Staff reporter Glenn Bunting's first-person cover piece in the L.A. Times Magazine on Sunday dinging the reputation of author and Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford is prompting some pointed letters at Romenesko's site.
Bunting wrote that he decided to fact check Deford's body of work at the suggestion of his octogenarian golf instructor, who complains all the time about the writer's exaggerations.
We document about four dozen excerpts that contain factual errors or embellishment. Most come from Deford's weekly commentaries and columns. That strikes me as a high number, particularly for a writer of Deford's stature. I know how hard my colleagues labor to avoid mistakesand how journalists who play loose with the facts do nothing to enhance the public's trust in our profession.
Increasingly I am intrigued that a man who has received such acclaim for his work may well suffer from the human frailties that afflict writers much younger and far less famous. How could this be? I decide to pursue the story.
Mostly the letter writers defend Deford and ask, more or less, why was this story done. Matt Welch follows up his letter with a rant of some length on his blog (where he also ponders the Curse of the LAT's Third Editorial).