"Journalist ethics" an oxymoron at the LA Times

January 25, 2006  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

In his Jan. 21 column, "Writers' Opinions for Hire," LA Times media critic Tim Rutten makes a claim against me regarding my dismissal from the Scripps Howard News Service that's both libelous and false.

The news of my dismissal from Scripps broke in the January 13 Business Week, available online, full-text, and free. Nobody has added additional material to the story except me, in my Townhall column explaining what really happened. While the Business Week "news analysis" has severe factual problems of its own, nowhere does it state any words to the effect, as does Rutten, that I "had accepted payments from Monsanto for writing opinion pieces favorable to its bio-tech business."

It says I solicited a single book grant from Monsanto in 1999 that went to my think tank employer which then paid me salary. Writer Eamon Javers did make the bizarre insinuation that a book grant from 1999 should be disclosed in columns written in 2006 -- and presumably forever. But his entire focus was on disclosure, not on paid-for-columns.

If people think they can make a damning case against me on those grounds, let 'em try. But last I checked you're not allowed to simply add false information, no matter how convenient it may be. Unless, I guess, you work at the Los Angeles Times.