Tim Rutten: Incompetent? Or Indifferent to the Truth? I Offer My View
Below, Jack Dunphy has a post about Tim Rutten’s recent column on financial disclosure at the LAPD. Read that post before you read this one. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I wanted to add a few points of my own, but I’m doing it in a separate post rather than an update, because I don’t people to be confused about who is saying this — and I don’t want Jack to be held responsible for what I’m about to say.
Which is this: it’s quite clear that Tim Rutten didn’t want to know about any instances of leaking or accidental disclosure of confidential police information, because any such facts would have presented an inconvenient obstacle to the rant Rutten wanted to write. If Rutten had truly wanted to know about the security of these files, he should have talked to Jack. Rutten knows who Jack is. He knows how to get in touch with him.
And, if Rutten bothered to become even minimally acquainted with the issue he was writing about, he would have seen that Jack had written a piece for Pajamas Media about this very issue, in which Jack set forth the potential problems:
The LAPD has at times been famously sloppy with its record keeping. At a press conference announcing their opposition to the financial-disclosure plan, Protective League officers displayed photographs showing hundreds of boxes stacked in the hallways at Parker Center, the LAPD headquarters building. These boxes contained files that are presumably confidential, yet there they were, piled nearly to the ceiling and available for inspection by anyone curious enough to stop and have a peek inside. Supposedly confidential personnel information has on many occasions been leaked to the media, and officers have little faith that their financial records will enjoy any more protection than those boxes stacked in the hallways do today.
If Rutten hadn’t thought to contact Jack, then how about calling the Police Protective League? Rutten names the Protective League in his column as a group vehemently opposed to disclosure. Calling them seems like a fairly obvious step, but Rutten didn’t take it. Is Rutten really that incompetent? I doubt it. If he really wanted to see if LAPD had mishandled anything, I think he would have known who to call.
Instead, he called up the fox den to ask if there have been any nasty incidents involving foxes guarding the chicken coop. And guess what? Nobody could think of any!
Because, you see, Tim Rutten didn’t really care about the truth. He just wanted to look like he did.
Isn’t there an easier explanation?
Rutten believed he already knew the truth before he started making the calls. He thought the PPL would give him propaganda, and he’d know it was propaganda because he already knew that their reasons for resisting the decree weren’t good ones.
I don’t think he doesn’t care about the truth; rather, I think it’s just incoming bias that led to an insufficient inquiry.
Very, very few people actively don’t care – people are misguided or lazy or predetermine facts, but not caring seems like an unlikely explanation generally.
–JRMJRM (355c21) — 1/24/2008 @ 7:24 am
I think you’re saying what I’m saying, just in a nicer way.
He didn’t care to call the Protective League, because he knew they might actually give him something. Then, he’d have to check it out. Very inconvenient when you have a rant you want to write.Patterico (23d710) — 1/24/2008 @ 7:45 am
Many of Rutten’s articles/opinions/rants would gag a goat. El Timmo comes up with a straw man that he wants to knock around for a while–and won’t let inconvenient things like facts get in his way. Over the years I’ve started to read many of Rutten’s columns, but I’d say that in most cases I simply stopped reading half way or less through the piece when my BS detector hit dangerously high levels.Mike Myers (31af82) — 1/24/2008 @ 8:31 am
Why aren’t journalists required to disclose their incomes on a yearly basis? They cover politicians who are, they cover corporations who are and no doubt many other entities and individuals who are. Are they not susceptible to taking gifts and or gratuities from people or organizations that they cover? Wouldn’t this information help the public in deciding if a particular jounalist was in the pocket of a particular group? I believe that this was proposed some years ago and the various jounalistic umbrella groups came down hard against it.bt (78b929) — 1/24/2008 @ 9:04 am
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/24/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.David M (447675) — 1/24/2008 @ 9:41 am
And we’ll assure the journalists that all the info will be kept confidential. Think Rutten will support it then? Heck, I’m so sure he will that I won’t bother to call him!Viktor (4d76d2) — 1/24/2008 @ 11:28 am
Not just their incomes, but their financial holdings (IRA, 401, etc). Let’s compare their investments against what they do, and do not, write about.Another Drew (f9dd2c) — 1/24/2008 @ 12:25 pm
An officer in the drug war makes his living enforcing laws that limit the individual’s right to privacy and control of their finances.
They break down doors, seize property, spy on people, lie about their identities — all in the name of protecting people from themselves.
It’s ironic that a little loss of control over their own privacy and finances causes some of these drug warriors to change their mind about their career choice.
Perhaps more of them will lobby for greater freedom and privacy generally (and not just for police) after this experience.Phil (6d9f2f) — 1/24/2008 @ 3:33 pm
Yet this same Tim Rutten wrote an almost neocon book review this week regarding some idiot’s sycophantic ode to Islamic history.Kevin Murphy (805c5b) — 1/24/2008 @ 3:49 pm
He could, at least, have bothered to read this. Is the concern about Pitchens motions founded?nk (eeb240) — 1/24/2008 @ 5:10 pm
*Pitchess*nk (eeb240) — 1/24/2008 @ 5:10 pm