Matt Welch catches Tim Rutten with his pants down. Not a pretty image, I’ll grant you.
Here is a quote from a New York Times story:
State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.
Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.
Note the lack of quotation marks in those paragraphs — particularly around the bolded portion, which is a paraphrase.
But in Tim Rutten’s hands, a paraphrase becomes a quote!
In fact, as Tim Phillips, head of Americans for Prosperity, a group created and funded by the Koch brothers to the tune of $40 million last year, told the paper, “even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown.”
Getting quotes right ought to be among the most basic of tasks for a professional journalist.
No correction appears inside the column as of the publication of this blog post. We’ll give them until Monday before we demand one.
Thanks to several readers.
UPDATE: It is worth noting further that it’s worse than I portrayed it. Phillips actually denies making the quote. John Hinderaker of Power Line has written the reporter to ask him what record he has of the quote, and has been met (so far) with silence.
A couple of readers had passed along the Power Line link and it is definitely worth a read.
UPDATE x2: Turns out Lipton has indeed e-mailed Hinderaker, who has not updated his original post to reflect this, which left me assuming (incorrectly) that Lipton had not responded. Lipton’s very unconvincing response is here. Thanks to daleyrocks (and Mike K!).