Thursday, July 12, 2007

O'Shea Drastically Cuts Back L.A. Times Poll

I've compared the Chicago-toadying L.A. Times editor, James O'Shea, in the past to Pierre Laval, the Vichy prime minister in occupied France during World War II, whose protestations of loyalty to France were cut short only when de Gaulle executed him for treason after the war was over.

The last time I did this I received a comment protesting the characterization as excessive.

However, I believe the comparison is quite apt. Like Laval, O'Shea continually protests his loyalty to the L.A. Times, even while falling all over himself to follow the orders of Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons to cut costs, lay off personnel and otherwise shepherd the L.A. Times into becoming a more and more inferior product. O'Shea certainly will not end up being executed for his depredations, but I'm confident that one day, and fairly soon, he will be ridden out of Los Angeles on a rail, viewed as a disgrace.

He is incorrigibly committed to making ridiculously false statements about what he is doing, and we see that again today in his announcement of a drastic cutback in the L.A. Times poll. Its staff is being cut from five to two, it will now "outsource" its interviews and it is seeking a new local partner (I hope this is not the Staples management).

O'Shea then has the effrontery in his statement to the Times staff to declare, "I am confident these changes will preserve and improve the L.A Times Poll, while creating an organization that will continue the excellence of the newspaper and the community."

Horseshit! Every time this so-called editor opens his mouth, his words are crap, and the whole staff recognizes it.

It is a trademark of the David Hiller-O'Shea tenure at the Times that they announce an initial cutback in a feature of the newspapers, like TV Times, only to completely abolish it in a short amount of time. It's a conditioning technique. They are hoping to ruin the paper in small steps, like heating up the water to a boil before the frog realizes it. However, the Times staff is not as dumb as a frog.

I hope these men are not treated with any respect at the paper these days. They absolutely do not deserve it.


Lisa Girion of the Times Business staff continues her excellent coverage of the many questions that have arisen about the integrity of Blue Cross of California, which gets rid of costly insureds, raises premiums, and frequently stiffs doctors and hospitals on payments. She reports in Wednesday's Times that the state will hold a July 19 public hearing in Los Angeles on whether Blue Cross has lived up to promises made to the state as a condition of a debt-increasing acquisition three years ago.

This is a company that like Tribune has treated Californians miserably. Girion notes that more than 1,600 complaints have been made to state authorities by consumers, physicians and hospitals about Blue Cross.

State agencies, notorious for their lack of stringent regulation over medical care and insurance in California, have talked about disciplining Blue Cross before. Let's see, if this time they mean it.


Just a brief tribute to Paul Weeks, a distinguished retired writer for the L.A. Times, who died this week at 86. Just days before he passed away of cancer in a hospice, Weeks was still writing a column distributed to friends. He vowed to write until he no longer could, and fulfilled that vow in full measure.

He was always a conscientious and honest reporter, and a humane man. All of his friends and admirers will miss him.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean no more great LA Times polls such as "Bustamante will beat Arnold" or "Gray Davis to survive recall"? Wow, what a loss!

7/12/2007 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with #1. The Times polls are no longer taken seriously. Guess they're still useful for push-polling though.

O'Shea must feel like the homeowner who begins with a simple remodel, only to find the house is riddled with termites and dry rot, the plumbing is shot, and the wiring is set to ignite.

I suppose the Times, much like a structure, has a useful life. After that, it's time for the wrecking ball.

7/13/2007 11:54 AM  

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