Los Angeles Times Falling Down In Its Coverage, Editorializing Of Mayoral Campaign
Although the Times finally endorsed Villaraigosa last week, it was a very weak endorsement, and now, as usual, the ersatz liberal Michael Kinsley, editor of the editorial pages, hasn't followed through on the endorsement with any editorializing on the racist nature of the Hahn campaign.
Hahn isn't an effective mayor. All he can do is smear, the way Sam Yorty smeared Tom Bradley 35 years ago. The Times wasn't very effective in its support of Bradley in his first run for mayor, against Yorty, in 1969, but at least it did try to point out the nature of the Yorty campaign. Now, the Times, keeping the absentee Seattle resident Kinsley in a position he doesn't deserve, hasn't even done that.
Just as serious is the illogical placement of stories in the Times on the campaign. This morning, May 13, for example the lead campaign stories are an innocuous feature on the campaign managers on Page 1 and another innocuous one leading the California section on the telephone campaign by Michael Finnigan and Jessica Garrison, while the significant story, the one about Hahn's ad, resurrecting a four-year-old attack against Villaraigosa, by the more trenchant writer, Richard Fausset, is buried in the back of the California section.
This is an old trick of weak newspapers, keep the hard news at the back. Harrison Salisbury, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent, used to point out how Pravda, the Soviet Communist paper, would relegate its really significant news, such as the latest Stalinist purge, to paragraphs at the back.
The Daily News in the San Fernando Valley has been doing a better job overall of covering the mayoral campaign than the Times.
The voters of Los Angeles have succumbed to racist campaigns before, in part because the Times did a poor job of pointing out what was going on.
Is Los Angeles going to have the courage to elect an able mayor who happens to be a Latino? We'll know next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, gutsy reporters at the paper should be pointing out to management that the coverage is falling down.