Once again, the Times’ savvy crew of editors and reporters have skinned back a story by Chuck Phillips whose coverage of the rap music scene in L.A. and the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls has been proven to incredibly flawed.
In a begrudging story that does its best to protect Phillips — who left the Times on Friday as part of the recent round of staff cuts — the Times reports allegations that the reporter handed several threatening messages from Death Row Records founder Suge Knight to prison inmate Waymond “Suave” Anderson, prompting him to recant critical testimony.
Headlines on the story don’t mention Phillips, who wrote several stories about Anderson. Phillips is quoted as denying Anderson’s accusation. The story is played on page B3 and contains little of the context of the criticism that has dogged Phillips’ work for years but a lot of the reasons to question what Anderson is saying.
Much better coverage is available at Patterico’s Pontifications where the prosecutor and blogger actually explains why this is significant and the background of the story. Here’s the headline and top of Patterico’s item, the rest is at his site:
Inmate Whose Innocence Was Touted by Chuck Philips Accuses Philips of
Conspiring with Suge Knight to Threaten Him and Suborn Perjury
In sworn testimony this week, a prison inmate has accused former L.A. Times reporter Chuck Philips of conspiring with Suge Knight to suborn perjury and threaten him. In this post, I have the transcript and excerpts of the testimony in which the inmate makes the accusation.
Philips’s accuser, Waymond Anderson, isn’t just any prison inmate.
His past claims have commanded extraordinary attention from the Los Angeles Times,
and from Philips in particular. In 2007, Philips wrote a front-page
article setting forth evidence suggesting that Anderson is not guilty
of murder. Philips has publicly proclaimed his belief in Anderson’s
And when Anderson accused a plaintiff’s lawyer of bribing him to
make up testimony in a civil case against the City of Los Angeles, the
newspaper wrote an article worded to suggest that Anderson’s claims
might be credible.