Friday, May 13, 2005

Los Angeles Times Falling Down In Its Coverage, Editorializing Of Mayoral Campaign

The Los Angeles Times, the newspaper owned by outsiders who do not have the city's interests at heart, is falling down badly in both its coverage and its editorializing of the campaign for Mayor between City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa and the inept incumbent, Mayor James Hahn.

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Falling down? Falling down?

C'mon Ken. The Editorial Pages are a disgrace; a disgrace to the Times and a disgrace to the City of Los Angeles.

How can we ever expect to be a world class city without a world class newspaper?

You have effetively identified Kinsley as a fish out of water and an absentee editor; that goes well with an absentee mayor.

But on Tuesday, the voters will change that mayor; what about the Times?

Will this be another Howell Raines type situation where we need to dump John Carroll in order to rid ourselves of a loser like Kinsley?

More and more, it is beginning to look that way.

You have defended Carroll in the past; and you give him a pass in this post as well.

Isn't it about time to start examining his shortcomings? (Throw in his indefensible identification of suicide bombers, murderers and killers as "insurgents" or "freedom fighters" in Israel for good measure)

Remember, a dead fish stinks from the head first.

5/14/2005 7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken, please explain how Hahn's campaign is racist in nature? That's a serious charge to be floating without evidence. I thought you were a reporter?

5/14/2005 9:18 PM  
Blogger Schadelmann said...

The "mad libs" style articles on the campaign professionals is a particular disservice to the reader, because they don't really talk about what it is these guys really do (and do not do), nor do they hold them particularly accountable for deeds bad & good.

5/16/2005 12:20 PM  
Blogger Schadelmann said...

I too commented on some of the coverage of the's unfortunate to see the Times go the way it seems to be going because really, it was (and could still be) the best. Beats the hell out of the papers in SF, tha'ts for sure...

5/16/2005 12:21 PM  
Blogger Schadelmann said...

whoops sorry about the double entry there!

5/16/2005 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Hahn an ineffective Mayor, I don't think so.

After 9/11 most economic experts thought LA would go in the tank. As the next target on the terrorist hit list, city financial analysts predicted that the city would not be able to fill vacancies in most departments or do many capitol improvement projects. Instead something far different happened. Under Jim Hahn, Los Angeles was able to:

Double the number of libraries in the city, from 36 to 72 and did it without upsetting neighbors who had to deal with new traffic in their areas.

Hired more police and cut the crime rate.

Eliminated the Business License tax and cut other business taxes dramatically.

Created a revolutionary program to help high school seniors identify colleges they were elgible to get into and to find funding sources for whatever school they might choose to attend.

Helped the school district build numerous new schools by finding available city land. This was done in a way that didn't destroy residential neighborhoods.

Jim Hahn made the first real attempt of any Mayor to force developers to provide mitigation for any traffic problems their developments create. This was done over much opposition from the City Council including Antonio Villaraigosa.

Jim Hahn created a $100 Million dollar housing trust fund to help with the housing crises, but ensured that all new units would be compatible with surrounding neighborhoods.

Jim Hahn successfully fought for expansion of our bus and rapid transit programs, the first Mayor to work seriously on confronting these issues. He fought for light rail along the Crenshaw corridow when no one thought it could happen.

Jim Hahn kept the Port at San Pedro open after 9/11, the only major port in the country to do so, saving millions of dollars that might have otherwise been lost.

He has also rebuilt the area around "Ports of Call" making it a tourist destination, without harming the neighborhoods.

Jim Hahn changed more of the cities vehicles to clean air vehicles than any Mayor in history. He created a program at the Harbor that has led to a net minus in emissions in the area.

Jim Hahn led the way to Los Angeles cutting by 60% the amount of landfill space we use.

As City Attorney he fought against an oil pipeline that would have run right through the middle of the City of Los Angeles. He also opposed the Occidental Petroleum plan to drill in the Palisades, unlike his opponent.

You can say what you want about Jim Hahn, including that you don't like his personal style. But to say he hasn't accomplished anything is ridiculous.

5/17/2005 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Twisting the Pudding said...

Boy, I hope those astroturfing Hahn staffers can find new jobs now that their boss has been bounced out on his ass.

5/18/2005 3:23 PM  
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