Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Lopez Column In L.A. Times Sees Greed and Graft in 2005

Steve Lopez, the L.A. Times columnist, used to work for Time magazine, and it's good he left the magazine, because he has a steadier, more sober view of world affairs than Time has.

This is demonstrated once again by Lopez's column today, Dec. 28, "No Dearth of Greed and Gfaft in 2005," as contrasted by Time's pie-in-the-sky view in its "Persons of the Year" issue out last week.

Time is very pro-entreprenurial. It is always telling its readers of the latest gadgets, the latest trends and generally it takes too upbeat a view of what is happening.

Lopez is more realistic. There is a no-nonsense quality to his writings which is refreshing.

Today's column, with its mentions of the Vioxx debacle, the 25% increase in drug prices the last five years, the extravagant wages paid CEOs, and sundry other scandals is far more typical of 2005 than the charitable work done by Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates, which laudable as it is, was not, as Time claims, really the keynote of the year.

Right next to Lopez's column in today's paper, however, is a truly heartwarming story by Hector Becerra about how a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, Jeff Kim, saved the lives of two children he caught when they jumped 15 feet out of a burning building in Watts. This was a lovely Christmas week story.

Time, however, is too impressed, too often, with sunny personalities, who, if the real story is known, turn out not to be as wonderful as advertised. With such optimistic writers as Nancy Gibbs it often presents too glitzy a view of what's happening.

And, besides, Lopez has a very good sense of humor. Time and Newsweek are not nearly as witty.

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