NBC's Lauer Asks if L.A. Times 'Vindicated' in Smears Against Schwarzenegger in 2003

Talking to Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Abcarian about the Arnold Schwarznegger scandal on Thursday, NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer wondered if the liberal paper was now justified in accusing the Republican of groping women as he ran for governor of California in 2003: "In some ways, eight years later, do you and other folks at the paper feel vindicated?"    

Abcarian argued: "We don't feel vindicated....We felt at the time we published those allegations in 2003 that they were important, they were verified....There was no question to us that he was a serial sexual groper at the least." Both Lauer and Abcarian seemed to miss the fact that Schwarzenegger admitted to a consensual affair with his housekeeper, not to sexually harassing and assaulting women.

Lauer noted that in 2003, the Times "got a lot of heat for your reporting. It was called a political hatchet job. I think you lost subscribers." Abcarian dismissed accusations of bias: "...the fact that the timing was so close to the election was simply a fact of an compressed election cycle."  

Here is a transcript of the May 19 exchange:

7:08AM ET

(...)

MATT LAUER: I want to take you back to 2003. The Los Angeles Times did some extensive reporting on situations surrounding then candidate Schwarzenegger, involving some women and groping episodes. And you guys got a lot of heat for your reporting. It was called a political hatchet job. I think you lost subscribers. In some ways, eight years later, do you and other folks at the paper feel vindicated?

ROBIN ABCARIAN [REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES]: Well, you know, that's funny that you would ask that. I think vindication is the wrong word. We don't feel vindicated. We don't feel not vindicated. We felt at the time we published those allegations in 2003 that they were important, they were verified. Many of the women stepped forward and allowed us to use their names. There was no question to us that he was a serial sexual groper at the least, and the fact that the timing was so close to the election was simply a fact of an compressed election cycle. So vindication is not really what we're in it for because we always believed at the time that these were true stories and we happened to deal with some fallout.

LAUER: Robin Abcarian. Robin, thanks for your time this morning. I appreciate it.

ABCARIAN: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC