Patterico's Pontifications

3/10/2009

L.A. Times: We Didn’t Cover the John and Ken Rally Because Those Guys Are Idiots Rallies of 15,000 People Aren’t Newsworthy. Oh REALLY?!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:42 pm

Radio personalities John and Ken recently hosted a “taxpayer revolt” in Fullerton with a crowd of between 8,000 and 15,000 — and the L.A. Times wasn’t there to cover it. At the Readers’ Representative blog is a letter that editor David Lauter mass-mailed to “dozens” of readers who had written to complain about the lack of coverage.

Thanks to each of you for writing. I appreciate hearing from all of you — even the ones who called me a moron.

As a counter to the radio station’s claim of 15,000 attendees, Lauter’s letter uncritically repeats the ostensibly more objective estimate given by a Fullerton police sergeant who fixed the number between 3000 and 8000. (Way to nail it down, Sarge!) If the extremely large gap between the extremes of that range suggests to you that the Sergeant may lack expertise in the field of crowd estimation, then congratulations! You’ve just demonstrated more journalistic skepticism than a trained editor at a major national newspaper.

The Times chose the lowest numbers out there; other estimations were much closer to the radio station’s claimed 15,000. According to Jon Fleischman, the Fullerton Police Department estimated the crowd at 15,000. This citizen journalist also reports the number at 15,000. According to the Orange County Register, police estimated the crowd at 8000. (Are these different police?)

You start to get the sense that crowd estimation is not an exact science, don’t you? But you still get the strong sense that there were a lot of people there.

So why not write about it? Lauter says:

Between now and the May 19 election, we plan extensive coverage of both sides of the campaign over the ballot initiatives. We’ll explain the issues, tell readers what both sides are saying, figure out where the money is coming from to pay for the campaigns on both sides and show people what’s at stake. What we’re not likely to do is cover a lot of individual rallies — from either side. That’s not a political thing. We don’t cover a lot of government-worker rallies in favor of tax hikes, either. That doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the issue or that we have any disrespect for the people who attend the rallies (or the people who organize them).

Yuh-huh. I noticed that you didn’t clearly deny that you lack respect for John and Ken. Instead, you just say that readers can’t draw that conclusion based on the paper’s lack of coverage of a rally — because the paper just don’t cover a lot of rallies.

Except:

DOES THE L.A. TIMES COVER RALLIES? YOU BET IT DOES! And they don’t have to have 15,000 people, either — as long as the issue is one near and dear to the hearts of Times editors.

The Times has covered protests and rallies with crowds similar in size to John and Ken’s tax protest. Examples include the teachers’ rally in Pershing Square with a crowd of around 10,000, or an immigrants’ rights march in L.A. with “[n]early 5,000 immigrants and their supporters” — or the immigrants’ rights march with 3000 attendees . . . in Norcross, Georgia.

On the lower end, we saw a story about 50 Teamsters marching into a freight hauler’s office to demand that some truckers be reinstated. Laughably, an entertainment feature called the “Envelope” told us the critical news that “[m]ore than a dozen” Jews for Peace demonstrated outside the federal building in Westwood, seeking more humanitarian aid for Gaza.

L.A. Times blogs have covered things as crucially important as PETA’s rally comparing a kennel club to the KKK, and a vigil protesting an Israeli dance troupe.

SO WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON? An intrepid reader sheds considerable light on the subject. She wrote Lauter and got a . . . somewhat different response. One that denigrated the rally as a “promotional event[] for radio personalities.” The letter, which begins with the same bland boilerplate as the letter quoted above, ends this way:

But while the issues involved are important, rallies by themselves are seldom newsworthy. In an area the size of southern California , there’s a rally, demonstration or march practically every week somewhere, particularly when a political campaign is under way. We’ll make sure that all sides in the debate get covered fairly, but I think there are better ways to do that than by covering promotional events for radio personalities.

That almost suggests disdain for these particular radio personalities. But surely such an attitude can’t prevail at a bastion of objectivity such as the L.A. Times?

Well, the L.A. Times‘s James Rainey recently wrote a column dripping with contempt for John and Ken, whom he dismissively termed “KenJohn” and described as people who “seem to like their answers without much nuance.”

Rainey, of course, is a columnist. His type of snooty attitude could never infuse the decisions made by news editors. They have objective reasons to refuse to cover a tax protest of 8000 – 15,000 people while giving space to PETA lunatics, 50 Teamsters, and a baker’s dozen of Jews for Gazan Terrorism.

Yes, I’m joking. Thanks for asking.

Anyone who doubts that the editors of the L.A. Times lack respect for John and Ken, raise your hand.

Anyone who doubts that the contempt editors feel for John and Ken influenced their decision not to cover the rally, raise your hand.

I see no hands.

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link. Also, I should have mentioned in the post that that there were a couple of dismissive lines on the rally in one of the paper’s blogs, suggesting the rally might be merely a “radio stunt.” But it was never mentioned in the print edition.

Readers have even more examples of rallies the paper did cover in the comments.

Rush Limbaugh: “After this stimulus bill package passes, I want it to fail.”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:14 pm

Turns out Rush does want Obama’s policies to fail even after they’re enacted:

I was just being honest when Hannity asked me about this. I want everything he’s doing to fail! His stimulus is not about creating jobs. It’s about… Oh, we’ve been through this. I’m getting blue in the face talking about this. Anybody with a brain knows what’s in this. Anybody with a brain knows that this approach has never worked. There’s no evidence it’s ever worked. It will be the first time. This is not about creating jobs. This is the exact opposite. This is all about rebuilding the Democrat Party into an unbeatable entity. It’s about remaking the United States of America without the Constitution as the guiding light. Of course I want this to fail. Of course I want Obama to fail. And after this stimulus bill package passes, I want it to fail.

Let me give them some more fodder: I want the stimulus package to fail. ‘Cause if this thing for the first time ever does what it never has done before, we’re in even worse trouble. If it becomes established that the federal government and the federal government alone can manage the economy and take over the private sector, then forget it, folks. I’m looking for property in New Zealand, and I’m going to put my money in Singapore. I do not want this to succeed, and nobody who has any respect for the founding of this country and for the capitalist system, who is honest and who has looked at it, would want it to succeed either.

Many of you have said that the above is exactly what Limbaugh meant when he said “I hope he fails.” Others flew into varying degrees of outrage at anyone who dared to suggest that the above interpretation was plausible.

Apparently, it was.

Now that we have the evidence that Rush indeed blessed the idea of wishing for Americans to be out of work in the short run to preserve capitalism and defeat socialism, I suppose that those who previously howled that this interpretation was clearly implausible will now go into overdrive to defend it. It’s a principled stance, but a tough sell in these tough economic times. A very tough sell.

Whether you agree with the argument or not, it’s still not an ugly statement, and it would still be wrong to portray it as such — as we know Obama and his friends in the media most assuredly will.

Thanks to dahdah.

UPDATE: The statement is from February 13, 2009.

The “What, Me Worry?” Administration… and its Critics

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:38 am

[Posted by Karl]

At National Review, Rich Lowry makes the point the establishment media seems bent on avoiding:

“[T]he stock market has lost roughly 25 percent of its value in the past two months, destroying more than $2.6 trillion of wealth. But at least President Obama is calm.

***

His Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, has gone from being such an indispensable man that he could get away with cheating on his taxes to serving as the butt of Saturday Night Live skits in the space of six weeks. His vague and unconvincing bank-rescue plan tanked the market, while he hasn’t yet fully staffed the upper echelons of his department. The New York Times reports of him and his team, “Some worry that political and financial constraints have made them reluctant to grapple with the full magnitude of the crisis.” If Obama worries, he does it calmly.

Fred Barnes also notices, at least in passing:

He talks about “hard choices” but hasn’t made any… Despite glitches in picking his cabinet, his cool demeanor is unshaken. He governs campaign-style, largely with speeches and announcements. No wonder he enjoys being president. Accountability comes later.

But there’s a problem. Candidates don’t have to deal with reality. They talk about the wonderful things they can accomplish as if advocating them is the same as achieving them. They live in a world of political make-believe in which everything from reconciling conflicting interests to paying for costly programs is easy.

Generations of Americans are seeing their retirement savings vanish, while Pres. Obama dismisses it as a “tracking poll” – another campaign based metaphor.  The ginned-up attacks on Rush Limabugh, Bobby Jindal, etc., have also been revealed as the Obama White House in perpetual campaign mode.

Barack Obama is not a Manchurian President; he is acting in accord with his lifetime of Leftist politics.  He is pushing the New New Deal, while letting our financial and economic crises fester, much to the chagrin of Obama fans like Jim Cramer. (update: And Warren Buffett.)

The conventional wisdom may already be starting to turn against Pres. Obama.  Someone ought to be asking what conservatives and Republicans have been doing.  The Senate GOP has been complacent in approving a tax cheat to oversee the Treasury, while the David Frums spend more time attacking people necessary to a future majority than commenting on the trainwreck being engineered in Washington. 

Internal debate among conservatives and Republicans is not only healthy, but necessary.  Nevertheless, if Cramer can put aside his affinity for Obama’s agenda to attack his misplaced priorities, the Right ought to be able to muster the same sense of focus.    If Nero is fiddling at the Barackopolis, the Right should be sounding the fire alarm, instead of dancing to his tune.  Pres. Obama is very good at dismissing the obstacles to his ascent as “distractions.”  The Right needs to get better at recognizing the distractions being placed in their path.  Until they do, Obama will remain calm.

Update: Behold the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.  In contrast, as Ronald Reagan once said, “my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.”

–Karl

An Area of Agreement on the Interpretation of Rush’s Statement: It Was Not an “Ugly Statement”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am

I thought I was done with the Rush Limbaugh thing. But after reading Jeff Goldstein at Hot Air yesterday, and listening to him at Breitbart.tv, I finally see an area of common ground where all conservatives can agree on an important aspect of how we interpret Rush’s comments. (If you’re not interested, that’s fine; there’s always the next post.)

(By the way, Jeff and I have agreed to put the bad blood behind us.)

Jeff’s insight yesterday, I thought, was best expressed in the Breitbart.tv segment, where he said:

Why are we allowing them to frame it as an ugly statement?

That’s the key. No matter what Rush meant in the specifics, I think it’s clear that he never meant this as an ugly statement.

We can all agree on that.

(more…)

L.A. Times: Still Cowards

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:18 am

They still can’t call a criminal a criminal:

The last of Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano’s co-defendants in his criminal trials last year was sentenced today to more than two years in prison. Kevin Kachikian was the tech whiz who allegedly helped Pellicano design and create Telesleuth, the computer program prosecutors said allowed the investigator to digitally record private phone conversations for his wealthy and powerful clients.

What the hell is up with the use of words like “allegedly” and “prosecutors said”?? Kachikian said himself that he helped Pellicano design and create Telesleuth. Why, I think I might have read that in . . . the L.A. Times — back when they had the guts to tell the truth on this issue:

Meanwhile, Kevin Kachikian, 43, who wrote the code for Pellicano’s TeleSleuth computer program for wiretapping, is the social misfit who by his own admission grew up more comfortable with electronics than with girls.

What’s the difference now? Now he’s been convicted. It should be easier to say the truth now.

But for some reason they’re finding it harder.

Kevin Kachikian was the tech whiz who allegedly helped Pellicano design and create Telesleuth, the computer program prosecutors said that allowed the investigator to digitally record private phone conversations for his wealthy and powerful clients.

If the L.A. Times is too weak-willed to say that nowadays, I will.


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