When Leopold’s story was first called into question a few weeks ago, Salon’s Tim Grieve reminded readers of Leopold’s checkered history with the publication. Salon removed Leopold’s August 29, 2002 story about Enron from its site after it was discovered that he plagiarized parts from the Financial Times and was unable to provide a copy of an email that was critical to the piece. Leopold’s response? A hysterical rant (linked above) which claimed that Salon’s version of events was “nothing but lies,” and that “At this point, I wonder why Salon would go to great lengths to further twist the knife into my back. I suppose the New York Times will now release their version of the events. I can see the headline now ‘Jason Leopold Must Die.’” In other words, people are out to get him, and it’s not his fault.
Fast forward to March 2005, when Leopold’s memoir, Off the Record, was set to be released. In the book, according to Howard Kurtz, Leopold says that he details his own “lying, cheating and backstabbing,” and comes clean about how he got fired from the Los Angeles Times and quit Dow Jones just before they fired him because, as he said, it “Seems I got all of the facts wrong” on a story about Enron.
But the book was not to be. Rowman & Littlefield, the book’s publisher, cancelled production just before it went to press after one of the book’s sources threatened to sue. That source, Steven Maviglio, who was a spokesman for California Governor Gray Davis, said that Leopold “just got it completely wrong” when recounting how he allegedly told Leopold that he “might have broken the law by investing in energy companies using inside information.”
True to form, Leopold blamed his publisher for the controversy, claiming the allegations about Maviglio were not in his book, and, as Kurtz summarized it, “the company’s publicist took that and other material from his book proposal, not the finished manuscript.”
If there is one common theme that emerges from all of Leopold’s journalistic snafus, it’s that none of it seems to be his fault. We probably won’t have to wait long before we hear the same tired refrain from him about the Rove story.
But we wonder when editors will finally figure out his game, save themselves the trouble, and just stop publishing him.
Editor’s Note: Initially this post mistakenly attributed certain statements made by Mark Ash, Jason Leopold’s editor, to Leopold himself. The attribution has since been corrected.