab (7a9e13)

  5. Meanwhile, in the further deterioration of the core product, news, LAT gives us this obit of a great physicist liberally sprinkled with nutty anti-nuke prose.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  6. From SPQR’s link (emphasis supplied):

    Though the bomb makers would fall under criticism from succeeding generations of scientists, Wheeler was sorry that work on the bomb hadn’t started earlier, feeling that it would have saved millions of lives, including that of his younger brother Joe. To the end of his life, Wheeler remained haunted by a note he received in 1944 from his brother, who was fighting in Europe. It contained two words: “Hurry up.”

    Joe Wheeler died fighting in Italy.

    More criticism would come when he joined Teller, the supposed model for the ultrahawkish, deranged Dr. Strangelove of comic fiction, in building the hydrogen bomb in the early 1950s. But Wheeler, ever the dutiful patriot nurtured on Cold War ideology, had trouble understanding the other side.”

    The LA Times would have us believe that Wheeler was a misguided functionary in his support of the Manhattan Project but the preceding paragraph provides a better explanation – Wheeler saw the bomb as a way to save young Americans fighting in Europe, men like his brother Joe.

    How pathetic to treat Wheeler’s beliefs this way in his own obituary.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  7. “Pathetic” would be a step up for the LAT!

    They are just hopeless, no matter how much we might wish their redemption.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  8. When I become rich and powerful, can I somehow forbid the LAT and NYT from printing an Obit for me that wasn’t writen by me ahead of time?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  9. If the LATimes really doesn’t know what to do with Phillips, I do. Demote Phillips to the job of janitor in charge of cleaning the toilets.

    PCD (5ebd0e)

  10. Pat,
    I still waiting for the slap on the wrist. Sad, but…
    …I told you so.

    paul from fl (47918a)

  11. Maybe Philips could write obituaries.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  12. Whatever he does, he should be made to share a cubicle with Michael Hiltzik.

    Timesdisliker (986a08)

  13. This is beyond depressing.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  14. Perhaps someone could enlighten me: just how many other supposedly great newspapers retain reporters who fabricate stories?

    The professional media ask us to take them at their word when they report stories, telling us that they have done the hard work of ferreting out the truth, all to serve our supposed right to know. How on God’s earth can they retain a reporter who has deliberately fabricated a story, and expect us to continue to grant them credibility and trust?

    Dana R Pico (3e4784)


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