Patterico's Pontifications


Following Up on the L.A. Times’s Double Standards on ACORN Reporting

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:43 pm

I have sent the following e-mail to L.A. Times reporter Robin Abcarian today:

Ms. Abcarian,

Last month I wrote you to ask if you would release your notes of your conversation with James O’Keefe for your article entitled, “Anti-abortion movement gets a new media twist?” published on April 26th, 2009. As you no doubt remember, James Rainey recently wrote a column citing your interview, in which Rainey made this statement:

So what sort of creature does this make O’Keefe? I don’t disagree with his observation in a previous interview with The Times that he follows the mold of filmmaker Michael Moore, using confrontation to get at his version of the truth.

Mr. O’Keefe absolutely denies that Mr. Rainey accurately set forth the context of this quote. He says that he never claimed that he followed the mold of Moore, using confrontation to “get at his version of the truth.”

When I asked you about this last month, you told me that Mr. O’Keefe could contact you if he felt that he had been misquoted. Mr. O’Keefe tells me that on December 1, he did indeed ask to see your notes — and that you promised to send him the quote the following day, December 2. Mr. O’Keefe tells me that you did not pass along the quote as you claimed you would. On December 7, Mr. O’Keefe tells me, he again asked you for your notes, to verify what he said about Michael Moore. To my knowledge, he has still not received the notes, or even your e-mailed statement regarding what the notes say.

This is an issue of whether The Times will comply with the same standards that Mr. Rainey claims are applicable to Mr. O’Keefe. Mr. Rainey’s column claimed that, because ACORN claimed that O’Keefe had taken their employees’ quotes out of context, O’Keefe needed to release all of his underlying source material to comply with journalistic principles. O’Keefe has released the full audio of his Los Angeles ACORN visit. Now O’Keefe claims that Mr. Rainey has taken his quotes out of context. By Mr. Rainey’s standards, the L.A. Times should release the underlying source material that relates to the quote Mr. Rainey claims O’Keefe gave you.

Sometime in the next 3-4 days I plan to write a year-end review of the Los Angeles Times. In the past, my year-end reviews have received links from numerous high-traffic blogs and are read by tens of thousands of readers. Rainey’s treatment of the ACORN scandal will likely play a prominent role in my upcoming piece.

As it stands, your paper appears to be refusing through inaction to substantiate the quote that Mr. O’Keefe denies having made. Can you tell me whether you plan to release your notes? All you would need to do is scan them in and send me the image. This way, you could comply with the standards that your media critic has deemed applicable to Mr. O’Keefe: namely, releasing source material when an interviewee claims that he has been misquoted or quoted out of context.

I look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

The background on this is here.

I’ll let you know what I hear back.

22 Responses to “Following Up on the L.A. Times’s Double Standards on ACORN Reporting”

  1. Either in no words, or plenty of empty words, you will receive Bupkis (sic?). That’s how it works with today’s super journalists.

    dfbaskwill (aabf1f)

  2. I’ll let you know what I hear back

    We’ll let you know when hell freezez over…

    EricPWJohnson (9b7688)

  3. They laid off the editor in charge of fixing misquotes.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  4. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but my guess is you will get no reply or another reply about not releasing the notes to you as you were not part of the interview.

    JHTRazor (a1f2bc)

  5. Kudos for the attempt, however. This will be another chapter in the LA Times’ valiant struggle to avoid inconvenient truths.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  6. How about from now on whenever you discuss this paper that you put the term “reporter” always in quotes and/or italics? Might as well intimate that until they prove otherwise, the professional status of a news – gathering individual is subject to ongoing review.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  7. Robin Abcarian’s frantic lies won’t help her keep her silly job when the LA Times sinks under the waves, and her prospective employers will be all we admire your enthusiasm for lying but you got busted like a dog. We can’t have that here.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  8. here’s a fun story about what a whiny hoo Robin Acarian is.

    silly, silly hoo

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  9. *Abcarian* I mean

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  10. Based upon the stonewalling by the LA Slimes and verious personages associated with keep the lies in play about O’Keefe, I would say a kick to these people’s neither regions is serverly warranted.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  11. Feets, I miss Cathy’s work so much at times it really hurts, her blog was truly one of a kind. But thanks for bringing a little bit of it back all the same.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  12. Teaser: I heard back. I am waiting to confirm the alleged notes with O’Keefe.

    Surprise: it’s not quite what Rainey claimed it was.

    Patterico (424a94)

  13. I never got to know her very well, dmac… just that she’s widely admired especially here. I didn’t find blogs as quickly as other people did.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  14. *Dmac* I mean

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  15. #12 Patterico:


    LOL!! I am SHOCKED!! Shocked, I tells ya!

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  16. So the professionals with their editors and layers of fact checking hold amateurs to higher journalistic standards than themselves? Is there a word for that?

    Machinist (9780ec)

  17. I hope you are not holding your breath waiting for a reply to this reasonable request.

    Cheshire Cat (14abf8)

  18. I never got to know her very well, dmac… just that she’s widely admired especially here. I didn’t find blogs as quickly as other people did.

    I had the great pleasure of regularly talking to her on a monthly basis. She was a very forceful personality.

    Patterico (424a94)

  19. Funny and sharp as hell, too – and like here, quite willing to entertain very different POV’s.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  20. Bueller?…….Bueller?…..

    TC (0b9ca4)

  21. Patrick–

    My bet is that you will hear nothing from Ms. Abcarian, or else get a snarky, grudging response entirely unresponsive to your very pertinent and polite questions. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d risk the old farm on this. The LATimes is a timid, unprofessional, laughable coven of leftists, where even the pretense of objectivity has long since been abandoned. No doubt Ms. Abcarian went scurrying off to her editors when your e-mail arrived, and no doubt they are counseling her about how to respond in the most craven and Orwellian terms. Truly pathetic.

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  22. It is unfathomable that this matter has taken so long to resolve.

    A journalist’s job is to present the facts. If O’Keefe’s quote doesn’t exist or was taken out of context, a correction is in order. It’s that simple.

    Keep their feet to the fire, Patrick. It is the only way to get the facts out. And Mr. O’Keefe AND the readers of the L.A. Times ALWAYS deserve the facts.

    Anita Busch (a025dd)

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