Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Los Angeles Times Apologize to Roger Clemens; Jason Grimsley's Documents Unveiled...

The other big news from the week in terms of the world of steroids and the Mitchell Report is that former MLB player Jason Grimsley's documents were unveiled, and there was a surprise -- Roger Clemens' name not mentioned in the affidavit despite being reported by the Los Angeles Times it was.

The Los Angeles Times issued a full page apology on Friday, and perhaps this shred of news helps to bolster Clemens' case that he did not use drugs.

From the New York Times: The judge who unsealed the Grimsley affidavit had harsh words for The Los Angeles Times, which printed a report in October 2006 headlined "Clemens Is Named in Drug Affidavit." Clemens was not named in the affidavit, although he was named last week by Mitchell.

The newspaper had been challenged on the accuracy of its story by the United States attorney in 2006. It had said its report was based on two sources and that its reporter, Lance Pugmire, had seen the affidavit, and the newspaper stood by the report. In fact, the Los Angeles Times got four of the five people it named wrong.

Edward C. Voss, a United States magistrate judge, wrote in the unsealing order signed Thursday: "A review of the disclosed affidavit proves that the Times never saw the unredacted affidavit. Roger Clemens is not named in the affidavit and Grimsley makes no reference to Roger Clemens in any context. At best, the article is an example of irresponsible reporting. At worst, the ’facts’ reported were simply manufactured."

Voss wrote he was "compelled to point out what appears to be an example of abusive reporting."

The Los Angeles Times ran a correction on Friday that said the newspaper, “incorrectly reported that in a search warrant affidavit filed in May 2006 in federal court in Phoenix, an investigator alleged that pitcher Jason Grimsley named former teammates Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons as players linked to performance-enhancing drugs.” The correction said that, “Grimsley did not name those players,” and the 2006 article incorrectly stated that Grimsley said Tejada used steroids. “The only mention of Tejada in the affidavit was as part of a conversation with teammates about baseball’s ban of amphetamines,” the times said. A front page story clarifying the affidavit ran in Friday’s edition.

"We acknowledge the inaccuracies of the report and deeply regret the mistake," Stephan Pechdimaldji, a spokesman for The Times, wrote in an e-mail message.

Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, seized on the error as an indication of Clemens’s veracity, since he has denied accusations in the Mitchell report.

"When this grossly inaccurate story broke in 2006, Roger said it was untrue and the Los Angeles Times chose not to believe him," Hardin wrote in a statement. "As the record now proves, Roger was telling the truth then just as he continues to tell the truth today."

The Los Angeles Times report listed five names it said a reporter had seen when shown the unredacted affidavit by "a source with authorized access" to the affidavit. Of those five, it got four wrong: Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons were not named in the affidavit.

It's just absolutely asinine, and not to mention highly irresponsible for a media outlet to just come up with names without double, triple checking, etc., their sources before it goes to print.

Although this does not get the onus off of Clemens, the Los Angeles Times ought to be ashamed of themselves for dragging various names through the dirt without proof, or just to get more on eyes on their papers.


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