Ted Rall , one of my favorite cartoonists, was fired last Monday from his job at the Los Angeles Times after somebody produced an audiotape indicating he had lied in a column his bad treatment by a Los Angeles police officer when arrested for jaywalking in 2001.
He said the tape consisted of about 20 minutes of talk and 6 minutes of unintelligible noise, so he asked an audio technician to try to restore the original tape. Lo and behold! – the tape indicated that Rall was telling the truth.
He was charged with the worst offense that a professional journalist can commit. To be caught lying in print or on the air will not only cost you your job, but make you unemployable. At least this was true during the 40 years I worked on newspapers, and I assume the same is true in the respectable non-Murdoch press and broadcasters.
The Los Angeles Times should either reinstate Rall or have the honesty to say they don’t want to use his cartoons for whatever political or other reason.
What about police? Don’t they have an equal obligation with journalists to tell the truth? Suppose it is proved that the tape was doctored. Shouldn’t falsifying evidence make a police officer unemployed and unemployable?
A note to readers by the Los Angeles Times.
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired From the LA Times — And How I Proved They Lied by Ted Rall on RallBlog.
Ted Rall LAPD Scandal: Rall Vindicated, LAPD Under Fire by Tom Ewing for A New Domain.
Afterthought. I have some hearing loss, and I admit I couldn’t hear everything on the restored tape that was described in the article. The restored tape is available on the latter two linked articles, so you can judge for yourself.
I admit the possibility that Ted Rall’s memory might not be perfect after 14 years, and that there is no proof that the tape was doctored. Having said that, I believe Rall.