Monday, December 06, 2004

Sunday L.A. and N.Y. Times Show Papers Are Vital

Why are newspapers so essential in American life? You could see why in reading both the Sunday Los Angeles Times and New York Times yesterday, Dec. 5.

The beginning of a five-part series in the L.A. Times on the multiple failures of the King/Drew Medical Center in South Los Angeles was journalism at its best. The leaders of the team writing these articles, Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber, have been at work on this subject for more than a year. To the horror of the Times owners in Chicago, they may win yet another Pulitzer for a paper that in many respects puts the Chicago Tribune in the shade.

Two other articles in the L.A. Times Sunday also were, by themselves, worth the price of the paper: In the Times Magazine, David Feige told the story of young Seattle lawyer Jeffrey Fisher, who has argued two major cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and won both of them. In the Business Section, Kathy Kristof told of yet another scam on the public by the credit card companies.

I sometimes in this blog will be highly critical of aspects of The Times. Yet fairness requires that the editors primarily responsible for the news content of the paper, John Carroll and Dean Baquet, be given great credit for such offerings. Both are Tribune appointees who have resisted lamentable recent Tribune cutbacks at the paper.

The New York Times yesterday, meanwhile, carried a superb article by Adam Liptak and Ralph Blumenthal on how Rightwing ideologues on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit are defying the U.S. Supreme Court on death penalty cases. This article too performed a vital public service.

Henry Weinstein at the L.A. Times also has frequently written on the too-common lack of fairness in death penalty cases across the country.
The happy news is that the newspapers in this country often display the courage and give us the details that simply aren't available enough on cable television or even the big networks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blind squirrel... nuts... etc., etc.

12/08/2004 9:22 PM  

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