I’m a sucker for movies about media and journalism. Citizen Kane, The Philadephia Story, All The President’s Men, The Paper..all excellent flicks. In 1981, Paul Neuman and Sally Field starred in “Absence of Malice,” which did a decent job of teaching the public about what constitutes libel and defamation around a weak cloak and dagger plot. The two — a government witness/source (Neuman) and ace reporter (Field) begin a romantic relationship that’s exposed in the end. Field’s editor, needing to have the paper come clean to readers, instructs one of Field’s colleagues to interview her about the relationship. The exchange goes like this:
Sarah Wylie: I need to know how to describe your relationship with Gallagher. Mac said to quote you directly. You can say whatever you want.
Megan Carter: Just… say we were involved.
Sarah Wylie: That’s true, isn’t it?
Megan Carter: No. But it’s accurate.
And that’s the best we can describe to the story posted by Register reporter Brian Joseph about Julio Perez’s residency that ran two days ago. The story is detailed, well sourced, carries comments from all parties with full attribution including links to sworn statements. And it’s inaccurate as the Voice of OC reported yesterday. Joseph is based in Sacramento and couldn’t make the easy drive up Baker Street to the Perez homestead where the VOC found bills in Perez’s name, evidence Perez lives there and Perez himself.
Nearly 24 hours after the story, there’s no update and no correction on the Register’s website. No retractions from Matt Cunningham who spent considerable time tweeting the Register’s story. There’s no correction or update from Art Pedroza on New Santa Ana or OC Politics blog – both of which have become de facto campaign websites for Pedroza’s OCBE campaign. The demands from the peanut gallery to see Perez’s driver’s license remind me of Orly Taitz demanding to see President Obama’s birth certificate and when showm a copy, refuses to believe its authentic.
While the Register’s Opinion writers have a demonstrated bias against anything Union, and Perez is a Union activist, the delay in updating this story in the context of a 24 hour news cycle is an embarassment to the paper and an insult to readers. And calls by Greg Diamond for Joseph to reveal his sources on this story are also off base and uncalled for; if Joseph gives up his source, what’s to say he won’t give up others. What he should do, is let his source have it and not take their news seriously ever again. Joseph is a stellar reporter and a fallable human being, like each one of us. His story is accurate, but it’s been proven to be not true.
When I was a packmaster for our local cubscout troop in Irvine, we had a couple of field trips to the Register’s newsroom and to watch the presses run. The kids always loved it. There are signs throughout the newsroom that read, “You Mother Says She Loves You. Check It Out.” Joseph accurately reported his story, but failed to check it out and ran with it ahead of Perez’s BBQ. Commenters on the story who have been to Perez’s home and chimed in.
We have wind the Register will address this story soon. It should have happened by now.