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October 9, 2003
Has the LA Times No Shame?

Seldom do you see a major news outlet sell itself out so completely, but the recall seems to have unhinged the editors of the Los Angeles Times. I read the Times on the Internet, as you will see if you scroll through my archives, but I do so with the knowledge that this newspaper has almost no credibility in its news coverage.

Consider the following:

The Los Angeles Times said it "corroborated" its stories that Schwarzenegger groped or humiliated more than a dozen women over a nearly 30-year period. But in no case did an eyewitness substantiate for the Times any of the tales despite the fact that the alleged incidents took place while hundreds of crew members on movie sets were present.

As for the important "second source" news organizations often require on sensitive stories, the Times usually used a friend or relative who heard about the incidents afterward from the alleged victims.

This is the same LA Times who refused to pursue abuse allegations about Gray Davis in 1997 because of the lack of independent corroboration and anonymous sourcing. More:

One incident that allegedly occurred in 2000 wasn't actually news. The account appeared in a magazine and the only witness to the alleged encounter said it wasn't true.

Another woman in the story said she was grabbed by Schwarzenegger while working as a secretary in an office. Three people were said to have seen the incident but none was quoted. The victim also refused to identify one witness and instead told the paper to get verification from a friend who had heard about the incident from the supposed victim.

On election day, the Times ran a story about a stunt double who said Schwarzenegger pulled up her shirt, took pictures and touched her breasts. Two eyewitnesses, however, said the story wasn't true.

While the allegations swirled about Schwarzenegger's behavior toward women, at the same time the Los Angeles Times ran a story with a headline that read: "Schwarzenegger Admired Hitler," suggesting that the candidate held in high regard the Nazi leader and perhaps most hated man in the 20th century.

Even after the editors were made aware that the story was inaccurate, the Los Angeles Times perpetuated the allegation by quoting Schwarzenegger opponents who repeated six times the allegation that Schwarzenegger admired Adolf Hitler.

This pathetic performance, in my mind, far outstrips the Jayson Blair scandal at the New York Times. For all of the poor management and false reporting that went on, none of it was related to political machinations intended to torpedo anyone. John Carroll's head should roll for this and any other editors with responsibility for this travesty.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 9, 2003 8:35 PM

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