Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.
What I don't get is why the Times' news reporters even feel the need to influence the paper's editorial page content. Based on Martinez's observation/acknowledgment that the newsroom has an "agenda," those reporters already have their own editorial pages, which just happen to be known as "the rest of the newspaper."
Following this NewsBusters post on Wednesday (3/21/07), the Los Angeles Times has admitted it "oversimplified the eugenics views of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger."
On Wednesday, we took issue with this article by Stephanie Simon in the Los Angeles Times that stated that Sanger "did not support coerced birth control." Simon also wrote that Sanger had merely "associate[d] with proponents of eugenics, the philosophy that only the most worthy should be allowed to reproduce"
In our article, we demonstrated that Sanger's own words suggested the opposite. In her 1922 book, The Pivot of Civilization, Sanger wrote, "Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period." For men, Sanger recommended the "policy of immediate sterilization." In other writings, Sanger referred to some members of humanity as "human weeds."
Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly finally provided some perspective on the U.S. attorney firing story with some information the mainstream media will not report. On the March 22 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor," O’Reilly exposed much of the media spin on the situation from members of the White House press corps to several print media outlets. He then explained plausible reasons why three of the eight U.S. attorneys were fired.
The mainstream media hinted that the administration fired San Diego attorney Carol Lam for prosecuting former Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham. What they failed to report is that Ms. Lam did not aggressively prosecute illegal alien criminals. Her lax approach concerned even Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein. Paul Charlton was not aggressive in pursuing marijuana cases, and even the liberal "Los Angeles Times" editorialized against fired attorney Kevin Ryan.
An article by Stephanie Simon in today's Los Angeles Times (Wednesday, March 21, 2007) states that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger "did not support coerced birth control." However, Sanger's own words suggest otherwise (all emphasis mine):
"[M]odern society ... is now confronted with the problem of protecting itself and its future generations against the inevitable consequences of this long-practised policy of LAISSER-FAIRE.
"The emergency problem of segregation and sterilization must be faced immediately. Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period. Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear imbecile children, who in turn are just as certain to breed other defectives. The male defectives are no less dangerous. Segregation carried out for one or two generations would give us only partial control of the problem. Moreover, when we realize that each feeble-minded person is a potential source of an endless progeny of defect, we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded.
In Monday's Los Angeles Times, reporter James Rainey raised the issue of a conflict between political reporting and family ties: "Some of America's most prominent political journalists are, quite literally, wedded to the 2008 presidential race: Their spouses work for one of the candidates." Rainey made a short list of four of the conflicted:
Los Angeles Times columnist (and longtime political reporter) Ron Brownstein tackles the issue of the Nevada Democratic Party dumping Fox News Channel as a debate partner. He thinks this rejection is similar to how "conservatives deal with mainstream media organizations they consider biased against them." Put aside for a minute the odd notion that Republican Party organizations or politicians would refuse to do debates thrown by liberal networks. As if. In his March 16 column, Brownstein's peddling the old canard that Fox News is exponentially more biased than "mainstream" news organizations:
The situation isn't exactly parallel. For all the howling on the right, it's difficult to argue that mainstream news organizations operate with anything approaching Fox' partisan and ideological agenda. (E-mails: commence now.) But there's no question many conservatives feel as wronged by elements of the mainstream media as Democrats do by Fox.
Why is it every time I see a newspulper headline about Barack Obama I envision the editors in near orgasmic delight over the "multiculturalism" they perceive in Obama, or the "connection" he has with all the peoples of the world? Or the near hero worship of his "clean and articulate" abilities they wallow in, for that matter? And how come I get a corresponding feeling that all I am getting is delightful puffs of air but no substance when I'm done reading the piece that goes with the sweetness and honey that is the headline?
What in heaven's name has gotten into Sam Harris? The Los Angeles Times regularly lends its op-ed page to the atheist activist. In God's Dupes, Harris took advantage of the opportunity today to make a bizarre and slanderous accusation against American Christians.
He began by equating conservative Christians with Jihadist murderers: "Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death."
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared Monday night near the top of FNC’s The Big Story with John Gibson. The topic was a Los Angeles Times editorial attacking “General Pelosi” for trying to micromanage the war, when the Times felt she should either support it or cut its funding off.
Tim said the weird thing about Speaker Pelosi news coverage is “just how absent she’s been from the national discussion. She was sworn in in January with all kinds of pomp and circumstance, and promptly went into a closet, never to return…When you watch television today, the only way you really see Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are still those un-powerful critics of Bush who can’t seem to stop the surge, who can’t seem to cut the funding off, and now you as you said, you have the left-wingers going out and protesting her in San Francisco like she’s somehow not an ultraliberal." Video clip: Real (1.92 MB) or Windows (1.6 MB), plus MP3 (773 KB)
Today's article is just the latest in a growing, voluminous list of adulatory, flattering coverage of the Democratic candidate by the Times. Just a few examples are here, here, here, here, here, and here. (Images of the Times' articles are available at several of the links.)
A front-page article in today's Los Angeles Times (Saturday, March 10, 2007) trumpets that an "Evangelical Agenda Fight is Heating Up." The piece is by Stephanie Simon, whose slanted coverage we've once cited here. Among the number of problems in Simon's latest piece:
1. In the article, Simon tags James Dobson of Focus on the Family as a "conservative crusader." Fair enough. But the Rev. Jim Wallis, who openly advised Democrats and Sen. Kerry during the 2004 campaign (here), avoids any "liberal" tag. He is simply identified as the "best-known champion of such causes" as "citizenship for illegal immigrants, universal healthcare and caps on carbon emissions." Wallis and some other pastors want to expand the evangelical agenda to include issues such as global warming.
Does Karen Greenberg believe the United States is involved in a war with Islamist terrorists? Judging by her column in today's Los Angeles Times, The military's Gitmo script, you really have to wonder. Greenberg is executive director of the Center on Law and Security at NYU law school. Her bio there [from whence her photo here comes] indicates that she is a former Vice-President of George Soros' Open Society Institute. Her colleague at the Center, NYU prof Stephen Holmes [pictured here], lists as one of his areas of specialization: "the disappointments of democratization after communism." Ah, remember the good old days under Uncle Joe?
In any case, Greenberg recently toured the detention facilities at Guantanamo, and several of her comments make clear her skepticism as to the seriousness of the terror threat. Examples:
Do you think the folks at the Los Angeles Times were a wee-bit excited over the "Scooter" Libby verdict yesterday? Today's paper (Wednesday, March 7, 2007) devoted no less than eight articles, twenty photos, and an unbelievable 8,406 words to the story of the verdict. Unable to contain their glee, columnists harped breathlessly that the verdict "erod[es]" the Bush administration's "already weak credibility on Iraq" and "sullies the integrity of [the] administration." (link)
The media love a "green" story. As Al Gore and Hollywood celebrities champion the practice of carbon offsetting -- donating money toward an energy-saving project while still taking your vacation -- the media buzz in agreement.
"If more people do it over time, it's a good thing," said CBS reporter Russ Mitchell during a carbon offset story on the February 22 "Early Show."
Carbon offsetting is hypocritical because it allows the extremely wealthy, like Al Gore, to still use enormous amounts of energy (1 million miles of global air travel in 2005 and more than 20 times the national average of power usage in 2006), while telling everyone else to conserve energy to save the planet from climate destruction.
That's essentially the tone of a March 5 Los Angeles Times article* that took Democrats to task for their plans for what President Clinton was fond of calling "targeted tax cuts." Apparently they just "cost" the government too much of our money:
WASHINGTON // After years of claiming that Republicans were cluttering
the tax code with provisions that enriched the wealthy, leading Democrats in Congress want to add more tax credits and deductions to benefit narrow groups of largely middle-class constituents.
Among potential beneficiaries: people with elderly parents in nursing homes, new parents, college students, volunteer firefighters and organ donors.
But all these goodies are raising questions about how the Democrats can give away tax revenues while keeping their pledge not to deepen the government's deficit.
According to the official website of Selma, Alabama, Selma is exactly 2,000 miles from Los Angeles. But distance did not stop the Los Angeles Times from making sure you got a really good look at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (with Bill) when they were there on Sunday. The Times trumpeted their appearance with a huge 42-square-inch, full-color photo on the top and center of today's paper (Mon. March 5, 2007). (See the front-page image here.)
But that's not all. When you turn to the continuation of the front-page article on page A11, you get three more color photos, including an absolutely humongous 60-square-inch picture that spans the entire top of the page! (See the image here. Again, there are two more color photos below the big picture. My scanner couldn't fit it all.) Oh, yeah. The article itself is 1,531 words.
In yesterday's Los Angeles Times, columnist Rosa Brooks' piece is titled "The lunatic right returns." The cause of her current displeasure is the presence of people associated with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on a Conservative Political Action Conference panel.
Comments Ms. Brooks: "IF YOU HATED IT the first time, you might like the sequel better.
"Remember Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the right-wing goon squad whose defamatory insinuations helped sink John Kerry's presidential campaign? They're back! This afternoon, key Swift boaters George 'Bud' Day, Mary Jane McManus and Carlton Sherwood are holding a little reunion, in the guise of a panel discussion at the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The panel topic? 'The Left's Repeated Campaign Against the American Soldier.'"
In January, when Barack Obama made the mere announcement of a presidential exploratory committee, the Los Angeles Times trumpeted the news with a headline, color photo, and text box on the top of its front page. (See the image here.)
So how did the Times cover Sen. John McCain's big announcement Wednesday night (2/28/07) on David Letterman's Late Show? The announcement was buried the next day on the bottom of page A14 within a modest, 485-word article about McCain's fundraising. The article is called, "California titans join McCain's campaign team" (Thu. March 1, 2007), and the "coverage" of the announcement covers a measly 31 words.
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has never been shy in taking slaps at the Catholic Church, especially the archdiocese of Los Angeles. And then there was his February 18, 2007, column, in which facts and truth went by the wayside. Wrote Lopez,
Look, I was never a perfect student in Catholic school. But I recall a thing or two about the Christian duty of looking after the neediest amongst us. And if I've learned anything in the last two years, it's that this city has a lot of need.
It's time for [Los Angeles Cardinal Roger] Mahony to lead his army of Christian soldiers down the hill and into the service of their fellow men. I know from experience that one person can make a difference in someone's life. I'd even volunteer, selflessly, to make some introductions.
"24" is just a TV show. But in her Los Angeles Times column of today, America Tortures (yawn), Rosa Brooks cites the actions of the show's characters -- and the American public's reaction to them -- as evidence of the way in which we have become inured to U.S. government-sponsored torture. In doing so, Brooks unwittingly raises another, more interesting issue.
Writes Rosa: "If you need any more evidence that the American public has gotten blasé about torture, consider the hit Fox action drama '24.' The show featured 67 torture scenes during its first five seasons, and most of those depicted torture being used by 'heroic' U.S. counter-terror agents." Note Brooks' placement of scare quotes around "heroic." For the enlightened folks of the liberal media elite, Jack Bauer is no hero -- he is best viewed as a torturer. But Brooks leaves an important question unanswered.
Sen. Barack Obama visited Los Angeles yesterday (Tuesday, February 20, 2007), and the Los Angeles Times wanted to make sure that everyone knew about it. Check out the huge, 38-square-inch, full-color, awash-in-red-white-and-blue, front-page photo on the cover of the Times today. (See it here; btw, I had to reduce the size to fit the page.) Good grief! Oh, yeah. There is yet another flattering photo of Obama inside on page A12; the black-and-white photo of the senator surrounded by fans is very generous as well, covering a large 35 square inches.
One simple question: Can you imagine the Times giving such a fawning, glowing treatment to a McCain, Giuliani, Romney, or Brownback? I didn't think so.
We have reported on the Times' ongoing love affair with Barack Obama and its disparate treatment so far in the 2008 campaign here, here, here, here, here, and here.
So asked James Taranto in his Wednesday “Best of the Web Today” column for OpinionJournal.com. Taranto highlighted a Sunday Los Angeles Times story, “Pilots traced to CIA renditions: The Times identifies three fliers facing kidnapping charges in Germany related to a 2003 counter-terrorism mission,” which though it did not list their real names, identified the aliases and enough information about each to help anyone trying to find them, including how they all live within 30 miles of a certain rural airport. One “drives a Toyota Previa minivan and keeps a collection of model trains in a glass display case near a large bubbling aquarium in his living room,” another “is a bearded man of 35 who lives with his father and two dogs in a separate subdivision” and a third “is 46, drives a Ford Explorer and has a 17-foot aluminum fishing boat” where he lives “in a house that backs onto a private golf course here." (Taranto explained: “In a town of 13,000 the Times identifies in its dateline.”)
Taranto ruminated: “Remember all the outrage when Robert Novak 'outed' Valerie Plame, who apparently worked a desk job at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.? Here the L.A. Times is publishing extensive personal details on three men who have actually done dangerous work defending the country. Where's the outrage?” Good question.
An Iranian state news agency used the Photoshop program to manipulate photos in order to try and back up claims that the US was behind a spate of bombings in southeast Iran , a popular American blog said.
A very interesting piece by Louis Chude-Sokei is featured in the L.A.Times today, titled Redefining 'Black' and centered upon the question of Barack Obama's relative "blackness".
Some of you may have noticed that Barack is not getting the automatic support from African American leaders that many assumed he would get since throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and Mr. Chude-Sokei makes an effort to inform us as to why this might be true. Unfortunately, while it has a few good points it misses the mark in too many ways.
The main point, according to Chude-Sokei, is that Obama isn't "black enough" to get the support of the standing Black American leadership because of his White/Hawaiian/African (meaning NOT African American, but real African) heritage.
A February 11, 2007, front-page article by Stephanie Simon in the Los Angeles Times discounts the possible link between induced abortion and breast cancer (ABC). Simon also promulgated the questionable claim that crisis pregnancy centers (CPC's) "gave misleading information" in an undercover investigation conducted by abortion supporter Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) last year. Finally, the story also downplayed Planned Parenthood's role as the nation's leading abortion provider.
Although the focus of the article is the funding of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, Simon wrote:
U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), an abortion rights supporter, last year asked undercover investigators to contact 23 crisis pregnancy centers; 20 gave misleading information, such as exaggerating the risk of abortion, he reported. In Austin, the diocese hands out a booklet — approved by the state — that suggests a link between abortion and breast cancer, though the National Cancer Institute has found no such connection.
How can a movie studio get its film promoted on the front page of the Los Angeles Times for free? Easy. Make a film about an abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Yesterday (Saturday, February 17, 2007), starting on the front page, the Times devoted a plenteous 1,526 words to an article by Gina Piccalo, "A pedophile priest, in his own words."
Although the Times presents it as a legitimate news article, it weakly disguises the fact that the article is simply a promotion piece for the film, Deliver Us From Evil. Check out the opening sentence from the article:
"Deliver Us From Evil," a documentary about pedophile priest Oliver O'Grady and his devastating California legacy, has earned its filmmaker multiple awards and an Oscar nomination.
Sometimes it’s better to stay in bed and not bother reading the newspaper or watching the political talk shows. This Sunday sadly started out that way as I unfortunately happened upon a Los Angeles Times front-page article entitled “GOP Activists Circling Clinton's Campaign.”
Frankly, the author and the paper’s editors should be ashamed of themselves for placing such biased tripe so prominently in a Sunday edition.
Alas, there it was in all its glory, basically talking about a proverbial vast right-wing conspiracy to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes (emphasis mine throughout):
The Los Angeles Times readily admits that Gov. Mitt Romney is "one of three top-tier candidates" for the GOP nomination. However, when Romney made his official announcement of his presidential bid this past week, the paper did not shower the candidate with the same love they did his Democratic counterparts. "Romney officially launches campaign," from the Wednesday, February 14, 2007, edition of the Times, was shuttled to page A17 with a moderate 747 words. Two medium-sized color photos accompanied the piece.
The Times managed to squeeze the word "conservative" into the coverage on Romney three times, noting that the former governor "hewed closely to conservative orthodoxy in his announcement speech."
The steamy love affair between the Los Angeles Times and Barack Obama shows no signs of letting up. The archives at the Times will show that yesterday's big announcement by Obama was reported today with 1,215 words on page A17 (here, Sunday, February 11, 2007). In truth, there was actually more than this. There was also a 16-square-inch, full-color photo of Obama prominently displayed on the front page (see the image here). Barack is shown waving happily in front of a large backdrop of the American flag. (By the way, nowhere does the word "liberal" appear anywhere in the article!)