Patterico's Pontifications

6/14/2003

LIMIT: Wow. The month is

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:05 pm

LIMIT: Wow. The month is half over and I have already used 54% of my 100K posting limit for the month. Good job I’m going on vacation at the end of the month!

MORE DOG TRAINER: Today’s Dog

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:25 pm

MORE DOG TRAINER: Today’s Dog Trainer has this sad story about the senseless slaying of a man who was about to donate a kidney to a friend of his. Both men are/were immigrants from El Salvador. Due to a miscommunication, the exact nature of which is not described, the victim’s mother was not able to communicate to the doctor her son’s wishes to donate the kidney, and it is apparently now too late.

The reason this caught my attention was that the paper printed a police artist’s sketch of the killer, because the victim’s family is pleading for the public’s help in catching him. If you know the Times, then you may have already guessed: if they published the sketch, that means the suspect is white. (The sketch is not on the internet version of the story.)

Maybe you have to know the history of this newspaper to appreciate this. The folks at the Times are big on the concept of not reinforcing stereotypes — and they will skew their coverage as much as they need to in order to uphold that all-important principle. In the past, when police have sought the public’s help in finding black killers, the Times has not only refused to print a police artist’s sketch, but they have failed even to give a description of the suspect. You would have to listen to the radio coverage to learn that the suspect is black.

All I can say is: the next time you see a sketch of a black suspect in a violent crime in the Los Angeles Times, you let me know.

THE POWER OF THE JUMP:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:02 pm

THE POWER OF THE JUMP: The power of the jump rears its ugly head again today in our local Dog Trainer. As I have discussed recently, the Times has had a steady drumbeat over the past few days about how the California budget crisis is the Republicans’ fault. That drumbeat continues today, with a little help from the power of the jump.

The headline of today’s article is Brulte’s Hard Line Sharpens Budget Divide, and the subhead reads: “GOP leader strengthens his party’s hand with a vow to punish colleagues who back a tax hike.” Brulte, the head of the GOP in the state Senate, did indeed announce that he would oppose the re-elections of Republicans who voted for tax increases. But he did so several days ago. It is hardly news today that he did this — except that the Times wishes to keep this issue on the front pages every single morning.

Moreover, Brulte’s position does not seem to me to be that remarkable. Brulte stated his position in a letter to the Times last week: “I find it interesting that The Times . . . takes offense that I use my position to do what it and other newspapers across the state do on a regular basis: endorse or oppose candidates for public office based upon their positions and views — in my case, tax increases.”

Today’s article is interesting for several reasons. First, as I said, the story is not news, but it is on the front page. Second, the article acknowledges the obvious truth that Brulte’s position “represents one half of the budget standoff in Sacramento . . . On the other side of the debate, Democrats continue to resist any efforts to cut more deeply into social programs, preferring tax hikes to further spending cuts.” But — this acknowledgement, like virtually every other mention of the Democrats’ intransigence this past week, comes after the “jump” — meaning it is on the back pages that hardly anyone ever reads. (I have discussed the issue of the “jump” on these pages many times, including here, here, and here.) Today, in order to hide the quote about the Democrats’ obstinacy on the back pages, the paper has to place the jump absurdly high in the story: after the seventh word in the fifth short paragraph of the story.

Third, the article repeats the theme that, despite Democratic stubborness, “it was Brulte’s remarks that have caused the greatest stir in recent days.” One wonders: among whom? And why hasn’t the greatest stir been caused by the Democrats’ decision (discussed in my post from yesterday) to take $2.4 billion of federal money and use it to restore spending cuts, rather than reduce the deficit?

I think you know the answer, Gentle Reader.

YET ANOTHER LESSON IN FALLIBILITY:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:24 am

YET ANOTHER LESSON IN FALLIBILITY: You live in Washington D.C. You buy a lottery ticket. The next day, you open up your crisp new edition of the Washington Post to see whether you won. YOU DID!!!!

Whoops! You didn’t. Because it turns out that the Post printed the wrong winning numbers.

This is just another object lesson in a basic principle of humanity: people make mistakes. This principle has application to newspapers, because newspapers are put out by people. Accordingly, newspapers make mistakes. As it turns out, they make an awful lot of them. (In fairness to the Post, it blames the wrong information on the D.C. Lottery.)

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of mine and we were discussing how, every time we had seen anything in the media that covered something we had personal knowledge of, the media got it wrong. My friend said: “It’s gotten to the point where the only stuff I believe is the stuff I don’t know anything about.” (I believe that my friend, who is very bright, recognized the irony inherent in this statement — that really, he shouldn’t believe anything.)

So next time you go around spouting off an opinion that is based on something you read in a newspaper (something we all do several times each day), try to keep in mind that the story you based your opinion on is probably wrong, somehow.


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