South African Cartoonist John Curtis’ Take on the LA Times

This entry was posted in Blog on by .

About Ted Rall

Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at, editor-in-chief of, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.

9 thoughts on “South African Cartoonist John Curtis’ Take on the LA Times

  1. Ted, I’ve been following this story since it broke, and I’ve put together the following logical scenario:
    1) In May of this year, you wrote about the incident that happened about 14 years ago. The officer involved was not named, so it was rather ambiguous from the reader’s point of view and not important to the narrative.
    2) Some authority at the LAPD got pissed and asked another someone to check the records for any arrest or ticketing of “Ted Rall.” Why? It’s obvious that they wanted to discredit you and your blog article, with the goal of taking you down.
    3) Somebody at LAPD spent a lot of time searching records for “Rall” and somehow found in the files that you had been ticketed by Officer Durr in 2001. Then they contacted Durr to find out what he had to say about the incident. Strangely, Durr (or the LAPD) had preserved the likely illegally obtained audiotape for some unknown reason.
    4) LAPD officials then researched the files and records that listed the chain of events regarding the ticketing. Even though the dates have been confused between 2001 and 2002, it is understandable that in January this sort of thing can happen. That is not relevant.
    5) Since the audiotape wasn’t official and not public record (and argueably obtained illegally), they had no right to provide it to “The Los Angeles Times.”
    There is no doubt that the LAPD acted with a motive of revenge. The Times should have been more diligent and questioned the validity of the audiotape, in accordance with their own published standards of ethics.

    • derlehrer,

      I agree with much of what you’ve posted. However …

      1. The recording probably wasn’t illegal. I think that the permission for making these recordings was already codified by 2001.

      2. By 2001, all those records would have been digitized, meaning, computer entries would index them by name, date, offense, etc. Transcripts would be available with relative ease. Even in a city as large as L.A., the amount of room needed to store these records would be relatively small.

      3. The part that I find particularly alarming/interesting is that the law says the police need to retain these records for just two years (someone check me on this?). Meaning, the police aren’t just holding the records for the minimum, they’re holding them indefinitely. Meaning, storage is not a problem.

      Right now (to add to the narrative), the crucial points are these:
      The LA Times was handed evidence that they did not examine in any detail. The fundamental necessity of skepticism was left on the roadside. This is a huge problem for reasons already mentioned. Forget the legality of the tape being handed over in the first place. Just focus on the events the tape triggered.

      Two LATimes employees (at least) simply ignored all understood journalistic ethics of how such career-ending and life-destroying information is evaluated. The bar for such evidence is treetop high. Goldberg and Pringle (unless there is some enormously significant detail that has yet to emerge) ignored any sense of fairness or balance.

      The biggest questions then are these:
      What else have Pringle and Goldberg fudged? Have they ruined any other careers in a similar fashion? How can either be trusted ever again, for anything? Can you imagine one of them being called as a witness at, say, a car accident? What lawyer wouldn’t have a field day? “So you’re sure? Weren’t you sure Ted Rall was guilty because the LAPD handed you an inaudible tape and told you it was good?” What, exactly, is Durr’s role in all this? Are all his cases suspect now? By extension, what would a thorough combing-through of all the recordings (not just Durr’s) reveal?

      The victim-side always has the same behavior. Look at all the people who’ve been released from prison after 10, 20, 40 years. “Oh, I’m not bitter. I just want to get on with my life.” And the other side knows it. The victims always back down. To hell with that. To hell with forgiveness. To hell with turning the other cheek. To hell with “putting it behind me.” You don’t forgive someone for deliberately and capriciously trying to ruin your entire life on the say so of someone else or because of gross incompetence.

      • @ alex_the_tired –

        In my mind, the entire audiotape situation is of questionable legality; but I’m not a lawyer. That’s why I’m happy to learn that Ted is obtaining legal advice.

    • The undocumented searching of police databases and disseminating any evidence produced by that search is a crime. To justify such a search, there must be a lawful request. When there is a request to the police for stored evidence (especially that which has been stored for years), during the search, discovery, production and then dissemination of that evidence — especially for the legal purpose of provenance — an extremely strict CHAIN-OF-CUSTODY must be maintained. EVERYONE who handled this evidence during the SDPD must sign off on sustaining the secure transportation and transfer of this evidence.

      Quite obviously, at least for the covert purpose employed by the LA Times, this was not done. You have presumed that this recording is a true artifact. If the LA Times cannot produce an official CoC log of this recording, then what they have used to blindside you is not only the product of a crime, but it is also a false testimony.

      Since the police have owned up to providing this recording to the paper, and they don’t have a CoC document log to sustain its veracity as true evidence, somebody’s head ought to roll. You need to sue the LAPD to produce that CoC document.


    • Hey, der L – on another thread you suggested I could reply to a troll. I think not, that one is looking for validation. Ignore him long enough & he’ll find another bridge to squat under.

      • That’s the right attitude. 🙂
        I won’t waste my time with him, but I was under the impression that you’ve countered his nonsense before, with what I judge to be sound reasoning — not that it registered with him at all.

  2. Right in the tenderroanies! While the pen may be mightier than the sword, it looks here like your (former) erstwhile editor borrowed a pair of jackboots.


    • Too bad he didn’t borrow a spine while he was at it.

      And Ted, don’t just stick to the U.S. on this: Canada has newspapers, the BBC in Blighty, etc. China and India have more English-speaking people than the U.S.

Leave a Reply