Tuesday, April 08, 2008

5335: Never Mind.

From The New York Times…

Los Angeles Times Retracts Article on Rapper’s Attack


The Los Angeles Times formally retracted on Monday its investigative report about a 1994 attack on the rapper Tupac Shakur after concluding that a prison inmate had fabricated much of the evidence cited in the article.

The article, published online on March 17 and in the newspaper two days later, suggested that associates of the rapper Sean Combs were involved in a shooting of Mr. Shakur. A 600-word correction on the front of the Calendar section stated that the report “relied heavily on information that The Times no longer believes to be credible.”

The newspaper has removed the original article and associated materials from its Web site and directed readers to the retraction.

The article, which was written by Chuck Philips, relied primarily on documents, purportedly written by F.B.I. agents, which were apparently fabricated by James Sabatino, a longtime con man who is in a federal prison.

The Web site The Smoking Gun first raised questions about the authenticity of the documents on March 26. The Los Angeles Times published a front-page apology the next day and said it would investigate the documents fully.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper said Mr. Philips, a Pulitzer Prize winner, would remain with the newspaper as an investigative reporter. She would not comment on whether any disciplinary measures had been taken.

“The Los Angeles Times has taken this matter very seriously,” the newspaper’s editor, Russ Stanton, said in a statement. “The retraction that appears in the paper and on our Web site today, and the previously published apology, speak for themselves.”

The editor of The Smoking Gun, William Bastone, said on Monday that he awaited a further explanation of how the mistakes had been made.

“In the recent history of journalism, when stories go really bad, the publication often does an explanation of how it happened,” Mr. Bastone said. “I’d like to know: How did this kid pull this off from behind bars?”

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