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When Liars Blame You

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Write-brained, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. Eddie_Vedder

    Eddie_Vedder Member

    You could have avoided this whole problem by bringing a tape recorder and starting the interview by saying, "Let's get you on the record now."
  2. So you lie, is what you're saying. Thanks for the info.

    You know, I'm not going to fucking get used to it. Excuse me for holding public officials up to the same fucking standards I follow. I don't lie .. not to my readers, not to my editors, not on my taxes (hi IRS), and my job is to keep honest the people in power. So no, I won't fucking get used to it.

    If nobody cares about what you write then you, and JoR-el for that matter, need to leave the goddamned business. Maybe it's because you prefer to be a sycophant with a pen, deriving simple pleasures from insulting doting moms, rather than trying to be a real reporter. Maybe you should be pushing to be better.

    Perhaps you'd be more useful as a publicist than a journalist. If you're going to accept people lying to you they will keep lying to you.
  3. No it wasn't on tape and I've found having it on tape isn't fool-proof either. One of my former papers required us to use tape recorders all the time. I caught a dude on tape but he later told my editors that he didn't know I was recording him (fucking liar) so fucking management got scared and refused run the story.

    Moral: Get them on tape saying they know they're on tape.

    Fortunately my current job goes to the mat for me. I still use a recorder on occassion but only when I think it's necessary ... this was a run of the mill interview that he fudged because he didn't think he'd get caught ... yet it probably would make sense to use a recorder with this guy next time, if only to make a point.
  4. ECrawford

    ECrawford Member

    I feel somewhat qualified to comment on this, having covered Bobby Petrino for four years. One of my favorite anecdotes was when he signed his first contract extension at Louisville. A TV reporter asks him, "Coach, there's talk about you being a candidate for the LSU job, does this mean you won't be a candidate for that job."

    His answer: "I think so, definitely."

    A week later, he interviews with LSU. When he finally decides after all is said and done to answer questions about it again, he denies ever saying that he wouldn't be a candidate.

    The fun part of it was that the audio of the quote was right there on the university web site, which I took no small amount of joy in pointing out.

    The main thing I found was to get these guys on the record somehow. If there's any doubt as to veracity, just get it into print, into the blog, into black and white. Then, when they say something different, they have to deal with their public words, not just words they said to you.

    Of course, what's happened to Write has probably happened to most people who have covered any beat for any length of time. And pissed us all off just as much!
  5. Gob Bluth

    Gob Bluth Member

    I was covering a second round playoff football game two year ago and I talked to the opposing coach. I just wanted a harmless what is your team about story. Who are the strong players, etc. I tell the coach up front that I am recording the conversation, and he says it is fine.

    The interview is going fine and all of the sudden the coach starts to rip into the conference the team I am covering plays in. He is like "this team is awful and their terrible." I was on the phone and I like this guys is nuts. This might the single greatest quote I have ever got from a coach on the record.

    At the end of the conversation he says "I hope I haven't hung myself too bad." I get off the phone and turn to my SE and play back the tape and he is just beside himself. Friday rolls around and we pull quote the coach and I get a phone call saying to check this message board about my story and how everybody down here is raging mad that this guy would say that about the conference.

    In two years on the job, I have never gotten a reaction like this. When I got to the stadium, everybody asked was it true. I was like, yes I wouldn't print it if it wasn't. The two teams were ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the state and the team I cover ends up winning like 35-7. It was a bloodbath and the conference as a whole went 3-0 on the night to put three teams in the Final 8 of state.

    The coach starts telling people that he didn't say anything and that I made the whole thing up. Of course I let the coaches from the team I cover hear the tape. They can't believe it and the coach never calls my shop to say anything.
  6. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    The key is to not ask them if you can tape them. Just put the recorder in a conspicuous place and let the subject know your recording to back up your notes.
  7. Running Bear

    Running Bear Member

    It's not being vindictive. If they lie, the public should know they're lying.

    And if this guy has lied to you before, you definitely use a tape recorder. Make sure he knows you're using it. I usually start out by saying (after I've turned it on), "You don't mind if I use this, do you?"

    A while back, a high school baseball team announced before a playoff game that it was protesting because the other team took batting practice earlier that day (not allowed per league rules at that time). Anyway, after the game, the coach of the accused team says, "What is this protest stuff? You can tell the whole league we'll be taking batting practice tomorrow morning." Mentions they've been doing it for years, and the previous coach did it before him.

    Next day, I hear from the league commissioner, the school's AD and a few other people that the coach is claiming he never said that -- that I made it up.

    Needless to say, I showed them my tape recorder and said, "Really? Want to hear a misquote?"

    Never had a problem with that coach again.
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