A Reporter’s Career as Dead as Tupac, Biggie

Journal-isms: The man fired after writing an inaccurate article about Tupac Shakur defends himself.

WireImage/Getty Images
WireImage/Getty Images

Reporter’s Career Is as Dead as Tupac and Biggie

A remarkable essay has been published on the Village Voice website,” Richard Horgan wrote Sunday for FishbowlLA. Under the headline ‘Tupac Shakur, the Los Angeles Times, and Why I’m Still Unemployed: A Personal History by Chuck Philips,’ the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist details for the first time his version of the events leading up to, and following, March 26, 2008.

“That’s the day The Smoking Gun exposed as fake court documents referenced in a Calendar front-page story by Philips about a 1994 assault in Queens, NY on rapper Tupac Shakur. He says it was not his idea to web-publish and liberally source the FBI-302 documents, but rather that of his LAT editor and the paper’s lawyer. Philips also accuses the paper of failing to properly support one of their own by refusing to litigate against the target of his piece (and subsequent accuser) James ‘Jimmy Henchman’ Rosemond:

” ‘Lawyers and editors rejected my recommendations, arguing it would be foolhardy to fight the case. The Times refused to defend the story in court. Instead, the paper crafted a retraction that sounded as if I had made up the entire story and sneaked it into print behind management’s back, without the knowledge, consent or guidance of senior editors and lawyers directly involved in its publication. . . . ‘ “

The Voice reported that the L.A. Times replied in a statement, “We retracted Chuck Philips‘ March 17, 2008, article concerning an attack on rap star Tupac Shakur because we learned that documents and sources he relied on didn’t support the article. Specifically, supposed FBI documents regarding the 1994 attack on Shakur turned out to be forgeries. The man who supplied the documents, James Sabatino, also provided significant additional information that was included in the article, attributed to an anonymous source. As Chuck and his editors later discovered, what Sabatino had told him was fabricated.

“Under these circumstances, we had no alternative but to acknowledge the mistake, apologize to our readers and retract the article. Nothing has happened since then to warrant withdrawing or revising the retraction. No new information has emerged that bears on the mistakes for which we apologized and which we retracted.”

Joshua Lott, Getty Freelancer, at NATO Demonstrations

Joshua Lott, a freelance photographer with Getty Images, was arrested and another photographer struck over the head with a police baton late Sunday while covering anti-war protesters marching in opposition to the NATO summit in Chicago, according to the National Press Photographers Association.

Lott’s cameras were broken — “I’m not exactly sure how that happened” — before he was released at 4 a.m. Monday, NPPA lawyer Mickey H. Osterreicher told Journal-isms. The original charge was reduced to reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, the lawyer said.