Patterico's Pontifications

6/20/2009

Luke Y. Thompson Replies to Rainey Hit Piece on Stewart

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

Luke Y. Thompson, who wrote an L.A. Weekly piece questioning James Rainey’s attack on Jill Stewart, replied to me via a Facebook message. Here’s what Luke sent:

Well, I just read the piece, and to be honest I don’t know enough about the stories in question to really judge. I do know Jill as a friend and colleague for ten years, and she’s very kind to flatter my article, which was admittedly one of the first investigative stories I ever did, having previously made my name as an entertainment writer (a fact that I’m sure critics of the Weekly will use against her at some point).

I am kind of surprised James Rainey didn’t mention the piece on him; he and I both recorded our phone conversation to ensure I quoted him accurately, and he certainly could have made fun of the fact that I was a film critic, or had funky-colored hair, or whatever. Not that it was a hit piece, from my perspective — I didn’t go in with any political agenda as far as I can determine. I lean left politically, but when it comes to writing stories my bias, if any, tends to be toward whatever the best quotes are, and in that particular case, right-leaning former Times editor Ken Reich gave me some of the best, and called to thank me afterwards for quoting him accurately (as did political polar-opposite David Ehrenstein, with whom you’re familiar).

And ultimately I don’t think my piece even made Rainey look that bad, but it did analyze the likely pressures he was under to toe the line, with quotes from a lot of people. That said, I know he’s been under some pressure to write about the Weekly for a while. This article felt like a bit of a toss-off, to be honest (and included the kind of anonymous sources my article was dubious about).

He hasn’t made contact with me, but then you had trouble reaching me too. I’ve moved twice since that article. So no idea if he wanted to talk to me or not.

And does anyone else see the disconnect in saying the Weekly has become more agenda-driven despite the fact that it did away with election endorsements precisely because Mike Lacey wants to be free to bash both sides as needed?

Then again, I still write for the Weekly on occasion. So I could be just a corporate shill, I guess.

I didn’t have any trouble reaching Luke, actually — I wrote my post late last night anyway. I simply already had a line of communication with him and stopped with that.

Luke has a point that his piece wasn’t really a hit on Rainey, and contained quotes from people praising Rainey. But it did question Rainey’s use of anonymous sources — and I think that issue really merits a separate post, since his use of such sources in his hit piece on Jill appears to violate the paper’s policy.

5 Responses to “Luke Y. Thompson Replies to Rainey Hit Piece on Stewart”

  1. Thanks for the great details, Luke. I remember how both sides taped the interview when Luke contacted James Rainey. I’ve heard from Rainey via email, and he is telling me that he had no recollection of a story by the Weekly about him, so did not disclose it in his attack on me. When Rainey went to the link to Luke’s story that I provided to everyone yesterday, Rainey is telling me, then he remembered the article.

    I’ve had a few journalism pieces published about me. I remember them all.

    Jill Stewart (b3afc3)

  2. Does anyone else see this as the floundering of a dinosaur in the La Brea tar pits, like I do ? Well, dinosaurs were gone by then so how about a woolly mammoth ? The LA Times doesn’t seem to be very good with its aim since that article hit it squarely in its own ass.

    MIke K (90939b)

  3. It didn’t strike me as a tit for tat piece, honestly. More of a “people want me to write about Jill so let’s just get it out of the way” piece.

    LYT (cf1265)

  4. Also, Pat, since you’re usually so precise, I feel I should be just as precise back. You say:

    “who wrote an L.A. Weekly piece questioning James Rainey’s attack on Jill Stewart”

    That isn’t correct. I wrote a Weekly piece on Rainey analyzing his use of anonymous sources vis-a-vis the Tribune sale. For me to have written a Weekly piece questioning his attack on Jill, given press deadlines, I would have had to have been psychic and predicted his attack!

    LYT (cf1265)

  5. I like your honesty, LYT.

    Vicki P. (04db65)


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