Comments from around the Web: Chuck Philips' debunked Tupac story
Among the hundreds of responses to this week's debunked LA Times story on the murder of Tupac Shakur, and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' alleged involvement in it, have been a few fascinating and incendiary allegations. What follows are a few of the most intriguing.
From an anonymous post to the Velvet Rope music industry message board:
That the Times continues to publish Philips in regards to this story is pathetic. This is not the random mistake of a seasoned reporter who slipped up. Philips has systematically bent, twisted, rearranged, processed, covered up and stomped on the truth. Either through the syntax of his writing or the false conclusions he suggests, it has been a textbook case of gross manipulation. To people who have spent any time studying this case (the most fascinating crime story of the past 20 years) Chuck Philips is simply a joke. It is sad to see The Times continue to be the butt of that joke.
I rarely comment here, but I'm dying to know if I'm alone in my utter shock at how Phillips' actions here, and for the past decade, in covering this story haven't raised more eyebrows.
I haven't followed the Biggie/Tupac saga as closely as some, but it seems that for years Phillips was aggressively trying to convince the world that the Suge Knight-led cabal of Bloods/Rogue LAPD officers named as the Tupac/Biggie killers in Randall Sullivan's book "LAbryinth" had nothing to do with either murder --this, against all logic, reason and tons of mounting evidence.
To me, it seemed the only possible reasons for Phillips' coverage were due to:
a) Some inexplicable need to be contrarain.
b) Threats by Suge or his camp
or c) A payoff from Suge to circulate these counter theories about how everyone and their mother was involved in the two murders other than him.
Also, it seemed like after Violetta Wallace won her lawsuit against the LAPD, that Phillips was given a long leave -- I didn't seen his byline for a while and assumed that he'd been put out to pasture for what was his suspiciously innacurrate reporting of those cases (something effectively confirmed by the court's ruling in favor of Wallace).
Now that Suge seems like a diminished threat/issue, Phillips is still trying - perhaps to salvage his damaged reputation - to pin these crimes on someone else, to the point that he tried to flog the fantastic claims of a well-documented attention seeking nut.
Again, that's just my vague sense of it. Am I wrong? And if not, shouldn't media critics and the Wallace/Shakur estates be calling for some kind of investigation as to Phillips' real motives for all this damaging and clearly fraudulent reporting?
I dunno, maybe I'm just missing something here.
(note: the commenter, Bob Mehr, is the music editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal; I confirmed via telephone that he indeed posted this comment.)
And, finally, the LA Times message board has been on fire in response to the story. What follows are some of the best comments.
1. I invested about an hour reading that Tupac crap. An hour of life, I'll never get back. Thanks LA Times. Submitted by: News Knight 12:58 PM PDT, March 28, 2008
2. Even better of a reporter! how many have the guts to admit there wrong, please keep up the good writing! and to the Times if you let Chuck go, I will never pick up another LA Times again!! Submitted by: kido 12:39 PM PDT, March 28, 2008
14. I think it's about time they start doing some researching on mr. shakur. Because we have no Idea if the killer is still out there, or if it was the feds or cia! This is Culture! This is history . Let us find out! Submitted by: Piccini - Denmark 5:02 AM PDT, March 28, 2008
17. hahahahahahahahahaha Submitted by: hahahahaa 1:25 AM PDT, March 28, 2008
20. sue diddy sue! Submitted by: mt 10:55 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
32. I think this is going to turn out to be a case where Chuck Philips believed the documents were true because they confirmed his long-held biases in this story. The one last piece of the puzzle he was looking for just happened to cross his path, and he jumped on it without using any judgement. This is pathological behavior, not reporting. It is also a sickness, and the editors should acknowledge it as such by firing him. I don't know how Philips can be trusted to write an accurate story after this debacle, Submitted by: observer 5:03 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
38. The documents used may be forged, but Tupac Shakur himself believed that this same group of people set him up to be killed, and he said so repeatedly, both in interviews (Vibe) and in several songs, notably "Hit 'Em Up." Read the lyrics and check out the interview in Vibe. The only people that knew he was coming to that studio that night were these people. It was obviously a setup. Look into the facts yourself. The source may be faulty, but the information is quite probably correct. Tupac believed so. Chuck Phillips is one of the only ones trying to get some justice for this talented man. I wish he would look into Suge Knight... :o Submitted by: West Side 3:53 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
39. You just fueled a nearly dead fire. Dangerous. Submitted by: jj 3:50 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
65. Where does Puffy go to get his reputation back? Submitted by: A reader 2:00 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
66. Why is ANYBODY even reporting on or reading this crap about these thugs anyway! The importance of Tupac, Puffy, Icebox, Poopfrog, or whoever is beyond irrelevant! Now get a life and get involved with something that really matters! I know...I was here, and commented...see...3 minutes of my life I will never get back! And remember, TUPAC spelled backwards is... CA PUT. Submitted by: Mr. Scary 1:59 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
71. In a 3.21.08 interview, Philips maintained he triple sources all his information: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1583921/20080321/2pac.jhtml So, Chuck, who were the other two sources who confirmed the bogus FBI docs? Submitted by: A, Skeptic 1:49 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
74. Just more crap coming out of LA. Submitted by: Jeff 1:36 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
103. I'd $ay thi$ i$ the the price the paper pay$ for budget cut$ which continue to deva$tate the new$room. It's a real shame. Submitted by: BobCov 12:18 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
104. this article is true Submitted by: mark 12:10 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
105. What's sad is the few days it took The Smoking Gun to completely debunk a story that Chuck Phillips has been working on for years. And forget the documents, Chuck didn't bother to find out if Sabatino was in fact a promoter and the son of a Mafia captain. He clearly did not research Sabatino AT ALL or he would have found him out easily, forget the documents. Submitted by: Windu 12:09 PM PDT, March 27, 2008
130. WEST COAST ALL THE WAY Submitted by: RICK 11:06 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
153. I believe Chuck Phillips has been on the right track since he started looking into this series of events years ago. I would encourage him to press on, and applaud him and the paper for admitting what appears to be a mistake (although I am not entirely convinced of such). Submitted by: Whitey 10:32 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
155. That's whack! You know it, I know It and even pac knew it way back then. This is not a mystery. Just because those statements we're from convicts doesn't mean everything they say is not true. I still believe that those chumps we're involved at SOME CAPACITY. And the Times are weak! for apologizing just because they felt pressure from puffy. Just like the story was written only pac didn't give in to puff. There was no apology when The times published the numerous articles on the BIG murder. Submitted by: Ryan V. 10:26 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
159. EITHER RESIGN OR BE FIRED... THIS IS A NO-NO FOR A LEADING NEWSPAPER Submitted by: FIRE THEM 10:19 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
189. LA Times is not at fault, Why have there not been any arrests for Tupac's Killers???? Good Job LA, in keeping Tupac's memory alive. Submitted by: Tito 9:26 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
205. I understand the Times said that they did this article because the web "skews young", which makes them sound like old people. Well I read the LA Times on-line everyday, I'm young and I wonder about the issues raised by Henry Waxman on the Iraq War including SLAVE LABOR at the US Embassy in Iraq not about who shot at 2Pac in the nineties. Think about it. Plus, now you have to apologize to someone I hate: Puffy! Submitted by: A Garcia 9:00 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
232. By the time Sean Combs is done with the Times his name will appear on the masthead. This is going to cost a bundle. Submitted by: Meg 8:03 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
242. Chuck Phillips has been spreading lies about B.I.G's involvement in Tupac's death for years and he couldn't stop there - he even accused Puff and B.I. for the first shooting too. I'm glad to witness Chuck's credibility being displayed for what it is - PHONY!! As a fan of Tupac and B.I.G. I've been sick of the Chuck Phillip's persistent lies not being put in check by the LA Times. Shame on both of them. Chuck do yourself a favor - find a new occupation. LA Times - show you have some balls and fire Chuck and his the managing editor that perpetrated this lie. Submitted by: Andre Hall 7:40 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
295. In your internal investigation, please answer the following questions: 1. Why did the LAT rely on documents, supposedly written by FBI agents, which had such glaring spelling and grammar mistakes?. Did it never occur to anyone at the LAT that FBI agents are lawyers trained in the English language, and because of their occupation and training, not inclined to make such consistent grammatical and spelling mistakes?. Submitted by: J. Welch 5:38 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
296. A typewriter? Come on? Pulitzer Prize? When I went to journalism school you actually had to interview people and get them to talk on the record. Fire these people. Submitted by: Murrow 5:38 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
314. Chuck, does this mean you're not going to run my "partying wit Hendrix" story? Submitted by: James Sabatino 2:50 AM PDT, March 27, 2008
328. thank you thank you thank you Smoking Gun - which means, the LATimes is a Bush League paper, let the professionals on the web handle it from here on out guys.... Submitted by: MLG 11:34 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
334. Interesting the way the author of the original article is never mentioned, isn't it? I wouldn't bet too much on his future! Submitted by: Joseph Blow 8:43 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
339. Chuck Phillips, shame on you. First your lies about Biggie handing over the gun that killed Tupac, now your lies about Tupac's first shooting. Submitted by: KW 7:21 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
344. Wow...this is pathetic. Can't wait for the explanation. Submitted by: JD 5:14 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
345. Who really cares why they were killed and by whom. It was the fulfillment of their own prophecies. Submitted by: Jake D 5:01 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
354. Your paper should engage a qualified document examiner for every provocative document you write about, especially when it involves such serious crimes. Submitted by: Jack 3:37 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
358. Maybe the Times should hire Dan "Mr. Verification" Rather as its new Editor-in-Chief. And the elitist hacks at rags like the NYT, LAT, and so many others wonder why their circulation is dropping through the floor into the cellar ? Submitted by: MDWhite 2:58 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
363. If the LA Times are looking for some more "stories" to work on, here are a couple of ideas: 1. Bigfoot, was he really an ex ABA basketball player? 2. Elfs...Fact or fiction? 3. Elvis shoots JFK...LA Times has the doucments. 4. Did 9/11 really happen? You hacks should start working on these stories asap! Submitted by: Fair and Balanced 2:22 PM PDT, March 26, 2008
366. Oops... Submitted by: Reader 2:12 PM PDT, March 26, 2008