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June 02, 2010


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Good stuff as per usual, thanks. I do hope this kind of thing gets more exposure.

Rip Rense

I spent 30 years of my life as a working journalist, ten as a reporter or feature writer on staff at L.A. newspapers. To repeat: when someone talks about roller skating for an hour-long interview, and then casually confesses to a murder, you don't lead with the roller-skating! And you are not even obliged to mention that it came as "part of a larger interview." What's more, Treleavan and Watson's criticisms of Freyer were extensive, not brief. Both singers were very aware of the controversial nature of their statements, and the timing, late in the game. They are not media naifs. There is absolutely no reasonable way to spin Ng's handling of the story as being anything other than not only good journalism, but entirely proper and routine journalism. To suggest otherwise, I can tell you with authority, is simply ridiculous.

Bob Thomas

I don’t dispute your basic point, that David Ng did a good job as a reporter of asking the questions that dug out the quotes he received from Linda Watson and John Treleaven regarding the problems outlined. However, the letter from the artists did answer my basic question regarding the timing of the complaints: “Why now?”

David’s story seemed as if, either through his initiative or the artists’, that the complaints were the sole focus of the interview. If what the letter says is accurate, the comments came within the context of a larger session. David could have noted that fact (with or without giving a positive quote about the company’s effort) but he chose not to do so or it was edited out (such things happen). Some people would call that good journalism; others would not.

For the record: LA Opera did not release this letter (a company representative to which I talked was surprised to read it on my Blog). It was posted (and still is) on the Wagner Society of Southern California Web site. I should have cited that source but did not — bad reporting on my part. Mea culpa.


Rip Rense

This is hilarious. I don't find myself often in the position of defending the L.A. Times, but reporter David Ng did exactly what a reporter is supposed to do: find the most interesting, newsworthy portion of an interview, and lead with it. This is called "journalism." If you are head of the Democratic National Committee, and you do a lengthy interview about how much you love politics, but happen to drop in a sentence about how you are not going to support Obama, you don't lead with the stuff about loving politics! It looks fairly clear that Watson and Treleaven, who are to be commended for their brave candor in criticizing this "Ring," were pressured to make this statement.

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