The LAPD Told the LA Times to Fire Me (Part 1 of 3)

On July 27, 2015, the Los Angeles Times fired me as its long-time editorial cartoonist. The reason given was their belief, based on a secret LAPD audiotape of my 2001 arrest for jaywalking, that I lied about my treatment by the police officer in a May 11, 2015 blog for the Times. However, when I had the tape enhanced and cleaned up, it proved I’d told the truth. So why won’t the Times comment or admit they were wrong?

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9 thoughts on “The LAPD Told the LA Times to Fire Me (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Reminds me of the sort of thing that used to happen when HUAC came to town, back in the 1950s. Not the return of the repressed, but the return of the oppressor….

    Keep fighting, Ted, and good luck !…

    Henri

  2. A comment or two. Sorry, Ted, but I wasn’t able to post this as a separate blog entry. So if it runs on a bit. Apologies. …

    BradBlog (which I find unreadable usually) reported Ted’s troubles as a diary entry on the DailyKos site the other day. If you go to the DK site, the comments are, frankly, incredible. Out of something like 25 comments, about three are on point (that is, “Holy Christ on a Bicycle! A cartoonist was fired from a newspaper by what looks like the behest of the LAPD? Literally, the police state. The police tell the newspapers how they will run? And then brag about ‘sending a message’?”) The rest of the comments are either describing Ted in pretty unflattering ways or in-fighting among themselves.

    But that’s the level of dialogue we have arrived at.

    Ted’s been making the rounds, trying to drum up some support on this. And the silence is stunning. By my recollection of what I’ve seen on his Twitter feed, he’s gone to the ACLU, CJR, AJR, Jack Shafer, Poynter, and easily half a dozen other organizations. And they aren’t saying a word. Nothing.

    If Ted were making all this up, they’d have simply come forward and made statements about how they don’t get involved in internal HR issues. But they haven’t said ANYTHING. (And if they do say anything now, they have no choice but to address the cleaned-up tape: has it been spliced? Can a jaywalking ticket be issued, from start to finish in 6 minutes and 20 seconds? Why are the other segments clearer and whistle-free? Etc. No one can now just say, “Oh, we don’t get involved in HR issues.”)

    And from there, the questions just keep coming. WHO was involved in this decision? Did not ONE person ask about enhancing the tape? To what extent is the LAPD involved in this, and (this is the big one) what does that say about the entire, collective apparatus of the LAPD that they can twitch a finger and ruin a life like this? Can anyone, if Ted is vindicated, walk away thinking that Ted Rall is the only person who has been worked over by the system? Imagine the scandal that would unroll.

    And DailyKos’ “diarists” ignore the issue entirely. Why? Because that’s the way progressives discuss things. And it’s why we’re the only country in the first world without universal health coverage and why our minimum wage won’t even get you a studio apartment.

  3. This is a really weird story.

    It reminds me that: In Vancouver this week, there is an investigation into whether CSIS was illegally monitoring environmental groups opposed to the Harper Government’s push for new tarsand pipelines. It’s a minor scandal. I doubt much will come of the official investigation. But at least, on record, there is some repercussion (even if it eventually gets excused, its obviously bad press to be caught/accused of doing domestic spying).

    It seems like this might be a similar story. I wonder how many other journalists and artists were being extraordinarily spied upon based on their political dissent. It seems unlikely that the LAPD would normally keep that kind of “intelligence” for minor traffic infractions (unless they have way way way more money than they need) so it is likely targeted based on politics.

    I wonder if there is a way to expose this scandal as being more than just about one person?

    • …because, when a scandal is just about one person. It is more easily dismissed or obfuscated as “personality” conflict rather than being more sinister than that. It’s not hard to say that a non-mainstream political cartoonist is blowing things out of perspective, even though you are not.

      Police abuse of power and suppression of political speech is an issue that does affect us all.

  4. Why haven’t they apologized or even commented? Obviously because they, and their LAPD co-conspirators, haven’t yet had to defend their slander against a libel lawsuit for so much money that they would be better off giving you sole ownership of the LATIMES in settlement!

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