Patterico's Pontifications

4/13/2008

L.A. Times Shortens the Mile

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:23 am

This morning, the L.A. Times cuts the mile to about 1/6 of its traditional length:

Five people were injured, four critically, Saturday afternoon when a twin-engine aircraft crashed nose first into a Compton house and sliced into the one next door with one of its wings, authorities said.

The Cessna 310 crashed just before 4 p.m. in the 500 block of West Cypress Street, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The craft came to rest with its tail sticking almost directly upward from the middle of one of the houses in a neighborhood of spacious, modern homes.

The plane, which was registered in Nevada, was heading from San Diego to Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Gregor said. It was about a mile and a half away from Compton/Woodley Airport, a general aviation field, but he said it was unclear whether the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing.

Unless the mile has become considerably shorter than the 5,280 foot mile we had when I was growing up, the paper is way off. Because when I plug 500 W. Cypress St. into Mapquest, it looks to me like it’s maybe 1200 feet — less than a quarter of a mile — away from the airport:

compton-plane-crash-mapquest.JPG

And yes, that is Compton/Woodley airport depicted in that map.

The LAist blog puts the crash at about a quarter-mile away. That sounds more like it. But then, they looked it up, like I did.

By the way, I looked up the address on Mapquest only because I drive by that airport every day on the way home from work. This just reinforces Patterico’s First Law of Big Media Stories: if you have personal familiarity with any aspect of a story that appears in Big Media, you will find an inaccuracy in that story.

17 Responses to “L.A. Times Shortens the Mile”

  1. The funny part of it is, even though one will almost always find inaccuracies in any story that one is familiar with, most people will then turn around and believe, without reservation, every fact of every story they’re not familiar with. I think that Michael Crichton called it the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

    Robin S (bd84e7)

  2. I think they used Google maps. I entered “Compton/Woodley Airport” and it located it a little over a mile to the east of where it actually is. Looks like Google confused 900 W Alondra Blvd with 900 E Alondra Blvd.

    kaf (8a09c0)

  3. Not being from LA LA land…is there any other newspaper available?
    I listen to crap after BS coming from the LAT and am amazed that there isn’t a more competent competetor already in place.

    paul from Fl (47918a)

  4. “if you have personal familiarity with any aspect of a story that appears in Big Media, you will find an inaccuracy in that story.” This is why the media is so dangerous.

    davod (5bdbd3)

  5. This is why most liberal reporters do not make it in flight school

    EricPWJohnson (d2733c)

  6. This is why people drop their subscriptions.

    Alta Bob (fbc991)

  7. > This just reinforces Patterico’s First Law of Big Media Stories: if you have personal familiarity with any aspect of a story that appears in Big Media, you will find an inaccuracy in that story.

    Once in my life I was interviewed by a newspaper reporter. The only quote that was printed was a statement that such-and-such was 50% of the market. I had actually said FIFTEEN percent.

    ( Yeah, I know that 15 sounds like 50. But the reporter didn’t have enough common sense to realize that the 50% number was crazy in the context of what we were talking about.)

    Arthur (a499d5)

  8. My wife never understood why in recent years I would mutter to myself about certain “news” stories as covered by the L.A. Times. Then one morning there was an “in-depth” [cough, cough] piece in the Calendar section about the exact kind of work she’d been doing for 8 years. She was astonished at how “wrong” the story was — and how the reporter had obviously spoken to sources who could have helped him get it “right.” It just didn’t happen. In this case, it wasn’t even ideological blindness: it seemed like that all-too-common combination of laziness/ineptitude.

    ScottH (afce93)

  9. if you have personal familiarity with any aspect of a story that appears in Big Media, you will find an inaccuracy in that story.

    Oh yeh. People like to talk about how it’s all because of political bias, but that wouldn’t explain why it happens all the time in non-political stories. I stopped watching 60 Minutes back in the 90s because they were obviously lying about a technical issue.

    Of course, when you mix political bias together with lots of mistakes, you get something truly amazing.

    MamaAJ (788539)

  10. I wonder if it was a miles/kilometers mistake. But yes, especially if there’s a number, the paper all too often has it wrong, somehow.

    htom (412a17)

  11. I think they used Google maps. I entered “Compton/Woodley Airport” and it located it a little over a mile to the east of where it actually is. Looks like Google confused 900 W Alondra Blvd with 900 E Alondra Blvd.

    I dunno; I have a link to Google Maps in the post immediately above, and it properly locates the airport. The URL is the one hyperlinked to the sentence “And yes, that is Compton/Woodley airport depicted in that map.”

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  12. C’mon on PP, you can’t expect the LAT to actually get “facts” right, now can you?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  13. I like Robin S’s comment. I’m continually amazed that people who are quick to complain about stories they know something about are willing to accept as gospel stories they know nothing about.

    Fritz (64dd50)

  14. Patterico:
    I agrre with your map and distance.

    But, after reading your story this morning, I went to Google maps and put in “compton/woodley airport” in the search window. The first choice was well to the east of the actual runways on the map. So my theory is that the moron at the Times did the same thing and didn’t happen to see the runways on the map.

    kaf (8a09c0)

  15. “The plane, which was registered in Nevada, was heading from San Diego to Hawthorne Municipal Airport, Gregor said. It was about a mile and a half away from Compton/Woodley Airport, a general aviation field, but he said it was unclear whether the pilot was trying to make an emergency landing.”

    Agreed that the LA Times is pathetic. However, I interpret the above a little differently. I think the writer is trying to say that a problem developed about a mile and a half from the airport, not that the crash occurred there.

    Something seems to be missing between “a general aviation field” and “but he said”. As it currently reads, the paragraph is atrocious even if the distance is correct. My addition would unify the two sentences.

    fat tony (0ea2be)

  16. Compton/Woodley, is under the administration of the LA County Airports, and is a field for General Aviation (I don’t think it is certified for jets) and Helicopters. IIRC, it has no tower, and operates under “see, and be seen” rules (VFR).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  17. What’s the big deal? Guys are always exaggerating lengths.

    Steverino (6772c8)


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