L.A. Times Still Will Not Correct Story on Cummins
I have clearly reached the end of the line in seeking a correction from the L.A. Times for its misrepresentation of Bud Cummins’s comments to reporter Richard Serrano. I won’t rehash the whole scenario in this post; I have discussed it extensively in posts you can read here, here, and here. In 25 words or less: the paper claimed Cummins had wondered about a connection between his firing and a Missouri investigation his office had conducted. Cummins denied any connection.
Cummins recently answered an e-mail I sent him, and confirmed that the paper had misrepresented his statements. Among other things, he said:
[T]here is no doubt in my mind that I made it clear to Mr. Serrano that I knew of no connection between the Missouri investigation and my dismissal. I am certain that I told him that more than once.
. . . . I can assure you there are dozens of reporters around the country who have heard me tell my version of this the exact same way. Mr. Serrano is the only one who heard it differently.
. . . . I promise you the story was wrong.
Cummins also said that he had told reporter Richard Serrano that the article was wrong.
I passed along Cummins’s e-mail to the Readers’ Representative, and here is her reply:
I appreciate your sharing with this office your correspondence with Bud Cummins. As you note, the Times reporter also talked to Cummins after the article appeared, and we don’t see the need for a correction.
The story was about what Cummins thought. Cummins says he never thought what the story claimed. And that, supposedly, does not merit a correction — or an update, or a clarification, or anything. As far as the L.A. Times is concerned, it makes sense to have their readers continue to believe that the story is true, when the only person who knows (Cummins himself) says, in no uncertain terms, that it is not true.
If there is a rational explanation for this, I’m not seeing it. But I’ve taken this as far as I can. I’m giving up. If you want to ask the Readers’ Representative yourself, you can reach her at this e-mail address: ReadersRep@latimes.com. Be polite.
The whole attitude of much of the MSM to corrections is just amazing. The low point for me was an email from Calame of the New York Times after he’d refused a request for correction without explanation. I asked him if it would be unreasonable of me to ask him to explain his basis for standing by the claim. He replied “yes” (and added some words about how the reporter in question is a reasonable man). Lese majeste, I don’t know how else to describe it.Crust (399898) — 5/11/2007 @ 5:04 am
You’ve had this type of problem before and you just don’t get it, Pat. On questions of basic fact mistakes, the Times will publish corrections. On arguable points, “thoughts”, differing phraseology or emphasis, inferences, etc. (“higher level thoughts”), they won’t publish a correction. You should write a letter to the editor (or Cummins should). Corrections is not how they want to handle these types of disputes. Corrections are for black and white fact mistakes. Deal with it.TCO (7f1fd5) — 5/11/2007 @ 5:24 am
Words of wisdom from TCO.Crust (399898) — 5/11/2007 @ 5:27 am
Here’s an idea for a blog entry. Post statements by the LA Times (and the rest of the MSM) in which they criticize politicians and celebrities for refusing to acknowledge or apologize for their mistakes. Then compare it with instances such as this when the Times et al. refuse to acknowledge or apologize for an obvious mistake.aunursa (7ff9b1) — 5/11/2007 @ 5:37 am
And this also goes to show that you should always tape-record any interview with the media. (And ask for questions ahead of time.)TCO (7f1fd5) — 5/11/2007 @ 5:53 am
That’s a pretty good idea.Patterico (5b0b7f) — 5/11/2007 @ 6:02 am
vsemanticleo (710d38) — 5/11/2007 @ 7:43 am
Another option is to just bypass the MSM altogether if you are ever in the position of being sought out for interviews. Make a point of being available to alternative media (such as blogs and perhaps some talk radio) and just refuse to talk to the MSM.Greg (d9fcad) — 5/11/2007 @ 9:58 am
Patterico, can you read minds?
I didn’t think so.
The LA Times can, all right? It’s why they get to have a newspaper.
So cut them some slack here, tough guy. You’re out of your league.See Dubya (be6c60) — 5/11/2007 @ 2:22 pm
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