An article and related materials published on the Los Angeles Times website on March 17 have been removed from the site because they relied heavily on information that The Times no longer believes to be credible.
The article, titled "An Attack on Tupac Shakur Launched a Hip-Hop War" and written by Times staff writer Chuck Philips, purported to relate "new" information about a 1994 assault on rap star Tupac Shakur, including a description of events contained in FBI reports.
The Times has since concluded that the FBI reports were fabricated and that some of the other sources relied on -- including the person Philips previously believed to be the "confidential source" cited in the FBI reports -- do not support major elements of the story.
It looks like the L.A.Times has had to apologize for a false story they published last week that implicated rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs in a 1994 assault on Tupac Shakur during a so-called rapper's war hit. The L.A. Times had to do an internal investigation when the website The Smoking Gun published an account detailing that the documents the L.A.Times used to base their story upon were forged and that the person who forged them was a well known con man on the rap music scene who pulled one over on the LAT -- big time!
Yeah, the L.A.Times has an awful lot of egg on its face with this mess. The AP reports that TSG's proof makes the LAT look like a bunch of bumbling idiots.
The Smoking Gun said the documents seemed phony because they appeared to be written on a typewriter instead of a computer, included blacked-out sections not typically found in such documents, and other reasons. The Smoking Gun story claims the documents were created by a convicted con man and music fan with a history of exaggerating his place in the rap music world.
The Los Angeles Times runs a story today about the difficulties that the US is having in tracking and shutting down terrorist financial operations. The story leads with a number of factors impeding both our domestic and international efforts:
The U.S.-led effort to choke off financing for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups is foundering because setbacks at home and abroad have undermined the Bush administration's highly touted counter-terrorism weapon, according to current and former officials and independent experts.
In some cases, extremist groups have blunted financial anti-terrorism tools by finding new ways to raise, transfer and spend their money. In other cases, the administration has stumbled over legal difficulties and interagency fighting, officials and experts say.
But the most serious problems are fractures and mistrust within the coalition of nations that the United States admits it needs to target financiers of terrorism and to stanch the flow of funding from wealthy donors to extremist causes.
Can anyone spot what's missing? Anyone? Sigh Anyone besides Lisa?
When is a terrorist simply an aged "radical" to the Los Angeles Times? When the terrorist is Kathleen Soliah, who in her glory days was a "fetching high school pep-squad member turned fugitive." Soliah was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a group that plotted to blow up Los Angeles Police Department cruisers in the 1970s.
Here's how Times staff writer Joel Rubin opened his March 21 story on Soliah's recent release from prison:
Kathleen Soliah, a former member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, was released on parole this week from a California women's prison after serving about six years behind bars for her role in a plot to kill Los Angeles police officers by blowing up their patrol cars.
The white-haired convict, who has changed her name to Sara Jane Olson, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Like most California inmates, Soliah earned credit against her sentence for working while in prison. She served on a maintenance crew that swept and cleaned the main yard of the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, prison officials said.
Anti-Catholicism still thrives at the Los Angeles Times, even though readers of the paper continue to call them on it. Last week, the Times published a smarmy op-ed by "humor" writer Barry Gottlieb ("That 'thou shalt not' list just got longer," 3/17/08). In addition to propagating the false story that the Vatican had composed a list of "new sins" (it didn't), Gottlieb mocked Catholic belief, ridiculed the sacraments, and derided the Church. In other words, it was just another episode of Catholic bashing at the Times.
Today (Thu. 3/20/08) - to its credit - the Times published three letters to the editor from readers who objected to the column's blatant bigotry. (I couldn't help but embolden some of the right-on points.)
This screed [Gottlieb's piece] insulting the Catholic religion is inexcusable. To publish this in a daily paper is an insult to every Catholic reader.
It's a funny thing about the Bill of Rights. Rather than view each Amendment's protections as equally valid, many (but not all) liberals tend to enshrine some as sacrosanct but dismiss others at antiquated. Hence the First and Fourth amendments and their protections of free speech and press and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure respectively are held in extremely high regard, with state or federal restrictions on these rights held to strict scrutiny. But the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bears arms, eh, not so much.
But shouldn't a major newspaper like the Los Angeles Times take due care to not echo that line of thinking in its reporting? Above at right is a screen capture for a teaser headline on the L.A. Times Web page that hints that the First Amendment's protections are more iron-clad in their nature as individual rights than the Second's guarantee of firearm ownership rights.
What's more, in the third paragraph of reporter David Savage's article, the writer seems to suggest the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to keep and bear arms because, well, the Supreme Court hasn't said as much (emphasis mine):
Lead Los Angeles Times scold Patrick Frey, aka Patterico, ripped into the Times's Saturday story on Barack Obama and the sermons of Trinity United Church of Christ Pastor Jeremiah Wright, giving us yet another reason to be thankful for New Media:
(The Times) downplays the 20-year relationship Obama has had with the pastor, and fails to report or accurately describe the most incendiary things Wright has said. For example, the article doesn’t even bother to tell readers that Wright screamed “God damn America!” in a sermon, or that Wright suggested America deserved to get attacked on September 11. Nor does the article tell readers any details regarding the intimacy of the relationship between Wright and Obama.
Appearing on the last episode of Tucker on March 14, 2008, Barack Obama fan and LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks grimaces after claiming Obama "probably wasn't listening" in church when Rev. Jeremiah Wright made his controversial statements.
I've enjoyed Tucker Carlson's show and can't let it pass into history, as it did last night, without a mention here. MSNBC has said that Tucker will remain at the network as an at-large commentator, and I have a feeling that, liberated from show-host concerns, he might become even more uninhibited in the expression of his quirkily conservative/libertarian views.
So let's usher Tucker out by focusing on one of our favorite nemeses, Rosa Brooks, the liberal LA Times columnist who appeared on the show's final episode. The unreconstructed Obama apologist offered the lamest excuse yet for his failure to have disassociated himself earlier from the ugly rhetoric of Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Barack simply wasn’t paying attention in the pews.
Ken Shepherd of NewsBusters posted Tuesday on Editor and Publisher's March 11 article listing the four-year circulation changes at the nation's top 20 newspapers, concentrating on the 20% loss at the Los Angeles Times during that period.
What's also compelling is that the Top 20 really has three winners and 17 losers during that four-year time frame, as the chart that follows demonstrates:
...in the absolute number of subscriptions dropped over four years that is. The San Francisco Chronicle was actually worse in circulation hemorrhage in percentage terms.
All the same it's not exactly the accolade you want hanging on your wall if you're the publisher of the Times. From Editor & Publisher (h/t Patterico):
While the industry has lost about 10% of circulation overall in the past four years among the leading papers, some have bled much more than others during the same period, according to an E&P analysis of data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Los Angles Times lost 20% of daily circulation or more than 200,000 copies over the past four years, for example, while up the coast the San Francisco Chronicle's daily circulation dropped almost 30%.
Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we're a divided country, we're a country that is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"
Sheppard said that "Given how (the) media made excuses for her comments in Wisconsin (She said, "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." -- Ed.), it will be quite interesting to see just how much of (the) interview ..... will be reported in the next 24 hours."
Well, Noel, I looked at the next 72 hours, and the answer is, with one enjoyable exception, "precious little":
In Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, on the verge of MSNBC's latest presidential debate, media reporter Matea Gold explored MSNBC's funky brew of news and (mostly) left-wing hectoring. Gold found some liberal media experts said that blend "gives partisans fodder to argue bias." Can anyone locate the line dividing news from editorializing?
"In an environment where opinions are flying, words escape easily," said Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a nonpartisan research group. "It gets harder and harder to define the line of what's acceptable."
Tom Fiedler, the visiting Murrow lecturer at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, rejected the idea "that you can move from one side to the other and not confuse most viewers. I don't think even Fox would attempt to take Bill O'Reilly and put him in a position of being seen as a news anchor."
Oddly enough, the "old guard" is still labeled "revolutionary" twice in the story by Miguel Bustillo and Carol J. Williams:
MIAMI -- Cuba's parliament signaled Sunday that the status quo of a stunted state-run economy and strained relations with the United States will persist for now as it named Raul Castro to replace his ailing brother, Fidel, as president and chose another aging revolutionary as the nation's No. 2 leader.
Los Angeles Times's L.A. Now blog today picked up on reporter/former L.A. mayoral mistress Mirthala Salinas:
Her rise through the ranks at Telemundo was swift. Her fall following the disclosure of an affair with Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of our fair city, was a spectacle. And now she's back - on the radio this time. Hoyinternet.com is the first with the news:
Update 14:16 | Matthew Sheffield. The level of excusing and tip-toeing around the truth about Castro is staggering. As of 2:13 ET when you do a Google News search for "Fidel Castro" you come up with 7,520 results. Add the word dictator after it and you come back with 1,417. That's 81 percent less.
Just a few headlines from major newspapers as Fidel Castro has called it quits as dictator:
Castro resigns, ending era in Cuba (LATimes.com front page)
None of those articles directly referred to Castro as a dictator. Here's how AP's Anita Snow danced around the matter of Fidel's autocracy, conceding that "detractors called him a dictator" while throwing in the favored defense leftists often throw up for Castro (emphasis mine):
Fans of NewsBusters are quite familiar with how we track instances of labeling bias: where the media don't label liberal activists or employ double standards in labeling conservatives vs. liberals, Republicans vs. Democrats, etc.
(See Update below for correction and clarification re Google News.)
This one has an interesting twist relating to Google News that I will get to later.
It should be no surprise that the so-called "newspapers of record" did very little with the news earlier this week that the actiing director of an Iraqi psychiatric hospital had been arrested for allegedly supplying mentally ill patients for use as, for lack of a better description, unwillingly co-opted "suicide bombers."
Iraq Hospital Chief Allegedly Supplied Patients for Bombings
The acting director of a Baghdad psychiatric hospital has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Al Qaeda in Iraq with the mentally impaired women it used to blow up two crowded animal markets in the city on Feb. 1, killing about 100 people.
The article chronicles horrific barbarities at a chain of Southern California abortion clinics managed by a Bertha Bugarin. Bugarin has now "been charged with practicing medicine without a license on five patients in February and March 2007." The article begins (WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE):
By the time paramedics arrived, the patient was lying in a pool of her own blood, her pulse racing and her blood pressure dangerously low.
In one of the most egregious examples of MSM bias I've seen lately, Tim Rutten of the L.A.Times has blatantly lied about remarks that Vice President Cheney made at CPAC in a February 8th piece headlined "Bush's message for McCain." Rutten makes the outrageous claim that Cheney said he was "glad the administration had tortured people" during the Conservative Political Action Conference, but a review of the transcript of Cheney's remarks easily shows that this is not what he said at all. Rutten simply reorders the VP's words to get his desired meaning quite despite what was really said.
Here is what Rutten wrote on the 8th:
Meanwhile, in another part of the city, Vice President Dick Cheney was addressing the meat-eaters at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He told them that he was glad the administration had tortured people and that he'd do it again: "Would I support those same decisions again today? You're damn right I would."
Here's a belated item for your media-bias talking points: after rummaging through the media coverage of the typically large March for Life on Tuesday, January 22, I have the following scorecard:
-- ABC, CBS, and NBC had absolutely nothing on the March, and absolutely nothing on the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Put the word "abortion" into Nexis and you get a black hole for that day, and the next day.
-- By contrast, Fox News Channel at least had a fair-and-balanced report on the March (complete with abortion advocates like Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation) on Tuesday night's Special Report with Brit Hume.
-- National Public Radio offered several segments on the Roe anniversary, but no mention of the March for Life (with the asterisk that news breaks on the hour are not loaded into Nexis.)
The LA Times has endorsed John McCain in the GOP primary, and at least two of its reasons for doing so should give conservatives pause: the liberal paper likes McCain because he's weak on border fences and strong on global warming.
Excerpts [emphasis added]:
As the Republican field indulged this campaign season in an orgy of ignorance on immigration, McCain stood his ground, sponsoring legislation that would provide a route to citizenship for the 11 million to 12 million immigrants here illegally. His rivals have argued for mass deportations and strong border fences.
Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, and one of the three members of the mainstream media who asked questions at Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, neglected to mention Hillary Clinton’s previous waffling on the subject of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants when he asked the former First Lady about the issue. "Senator Clinton, Senator Obama has said that he favors allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, and you opposed that idea. Why?"
As CNSNews Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey noted after the November 15, 2007 Democratic debate (where Clinton answered that she did not support licenses for illegal immigrants), Clinton, with that answer, contradicted what she had said in an interview with the Nashua [N.H.] Telegraph on October 17, 2007, almost a month earlier. In the interview, Clinton voiced support for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, stating that "it makes a lot of sense." When Tim Russert asked Clinton about the issue at the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia two weeks later on October 30, she gave, as Jeffrey put it, "a long and apparently contradictory series of answers about whether to give illegals driver's licenses."
On the east and west coasts today, two liberal columnists unleashed a torrent of vitriol at Hillary and Bill Clinton. At the Los Angeles Times, contributing editor Jonathan Chait [a past master of political hatred] asked Is the right right on the Clintons? Consider these blistering excerpts [emphasis added]:
Something strange happened the other day. All these different people -- friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read -- kept saying the same thing: They've suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.
What if pro-choicers wrote a column filled with well-articulated pro-life arguments . . . and never mustered a substantive response? Would it suggest they have effectively conceded defeat on one of the great moral issues of the day?
That "what if" becomes reality in Abortion's battle of messages in today's LA Times. As noteworthy as the column's substance is the identity of one of the co-authors: none other than leading pro-choice light Kate Michelman, past president of NARAL [and current John Edwards advisor].
Consider these excerpts, which with minor editing could just as easily have come from a Bill Buckley column.
In the article, "Abortions down 25% from peak" (Thu. 1/17/08), the Los Angeles Times continues their practice of propagating abortion falsehoods. But their faulty reporting exceeds simple factual errors. Their falsehoods put women's lives in jeopardy.
In a passage on the activities at pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, the author of the article, Stephanie Simon (more on her below), writes,
Some of the material given to women at such sessions [at these centers] is false or misleading -- for example, warnings that abortion raises the risk of breast cancer or causes post-traumatic stress disorder.
First - The Times and Simon, despite the loads of evidence contradicting them, continue to deny the numerous studies asserting the link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer ("ABC" = "abortion-breast cancer"). They are wrong to do this, and we have cited Simon and the paper on this very issue before (here and here). In addition, as recently as three months ago (October 2007), a major study conducted out of England concluded that abortion is the "best predictor" for developing breast cancer.
It's sometimes hard to get around to all of the non-traditional interviews the presidential candidates are doing. Hillary Clinton may never sit down with Bill O'Reilly, but she did do an interview with Tyra Banks (and suck up by saying she'd like to be on Tyra's show "America's Next Top Model.") A preview of the show, set to air Friday, was offered by Andrew Malcolm on the Los Angeles Times blog Top of the Ticket. He also found Hillary once again lamenting the White House as a prison:
Not that it's going to diminish her ambition to live there again, but Hillary Clinton says she views the White House as something of a prison...
"Do you ever get lonely?" Banks asked the New York senator. "Do you ever sit in your room by yourself sometimes and just feel alone?"....
Only one Supreme Court Justice seemed keen on overturning Indiana's voter identification law, Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage noted in a January 9 article at latimes.com. That would be liberal Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But while Savage noted that "conservatives [were] leading the way," in questioning the validity of the Indiana Democrats' complaint about the law, he failed to note Ginsburg's ideological leanings. Nor did he suggest she's out on a far-left limb since none of other liberal colleagues shared her concerns:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is proposing a new insurance surcharge to plug a budget gap that conservative critics are calling a tax. And objectively speaking, it really is a tax. But the L.A. Times was careful to avoid attributing the T-word to the idea.
Here's the teaser from the Times Web site's front page:
Gov. urges levy on insuranceBy Marc Lifsher and Evan HalperPlan calls for 1.25% assessment on all residential and commercial property policies to fund firefighting. Foes call it a tax.