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Palast writes: "Ted Rall is a lying, fantasist scum bag. Or maybe, just maybe, the LA Times, complicit with the Los Angeles police, have slandered and slimed America's toughest critic of police violence."

Ted Rall. (photo: unknown)
Ted Rall. (photo: unknown)

Cops Gun Down Unarmed Journalist's Career

By Greg Palast, Reader Supported News

05 August 15


LA Times fires Ted Rall – evidence blows up in newspaper’s face

ed Rall is a lying, fantasist scum bag.

Or maybe, just maybe, the LA Times, complicit with the Los Angeles police, have slandered and slimed America’s toughest critic of police violence.

These cartoons (1 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art: Ted Rall/LA Times)
These cartoons (1 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job.
(art: Ted Rall/LA Times)

The story: On July 27, the LA Times fired their long-time columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall for fabricating a story of police misconduct. The LA Times’ evidence? A tape recording provided by the LAPD. Problem was, the tape was muffled – possibly tampered with.

When audio experts cleaned the garbage interference on the tape – uh, oh! – the LAPD and LA Times accusations fell to pieces.

These cartoons (2 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art: Ted Rall/LA Times)
These cartoons (2 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job.
(art: Ted Rall/LA Times)

The details: On May 11, Ted Rall wrote his umpteenth column in the LA Times, LAPD's Crosswalk Crackdown: Don't Police Have Something Better to do? about gang violence: the gang is the LAPD. This was Rall’s lightest jab of all, a satirical remembrance of when, 14 years earlier, a cop put him in handcuffs for a simple jaywalking ticket.

Unbeknownst to Rall, the jaywalker-stalker cop had recorded this big bust. The LAPD dropped the tape on the Times.

These cartoons (3 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art: Ted Rall/LA Times)
These cartoons (3 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job.
(art: Ted Rall/LA Times)

The police source said the recording and other info proved Rall was lying. That the tape proved that Rall had never been handcuffed – nor, as Rall wrote in his column, was there a group of onlookers complaining about the cop’s overkill.

In other words, ‘they’ said and the Timesaccepted that Rall just made up the whole handcuff-and-crowd thing to smear the LAPD. On that basis, LA Times editor Nick Goldberg printed and signed a big-splash editorial saying, in effect, Rall had committed the unpardonable sin of fabricating a story – and Rall was fired. 

These cartoons (4 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job. (art: Ted Rall/LA Times)
These cartoons (4 of 4) by longtime LA Times cartoonist Ted Rall appear to have cost him his job.
(art: Ted Rall/LA Times)

This, of course, would end Rall’s career as a syndicated newspaper columnist and cartoonist. 

And I was going to have to fire Rall too. Rall is a journalism fellow of the Palast Investigative Fund, the not-for-profit foundation that backs our work.  If the charges were true, I wouldn’t hesitate to fire Rall’s lying ass – but only after I break his pen and cut off his fingers.

I demanded a copy of the recording for our audio experts to review – and asked Rall to do the same.

Oh, mama! To my surprise – and Rall’s glee – the crowd that he had allegedly fantasized about suddenly came alive – with three women shouting, “Why’d you handcuff him?” and “Take off his handcuffs!”– the handcuffs that were supposedly fabricated by Rall.  (One woman helpfully suggested to the officer, “Don’t forget to ride his ***hole!”)

Listen to it yourself, or read the true transcript.  Check this against the LAPD’s incomplete transcript.

As an investigative reporter, I was astonished that the LA Times did not even bother to do an independent analysis of the tape. Rall told me that a Times reporter, Paul Pringle, told him the Timessimply accepted the recording transcript as truthful because it came from the LAPD. 

And the LAPD hates hates hates Rall. 

I can’t blame them, given Rall’s reports and caustic drawings – the truth hurts. The LA police union wrote that it “applauds [the] LA Times firing of cartoonist Rall,” whose drawings drew blood from the police force infamous for its gang-style beating of the handcuffed Rodney King.

Rall said that reporter Pringle told him that, to bolster their case against Rall, the LAPD source said that the arresting cop, Will Durr, never used handcuffs in petty violation stops. However, by coincidence, a news report about that very same cop, Durr, handcuffing a driver on a routine traffic stop appeared in … The LA Times.


My calls to the Times’“investigative reporter” Pringle went unanswered. LA Times opinion editor Nicolas Goldberg, whom I know and have long respected, said he was not authorized not go on record to defend his paper. The smell of panic in the Times’ executive suite is getting stronger.

So I called the LAPD. Did they drop the garbled tape and false transcript on their critic? Oddly, spokesman Officer Mike Lopez, who knew the story well, could not confirm the LAPD was the source. Then was it stolen from official police files? 

Would the LAPD conduct an internal affairs investigation of the theft or misuse of confidential police files?

Ironically, the LA Times is the biggest metropolitan daily in the USA with the guts to print Rall – and even pick up a Palast story or two. Clearly, the heat from The Heat is on. I really do hope that, in light of this new information, the paper will do the right thing and retract their statement. 

Whatever the original justification for the Times’ printed attack, to let it stand uncorrected now, in light of the new uncontroverted evidence, would violate core standards of journalistic ethics.

As for the Palast Fund, with the evidence now in hand, we will fight this attack on our journalist.

And, if the Times won’t carry Rall’s reports, will. Sign up here and get his reports and ’toons free of charge.   

The issue: Killing, not jaywalking

Why am I supporting Rall? Because this is not about jaywalking. This is about killing. Police killings. And the ability of journalists to report just the facts, ma’am, free of fear of retribution by the police or media executives.

Rall’s career was gunned down by a phony transcript of a recording of a bust. 

This follows close on the shooting death of an unarmed 29-year-old homeless veteran by an LAPD officer on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Brendon Glenn was known as a sometimes surly, but ultimately harmless, alcoholic. Near midnight on May 6, after he appeared to accost a local resident, two cops wrestled Glenn to the ground. 

The original statement by the LA chief of police, Charlie Beck, stated that “an altercation occurred between the two officers and the suspect. During that physical altercation, an officer-involved shooting occurred.” But security camera tape would later reveal that just wasn’t true.

In fact, film from a local store camera revealed that, for reasons unknown, one cop stepped away from his partner who had Glenn on the ground, then turned and fired two mortal shots into the homeless man.

An associate of the Palast investigations team, investigative reporter and former CBS news anchor Bree Walker, has been reviewing the case.

What Walker and every other newsperson has to worry about now is, will reporting the full story of police violence result in a slander and smear campaign against the investigating reporter? 

The police believe they have silenced Rall, that his public pillorying by the Times “serves as an example” – a warning to troublesome journalists.  Rall, to their dismay, is proving more of an example of undeterred courage.

We can only hope that, given the new evidence, the Times restores not just Rall’s reputation, but its own.

Ted Rall’s new book-length comic, Snowden, will be released on August 25.  Pre-order it from AmazonB&N & others – or make a tax-deductible donation and get a copy signed by Ted. 100% of proceeds will go to Rall’s defense.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+154 # Dongi 2015-08-05 09:19
Now the cops are trying to silence the press. Just who controls in the matter of law enforcement? Are the police a law unto themselves? About time that we brought them under control teaching them that we are a democracy not a tyranny.
+38 # John Puma 2015-08-05 13:10
Well, the cops are trying to silence the press that exposes them and their criminal activities.

There are not terribly many of "the press" who are interested in that, actual journalism. See, for example, the co-conspirator in this idiocy, the LA Times.
+109 # jimmyjames 2015-08-05 10:02
Everyone tries to silence honest reporting. Politicians, CIA, and FBI. Why not the LAPD? Lord knows that there is open season on investigative reporters - that is why there are so few of them. Especially the mainstream media moguls who police their own. Which, of course, is one of the main reasons our democracy is going to hell in a hand basket.
+29 # bdeja 2015-08-05 14:05
Well it comes from the top where this Administration is trying to silence and prosecute every whistleblower.
+76 # Krackonis 2015-08-05 10:18
Since you can watch CNN all day long and hear nothing about Police Murders I suspect that all of cable television is compromised in this regard...

For God sakes homeless people are considered criminal evil on Fox...
+57 # Citizen Mike 2015-08-05 10:24
It is always a publicity error to make an enemy of the press. This will come back to bite the LAPD with increased scrutiny and exposure.
+35 # acomfort 2015-08-05 11:07
Quoting Citizen Mike:
It is always a publicity error to make an enemy of the press. This will come back to bite the LAPD with increased scrutiny and exposure.

I don't think the LA police have much to worry about. The news papers all rely on police reports for much of their news. This is a big club they hold over the news papers.

This is not all that different from political reporters loosing their access to politicians if they write too much truth.

I hope I am wrong.
+11 # wrknight 2015-08-06 08:09
It should come back to bite the LA Times in the ass.
+61 # Edwina 2015-08-05 10:33
Thirty-some years ago in L.A. community organizers were trying to set up an independent police review board. In communities of color, especially, complaints pretty much went uninvestigated and unpunished. Now we have communications tools to record the event -- or as people advised at the time, be a witness. It is dangerous, but it is still up to the citizenry to curb what seems to be a rise in military-type policing.
+48 # jpmarat 2015-08-05 10:40
Is Citizen Mike NUTS?? The LATimes is not the free press. They publish a tiny amount of criminal justice system criticism in order to APPEAR fair, and to appeal to Latino consumers.
This shows why we must supports RSN, Palast, courageous journalism. Get out those checks, credit cards, protest signs.
BOYCOTT LATimes AND their major advertisers. The LATimes, NYTimes, etc, are the co-conspiring mouthpieces for true evil.
+15 # Salus Populi 2015-08-05 17:41
Agreed. Another thing you can do is support Rall by subscribing to his web site.

But no one who cares about facts and the truth should in any way support the mass media.

Just like the San Jose Mercury destroyed the career of their own star reporter over the cocaine series in the early to mid nineties, so the LAT chooses the path of cowardice and irresponsibilit y to their own journalists.

With the internet available to find alternate news magazines, such as RSN and Op-Ed News, as well as the web sites that create the original stories, such as Crooks and Liars, Alternet, Common Dreams and the like, no one who cares about humanity and community should buy, subscribe to, read, or pay attention to the fascist propaganda system that purports to be the "free press."
+32 # freeone 2015-08-05 10:41
It's been a long time since I've believed much that's been written in newspapers or reported???? in the TV news anyway. I'll stick with the internet.
+36 # elkingo 2015-08-05 10:52
We are already a fascist state. True, Nazi Germany was more organized in extermination of its class-victims as a matter of declared policy. We are more hypocritical and "subtle" than that. But then again, the poor and the homeless are indeed criminal and evil, because God wants them to be poor and evil, a la Calvinism, the real reigning theology here. So there!
+30 # dyannne 2015-08-05 10:53
They're killing journalists in Mexico. Is that reported on mainstream news here? Amy Goodman is on Democracy Now!
+17 # Radscal 2015-08-05 18:52
Over 60 journalists are known to have been killed in 2014. By one measure, the most were in Syria. Mexico ranked 10th.

But, there is no standardized record keeping, so it could be much worse. By one accounting, 71 journalists have been killed already in 2015, and 138 in 2014.

Again, the Middle East comes up as the most dangerous place.

I don't mean to downplay those killed in Mexico. I just mean that for some reason, the media doesn't give much coverage to their own being killed at all. When it serves a political agenda of the powerful (Charlie Hebdo, ISIL beheadings), then it gets non-stop coverage, but generally nary a word.
+9 # NAVYVET 2015-08-08 05:10
Reiverpacific, you've given us another great comment. But there's not much bread any more--just circuses. And our opaque administration in Washington never asks itself the wisest question the Romans ever asked: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" "Who will watch the watchmen themselves?"

Alas, the Romans forgot about its implications, just as we have, and the result was Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Commodus, etc., etc.--and those monsters were simply the ones who were too paranoid to be subtle about their murders and cruel monstrosities.

I'm all for democracy, but have come to fully understand why majoritarian rule has always been suspect by thoughtful persons--unless the populace are educated in a curriculum that teaches wisdom and good judgment.

ALEC, the NeoConfederates and the brain-numbed New Agers have managed to demean education and turn people against the only methodology that can possibly achieve good judgment: the scientific method. Now we see a circus that makes me puke, hordes of zombies bowing down to get kicked by The Donald, who never had a thought for anyone but himself. He is not a joke, only a creepy symbol of the American tragedy.
+35 # reiverpacific 2015-08-05 11:04
Another example -if any were necessary- of the true worth of the US patsy Owner-Media, print or electronic.
The "Alternative" media however, is growing exponentially including RSN, "Democracy Now!", Alternative Radio, Mother Jones and so many others; and the foreign media.
The trick is getting the "Panem et Circences"-paci fied and hypnotized millions of "average" American drones who suck it all up with unquestioning, unreasoning, conformist blankness, to look beyond this content-lite propaganda.
Palast himself has put his body on the line many times in pursuit of "Inconveniently truthful", controversial or radically investigative exposure of issues not even touched by the lily-white, unsullied by fact, Corporate behemoths.
No wonder he works for the BBC and independently!
+34 # tomtom 2015-08-05 11:22
Yes, this is too much like the Govenor of theState of Veracruz' recent hit on one journalist for offending him. The bad boys in the LAPD run in the same circles. They're Serving and Protecting the wrong people. White America is waking up to what has been, for centuries, normal justice. I don't need more proof, I'm a white male and I've seen the psycho-hate in the eyes of police, from LA to Miami. We're facing a deadly problem and it isn't diminishing. We need to stand with our courageous citizens who do stand up to these thugs, who bully the good cops into submission and collusion.
+30 # DurangoKid 2015-08-05 11:45
Remember way back when Gary Webb exposed the CIA dealing cocaine in LA? What was the LA Times' response to that?
+24 # Salus Populi 2015-08-05 17:45
It was the LAT, along with the WaPO and NYT, ChiTrib, and other major papers that attacked the San Jose Mercury for running the series -- which incidentally was not only supported but expanded upon by the CIA's own Inspector General's report, too late to help Webb. The editor of the Mercury, to his everlasting shame, caved and retracted most of the story, and threw Webb to the wolves. Webb subsequently either committed suicide, or more likely was suicided by agents of the State.
+17 # Radscal 2015-08-05 23:44
Suicided with two .38 bullets to the head.
+9 # Anarchist 23 2015-08-06 20:22
And the same happened to Danny Cassolaro who was investigating something he called 'The Octopus' rule is taken from a quote from former FBI profiler Ed Sultzbach , which paraphrased is: When you see coincidence after coincidence after coincidence and call it a coincidence.tha t's just plain stupid...or from Commissioner Gordon in 'Batman Dark Knight Rising'.: You're a detective now, son, you're not allowed to believe in coincidence anymore.
+6 # barbaratodish 2015-08-05 12:42
BUT ALMOST EVERYBODY is a "cop" now,even if only virtually!
+15 # moby doug 2015-08-05 14:09
So much of the LA Times editorial page is toothless or worse that I've always been surprised they dared to platform Rall's excellent cartoons. Most of the other political cartoonists featured in the LA Times since the great Paul Conrad retired (and died) are a joke. A bad, insipid, joke. At least the ever shrinking paper is still home to columnists like Steve Lopez and Hiltzik. The LA Times' readership is overwhelming Democratic and liberal yet the paper, on the op ed page, heavily features right wing Neanderthals like Jonah Goldberg plus "experts" from far right "think tanks." Go figure.
+18 # DaveM 2015-08-05 15:03
The LAPD saved a recording made at the scene of a jaywalking arrest 14 YEARS AGO? If true, just imagine how much they have stored away on who knows who. One sees here the sort of activity for which it is kept. And if the truth won't do...oh well, the evidence can always be "garbled" a bit.

This should be grounds for a major investigation of the LAPD. It may well call into question every conviction based on material evidence that was handled by them.
+19 # Mad Mimi 2015-08-05 20:53
What's also disturbing is to look at the history of the civil rights movement here in the US and discover the long history of our government persecution of activists from Charlie Chaplin (who made films that portrayed a homeless man who didn't value money and materialism as the good guy) to films like "It's a Wonderful Life" (about a man who cared more about people than money and was praised by his community, while the rich man was portrayed as evil) and up to our present day. We all know how Fred Hampton died. And who really killed MLK? Why did Aaron Swartz commit suicide?

Knowing the history and seeing it repeated in this country is very disturbing and discouraging. It makes me think it's all so hopeless because anytime anyone tries to make a positive impact he/she conveniently loses their job, their reputation, their lives are ruined, they commit suicide, they're accused of a crime and jailed or they are gunned down by a crazy person.

And we're all expected to think that it's just a coincidence that this happens over and over again to our best activists.

Come on, Americans! Wake the BLEEP up! Do you seriously believe we have freedom of speech? That we live in the Land of Opportunity!

Thanks for showing your support for Mr. Rall with this article. Personally, I think he's talented enough that he could stand on his own--start his own media organization or something.
+8 # Anarchist 23 2015-08-06 20:17
Can you say 'Gestapo', children? BTW, back in the days of Daryl White, Amnesty International issued a condemnatory report on LAPD cops' brutality...Wil son of course called Amnesty International 'bleeding hearts and liberals'...and the Beat goes on!

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