Patterico's Pontifications

12/31/2003

PATTERICO’S LOS ANGELES DOG TRAINER YEAR IN REVIEW: 2003

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 2:32 pm

It is time for this blog’s first annual review of the performance of the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (aka Los Angeles Times).

Before I get to the review itself, I should explain the term “Dog Trainer” to people who are unfamiliar with the term. I stole it from comedian Harry Shearer (a fact that I acknowledge every time I use the term, with a link to this post). To my way of thinking, Shearer’s phrase captures the essence of the paper better than the other possible names for the paper (like the “Los Angeles Bird Cage Liner” or the “L.A. Fish Wrapper“).

So how did our local Dog Trainer do this year? Well, that depends on your taste. If you like blatant liberal bias, manufactured quotes, and inaccuracies that consistently favor the left, then you will find that Dog Trainer editors did a stellar job. For the rest of you, I think you’ll find that the paper’s performance left quite a bit to be desired.

Fasten your seatbelts — here we go!

When you think of the Los Angeles Dog Trainer in 2003, you think of the paper’s skewed coverage of state politics — particularly the recall election. The biased coverage of politics in Sacramento, together with the pro-Davis recall coverage, cost the paper thousands of subscribers. This seems like a good place to start.

STATE POLITICS

The paper’s coverage of California politics did not begin well. In early February, when I began this blog, Gray Davis had recently been re-elected Governor. I guess the editors felt it was safe to report (finally) that Davis had fudged budget numbers just before the election. This was a detail that had escaped the attention of the crack Dog Trainer staff until after the election, when it was too late to do anything about Davis — or so it seemed.

The paper kept up the drumbeat for the Democrats during the budget negotiations. When the Legislature was trying to figure out what to do about a $38 billion budget shortfall, the federal government dropped $2.4 billion into the Legislature’s lap. Democrats immediately spent all the money — not on fixing the hole in the budget, but on social programs. This tidbit, which deserved to be the lede of any responsible story on the budget crisis, was dutifully buried deep in a story that portrayed the crisis as largely manufactured by Republicans. (It later materialized that Democrats were the ones trying to manufacture a budget crisis — a fact the Dog Trainer downplayed. More on that later.)

This was the background that led to the paper’s horrible, horrible recall election coverage.

THE RECALL ELECTION

The Dog Trainer‘s opposition to the recall was no secret. The editors of the paper let their hatred of the recall distort all of their coverage — even their poll numbers. The Dog Trainer‘s polling on the recall was a running joke among the politically savvy in California. The only poll numbers in the state that looked as optimistic for Davis were the numbers put out by Davis himself. People were asking whether the paper had any shame, and how badly the paper would have to be embarrassed before someone got fired.

The paper’s columnists all opposed the recall, and the candidacy of Arnold Schwarzenegger — every last one of them. A Dog Trainer writer named Roy Rivenburg wrote me to criticize the one-sided nature of the paper’s columnists, saying: “I wish my paper had a pro-recall columnist or two to balance out the predictable Lopez/King/Morrison/Skelton blather.” Good for him.

Rivenburg was dead on the money, too. For example, in a typical boneheaded anti-recall, anti-Arnold column, $300,000 a year columnist Steve Lopez mocked voters for getting excited about saving an average of $140 on their car taxes. Lopez’s column, showing his insensitivity to the value of a dollar to average folks, was a shameful moment.

Given the paper’s hostility to the recall and to Arnold, nobody was surprised when the paper ran the infamous Arnold hit piece. I actually thought the content of the piece was pretty good. However, several other factors made the publication of the story an utter disgrace. The timing of the piece was so blatantly calculated to inflict maximum damage to Schwarzenegger that Mickey Kaus predicted the timing of the piece to the day. There was never any valid explanation why the paper didn’t run similarly sourced stories about Gray Davis’s alleged physical abuse of government employees. I found it particularly outrageous that the paper, knowing the allegations about Davis’s wild temper, described Davis to readers as a man who possessed a “calm demeanor.”

In a surprising (and desperate) move, editor John Carroll ended up going public on the pages of the Dog Trainer to defend the Arnold hit piece. I was not convinced, and said so repeatedly. Equally unimpressed was Jill Stewart.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing Carroll said in his paper’s defense was to compare others’ coverage of the incident to “journalistic pornography.” This was richly ironic, coming as it did from a guy who had given the green light to a story containing the following quote from Arnold: “Have you ever had a man slide his tongue in your [anus]?”

Right around this time, Dan Weintraub reported that he owns a “large white political button with black writing” that reads: “I don’t believe the Los Angeles Times.” Meanwhile, people were canceling their Dog Trainer subscriptions right and left. The paper admitted to 1000 cancellations, but reliable sources were soon reporting that the numbers were upwards of 9000.

It seemed like a lot of people were piling on the Dog Trainer — and it seemed like the Dog Trainer deserved every last bit of it.

INVENTING/MANGLING QUOTATIONS

No sooner had the Dog Trainer limped away from the scandal of its recall coverage, than it started screwing up basic things no paper should get wrong, like quotations. In one egregious example, a writer named Bill Arkin criticized General Boykin for his inflammatory language about Muslims. Arkin wrote:

Boykin is also in a senior Pentagon policymaking position, and it’s a serious mistake to allow a man who believes in a Christian “jihad” to hold such a job.

Given the context of the piece — criticism of Boykin’s poor choice of words when discussing religion — the use of quotation marks was designed to make less informed readers believe that Boykin had actually said he believed in a Christian “jihad.” But he hadn’t. Arkin defended the use of quotes around a word Boykin hadn’t said, as a “characterization.” The paper never issued a correction, despite a firestorm of criticism.

Not content with inventing quotes, the paper insisted on mangling them as well. Predictably, the victims turned out to be Republicans like Arnold.

THE POWER OF THE JUMP

The manipulation of quotations was only one tool in the Dog Trainer‘s arsenal of distortion. On this blog, I have identified another: the use of the “jump.” I have noted the paper’s noxious use of this tool in my semi-regular feature called “The Power of the Jump.”

As explained in the initial post in which I used the term, the “jump” is the place in a newspaper story where the story moves from page A1 to one of the back pages that nobody reads. Reporters and editors are well aware of this fact — as a Dog Trainer reporter once admitted to me. I have culled the following list of examples of inconvenient facts that the Dog Trainer has saved for its back pages. Interestingly, the buried facts tend to be those that are embarrassing to the political left:

  • Millions in influence-peddling contributions from a particular Los Angeles insurance company were paid to California legislators. Only on the back pages did the editors reveal that the recipients were primarily Democrats.
  • A story about the budget crisis highlighted Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes. Only on the back pages did the editors reveal that the problem also stemmed from the Democrats’ refusal to cut spending.
  • Another story discussed a confrontation between a Republican and a Democrat in Washington. “Epithets and insults like ‘wimp’ and ‘fruitcake’ filled the air.” A fistfight almost broke out. The problem was blamed on the “frustrations of Republicans eager to use their power and Democrats tired of having none.” Only on the back pages did the editors reveal that all of the epithets and insults came from a single Democrat, who had physically threatened the Republican, saying: “You think you are big enough to make me, you little wimp? Come on. Come over here and make me, I dare you. You little fruitcake.”
  • Democrats in Sacramento planned to create a budget crisis for political reasons. Their strategy sessions were inadvertently broadcast throughout the State Capitol building. Stunned people in the building heard a number of cynical quotes from Democrats, discussing how good it would be for the Democrats to cause the budget crisis to come to a head. All the juicy quotes were buried in . . . you guessed it: the back pages.
  • One entire story of significance was relegated to the back pages. When Gray Davis said “you shouldn’t be governor unless you can pronounce the name of the state,” most people considered that a big story. The Dog Trainer editors thought it belonged on . . . the back pages. It was a page A16 story for the Dog Trainer, with the offensive quote saved for page A17. Despite the Dog Trainer‘s blindness to the significance of the story, the Davis’s quote created a furor after other news outlets gave it appropriate prominence.
  • Respected Dog Trainer reporter Ronald Brownstein discussed the Bush tax cuts. Only on the back pages did the editors reveal that Brownstein thought the tax cuts made President Bush seem like a caring and effective leader.
  • Race was not an issue in UC admissions “overall,” the Dog Trainer revealed. Only on the back pages did the editors reveal that race was a significant admissions factor for the two most elite schools — the fact that had started the controversy to begin with.

RACE

Speaking of race, a favorite trick of the Dog Trainer is to polarize its readership on race issues. They had a doozy when a white man was arrested for killing the sister of Venus and Serena Williams. The headline was: “Race of Compton Suspect Startles Police.” Wow! The headline clearly implies that racist cops didn’t think a white man could be a killer! Well, that wasn’t quite what was going on. The police were simply surprised that the white killer had been allowed to join a black gang — since black gangs are typically racist and do not allow whites. When whites join non-white gangs, they typically join Hispanic gangs, not black gangs. Big deal. The headline should have read: “Police Surprised That Racist Black Gang in Compton Allowed White Guy as Member.” But where’s the fun in discussing race if you can’t inflame and polarize people?

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Closely related to issues of race are issues relating to the criminal justice system. Here again, the need to inflame is apparently irresistible to Dog Trainer editors.

The paper had horrible coverage of the racially charged trial of the police officers accused of using excessive force against Donovan Jackson in Inglewood. The paper consistently referred to the case as a “beating” case, though no “beating” was alleged. The paper portrayed the victim’s testimony as consistent on topics where other news outlets said he was not. Strangest of all, when Officer Bijan Darvish was acquitted, the paper said, he and his lawyer “shouted” the word “Yes!” Other news outlets reported what I heard with my own ears: he said “Yes!” in a loud whisper. Whisper, shout . . . what’s the difference when you’re trying to make a point about arrogant racist cops?

(Dog Trainer reporters may just have overly sensitive hearing. They also allegedly heard protesters shouting down Arnold Schwarzenegger at one of his political rallies, though other reporters present (including respected reporter Dan Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee) heard no such thing.)

The paper’s coverage of the trial hit a low point when editors accused the prosecution of “settling for a jury with only one black member,” when the facts (mostly unreported on the news pages) showed that the prosecution had fought hard for diversity on the jury. Indeed, the only black juror had been stricken by the defense, until the prosecution convinced the judge to reseat that juror because he had been removed for racial reasons by the defense. The paper either didn’t understand what had really happened in jury selection, or didn’t care.

Showcasing the paper’s well-known bias against police (and LAPD in particular), an April article purported to raise a “moral issue” about the LAPD’s extensive use of resources to solve the murder of an innocent 13-year old named Joey Swift. Apparently, LAPD does not typically devote the same resources to gang killings as it did to the murder of this innocent child.

I titled my post on this story “THE MOTE IN YOUR EYE” since the remarkable thing about this murder was not the police resources used to solve the crime, but the media resources expended covering it. Indeed, it was the extensive media coverage of this case — including five separate stories in the Dog Trainer — that helped solve the case. And what are the newspaper resources devoted to publicizing your typical gang murder? An LAPD detective answers that question in the article, telling the reporter: “We know that if we were to tell you a [murder victim] is a well-known gang member, you would not cover it.”

This story was simply one of many manifestations of the Dog Trainer editors’ anti-police bias. Another is their attitude towards police pursuits.

POLICE PURSUITS

If you have read the Dog Trainer for a while, you know that their editors don’t like police pursuits. They skew the facts of every story they get their hands on involving high-speed chases. The editors have long pushed for reformation of the LAPD pursuit policy, seeking to prevent chases that begin with simple traffic infractions. The paper has pushed this agenda by hyping some tragic crashes that occurred at the conclusion of police pursuits. But the paper never mentions that the so-called reforms would not have prevented any of these crashes — or that police pursuits beginning with traffic infractions often result in the arrests of serious and violent felons (including murderers).

The editors’ dishonesty extends to descriptions of police pursuits in other jurisdictions. For example, in this post I described how the Dog Trainer implied that a motorcyclist in Michigan had been chased because he lacked a license, or had expired registration tags. You had to read stories from other news outlets to learn that the motorcyclist had sped in excess of 100 mph (over 70 in residential areas) and ran several stop signs. Nor does the Dog Trainer tell you that the pursuing officer was several blocks back when the motorcycle crashed. Why were these facts hidden from you? Because the editors decided that you didn’t need to know them. In a typical pattern that recurred throughout the year, the misleading article led to the publication of letters to the editor which echoed the misleading statements from the article.

THE RECENT SUPREME COURT DECISION ON MIRANDA

The factors apparent in the previous story — anti-police bias, hiding facts from readers, and the subsequent printing of letters containing factual misstatements — were all evident again in the paper’s coverage of the Supreme Court decision last term relating to Miranda rights. The Dog Trainer‘s coverage here was a striking example of the paper’s omission of critical facts in covering Supreme Court decisions. (By the way, I haven’t seen this discussed anywhere else — a Patterico exclusive!)

My first post on the topic summed up the problem. The Supreme Court decision in question held that you can’t sue the police for failing to read you your Miranda rights. The story gave prominent play to the facts that gave rise to the case: the plaintiff (Oliverio Martinez) had been in an altercation with police. Martinez was shot multiple times. The primary factual dispute in the case was whether Martinez had pulled an officer’s gun. The Dog Trainer stories all completely failed to mention that, in a tape-recorded interview, Martinez admitted that he had pulled the gun on the officers. Worse, the paper ran a puff piece about poor crippled Mr. Martinez, which also failed to mention his admission that he pulled the gun. Worst of all, an editorial blatantly misrepresented the contents of the tape-recorded interview by asserting that the police had gotten nothing useful from Martinez. The editorial, added to the two stories, made it a hat trick: three pieces of misleading reportage.

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Dog Trainer, John Carroll. He passed it on to the “reader representative,” who took weeks to finally respond. When she did, her explanations were pathetic. The bottom line is that the reporters decided that the readers just didn’t need to know facts like Martinez’s admission that he pulled a gun on officers. You can read the exchange of e-mails between myself and the reader’s representative, here and here.

Several days after I had written the paper this letter, correcting their misstatements, the paper published a letter that misrepresented the same facts that had been misrepresented in the stories and editorial. My faith in Carroll was diminishing rapidly.

And then, of course, came the recall election, which undermined my confidence in Carroll almost beyond repair.

THE JOHN CARROLL MEMO

Earlier in the year, I had higher hopes for John Carroll. Many who follow media bias issues were stunned when it became public knowledge that Carroll had written an internal memorandum criticizing a story about a Texas abortion law for its evident liberal bias. My post on this amazing event was titled “HELL FREEZES OVER.” I was cautiously optimistic that Carroll’s memorandum meant things might be changing. My enthusiasm was tempered by the fact that the story he had discussed was hardly the worst that the paper had to offer. Couldn’t Carroll see that? As the year passed, my suspicions about Carroll were reinforced, as one journalistic atrocity after another piled up.

Not only did Carroll preside over a terrible year for news reportage, he was also ultimately responsible for some terrible editorials. . .

STUPID EDITORIALS

Typical of the factual inaccuracies in Dog Trainer editorials were the howlers contained in their screeds against Bush’s judicial nominations. For example, editors opposed the nomination of Priscilla Owen to the federal bench, but called her “Patricia Owen.” Now that shows a keen grasp of the facts! Editors also blatantly misrepresented William Pryor’s stand on the Ten Commandments flap in Alabama.

Almost worse than the factually inaccurate editorials were the cutesy editorials that showed up in the third position with alarming regularity, bearing titles such as “Writing Real Good.” Get it? See, because . . .

Other idiotic editorials included:

STUPID HEADLINES

And who writes the headlines for this paper?? My award for stupidest Dog Trainer headline all year: “Hunger Gnaws at Ethiopia.” Get it?

I am unshakable in my belief that this headline was written by the idiot who does the cutesy editorials.

JOURNALISTIC PROFESSIONALISM

This sort of professionalism was evident all over the paper. For example, liberals everywhere were happy to see Bill Bennett brought down a peg or two by the revelations of his gambling. Heck, I was too. Sharing the joy, a Dog Trainer reporter wrote an article about Bennett’s gambling, stating (in a comment typical of the tone of the whole piece): “It is just too delicious.” How very objective and professional!

MISTAKES, WE MAKE MISTAKES

Another serious problem at the Dog Trainer is the mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, but it is disturbing when the mistakes seem to fit a pattern. Errors at the Dog Trainer consistently seemed to support leftist views.

In one egregious example, the Dog Trainer ran a prominent front-page article about a guy who used to work for Tyson Chicken. He related harrowing tales of his mass slaughter of chickens, saying he had killed 80,000 chickens in a shift. He said his time at Tyson was more haunting than when he had killed enemy soldiers in Panama, or when he had spent time in prison for manslaughter. This was a great story, except that he didn’t kill 80,000 chickens in a shift, he was never in Panama or even in the military, and he didn’t go to prison for manslaughter. But wasn’t it a much better story when all these things were reported to be true? (Is it a coincidence that “animal rights” is considered a liberal issue?)

The paper said that L.A. County lost a third of its revenue when Arnold reduced the car tax, but in reality it lost about 4% of its revenue. (Did I mention that the paper doesn’t like Arnold, and opposes cutting taxes?)

Before the election, the Dog Trainer printed a silly article arguing that the car tax, which had been raised by administrative fiat, could not be lowered to previous levels by administrative fiat. This flew in the face of claims made by Republicans Schwarzenegger and McClintock. The article backed up this ridiculous premise by asserting that “Jon Coupal, president of the [Howard Jarvis] taxpayers association, acknowledged that rescinding the hike could require court action.” Coupal had said no such thing, and immediately wrote the editors to correct the statement. The paper waited 13 days — until after the election — to correct the misstatement. (Did I mention that the paper editorialized against the recall, and opposed the Republicans who claimed the car tax could be lowered by fiat?)

Some of the corrections, to be sure, were of errors that were not politically motivated, but were just plain stupid. Let’s just say: if you follow the Dog Trainer‘s food recipes, make sure the battery on your smoke detector still has some juice!

SINS OF OMISSION

Rather than getting something wrong, you can just ignore the story. For example, I personally thought it was interesting when the plaintiff from Roe v. Wade filed a motion to overturn the case. I’ll bet you did too. Well, guess what? The Dog Trainer didn’t share our interest.

THE DOG TRAINER ON MEDIA BIAS

I’ve laid out what I think is a pretty good case for the bias of the Dog Trainer. So what do Dog Trainer reporters think about this media bias stuff?

In April, Dog Trainer media critic David Shaw pontificated about liberal bias in the media. Perhaps the most revealing thing he mentioned: he had actually gone on vacation with someone who opposes gun control — twice! The fact that Shaw found this detail important enough to mention said more than anything else in his article.

THE DOG TRAINER ON LIBERAL HOLLYWOOD

If you want a true example of liberal bias at this paper, check out nut case Tim Rutten. He had a compelling piece about the so-called “myth of liberal Hollywood.” I’ll say that phrase again, so it sinks in: the “myth of liberal Hollywood.”

I guess you can’t argue with his logic. After all, look at all the conservatives in Hollywood: Mel Gibson, Charlton Heston, Bo Derek, Tom Selleck, uh . . . did I mention Mel Gibson? Meanwhile, there are very few liberals in Hollywood (except for Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Susan Sarandon, Al Franken, Ed Asner, Mike Farrell, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin, Kim Basinger, Julia Roberts, Michael Moore, Rosie O’Donnell, Robert Altman, Danny Glover, Jessica Lange, Joanne Woodward, Jane Fonda, Janeane Garofalo, Cher, Sheryl Crow, Bono, Sean Penn, Anjelica Huston, Harry Belafonte, George Clooney, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Aniston, Oprah, John Cusack, Madonna, Ed Harris, Kate Hudson, Richard Gere, Ed Norton, Dustin Hoffman, Larry Hagman, Matt Damon, Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Whoopi Goldberg, David Clennon, James Cromwell, Kevin Costner, or Johnny Depp).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

No one person can catalogue all of the sins committed by this paper in an entire year. This has been one person’s attempt to point out a few things that caught my eye. If you have other examples, feel free to leave them in the comments.

However, one person can indeed summarize the basic problem with this paper. I can’t say it any better than Hugh Hewitt did:

There is more diversity at a militia meeting than at a party of Los Angeles Times columnists. What happens when a newspaper becomes an echo chamber? Obvious errors and over-the-top biases go undetected. That’s what happened in New York. It is happening in Los Angeles as well.

As Joe Lieberman would say: Amen, brother!

UPDATE: Steve Lopez e-mails to tell me that he doesn’t earn anything close to $300k a year. Just so it’s clear: I didn’t make that number up, but took it from this L.A. Examiner post. But Lopez says it’s wrong, and I’ll take his word for it. (He didn’t tell me how much he does make, by the way . . . he sort of implied it wasn’t anybody’s business — and maybe he has a point — so I didn’t ask. I’m guessing $140 is still chump change for him. For most people, it’s not.)

86 Comments

  1. Well done. Here are a few more gems that I’ve compiled over the past year:

    Comment by Xrlq (6c76c4) — 12/31/2003 @ 4:41 pm

  2. Great stuff. But I’ll have to wait until Tim Rutten tells me whether it’s the truth or not…

    A.L., with a big *grin*

    Comment by Armed Liberal (653cd1) — 12/31/2003 @ 4:47 pm

  3. Love this post. i will publicize this on Freespeech.com where i am blogging. Maybe get you a little more attention.

    Two things.

    One. I had my own espose on the LA times. Alot shallower than yours, but it raises a few points you miss. Read it here: http://mysite.verizon.net/res1uo0x/id41.html

    Two, and this is truly a nitpick, but I’m not sure Kevin Kostner is rightly called a liberal. i mean didn’t he campaign for Bush I? Of course your overall point about liberal hollywood is exactly on the mark.

    Comment by A.W. (968cd2) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:31 am

  4. Thank you for the kind words.

    Many of the issues I discuss in the post above are discussed in more detail in my original posts, links to which are provided above. As to your comment about Costner, my original post on the Rutten piece has a link to a piece about Costner’s fawning over Fidel Castro.

    While Costner has indeed been friendly with Bush I, he has criticized George W. as a “cowboy,” and called meeting Fidel Castro the “experience of a lifetime.” I think his inclusion in the list of Hollywood liberals is fair.

    I appreciate your link to further examples of Dog Trainer bias, and encourage others to come forward with others, as Xrlq did above.

    Comment by Patterico (f7b3e5) — 1/1/2004 @ 2:35 am

  5. Great stuff. I had a co-worker (who’s been an L.A. resident for 5 years) who did not know or recognize L.A.’s other paper, Daily News.

    I have a particular beef with the Times’ CALENDAR section. The politization of it’s articles is stunning. There was one puff piece about a local campaign stop by Dennis Kucinich, with all the requisite Bush bashing by Cleveland’s former boy mayor and attendees. Why was this on the movie page for crying out loud? Because it was held at the home of James Cromwell, an actor who played Babe the Pig’s father in a movie.

    Stunningly, the Calendar section quoted Cromwell’s belief that he is a socialist. All without irony as the get-together was at Cromwell’s expensive home. Where do I sign up for this kind of socialism?

    Comment by JimboG (7fd84a) — 1/1/2004 @ 11:13 am

  6. wow…a tintoretto in bitterness, shared by MANY
    campaign and/pf pros who ply their trade in sactown. immediate bookmarking required. keep up the attack: l’audace, toujours l’audace. oh wait thats french…sorry

    Comment by cali white bear (0358eb) — 1/1/2004 @ 11:51 am

  7. A wonderful day in the blogosphere. Solid.

    Comment by Elmo (7341b5) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:01 pm

  8. The real news here is that Steve Lopez makes 300K per year. They could probably hire a couple of fact checkers for that.

    Comment by RR Ryan (71c834) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:05 pm

  9. Bravo!

    Comment by Michael Williams (807500) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:26 pm

  10. Wow!

    Comment by erp (21d86d) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:54 pm

  11. Better reporting the dirt than the Times. Don’t they have an ombudsman to watch or perhaps he is on the machine’s payroll too.

    Comment by Larry (05a47a) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:31 pm

  12. excellent work! one point – your link on the Panama/Chicken killing story links to the Martinez/cop’s gun story…
    thx, keep up the proofing!
    Frank

    Comment by Frank G (dadee5) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:40 pm

  13. Good job, but don’t forget about the photoshopped front page photograph that showed an American soldier pointing his rifle at an Iraqi civilian holding a child. If I recall correctly, the deceitful photographer was promptly (and justly) fired, but the LADT insisted that he had only done so to make the story more “dramatic.”

    Comment by Sean (d95a3e) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:43 pm

  14. You missed a good one. Even after sniper John Allen Muhammed was convicted and his radical Islamic rantings were a matter of public record, the LA Times continuted to describe him as “Gulf War veteran John Allen Muhammed…”

    Comment by Richard McEnroe (483876) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:44 pm

  15. Truly and utterly amazed at the comprehensive indictment of your ‘recollection’.

    Hugh Hewitt should read the whole thing On-Air ASAP.

    …… and Dennis Praeger

    …… and kudos to Instapundit for publicizing your post .

    FF in Canada.

    Comment by Fearless Freep (368db9) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:45 pm

  16. Awesome job! I had a few of these (probably the most obvious ones), but most of them I never caught. I’d say it’s a shame that this once-proud broadsheet has come to this, but did it ever report competently, without a slant? When I lived in So. California, I subscribed to the OC Register. It’s a smaller paper with fewer resources, but with less of a partisan slant.

    Comment by Captain Ed (bbdf20) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:46 pm

  17. What a great post to start with, and what a wonderful string of followup comments.

    Regarding RR Ryan’s comment above: “The real news here is that Steve Lopez makes 300K per year. They could probably hire a couple of fact checkers for that.”

    Ryan makes a good point but his recommendation presents the LA Times’ editors and staff with a terrible dilmmma: If the Times had fact checkers, its editors and staff couldn’t put out the kind of paper they like to publish, could they?

    Everyone have a good year.

    Comment by John W. Matthews (7fd84a) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:52 pm

  18. Frank G.:

    I have fixed the link; thanks for catching that.

    Comment by Patterico (f7b3e5) — 1/1/2004 @ 2:01 pm

  19. no problem – thx – I wanted to read the link!

    Comment by Frank G (dadee5) — 1/1/2004 @ 2:04 pm

  20. Your URL for the Tyson Chicken article is incorrect. The correct URL is:
    http://patterico.com/archives/001701.php

    Comment by Seamole (709047) — 1/1/2004 @ 2:07 pm

  21. Bah, you fixed it, never mind.

    Comment by Seamole (709047) — 1/1/2004 @ 2:09 pm

  22. Charles at LGF has an entry about the LA Times having an avowed anti-Semite willing to fabricate any lie in order to further his ’cause’ write a piece on, you guessed it, anti-Semitism and how it’s no big deal.

    Michael Neumann writing for the LA Times

    Comment by SecHumanist (f3e238) — 1/1/2004 @ 2:28 pm

  23. Hi! First time reader here and all I can say is….brilliant.

    I shall be stopping by often!

    Comment by Shark (e2e97f) — 1/1/2004 @ 4:03 pm

  24. How very nice to run across your blog–great stuff! a good catalogue of LAT and their incompetence, and many other things as well. i’ll be reading you often!

    Comment by greifer (dbe986) — 1/1/2004 @ 6:33 pm

  25. Hey John Caroll! How’s this for a great marketing catchphrase? “Nine out of ten dog trainers prefer the LA Times”. Wow! Probably the best written, most cogent article of all time (okay, that I’ve ever read). No doubt, your blog is my greatest new discovery of 2004. (via Instapundit.) BTW:I’d appreciate it if any readers might kindly comment on what Roy Rivenburg’s current status at the LA Times was. (I’m from New York.)

    Thanks.

    Comment by Michael Savoy (84acfb) — 1/1/2004 @ 10:57 pm

  26. Excellent
    A few more items.

    The LA Times magazine is an embarassment. If it didn’t have a crossword puzzle I probably wouldn’t even look at it. With so many possible articles focusing on Los Angeles, they waste pages on out of town trivia.

    The Book Review is even worse. For a city this size ten to twelve reviews a week is shameful. Worse, the reviews are frequently by someone with such an axe to grind that the reviews are worthless, if they address the book under review at all.

    Finally, and in fairness this is a much wider problem than the Times, if there are statistics in an article, they are probably wrong or misinterpreted.

    Comment by Martin Greenberger (acc3a1) — 1/1/2004 @ 11:01 pm

  27. Michael,

    Roy Rivenburg is still writing for the Dog Trainer. I saw an article by him just yesterday.

    Comment by Patterico (f7b3e5) — 1/1/2004 @ 11:04 pm

  28. Thanks much for your update, Mr. Patterico, sir, though I’m quite surprised to hear that he’s still with the paper because I would think they’d fire him for writing something like that, don’t you think? I’m very curious to know why they,in fact,did not and would appreciate your thoughts on it. All the best.

    Comment by Michael Savoy (84acfb) — 1/1/2004 @ 11:55 pm

  29. Why would they fire someone for being honest? His forthrightness reflects well on the paper. If they were to fire someone for expressing an honestly held (and clearly accurate) opinion, they could lose another 9000 subscribers.

    That said, I do think it took courage for Rivenburg to state his opinion. For what it’s worth, he has always told me that he has the highest respect for John Carroll, and I believe him.

    Comment by Patterico (f7b3e5) — 1/2/2004 @ 7:40 am

  30. Can we add Bruce Willis to the list of Hollywood Conservatives?

    And how about Dennis Miller?

    And the recently converted Ron Silver (although there’s a strong possibility that he will revert).

    Comment by Beth (df9ad6) — 1/2/2004 @ 8:02 am

  31. Fair comment on Willis and Miller. The score was 52-4. Now it’s 52-6. I guess Rutten was right after all.

    Who is Ron Silver again?

    Comment by Patterico (f7b3e5) — 1/2/2004 @ 8:30 am

  32. no Robert Scheer? (or not enough bandwidth to list all the lies?)

    Comment by Tom (1c43e7) — 1/2/2004 @ 8:34 am

  33. Scheer is, of course, dreadful. But I am not the expert on him. For the expert on Robert Scheer, you need to visit the Shark Blog. In particular, check out his entry titled Robert Scheer’s Canard-o-Matic. In light of the Shark’s comprehensive fisking of Scheer, anything I said about Scheer would be superfluous.

    Comment by Patterico (f7b3e5) — 1/2/2004 @ 8:38 am

  34. Don’t forget Bruce Willis — that makes, what, five conservatives in Hollywood?

    Comment by Sam (bb1742) — 1/2/2004 @ 9:38 am

  35. Onto the “Favorites” with ye, matey.

    Comment by Tongue Boy (d26b9f) — 1/2/2004 @ 11:51 am

  36. Dennis Miller is neither a liberal nor a conservative. Dennis Miller is a Dennismillerist who will, when helpful to his career, compare Republicans to the Nazis with the same aplomb as he now criticizes those who compare Bush to the Nazis.
    http://www.mediaresearch.org/BozellColumns/entertainmentcolumn/2000/col20000711.asp

    Comment by Lloyd Petre (d0f986) — 1/2/2004 @ 12:35 pm

  37. Right On!! Except I don’t think I’d use this rag to even train my dog.

    Comment by Howlin' Wolf (7e6846) — 1/2/2004 @ 12:50 pm

  38. Thanks to Instapundit for the link. You shall definitely go into the favs list.

    Add James Woods to the list of conservatives. That brings the total to a whopping 6! Or is it 7? You can add Paul Newman to the liberal list, as well. (Though, I must admit that the man has come up with a way to give to charity that I greatly admire.) I have stopped watching anything with anti-Americans in the cast. This makes it very difficult to watch much of anything beyond the classics. It is shameful when compared to Hollywoods’ reaction to Pearl Harbor and WWII.

    I have a friend in the business (not an actor) who told me that there are many “lesser” actors, and people who are in the business but are not actors, who are conservative but are afraid to speak up because they know that they will not continue to work. (Can you say “blacklist”?)

    Kudos for your work! May you have a prosperous New Year.

    Comment by Debra Bates (84acfb) — 1/2/2004 @ 1:22 pm

  39. The LAT is a lost cause…only a few sportswriters are worth their salt (the columnists stink!).

    Sweet Dick Whittington had it right in the late 1970s – The Los Angeles Times and Throwaway!!!!

    But let us not forget the General Mills exec who ran the Fishwrap (my current pet name for the LAT&T) just long enough to build a palace in La Canada-Flintridge.

    That paper is degrading faster than its neighborhood at Times Mirror Square downtown.

    Comment by GregB (0e4ac5) — 1/2/2004 @ 1:26 pm

  40. Great post! And you didn’t even mention Robert Scheer, whose malicious factual errors should have proved too embarrassing even for the Dog Trianer.

    Comment by GWT (b46daf) — 1/2/2004 @ 4:07 pm

  41. Comments about the liberal Times columists were right on target, but you left out one — Al Martinez, who sneaks in a pro-liberal rant every chance he gets. Also, why leave the Calendar section’s critics off the list — the now-departed Howard Rosenberg gave us a notoriously liberal slant, but Kenneth Turan, Manohla Dargis and others are still fiinding ways to work left-wing sentiment into their reviews.

    Comment by James Fulton (e2e97f) — 1/2/2004 @ 5:08 pm

  42. Great Piece. I cancelled the Dog Trainer several months ago. I think the only good thing about the Dog Trianer is the cartoonist Michael Rimerez; he is a genius.

    Comment by Don Nickles (ceabbe) — 1/2/2004 @ 9:38 pm

  43. Don’t forget John Rhys-Davies for the list of anti-idiotarian actors. I think perhaps the list of lefty actors is so much longer than the conservative list because when the lefty types open their mouths, such monstrously stupid things come out, that we can’t help but remember them. But who’s gonna really remember that Jean Claude Van Damme supported the war on terror? Hearing that islamic extremism is a threat to democracy just isn’t nearly as memorable as hearing someone scream “Bush is Hitler!”

    Comment by Celeste (7af737) — 1/3/2004 @ 9:35 am

  44. Excellent.
    Missed this recent one though – granting an op-ed column on the topic of anti-Semitism to a nihilist (Michael Neumann) who has admitted he would stop at nothing, including ‘encouraging vicious racist anti-Semitism’ to promote his anti-Israel ideology…and not telling readers about this past statement of his.
    Covered here:
    http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/A_Nihilist_on_Anti-semitism.asp

    Comment by Bruce (e7e46d) — 1/3/2004 @ 11:58 am

  45. As one of those who cancelled his LA Times subscription after 20+ years this fall after the Schwarzenegger fiasco, I remember well when it was a balanced, slightly left-of-center paper…it has become the most liberal paper in the country only in the last 5 years…

    The OC Register does a pretty competent job and has a very unique libertarian/conservative editorial point of view…I wish someone like Murdoch would buy it and expand it’s resources and reach and make it a true national paper of record for conservatives…

    Comment by Frank (824062) — 1/3/2004 @ 9:01 pm

  46. I cancelled the LA Times because I dont speak Arabic. The LA Times are the PLO’s propaganda machine, never once standing up and declaring the corruption and failure of Arafat’s regeme to accept the viable peace settlement brokered by the USA and offerred by Israel in 1999. To this day, the Times bemoans the “inconvenience’s” sufferred by the innocent Arabs in the West Bank. What the Times neglects to mention is that these are the same people who stap bombs onto their body’s and blow up Israeli citizens. The Arafat regeme has spent 30 years indoctrinating a hatred of Israel into the minds of it’s people. It has become obvious to anyone looking, including the current US Administration, that Arafat will never be the man to bring about peace. The LA Times has years of bringing a shameful distortion of the truth on their coverage of Israeli-Arab relations. The LA Times absolutely sucks!

    Comment by David Lebental (e07b0a) — 1/6/2004 @ 1:20 pm

  47. Okay, here’s the dilemna: to continue reading and to be thus surely driven mad by the Sunday Times’ sophomoric retro-leftist rantings of such “independent journalists” as Michael Neuman, listed as a mere philosophy professor and not a Palestinian advocate; Gregory Rodriguez, accusing an entire community of being “insular, racially intolerant” full of “lily white” citizens, an OpEd anointing parking valets as the newest capitalist oppressed victim class — yes, freaking parking valets; Dargis’ war movie rant; and finally, today, the Travel’s fawning feature on a Brazilian city rescued from the clutches of a “US backed” military dictatorship– or to cancel, and to thereby leave them unfettered by overview to their hate mongering?

    Comment by PJD (be5ebe) — 2/8/2004 @ 10:17 am

  48. HI I am an Italian student and I am writing my thesis on the LA Times and these comments were all very useful…I couldn’t find anything on the Iraq war coverage in 2003….How do you think the coverage was? Was it biased also? Thanks

    Comment by Francesca (08c04c) — 5/12/2004 @ 2:08 am

  49. HI I am an Italian student and I am writing my thesis on the LA Times and these comments were all very useful…I couldn’t find anything on the Iraq war coverage in 2003….How do you think the coverage was? Was it biased also? Thanks

    Comment by Francesca (08c04c) — 5/12/2004 @ 2:09 am

  50. Buh-Bye, 2003
    Happy New Year to all. Belated thanks to Amanda Calblog for her very creative Secret Santa gift. It consists of a Steinkrug by CafePress featuring my now-infamous Evel Knxrlq photo. I’ll add a pic of the stein when I get…

    Trackback by damnum absque cum injuria (2c5473) — 12/31/2003 @ 3:12 pm

  51. The News That Fits
    Patterico has a great compilation of the LA Times’ more … god, I need a word here … infuriating … examples of the ‘intellectual rigor and emotional self-discipline’ we got from the Times this year….

    Trackback by Winds of Change.NET (75cec2) — 12/31/2003 @ 4:52 pm

  52. LA Daily Bugle?
    Patterico has a long post up detailing the LA Times Dog Trainer and its accuracy and objectivity over the past year. All I can say is that there’s clearly a reason the Times web content goes behind a firewall after…

    Trackback by The Interocitor (9a1c22) — 12/31/2003 @ 6:42 pm

  53. The LA Times Year in Review
    How can you resist this opening: It is time for this blog’s first annual review of the performance of the Los Angeles Dog Trainer (aka Los Angeles Times). Go read Patterico’s fine effort….

    Trackback by Calblog (36e489) — 1/1/2004 @ 11:05 am

  54. http://www.hayekcenter.org/prestopunditarchive/002193.html
    LOS ANGELES DOG TRAINER YEAR IN REVIEW: 2003″ href=”http://patterico.com/archives/001747.php”>Patterico’s Pontifications: PATTERICO’S The LA Times completely and utterly sucks — Patterico…

    Trackback by PrestoPundit.com (e9661e) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:14 pm

  55. What Media Bias?
    Patterico documents one year’s worth of Los Angeles Times coverage. How many media outlets will devote the same detailed coverage in their end-of-the-year stories? Anyone? Hello?…

    Trackback by Swanky Conservative (6dda64) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:27 pm

  56. The Los Angeles Dog Trainer
    Patterico is all over the Los Angeles Times for it’s 2003 reporting and editorializing. You probably saw this link at Instapundit already, but hey, he’s a BFL brother! I say: bravo. The LA Times is utterly worthless, and every time…

    Trackback by Michael Williams -- Master of None (9b43bf) — 1/1/2004 @ 12:37 pm

  57. LA Times: Howlers in Review
    Patterico offers up a year-end roundup of the Times’ various biases and errors. Good stuff.

    Trackback by ProfessorBainbridge.com (af7df9) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:04 pm

  58. Patterico: LA Times Roll of Shame
    Man … I spend yesterday and today watching the granddaughter, and when I come back, one of my blogfriends writes a killer article taking it to the Los Angeles Times. Patterico spent a lot of time and effort researching the

    Trackback by Captain's Quarters (af7df9) — 1/1/2004 @ 1:53 pm

  59. Spend first, balance later
    [source, source, source] When the [California] Legislature was trying to figure out what to do about a $38 billion budget…

    Trackback by Low Earth Orbit (2546b7) — 1/1/2004 @ 4:08 pm

  60. LA Times reign of error
    Oh, what the heck. I cited this long post in my previous post but for a different reason. The post…

    Trackback by Low Earth Orbit (2546b7) — 1/1/2004 @ 4:22 pm

  61. Somebody get this town another newspaper
    I know a few people who will appreciate this comprehensive review, on one page, of all of the missteps taken by a certain media organisation in 2003. Sadly, it’s not the BBC — but who has that kind of bandwidth?…

    Trackback by au currant: politics, media & lowbrow culture (5b2dcc) — 1/1/2004 @ 8:49 pm

  62. That’ll Learn Him
    Alain Hertoghe, a journalist in France, recently wrote a book titled La Guerre a Outrances, or “The War of Outrages,” that was critical of the French media’s biased coverage of the war in Iraq. His newspaper, La Croix, responded to…

    Trackback by damnum absque cum injuria (2c5473) — 1/2/2004 @ 9:26 am

  63. That Explains It. The Left Isn’t a Political Party Any More – It’s a Religion.
    Via GeekPress, here’s an excerpt from a speech made by Michael Crichton in which he argues that Environmentalism is now a religion: I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social…

    Trackback by The Big Picture (192154) — 1/2/2004 @ 11:57 am

  64. Times watch
    Who distorted reality, skewered the news and reported with blatant bias in 2003? Patterico’s Pontifications posts on The LA Times while Times Watch covers The New York Times….

    Trackback by PunditFilter (5bef0a) — 1/3/2004 @ 6:55 pm

  65. Carnival of the Vanities #68
    A few words before we begin… To avoid accusations of censorship, none of the submissions was ignored – they have all been included. This makes for a long, long list.

    Trackback by American RealPolitik (d560d4) — 1/7/2004 @ 2:21 am

  66. Submitted for Your Approval
    First off…&nbsp any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here, and here.&nbsp Die spambots, die!&nbsp And now…&nbsp here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher’s Council for this week’s vote. Council links:Patteric…

    Trackback by Watcher of Weasels (07c6c2) — 1/13/2004 @ 7:58 pm

  67. The Council Has Spoken!
    First off…&nbsp any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here, and here.&nbsp Die spambots, die!&nbsp And now…&nbsp the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in R…

    Trackback by Watcher of Weasels (07c6c2) — 1/15/2004 @ 6:36 pm

  68. Council Winners
    Time again to announce the winners. Congratulations to Patterico for the winning Council entry, “Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review: 2003,” and to IMAO for the winning non-Council entry, “In My Poassible Future World: The Howard Dean Pr…

    Trackback by damnum absque injuria (2c5473) — 1/15/2004 @ 6:59 pm

  69. THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN.
    Wow! With Patterico in there to take CommieWatch’s place, the Council has become quite a challenge… in his first week competing, he snagged first place in the Council Vote with Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review: 2003. The Non-council…

    Trackback by The SmarterCop (07c6c2) — 1/16/2004 @ 8:39 am

  70. The Council Has Spoken
    The Watcher’s Council has met and voted on the posts of the week: Winning Council Entry: Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review: 2003 Patterico’s Pontifications Winning Non-Council Entry: In My Possible Future World: The Howard Dean Preside…

    Trackback by King of Fools (355529) — 1/16/2004 @ 8:40 am

  71. The Council Has Spoken !!!
    Back to Business Here I am — out in the wild, wooly world; without my templates! So I will hafta akchewully type my html. Life is soooo hard. *sigh* My oh my . . . This week’s winners are: Patterico’s…

    Trackback by e-Claire (75cec2) — 1/16/2004 @ 3:28 pm

  72. The Council Has Spoken !!!
    Back to Business Here I am — out in the wild, wooly world; without my templates! So I will hafta akchewully type my html. Life is soooo hard. *sigh* My oh my . . . This week’s winners are: Patterico’s…

    Trackback by e-Claire (75cec2) — 1/16/2004 @ 5:27 pm

  73. Watcher Winners!
    Congratulations to Patterico’s Pontifications for winning the council-member category of the weekly Weasel Watcher contest with Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review: 2003. And to IMAO for winning the non-council member category with In My…

    Trackback by AlphaPatriot (07cc50) — 1/18/2004 @ 10:16 pm

  74. Stopping the ‘Times’
    I am on the phone with the Los Angeles Times as I type this. They have told me three times already that I can go online…but I want to waste their money on hold on their 1-800-Number. It sounded like…

    Trackback by BoiFromTroy (aef310) — 1/23/2004 @ 4:20 pm

  75. Best in the Country?
    Patterico will disagree. Kevin at L.A. Observed points to an electronic monitoring survey by an Atlanta consulting firm that says that the Los Angeles Times is the best newspaper in the country. Sounds like USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin ranking Oklahoma…

    Trackback by BoiFromTroy (aef310) — 1/23/2004 @ 6:59 pm

  76. Vote for TAM
    There’s this little contest called BlogMadness 2003. Think of it as the NCAA basketball tournament for weblogs. In the first

    Trackback by The American Mind (dc94e7) — 1/26/2004 @ 10:27 pm

  77. Weasel Winners
    A belated post linking to the November 6th results will be accepted if it also links to all entries…

    Trackback by Spicedsass (15eef6) — 3/9/2004 @ 6:12 am

  78. Weasel Winners
    A belated post linking to the November 6th results will be accepted if it also links to all entries…

    Trackback by Spicedsass (15eef6) — 3/9/2004 @ 6:17 am

  79. Weasel Winners
    A belated post linking to the November 6th results will be accepted if it also links to all entries…

    Trackback by Spicedsass (15eef6) — 3/9/2004 @ 6:22 am

  80. Weasel Winners
    A belated post linking to the November 6th results will be accepted if it also links to all entries…

    Trackback by Spicedsass (15eef6) — 3/9/2004 @ 6:25 am

  81. Weasel Winners
    A belated post linking to the November 6th results will be accepted if it also links to all entries…

    Trackback by Spicedsass (15eef6) — 3/9/2004 @ 6:31 am

  82. Watchers Council
    A belated post linking to the January 15th results will be accepted if it also links to all entries nominated for…

    Trackback by Spicedsass (15eef6) — 3/24/2004 @ 10:47 am

  83. Dog Trainer Exclusive: Fewer Than 5,152 Americans Killed in Vietnam War
    Steve Lopez, the L.A. Dog Trainer’s answer to Maureen Dowd, may not make $300,000 a year, but he does make $300,000 a year too much….

    Trackback by damnum absque injuria (2c5473) — 4/9/2004 @ 9:32 am

  84. Dog Trainer Exclusive: Fewer Than 5,152 Americans Killed in Vietnam War
    Steve Lopez, the L.A. Dog Trainer’s answer to Maureen Dowd, may not make $300,000 a year, but he does make $300,000 a year too much….

    Trackback by damnum absque injuria (2c5473) — 4/9/2004 @ 9:38 am

  85. LAT schadenfreude?
    Jim Romanesko’s e-mail today notes this little tidbit: “We’ve got to try harder to be heard than if we were in New York or Washington,” conceded Carroll, 62, who came to Los Angeles after editing the Baltimore Sun and the…

    Trackback by Arguing with signposts... (8bf1d5) — 6/25/2004 @ 10:18 am

  86. [...] It’s nice to show up in Harry’s post — if for no other reason than the fact that Harry, while a lefty, is (like me) a rabid critic of the L.A. Times. He is, after all, the guy who invented the term “Dog Trainer.” All I did was steal it. [...]

    Pingback by Patterico’s Pontifications » Harry Shearer Responds to Patterico (421107) — 9/18/2006 @ 8:48 pm

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