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My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times

This morning, I wrote the following email to LA Times editorial page editor Nick Goldberg.

Dear Nick,

On Tuesday of last week, you published “A Note to Readers” indicating that The Times had serious doubt about the veracity of my May 11, 2015 blog post and, as a result, would no longer be publishing my work. Those doubts, you wrote and told me on the phone, were based upon an audiotape of my 2001 jaywalking arrest given to you by someone at the LAPD.

As I informed you Thursday, new information has since come to light confirming my account. As I have maintained all along, I told the truth. Will Durr, the LAPD officer who ticketed me in 2001, lied when he told Internal Affairs that he did not handcuff me, that there was no angry crowd, etc.

I asked an L.A.-based company, Post Haste Digital, to analyze the LAPD-supplied audiotape. The enhanced version of the audiotape, which you can listen to hereproves beyond a reasonable doubt that your “doubts” were, as I told you repeatedly, completely unfounded and utterly without merit. You did not allow me to defend myself to the members of the editorial board, or to allow them to ask me questions. You treated me as though I was guilty until proven innocent, as though the burden of proof was upon me to prove that my story was true, rather than for the police to prove that my version was not. Your logic and reasoning were
snowdenrallbizarre and incomprehensible, as when you questioned why I did not angrily protest the arrest while I was in cuffs — although I clearly stated that I had been polite and compliant in my blog and in my complaint to Internal Affairs. You believed the LAPD narrative based on a tape that appeared to be mostly noise.

You do not seem to have investigated the provenance of the tape, though it was provided by the LAPD, which has a long history of institutional violence, corruption and law-breaking. Despite the LAPD’s poor reputation for truth-telling, you did not take the basic step of having it independently analyzed for authenticity, or to see if additional data could be found on it. It fell to me, after your editorial smear, to do what you should have done yourself, with your far greater resources than I, a freelance cartoonist earning $200 per cartoon plus $100 per blog.

As a result of your poor judgement, I have been defamed in the pages of a major American newspaper and on hundreds of websites on the Internet. You have deprived me and my family of an important source of income and a prominent position in the world of journalism. You have tarnished my reputation in a way that I will never be able to fully repair.

What you have done to me is shameful. The chilling effect you have had on American journalism, sending the message that a major newspaper will fire a journalist at the request of the police, without solid proof, and to attempt to destroy his reputation, is incalculable.

In light of this new information, Nick, I hereby request that you retain, and not destroy or modify, all communications, records and information currently in your possession and control pertaining to me and my work, and that you direct all employees of The Los Angeles Times to do the same.

In light of the new information on the audiotape, I further request that you issue a full retraction of greater or equal prominence, of your July 27 “Note to Readers.” I request that you tag the original Note to indicate that it is incorrect.

In light of the new information, I request that you issue a formal apology in the pages of the Times, including your description of how you came into possession of the tape, who gave it to you or the Times, explain why you didn’t bother to check the tape, and that you ask an ombudsman or independent journalistic investigator to look into this fiasco.

In light of the new information, I request that you restore my cartoons and blog to the pages of the Los Angeles Times.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Ted Rall

 

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Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.

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