Patterico's Pontifications

3/22/2007

Martinez Blasts L.A. Times Newsroom’s “Agenda” and “Ostensibly Objective News Reporters and Editors”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:29 pm



In an eye-opening online resignation from his position as editor of the editorial page of the Los Angeles Times, Andres Martinez today lashed out at news reporters and editors for having an “agenda”:

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.

Wow.

Nobody who reads this blog is surprised to learn that the L.A. Times newsroom has an “agenda,” or that The Times‘s “ostensibly objective news reporters and editors” . . . aren’t.

What is important about that statement is that it is made by someone who, until today, held a top editorial position at the L.A. Times.

In other words, he was in a position to know.

Mr. Martinez, if you would like to elaborate on this statement, I’m here for ya, babe. My e-mail address is patterico AT gmail DOT com. If you’re looking to name names and tell stories, you’ve found the right place!

P.S. The newsroom’s “agenda” creates a much greater appearance of impropriety than Martinez’s giving a guest editor spot to a client of his girlfriend’s P.R. firm. Does it really come as a shock that some people get published on the op-ed page because they know the editor?

Rather than wringing his hands over a nonstory like that, publisher Hiller ought to address his attention to appearances of impropriety that really matter. For example:

It creates an appearance of impropriety when one of the fired U.S. Attorneys directly contradicts the major premise of an L.A. Times article published about him — and five days later, there is still no correction.

It creates an appearance of impropriety when the paper splashes on the front page the fact that rationales for firing the U.S. Attorneys were “detailed after the fact” — and saves for the 27th paragraph the fact that they were detailed before the fact as well.

It creates an appearance of impropriety when the paper tells readers that Carol Lam was targeted after she prosecuted Randy “Duke” Cunningham — and fails to tell readers that she was initially targeted several months before the Cunningham scandal saw the light of day.

These distortions, taken together, form a pattern. Misleading stories like these constitute a real appearance of impropriety on the part of the Los Angeles Times — one far worse than any “appearance of impropriety” caused by today’s non-scandal. Such stories create the overwhelming impression that (to use former editor Martinez’s words) the newsroom’s “ostensibly objective news reporters and editors” have an “agenda” — namely, to keep the U.S. Attorney “scandal” alive for as long as possible.

And the facts, and basic concepts of fundamental fairness, can go to hell.

That, Mr. Hiller, is a real appearance of impropriety. This thing with Andres Martinez? Not so much.

UPDATE: Marc Danziger and Hugh Hewitt see an issue where I don’t.

UPDATE x2: It emerges that a cabal of staffers pressured the publisher to kill this Sunday’s Current edition, prompting Martinez’s resignation. Could these be some of the same news staffers who Martinez claims tried to influence the opinion section? Martinez names names here.

16 Responses to “Martinez Blasts L.A. Times Newsroom’s “Agenda” and “Ostensibly Objective News Reporters and Editors””

  1. Pay back is h, e, double toothpicks

    EricPWJohnson (695c44)

  2. Somewhere Cathy is smiling.

    Uncle Pinky (6546ec)

  3. I almost quoted the subtitle of this Seipp column (which I loved!) in my post. The subtitle was:

    A scandal at the Times? It’s too good to be true.

    Heh.

    That’s not how I feel about this “scandal,” which I believe is manufactured nonsense. But the sentiment is one that I think my readers expect me to feel — and I almost used that as a jumping off point for what I feel the real scandal is.

    Patterico (04465c)

  4. The newsroom is pissed off at the editorial section for not being biased enough? Wow, indeed.

    Liberalism is standing on your head and telling the world that it’s upside down.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  5. Martinez’ self-serving statement about ethics, offered without evidence, is best taken with a large grain of salt. Let’s see him respond to Patterico’s offer and name names and describe specific instances of unethical behavior.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  6. I take it with about one tiny, tiny grain of salt, Bradley. Just to add a hint of extra flavor to the already juicy tidbit.

    Come on. Do you honestly find it difficult to imagine the ideological puritans in the newsroom trying to influence the opinion section? I find that incredibly easy to believe.

    Patterico (04465c)

  7. Also, his refusing to name names and give specific details would ADD to his ethical claim.

    Were he to air specific dirty laundry, the i’d start to question his ethics…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  8. I wouldn’t!

    Do you hear me, Mr. Martinez? I wouldn’t!

    Patterico (04465c)

  9. *chuckles* Down boy… Down.

    I’m just saying that after blasting the LAT, a certain amount of high-road would be pretty classy…

    DOn’t mistake the above for my not wanting names, dates, and details… Because boy do I…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  10. Man bites dog, indeed.

    AST (b318b5)

  11. The Times Has An Agenda…

    The L.A. Times, that is, according to its just resigned editorial page editor:
    In an eye-opening online resignation from his position as editor of the editorial page of the Los Angeles Times, Andres Martinez today lashed out at news reporters and edito…

    Decision '08 (1b383c)

  12. […] Patterico says there sure is a scandal here but it has nothing to do with nookie payola and everything to do with a “agenda” being acknowledged by a guy who was, until this week, one of the paper’s own top editors. I’m inclined to agree. Exit question: Which black eye for the Times is bigger? digg_url = ‘http://hotair.com/archives/2007/03/23/shocka-la-times-opinion-editor-complains-of-newsrooms-agenda/';digg_topic = ‘political_opinion'; […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Shocka: LA Times opinion editor complains of newsroom’s “agenda” (d4224a)

  13. […] Noting the words “ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects”, Patterico sees other undercurrents: Wow. […]

    American Daughter Media Center - Front Page » Blog Archive » Waste Paper (694660)

  14. Get out of town and please take Jonah Goldberg with you. After the disgraceful coverage of the Governors race by this paper there is no denying that the so called news division is involved in the editorial business. All you have to do is look back at the pictures they choose to print of Schwarzenegger and compare them to those of Phil Angelides.They went out of their way to make Angelides look like a dork.This incestuous behavior is the final shivering of a discredited right wing rag going down the shit hole.

    Mike de Martino (f1257a)

  15. […] by just-resigned editorial page editor Andres Martinez of the Los Angeles Times (HTs Hugh Hewitt, Patterico, and Kaus via Instapundit; bold is mine): Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a […]

    BizzyBlog » LA Times Meltdown Continues, Seemingly Inexorably (34f45e)

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    c950fc0b826e45c3116f (5b12da)


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