Thursday, July 23
- Investigative reporter Paul Pringle from The Los Angeles Times calls columnist Ted Rall to notify him of paper’s concerns about Rall’s account of a 2001 jaywalking arrest by LAPD.
- Times editorial page editor Nick Goldberg calls Rall to discuss the matter. Rall agrees to Pringle’s request to record the call and answers all his questions. Pringle and Goldberg accuse Rall of lying about his treatment and arrest by a Los Angeles police officer in 2001 for jaywalking. They base this primarily on an almost inaudible dub of a 2001 audio tape the LAPD provided them. They say it proves Rall lied about being handcuffed, drawing a crowd, and being treated rudely by an LAPD Officer.
- Pringle later calls Rall again and interviews him with more questions, and lets Rall listen to the LAPD’s tape. More than six minutes of the 6:30 tape contain incomprehensible background noise and static. There are about 20 seconds of audible conversation on the tape, on which the LAPD ticketing officer can be heard making a few fairly courteous comments.
Friday, July 24
- Goldberg emails Rall saying the Times is going to take the weekend to consider the matter.
- Receipt of Rall’s regular weekly cartoon and blog is confirmed by Times staffer.
- Despite Goldberg’s email, Los Angeles Times Monday Editorial page is created but without the weekly Rall cartoon. Rall is never notified of this decision. Nor does the Times offer Rall an official opportunity to defend himself and his story, or attempt to clean up the tape so it is audible.
Monday, July 27
- Rall’s weekly cartoon does not appear in the Times.
- Around 6 p.m. East Coast time, Goldberg calls Rall to tell him he is fired due to “discrepancies” between his story and what’s on the 20 seconds of tape that is audible.
- Late Monday night, aNewDomain runs Ted’s first essay presenting his side of the story: LAPD Convinced LA Times To Fire Me After I Criticized Cops.
Tuesday, July 28
- The Times runs Goldberg’s “A Note to Readers,” (also known as an “Editor’s Note”) which publicly explains why the Times is firing Rall because the police tape “shows” that Rall’s story is not consistent with what happened.
- Rall files the second version of his defense story. It runs on aNewDomain and contains a point by point argument for the LAPD’s and the Times’ claims: Fisking The Los Angeles Times.
- Right-wing blogs are the first to jump on the story, burgeoning with 1000s of commenters who rejoice at the news of Ted’s firing, saying the tape clearly shows he was a liar.
- Rall is bombarded with Twitter taunts and email insults. Many of his journalist and cartoonist colleagues begin refusing his calls.
Wednesday, July 29
- Rall asks experts in audio technology to check the LAPD-supplied tape. They begin working.
Thursday, July 30
- A routine Google search reveals that the LAPD officer who stopped Rall in 2001 in fact has handcuffed at least one other citizen during a minor traffic stop. This is noteworthy because the Times’ Pringle told Rall that the LAPD claimed Ted was lying about being handcuffed because, for one thing, the LAPD officer who stopped Rall had reportedly said he’d never handcuffed anyone — ever. Rall files a story about that latest development in his firing and aNewDomain runs it as: Ted Rall LAPD-LA Times Scandal: A Discrepancy In The Cop’s Story.
Friday, July 31
- Experts provide the first enhanced audio file, which directly disputes the LAPD account and the accuracy of the audio file the Times used to justify firing Rall. At minute 6:30, one angry female onlooker can be heard loudly demanding the LAPD officer to “take off (Rall’s) handcuffs.” Twice.
- Ted Rall-LAPD-LA Times Battle: New Tape Proves Cops Lied goes viral, beginning a process that starts to vindicate Rall in at least the court of popular opinion.
Saturday, Aug. 1
- aNewDomain publishes a story outlining the issues in Rall’s firing, including those around LAPD misconduct, LAPD’s previous oversight by the Department of Justice for misconduct, the Times and the LAPD’s inability or unwillingness to enhance the tape to make it at least a more worthwhile piece of evidence, police intimidation of media, the Los Angeles police union Los Angeles Police Protection League (LAPPL) and the Los Angeles Fire and Police Fund’s previous behavior positing them as “owners” of the media with a right to bring down editors, public perception of police, and whether the LAPD giving the tape to the Times was illegal, given current privacy laws in California.
Sunday, Aug. 2
- Late Sunday Pacific, aNewDomain publishes a second, professionally enhanced version of the original tape the LAPD used to convince the Times that Rall was a liar. Expert analysis now shows the tape to mirror Rall’s original account of the incident, as written and told to Nick Goldberg and Paul Pringle at the Times.
Tuesday, Aug. 4
- Rall announces that he’s “mulling” a lawsuit. The New York Observer becomes the first major newspaper to check Rall’s claims and find them valid. The headline: “Audiotape of Political Cartoonist’s Clash with LAPD Bolsters His Story”
- Late Tuesday night, Rall receives the first communications from the Times , since the episode began. “Please direct any further correspondence to my attention,” writes Jeff Glaser, vice president of legal operations at the Times. Rall replies with another request for a retraction, an apology and the return of his cartoons and writing to the Times.
Wednesday, Aug. 5
- Rall provides updates on the latest and explores the question: Why didn’t the Los Angeles Times examine the bad audio from the LAPD?
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