The L.A. Times and other news organizations got scooped bad when Ventura County Star reporter Aron Miller secured Drew Luster’s notebook at the hotel he had been hiding at recently, so it isn’t surprising that the Times would try smearing Miller:
On Saturday, a Star reporter fished a notebook from a trash can at Luster’s motel in Puerto Vallarta, motel manager Oscar Lopez told the Associated Press. Motel staff later threw out the notebook, Lopez said.I happen to have it on good authority that the motel manager gave Miller access to the hotel room where he found the notebook. It wasn’t in the trash, but neither the AP nor the LAT bothered to verify the facts. They just printed the claim without question. And they should have questioned. If Miller had the notebook, why was it up to Lopez to discard it? If you found a notebook in the trash, would you keep it, throw it out yourself or give it to the hotel manager to throw out? I mean, there is a disconnect between Lopez’s claim that Miller found the notebook in the trash and that the hotel staff later threw it out themselves. Yet, neither the Times nor AP bothered to question Lopez about this discrepency. Of course, it’s really a minor matter in the larger scheme of things, but I find it rather slimy of the times to smear another journalist on just an unimportant matter — a matter that could easily have been left out of the story if they couldn’t confirm it. It only matters because it contradicts Miller’s version of events, not because there would have been anything wrong with Miller or any other reporter retreiving the notebook from the trash. Miller’s a good, honest reporter. If he said he found the notebook in Luster’s room, that’s where he got it. Still, the Times did a good job on its story about Luster’s hiding the last few months. Of course, the FBI, which has whined about bounty hunter Duane Chapman’s handling of the case, didn’t bungle it:
The couple first contacted the FBI, Labanauskas said, but were frustrated by the response. They then contacted Duane Lee “Dog” Chapman, the bounty hunter who had publicly vowed to find the fugitive. But with only vague information, Chapman was not that interested, Labanauskas said.
On June 8, the couple called their hosts in Mexico, asking Labanauskas and Rains to take a look at the “most wanted” list on the FBI’s Web site.
Under Andrew Luster’s name, Carrera’s face stared back.
“I was 100% sure it was him,” Labanauskas said.
Why am I not surprised the FBI was slow to respond on a tip about the whereabouts of a convicted rapist?