Sunday, November 06, 2005

Schwarzenegger, L.A. Times Editorial Page, Both Deplorable

That the L.A. Times is very much a mixed bag these days can easily be seen this weekend, as the newspaper tries to have it both ways on Tuesday's California Special election. My advice: Believe Steve Lopez and Sacramento correspondent Dan Morain. Throw the Times editorial page in the trash. And look askance at the lead article in the paper by political writer Michael Finnigan.

The issue in this election is whether the attempt by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the disgraceful drug industry to fool the electorate will be solidly rejected. It is not, as Finnigan terms it, a power struggle between Schwarzenegger and the unions. Schwarzenegger is trying to bludgeon the unions, depriving them of power, while giving influence to the big, bad business interests. The unions, the teachers, the nurses, the police and firemen, are simply trying desperately to defend themselves against the assault.

Finnigan dropped the ball earlier this year while trying to mealy mouth the mayoral election. Now, he's doing the same with this election. He doesn't put things quite straight. If the chief task of a skillful political writer is to handle contradictions fairly, he doesn't measure up.

Lopez has it right, and, as usual, does not mince words. The best thing the Tribune Company's editor, John Carroll, did during his years at the Times was to hire Lopez.

Lopez writes of Schwarzenegger: "Can you believe this guy?

Schwarzenegger, he notes, promised in the Recall election "to get the special interests out of Sacramento."

But, instead, he "has busted all fundraising records, leading the charge in a runaway cash derby. He has forced an unnecessary election he'd love most voters to avoid in hopes that a small group of conservative zealots will win the day. And to put a ribbon on it all, the Terminator has chickened out of face-to-face debates with opponents.

"I'm not sure it is possible to be more hypocritical or insulting than that."

The writers on the Times editorial page are urging voters this morning to vote for both Propositions 74 and 75, shivving both the teachers and the unions.

Lopez demolishes their argument.

"Teacher tenure (Proposition 74) is a preposterous distraction from any honest discussion of education reform," he writes.

"Cracking down on the political influence of a single group (Proposition 75's attack on unions) raises the question: what about the rest of Sacramento's sweethearts, including the hordes of corporate hooligans."

Passing to Dan Morain, we owe a special tribute to his outstanding article a day ago on how the drug companies bought a host of fake endorsements, many of them from minority groups, on behalf of Proposition 78. Their aim was to avoid price controls on the outrageously priced prescription drugs.

A mailer on black politicians falsifies the position of many. This was put together by an old Sacramento sleaze, the former legislator Gwen Moore, who has done the bidding of the special interests before.

Morain's expertise is political fundraising, and it is probably worse in this election than any other. Schwarzenegger's corruption has made it all worse, and, hopefully, if he is defeated in this election, it will set him on the road to defeat for reelection next year. He not only groped those women, he is now attempting to manhandle all the people of California.

Also commendable is the article in Sunday's California section on misleading advertising in the campaign, by Evan Halper and Jordan Rau.

Under the newest Chicago Tribune implant, publisher Jeff Johnson, the Times editorial pages got rid of Michael Kinsley. But they have continued their downward spiral since, and that is evident this morning. The editorials oppose some of what Schwarzenegger has done, but by no means all of it. They are his accomplice on slashing away at the teachers and unions. The best thing to do with the editorials this morning, as I suggested, is to throw them in the trash and follow Morain and Lopez.

As for Finnigan, I'm disappointed. He has shown again in this election that he may mean well, but he lacks the skill to set things in the proper context.

The power struggle he writes about is the kind of bludgeoning Schwarzenegger's Nazi forebears used to try performing in the Old Country in the 1930s.


Anonymous jftrane said...

Ken -- I can't entirely agree with your knock on Schwarzenegger, but you've earned full forgiveness -- and a big thanks -- with your comments in the previous item on Scheer and those incessantly liberal reviewers in the Times Calendar section. When I'm reading those movie and TV reviews, I could swear I've mistakenly opened up the op-ed page. And it ain't Max Boot I'm reading.

11/06/2005 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The power struggle he writes about is the kind of bludgeoning Schwarzenegger's Nazi forebears used to try performing in the Old Country in the 1930s.

Guess that pretty much explains your constant suck up to Gropenfuer Lopez.

I can't understand whether you Leftists despise Hitler, or in some perverted way, actually admire him. The constant invocation of his name or of Nazi imagery seems to be a weird fetish of the left. Perhaps you can explain that if you find yourself having a lucid moment.

In all seriousness Ken, I had hoped that by being a longtime Times insider you might bring an interesting perspective to the current events and the Times coverage of them.

I find now that the title of the blog is an unintentional irony. Take back the Times indeed! It is the warped view of newsroom hacks like yourself (and Gropenfuer Lopez) that caused readers like me to find the Times as appealing as a large turd left on the front lawn.

Did you see the latest circulation figures on Drudge today? Yeah, I know – blame it all on the Tribune Co. Sloppy, biased journalism had nothing to do with it.

Average weekday circulation of America's 20 biggest newspapers for the six-month period ended Sept. 30, as reported Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. [The percentage changes are from the comparable year-ago period.

1. USA Today, 2,296,335, down 0.59 percent

2. The Wall Street Journal, 2,083,660, down 1.10 percent

3. The New York Times, 1,126,190, up 0.46 percent

4. Los Angeles Times, 843,432, down 3.79 percent

5. New York Daily News, 688,584, down 3.70 percent


11/07/2005 2:00 PM  

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