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October 15, 2003
Jill Stewart's Rebuttal to John Carroll

Jill Stewart has penned an extensive and detailed rebuttal to John Carroll's "explanation" of the groping stories at the LA Times and how they were nothing more than good journalism. (John Carroll's editorial had been listed in a featured position at the top of the Times' web site for several days; today is the first day it's gone.) Stewart writes:

Carroll claims that the groping story was published as soon as it was done. In fact, in journalism, a story is done when the boss says turn it in. Carroll himself saw to it that the story was strung out until the last. That is why some staffers continue to insist to me that the story was sufficiently nailed and should have run two weeks beforehand.

One of Carroll's major gripes with Stewart -- whom he never bothered to name -- was that she claimed he held the story back on purpose. Stewart then details how this was held back, and later in the story her source asks her

Some people here insist that we couldn't run the first attack piece on Schwarzenegger any sooner than five days before the election because the groping claims took so long to verify. How were those groping claims of all those women at the end checked out in a few hours and pushed into the paper by next morning?

How indeed? Or, if all these stories were in the process of being checked, why did they run the initial story without them?

"The mainstream press critics like those published on Romenesko are asleep as to what has happened here. They are defending the L.A. Times in every way. There should be no defense by media critics of what happened here. One woman did not sleep for two nights after a Times reporter showed up at her door, with the thinnest evidence, demanding to know if her child was Arnold's love child. It never panned out, it was untrue. Why has the L.A. Times become a tabloid, knocking relentlessly on people's doors for tabloid gossip? And would John Carroll have run a front page Love Child story if it had been true? Could we sink any lower?"

Read the entire article; it's very illuminating. And according to the LA Times' own journalistic standards, it's dead-on accurate, because Jill Stewart has two anonymous sources for the story. (via Andrew Sullivan)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 15, 2003 5:41 AM

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