Fired LA Times reporter Eric Slater tells Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post that he got lazy on his disputed story about Chico — "It was the worst story I've written in my life" — but says he didn't make anything up and shouldn't have been dismissed. The Times, in its editor's note on the story, said it could not account for two named sources, Mike Rodriguez and Paul Greene, as well as various unnamed sources.
"I believe the L.A. Times thought I was Jayson Blair," Slater says, referring to the serial fabricator at the New York Times...
"I got lazy," Slater says, adding that he conducted the interviews in bars and did not have phone numbers for Rodriguez and Greene. He says he could not prove he was in Chico because he slept 30 miles away on a side trip to pick up a BMW motorcycle. He also says the story "morphed, evolved and devolved" during a torturous editing process but that he takes "full responsibility" for the mistakes.
"Should I have been reprimanded or demoted? Yes," says Slater, who won an award for his coverage of Afghanistan. But he argued the mistakes "didn't warrant my dismissal."
The Slater item is at the bottom of a Kurtz piece on Matt Drudge.