“Left-wing cartoonist Ted Rall fired by LA Times for lying about LAPD” was how Breitbart reported it. And gave them an excuse to describe Ted Rall as “a noxious left-wing political cartoonist” and that “According to the Times, in a May 11 article, Rall outright lied about a 2001 experience he had with the LAPD.”
And that’s what it comes down to. Political cartoonist and commentator Rall wrote for the Los Angeles Times, where he was a freelance, about a time when, as part of an alleged jaywalking misdemeanour, he was thrown up against a wall, handcuffed and roughed up by an LAPD motorcycle policeman who also threw his driver’s license into the sewer. And that dozens of onlookers shouted in protest at the officer’s conduct. It was one of a number of comments he has written and drawn over the years documenting and commenting upon LAPD violence.
The LAPD were able to provide audio of that incident from 14 years ago that seemed to contradict it. No crowd. No handcuffs.
As a result, the LA Times fired Rall from the paper, issuing an editorial by editor Nicholas Goldberg to their readers explaining their reasons and editing the original article.
Since then, Rall has had the audio been professionally cleaned up. There’s a crowd. A woman asks why he has been handcuffed. Two aspects that directly contradict the LAPD’s version of events.
The LA Police Protective League approved the firing, saying “So many within the LAPD were pleasantly surprised at the recent firing of Los Angeles Times opinion cartoonist Ted Rall, which we believe was justified based on evidence proving that he lied about his encounter with LAPD officers.”
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is calling for an independent review of the audio tape saying that the paper should have demanded a higher standard of proof in this matter.
Ted Rall has called for a prominent apology and restoration of his position at the paper.
The LA Times are choosing not to comment. And Nicholas Goldberg told the Guardian newspaper that he was not authorized to comment on the story. Which to me is code for “the lawyers won’t let me.”
Ted Rall has even written to Breitbart, in their own house style, saying,
I WAS VINDICATED. SO WHY IS THE LA TIMES STILL LYING ABOUT ME? I DEFEND CONSERVATIVES FROM UNFAIR ATTACKS. SO WHY ARE RIGHT-WING BLOGS REPEATING A PROVEN LIE BY THE “LIBERAL” LA TIMES?
And after summing up the timeline, stated,
There is no doubt now. I am completely vindicated. Yet, strangely, Goldberg’s career-killing “Editor’s Note” remains on the LA Times website. The paper not only refuses to issue a retraction, it won’t apologize or give me back my job. I can only conclude that the LAT is engaged in a malicious attempt to destroy my reputation with its defamatory smear, and ginned up the ridiculous charge that I lied as an excuse.
I hope that fair-minded readers will be able to set aside their politics and other personal biases, and consider both sides of the story. On many occasions, I have defended conservatives from unfair attacks by liberals. For example, I opposed boycotts against Rush’s advertisers as well as those of Dr. Laura, because it is important to defend press freedom regardless of politics. I ask, not that you simply believe me, but that you take the time to listen to the new tape and read the transcript for jumping to the knee-jerk reaction that, because I’m a leftie, I’m a liar.
I told the truth. The LAPD lied. Without checking their story, the LAT believed the LAPD. The Times should do the right thing, and the LAPD should take appropriate action against Officer Will Durr, as well as the police officials who illegally leaked the tape to the LAT to get me fired.
No update yet. From the LA Times or from Breitbart…