Former LA Times Journalist Spills the Beans

August 31st, 2006 9:55 AM

It can be hard for people working in journalism to publicly talk about the bias that they see in their co-workers every day. There are a number of risks involved when you take sides against the overwhelming majority of people in your industry.

Take a look at this interview with Daniel Hernandez, staff writer for LA Weekly and formerly a journalist at the LA Times. It is an insightful peek behind the curtain of MSM. The LA Times isn't going to be able to write this one off as a crazed conservative. Daniel is an independent thinker and his breadth of writing toes no conservative line.

Forced liberal pity is a common pitfall in well-intentioned journalism, patting your subjects upon the head, regarding others as provincial. I find this highly disrespectful.

I owe The Times lots. They taught me so much. But The Times has a very clear, very rigid tradition on how to report the news.

Shortly after I got there, I started having these long, tortured thought sessions with myself about my participation in the MSM. I saw how the people and places the paper chose to cover were automatically political decisions because for every thing you chose to cover there is something you chose to not cover. I started realizing that the mainstream style on reporting the news that most papers employ is not really concerned with depicting the truth, but concerned primarily with balancing lots of competing agendas and offending the least amount of interests as possible.

I saw how so much was looked at from certain assumptions and subtexts, and a very narrow cultural view. When I raised questions about such things, I was told we were writing for a "mainstream reader," which I quickly figured out is basically a euphemism for a middle-aged, middle-class white registered Democrat homeowner in the Valley. From where I stand today, I had very little in common with this "mainstream reader" and I didn't care to be in this person's service.