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Monday, November 28, 2005

Perkins "Can't Take the Lies"

In case you haven't seen it yet, Ken Parish Perkins talked to Richard Prince of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education last week. (You have my apologies for the Thanksgiving delay.) I don't really have anything to say about Perkins' comments, because he didn't really address me directly--that reference to the "bottomless pit of the internet" could be anyone! But I should note that a) Perkins denies that he cooked quotes--"I've never invented quotes, nor done anything like that"--and b), he denies that he was removed from his post as TV critic.

Regarding a): Bob Sirott and Steve Brill both told me, on the record, that Perkins quoted them saying things that they did not, in fact, say. In Sirott's case, he first made the charge on the air on his television show on the morning the story in question appeared, the charge was picked up at the time in the Chicago Reader, and the Chicago Tribune published a correction contending that Perkins treated paraphrased material as direct quotes. In Brill's case, Brill told me that he called his friend (and my former boss, and my wife's current boss) Jim Warren, then the Tribune's Washington bureau chief, to alert him to Perkins' inventions. Warren confirmed that account to Richard Prince in this post.

Regarding b): This is what Perkins said about his departure from the Tribune:
"They didn't remove me from the TV critic's post," he continued. "I said let me take some time to think about this." When he returned, "They said, 'we want you to work nights in Metro.' They just wanted me to leave."
I think it's self-evident that Perkins' account is not internally consistent. Being asked to work nights in Metro and being removed from the critic's post are the same thing.