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December 21, 2007

LA Times' Reporting Slammed by Judge

And the latest player to get caught in Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drugs scandal is... the Los Angeles Times.

A report in today's New York Times notes that the L.A. newspaper was slammed by a US magistrate judge for seemingly fabricating a 2006 story on the scandal. Said Judge Edward C. Voss: "At best, the article is an example of irresponsible reporting. At worst, the ’facts’ reported were simply manufactured."

See the excerpt below for more details, or read the entire piece here.

The judge who unsealed the Grimsley affidavit had harsh words for The Los Angeles Times, which printed a report in October 2006 headlined "Clemens Is Named in Drug Affidavit." Clemens was not named in the affidavit, although he was named last week by Mitchell.

The newspaper had been challenged on the accuracy of its story by the United States attorney in 2006. It had said its report was based on two sources and that its reporter, Lance Pugmire, had seen the affidavit, and the newspaper stood by the report. In fact, the Los Angeles Times got four of the five people it named wrong.

Edward C. Voss, a United States magistrate judge, wrote in the unsealing order signed Thursday: "A review of the disclosed affidavit proves that the Times never saw the unredacted affidavit. Roger Clemens is not named in the affidavit and Grimsley makes no reference to Roger Clemens in any context. At best, the article is an example of irresponsible reporting. At worst, the ’facts’ reported were simply manufactured."

Voss wrote he was "compelled to point out what appears to be an example of abusive reporting."

The Los Angeles Times ran a correction on Friday that said the newspaper, “incorrectly reported that in a search warrant affidavit filed in May 2006 in federal court in Phoenix, an investigator alleged that pitcher Jason Grimsley named former teammates Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons as players linked to performance-enhancing drugs.” The correction said that, “Grimsley did not name those players,” and the 2006 article incorrectly stated that Grimsley said Tejada used steroids. “The only mention of Tejada in the affidavit was as part of a conversation with teammates about baseball’s ban of amphetamines,” the times said. A front page story clarifying the affidavit ran in Friday’s edition.

"We acknowledge the inaccuracies of the report and deeply regret the mistake," Stephan Pechdimaldji, a spokesman for The Times, wrote in an e-mail message.

Posted by GI at December 21, 2007 12:07 PM

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