Patterico's Pontifications

2/26/2011

Tim Rutten Needs to Learn How to Quote Accurately

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:52 pm



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!).

43 Responses to “Tim Rutten Needs to Learn How to Quote Accurately”

  1. Never let the facts get in the way of the story.
    –LA Times policy

    Arizona Bob (e8af2b)

  2. It’s Tim ‘Blind Squirrel’ Rutten, the Times self described Bin Laden expert, like his nickname, he occasionally ventures into the truth, but not
    purposefully.

    narciso (bf58f6)

  3. Powerline had a long post Fisking the NYT article where this non-quote originated and how it mischaracterized what Phillips actually said.

    Shipwreckedcrew (b019d2)

  4. This seems to be developing as a new tactic of the left. They are putting quotation marks around phrases and sentences that were made up or paraphrased from what the lefty reporter wants to hear. It has been thoroughly exposed at Powerline where there are multiple posts on this topic.

    The concern is that this sort of thing is becoming more common and was seen in the Tucson shooting story and others.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  5. I know reading is hard, but Mr Rutten is clearly quoting the NY Times.

    protest&survive (2fe316)

  6. Patterico – Hinderaker finally got a reply from Lipton and posted about it this morning.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  7. I know that diagramming a sentence is hard, but Mr. Rutten is clearly claiming to quote Tim Phillips.

    carlitos (01d172)

  8. daley,

    Thanks. I will update and correct.

    Why in the heck did he not update his original post to reflect this?

    Patterico (c218bd)

  9. Being honest is the hardest part.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  10. 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.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  11. Protest&survive is a mental midget.

    JD (b98cae)

  12. Patterico – Powerline’s style is more to refer back to the original posts than to issue updates as you can see from this morning’s post there. Stuff rolls off their front page pretty quickly due to the length of their material, so I think they find that method easier. For occasional readers, though, it can be frustrating, as you just found out.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  13. “I know reading is hard, but Mr Rutten is clearly quoting the NY Times.”

    protest&survive – To be fair, I do not believe Rutten is the only libtard to turn the paraphrase from the N.Y. Times into a quote. If he was actually attempting to quote the N.Y. Times, he should have said something along the lines of, according to Eric Lipton of the N.Y. Times……

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  14. Lipton lied.

    Mitch (e40959)

  15. Rutten took that lie and embellished it.

    JD (306f5d)

  16. I love it when thinkregress and mediamatterz start squawking about the Koch’s, oblivious to the unintended irony.

    JD (2da347)

  17. Too bad. I thought Walker and Kochs had done something clever. If you have your enemies in your grasp and an easy victory is at hand, why not work for showdown?

    tehag (8af08b)

  18. If anyone followed the link in my comment, you would have seen Lipton’s reply, which is unsatisfactory.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  19. True enough, Mike K, and I have now thanked you as well in the update.

    I had been e-mailed the earlier Power Line post and had simply assumed, incorrectly, that you were linking the same one.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  20. You know what we call Koch Industries in Wisconsin? — Georgia Pacific which employs 3000 Wisconsinites. Damn straight a pro-business, pro-growth governor should take a call from one of the biggest employers in the state.

    red (7b5f67)

  21. On a separate but related note, I just saw that our local PBS station is advertising its next week’s American Experience episode.

    It is: TA DA!!!!

    ……. THE TRIANGLE SHIRTWAIST FIRE……
    .
    A mere programming coincidence I am sure. But no doubt a show many teachers will want to assign their students to view as a demonstration as to why the eeeevil Kochs and their ilk must be stopped!

    elissa (9ddc2b)

  22. Wonder if they’ll mention the Coconut Grove Fire in Boston (Nov ’42)?

    AD-RtR/OS! (f760ca)

  23. Tim Rutten needs to learn how to tell the truth, you mean.

    Beldar (d162eb)

  24. This is just another episode of “Why Beldar Loves His Job,” actually. Because at my job — and at yours, Patterico — if you or I ever tried to deceive a judge or jury the way Rutten and the New York Times systematically try to deceive their readers, we’d be exposed, humiliated, and probably fired within a matter of hours, beginning immediately upon our opponents taking their turns in responding to us.

    Oh, what I’d give for reasonable cross-examination rights in political life! Failing that, America could still benefit from something like the British House of Commons’ “question period,” with a reasonably fair parliamentarian who would sustain proper objections for non-responsiveness and then tell the witness to “just answer the question as it was asked, please.”

    As long as his paycheck from the NYT continues to arrive and to not bounce when deposited, Rutten could care less about arguments with you, me, Welch, Hinderaker, or everyone who reads and comments on our non-MSM websites put together. He fancies that he’s telling the “reading public” — meaning the guy who was behind him in line this morning at his regular Starbucks at W.72nd & Columbus — the version of the “truth” it needs to hear.

    He thinks he’s being a hero by being a liar. Indeed, he cannot be persuaded otherwise.

    Beldar (d162eb)

  25. (Meant “could not care less.” *blush*)

    Beldar (d162eb)

  26. The trick is not letting the lips move:http://rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=104549

    narciso (bf58f6)

  27. As long as his paycheck from the NYT continues to arrive and to not bounce when deposited, Rutten could care less about arguments with you, me, Welch, Hinderaker, or everyone who reads and comments on our non-MSM websites put together. He fancies that he’s telling the “reading public” — meaning the guy who was behind him in line this morning at his regular Starbucks at W.72nd & Columbus — the version of the “truth” it needs to hear.

    He thinks he’s being a hero by being a liar. Indeed, he cannot be persuaded otherwise.

    If the LAT runs a correction, it’s a needle in his side.

    And I will make them do it or look stupid for failing to.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  28. So Rutten screwed the pooch again? What else is new? Calling him a blind squirrel that occasionally finds an acorn is doing a disservice to blind squirrels everywhere. They (the blind squirrels) need to get their union organizers on Rutten’s case.

    Mike Myers (0e06a9)

  29. John says all that needs saying in his trademark straightforward style.

    The best Rutten has to justify his claims is pathetic, and he’s obviously shameless.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  30. Beldar, If I was a rich man I would establish a news service based on the idea that all stories were obtained as close as possible to a deposition, with cross examination, and that the facts of the story were given that level of confidence. Maybe everyone would still buy papers and visit unreliable blogs for up-to-the-minute news, but they would check out our paper 2 days later to find out what really happened.

    MD (from UW-Madison) in Philly (3d3f72)

  31. In Walker’s phone call with “David Koch, he referenced “your man on the ground” and referred to Phillips. AFP was chartered by the Kochs and the governor of Wisconsin is apparently familiar with Phillips to know he is Koch’s man….seems to me the story from the Times makes sense.

    Then again, if there’s a tree to over-examined in the forest, you guys will be on top of it. And, if poor billionaires need protected from scrutiny, then the brave freedom fighters from Powerline and Patterico are there to save these poor oppressed little guys.

    Keep up the fight for the plutocrats, guys. Unlike the 2012 election, it’s one you can win

    timb (8f04c0)

  32. “Keep up the fight for the plutocrats, guys.”

    timb – I’m keeping up the fight for myself, the U.S. and liberty, not any plutocrats. What I can’t figure out is who you are fighting for.

    daleyrocks (ae76ce)

  33. ==Keep up the fight…==

    Thank you timb. Be assured your advice is always thought provoking and received in the spirit in which it is offered.

    elissa (9ddc2b)

  34. Fake but accurate!

    Brokeback Kmantain (e7577d)

  35. Koch is like Fox News; the only exception to the general rule. And as such, the targets of the establishment Left.

    I’m willing to bet that Rutten has never written a column asking about the motives of Soros or MSNBC.

    Kevin M (298030)

  36. He thinks he’s being a hero by being a liar. Indeed, he cannot be persuaded otherwise.

    I don’t know that he considers lies to be what you do. If there is no universal truth, or rather if his private imagination is truth, a good lie becomes an acceptable and maybe even preferable means of persuasion.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  37. Rutten caught making up stuff again.

    Unbelievable stupidity for that matter. Does Rutten think no one will check on his crap?

    SPQR (94a0ec)

  38. Sorry for the dup, SPQR. I must have failed to refresh and missed your earlier post when I entered mine. Great minds and all that….

    elissa (447ac7)

  39. Yeah, I was about to reference the same thing.

    If you assume the quotes are fantasies, they are always completely accurate.

    Amphipolis (e01538)

  40. How did the layers and layers of fact checkers miss this? Rut ten will go silent for a while.

    JD (d4bbf1)

  41. elissa, no need to apologize. Happy to see you spot it too.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  42. for the record there is a post on the new rutten f— up.

    and on the UN actually kicking libya off the human rights council.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)


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