City Beat Doesn’t Check It’s Facts

Mr. Murphy Mr. Murphy 6 Comments

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Regarding today’s Voice of San Diego blurb… CityBeat’s John Lamb’s incredibly lame excuse for printing an incorrect story. Yes, John, you should have put on your reading glasses. Sort of one of the normal obligations of the press when they decide to zing someone. All of us know you salivate wildly at any hint of negative news (or news you can make negative with a twist) about the Republican Party. Just slow down tiger. And is it really just impossible to retract without a nasty comment? Stay classy, progressive San Diego.

From Voice:

Not Close and No Cigar

Yesterday, the Morning Report linked to a CityBeat story that said the county Republican party had spent $800 on cigars last May. That’s incorrect, it turns out. The party’s chairman, Tony Kvaric, says the cigars were actually a donation.

What does CityBeat’s John Lamb, who wrote the story, have to say for himself? He blames himself but also zings the party’s disclosure paperwork…

Read the entire entry in Voice’s Morning Report.

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Comments 6

  1. The headline isn’t supported by this post. A more accurate one would be “CityBeat didn’t check one fact.”

    If you’re going to make a generic claim that SD CityBeat “doesn’t check its facts,” implying that this is an ongoing problem, then you should list some examples to show a pattern. One factual error doesn’t cut it — who hasn’t made at least one?

    And the other points in the article — left unchallenged — still paint a questionable picture of Kvaric’s conduct — did he make improper decisions because of his conflict of interest? The attempt to brand an entire story incorrect when just a minor element was wrong is a transparent attempt at distraction. Take away the cigars and the conflict of interest issue remains. How about addressing the substance of the story?

    And here is the allegedly “nasty” correction from your link:

    Correction: The original version of this story stated, “Perhaps [the local Republicans] took a vow not to spend $800 in party money for cigars as they did last May, according to FEC filings.” That is incorrect. The cigars were an in-kind contribution from a local business. We’re sorry for the error.

    What on earth was “nasty” about that?

  2. You know how often we have to come on here and make corrections to our own bloggers’ entries? Granted, we are very loosely edited and pretty much provide free rein to our posters…it’s one of the things that makes Rostra so special. But, fair philosophical differences and debate aside, especially with CityBeat, we’re still not sure we want to get in a war with any other media entities in town about the number of errors from one site to the next. Just saying. It’s another thing that makes us special…honesty and a willingness to admit we’re not perfect.

  3. Here is what may be missing from this discussion, which is difficult to ascertain based on the multiple related links at both Voice and CityBeat.

    The John Lamb correction posted at CityBeat is as Bradley Fikes notes…

    “Correction: The original version of this story stated, ‘Perhaps [the local Republicans] took a vow not to spend $800 in party money for cigars as they did last May, according to FEC filings.’ That is incorrect. The cigars were an in-kind contribution from a local business. We’re sorry for the error.”

    Fikes rightfully asks what is so nasty about that.

    However, the Voice blurb about the correction adds some additional information, apparently a separate communication Voice had with Lamb…

    “What does CityBeat’s John Lamb, who wrote the story, have to say for himself? He blames himself but also zings the party’s disclosure paperwork, which noted the ‘in-kind donation’: ‘Mea culpa. I should have put on my reading glasses for the small-print note. Typically, in-kind contributions are noted clearly — not 45 pages removed from the listed item. Apparently the local GOP is as tidy with its paperwork as it is with its office-moving skills.'”

    Rostra readers can decide if there is a difference in tone on the apologetic-snarkineess-nastiness scale between Lamb’s posted correction, and that of his comment to Voice.

  4. Barry, thanks for that clarification. That solves a mystery.

    However, if what Lamb states is really true, I’d be inclined to go easy on him. If the in-kind contribution was really 45 pages from the listed item, I might have made the same mistake. Assuming Lamb is correct about the way the donation was entered, those forms need to be made easier to understand.

    Of course, the original story was snarky about the cigars, and there’s few things more embarrassing than snark proven wrong. CityBeat would be well-advised to have ironclad evidence, triple-checked, before going down that route again.

    BTW, VOSD was itself criticized, for its fact checks, last week at an Society of Professional Journalists event. I have video of that and will be posting it. It’s criticism I agree with. Someone needs to fact-check VOSD’s soi-disant fact-checkers.

  5. If newspapers can get away with not crossing their t’s or dotting their i’s in researching a story, I hope they will start holding officials to the same standard. It’s one way or the other.

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