Smoking Gun scoops the L.A. Times
March 26, 2008 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Then again, maybe Puff Daddy wasn't involved in the shooting of Tupac.
It looks like the L.A. Times' March 17th story drew upon forged FBI reports created with a prison typewriter by James Sabatino. The Times is now conducting an internal review.

The con man, James Sabatino, 31, has long sought to insinuate himself, after the fact, in a series of important hip-hop events, from Shakur's shooting to the murder of The Notorious B.I.G.. In fact, however, Sabatino was little more than a rap devotee, a wildly impulsive, overweight white kid from Florida whose own father once described him in a letter to a federal judge as "a disturbed young man who needed attention like a drug."

Just the fact that the Smoking Gun has undone the L.A. Times is perhaps even more interesting than the debate over who shot Tupac Shakur. Chuck Philips, author of the original story in the Times, won a Pulitzer in 1999.
posted by mecran01 (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Is this Sabatino guy the same big fat white prisoner seen getting weepy about supposedly being somehow involved with the murders in the "Biggie and Tupac" documentary? It's been a while since I've seen it. Jesus, what an asshole. The reason both guys died is because of shit like this: media outlets stirring up the controversy in order to move product. Tupac said as much himself at the Video Music Awards shortly before he died.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:39 PM on March 26, 2008


He's off partying with Elvis and Ken Lay.
posted by delmoi at 1:40 PM on March 26, 2008


The reason both guys died is because of shit like this: media outlets stirring up the controversy in order to move product.

All these years I've been conned into believing it was a bullet in the head.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:42 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm just amazed that the Smoking Gun has become a Serious News Source.
posted by mecran01 at 1:50 PM on March 26, 2008


All these years I've been conned into believing it was a bullet in the head.

Hurf durf. The reason it got to that point was because of the media throwing fuel on the fire. The east/west feud was a media creation that started as a problem between two men and turned into a civil war.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:50 PM on March 26, 2008


So Investigative Reporter Chuck Phillips gets a Bullshitzer Prize to go along with his Pulitzer. You'd think the press would've learned to stop treating habitual liars as 'confidential sources' since the con job leading up to the Iraq War. (Yes, I went there.) Then again, the LATimes has been going downhill steadily since the new Tribune management came in to 'save it', and I was already wondering how injecting itself into a 14-year-old second-tier-celebrity murder would increase its relevance.
posted by wendell at 1:52 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]



All these years I've been conned into believing it was a bullet in the head.

Hurf durf. The reason it got to that point was because of the media throwing fuel on the fire. The east/west feud was a media creation that started as a problem between two men and turned into a civil war.


Oh man, did y'all hear about the beef between Armitage Shanks and DecemberBoy? That feud's gettin' pretty heavy - shit's crazy, yo.
posted by Someone has just shot your horse! at 1:56 PM on March 26, 2008


Yeah, if one of us gets killed, I blame MetaFilter.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:58 PM on March 26, 2008


I blame Dan Rather.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:02 PM on March 26, 2008


The Los Angeles Times has been a horrible newspaper for as long as I can remember, if only for the incredibly poor writing.
posted by dhammond at 2:03 PM on March 26, 2008


The Los Angeles Times has been a horrible newspaper for as long as I can remember, if only for the incredibly poor writing.

As opposed to the paper stock?
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:06 PM on March 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Having read only the online version of the LA Times, I can say that at least they cleaned up their website in the past year or so. As for the quality of the writing and editing, I agree there is much to be desired (except the superlative automotive reviews provided by Dan Neil).
posted by psp200 at 2:13 PM on March 26, 2008


So Diddy? Or Didn't he?
posted by jfrancis at 2:14 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


In fact, however, Sabatino was little more than a rap devotee, a wildly impulsive, overweight white kid from Florida whose own father once described him in a letter to a federal judge as "a disturbed young man who needed attention like a drug."

I find this to be an incredibly biting description. It's as if they wanted to chose a wording that was the most derogatory thing possible without being directly insulting.

It's actually quite masterful in the message that it conveys.
posted by quin at 2:17 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is not Bureau of Prisons policy to allow cross-country furloughs. Even to attend the Soul Train Music Awards.

Ha. Also, everyone knows that Jay-Z killed Tupac AND Biggie to make way for his dominance of hip hop since the 1996 release of Reasonable Doubt.
posted by shmegegge at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sabatino now claims he got the documents from a woman named "Lucy Ramirez".
posted by Class Goat at 2:22 PM on March 26, 2008


> I'm just amazed that the Smoking Gun has become a Serious News Source.

You could go back to reading the Drudge Report, if you prefer.
posted by ardgedee at 2:35 PM on March 26, 2008


The Los Angeles Times has been a horrible newspaper for as long as I can remember, if only for the incredibly poor writing.

As opposed to the paper stock?
Given the audience around here, it's important to distinguish between bad writing and bad font choice...
posted by anthill at 2:57 PM on March 26, 2008


Sabatino now claims he got the documents from a woman named "Lucy Ramirez".

"Ricardo" was taken. Isn't Ramirez like the equivalent of Smith?
posted by tracicle at 3:05 PM on March 26, 2008


Also, when you're forging documents that were supposedly filled in with a typewriter, do try to avoid using a non-monospaced font.
posted by heresiarch at 3:09 PM on March 26, 2008


I was in Las Vegas the day Tupac died. That is all.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2008


This shit makes the Hip-hop record industry sound like the alternate universe Star Trek where everybody had to assassinate superior officers in order to get promoted in the more brutal Imperial Federation.

It would explain the goatees and eye patches.
posted by tkchrist at 4:24 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Puff Daddy killed rap music, not just Tupac. It's bigger than hip-hop!
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 5:05 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


As opposed to the paper stock?

Heh. What I meant was that the writing itself is poor, factual inaccuracies aside. Even when they get stuff right, it still sucks.
posted by dhammond at 6:21 PM on March 26, 2008


I'm just amazed that the Smoking Gun has become a Serious News Source.

Really? The Smoking Gun has always been a pretty solid source for original documents related to current events. Their whole raison d'ĂȘtre is providing solid back-up for the stories they post. I'd love to know why you think of them differently, because from here you just sound confused.
posted by mediareport at 6:30 PM on March 26, 2008


C'mon. Some of their most popular items are concert riders and funny mug shots.
posted by smackfu at 7:40 PM on March 26, 2008


That's not their fault. The point is they've always been good about linking directly to source documents. It's what they do. Hard to see why anyone would be surprised when they do the same for a more "serious" story.
posted by mediareport at 8:22 PM on March 26, 2008


I killed Tupac.

Now I can sleep.
posted by xmutex at 8:41 PM on March 26, 2008


I killed Tupac.

Yeah, well, I invented the remix.

Each of us has our cross to bear, yo.
posted by gompa at 10:48 PM on March 26, 2008


Did anybody else read about Sabatino's hustling and think of the "extreme New York childhood" kid profiled in NY Mag a couple of months ago? I would not be surprised to see that kid end up in some Sabatino-like circumstances in a few years...
posted by erlkonig at 2:37 AM on March 27, 2008


The reason it got to that point was because of the media throwing fuel on the fire. The east/west feud was a media creation that started as a problem between two men and turned into a civil war.

This is an absurd statement. The media did not give these men the guns that killed them. The media did not suggest Tupac and Suge Knight, Mob Piru Blood associates, stomp Orlando Anderson, a Crip, one night in Las Vegas. That beating was most likely the event that precipitated Tupac's being gunned down. Not stories in Vibe and The Sauce about the East Coast/West Coast beef.
posted by haqspan at 6:42 AM on March 27, 2008


Why isn't there a website called "Rap star or Pirate?
Really? The Smoking Gun has always been a pretty solid source for original documents related to current events. Their whole raison d'ĂȘtre is providing solid back-up for the stories they post. I'd love to know why you think of them differently, because from here you just sound confused.
posted by mediareport at 7:30 PM on March 26 [+] [!]
I guess I missed some of the hard hitting stories that The Smoking Gun has been publishing because of the preponderance of funny mug shots and tales of green, St. Patrick's day-themed crack. When I look at that weird blend of tabloid journalism and longer, more serious pieces, I think it's easy to see where the confusion resides.
posted by mecran01 at 12:35 PM on March 27, 2008


and a retraction by the L.A. Times.
posted by mecran01 at 10:59 AM on April 7, 2008


« Older The...  |  The Most Insane, Child-Warping... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments