Thursday, July 22, 2004

Taking on The L.A. Times' Tim Rutten

Those of you who read the L.A. Times probably are acquainted with Tim Rutten.  Mr. Rutten is supposed to be a media writer but is really a polemicist and ardent Bush-hater who writes some pretty virulent stuff.  My friend and former law partner Ralph Kostant recently sent a pair of verbal missiles Mr. Rutten's way.  (Ralph is a registered Democrat, by the way.)

Ralph's first strike:

Dear Mr. Rutten:
Please read the column below from William Safire.  [Ralph attached this Safire editorial.]  I assume that a journalist of the stature and experience of Mr. Safire has some credibility in your eyes, and cannot be simply dismissed by you as a “pro-war blog” or a denizen of “the sea of malice, mendacity and misrepresentation that now churns around the affair of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame.” 
After you read the column, please ask yourself whether you owe your readers an apology for stating that your July 17 column on the Wilson affair constituted “full disclosure.”
How can you so cavalierly dismiss and slander responsible blog writers such as James Lileks (, Glen Reynolds (Instapundit) and Christopher Hitchens (Slate) by suggesting that they are malicious, mendacious or misrepresenting?  Those adjectives more properly should apply to Joseph Wilson and his promoters in the journalism and the media, whose motto seems to be, “Defeat George W. Bush at whatever cost to truth or our credibility.”   Why must you resort to baseless name calling?
But then again, I suppose that being a liberal columnist for the Los Angeles Times means never having to say you’re sorry.  Given your tendency toward name calling, you will probably describe this communication as “hate mail” from a “right-wing extremist.”

Ralph's second strike:

Dear Mr. Rutten:
Now it seems that the Washington Post has jumped into ““the sea of malice, mendacity and misrepresentation that now churns around the affair of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his wife, Valerie Plame,” to quote your column of July 17.  Are you ready to concede that the liberal media’s former campaign to canonize Mr. Wilson, so that they could attack President Bush as a liar who mislead the country into war, may have been a bit over the top?  My gosh, Wilson was put on the cover of Time Magazine and was given something called the Ron Ridenhour Award for Truth Telling, as if his column was tantamount to the disclosure of My Lai.   After complaining that his wife had been endangered by the disclosure of her CIA employment, and dramatically not allowing her to be photographed early on into his expertly engineered publicity campaign, within a month or so Mr. Wilson and Ms. Plame had arranged for a photo spread in Vanity Fair.  Perhaps your readers, who may not read the Washington Post or William Safire, should be made aware that your July 17 column did not quite provide the “full disclosure” that you promised.  Perhaps you should have mentioned that Lord Butler’s report stated that the famous 16 words in President Bush’s State of the Union address were “well founded.”  Perhaps you should even mention that Mr. Wilson’s web site was funded by the Kerry campaign.  All in the spirit of full disclosure, you understand. 

Something tells me Rutten will not be shaken from his blinkered views, but it's always good to see a few hits for the home team. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ralph, here [not anonymous]. Needless to say, I have not received a response from Mr. Rutten. He probably is inundated with emails, being a big media personality and all that.

Friday, July 23, 2004 10:33:00 AM  

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