Patterico's Pontifications


The L.A. Times Takes Another Small Step on the Road to Oblivion

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Jack Dunphy @ 11:37 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

On Thursday, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez asked readers to submit candidates for a list of “L.A.’s worst people.” Among those who qualified for this list, either in Lopez’s or his editors’ opinion, are those whose pictures appear in the below screen shot. They are, from left to right, Frank Shaw, the famously corrupt mayor who was recalled in 1938; homicidal madman Charles Manson; disgraced former President Richard Nixon; former LAPD Chief William Parker; Manson family murderer Susan Atkins; serial killer Richard Ramirez, also remembered as the “Night Stalker”; and O.J. Simpson, the Butcher of Brentwood.


An interesting mix, to say the least, but I was puzzled by Parker’s presence among the murderers and corrupt politicians. Lopez explains thus: “Nobody beats former LAPD chief William Parker, said author and former Timesman Bill Boyarsky. ‘He was the most damaging Angeleno of all time’ because of his ‘us-against-them, all-white, anti-minority attitude. That has done more lasting harm to the city than anything.’”

A year ago, responding to a similar smear against Parker from Times columnist Tim Rutten, Glynn Martin, a retired LAPD officer now serving as executive director of the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, wrote that Parker must be understood as a man of his time, and that examining him through the lens of modern sensibilities distorts the memory of a man who integrated the department and cleansed it of its endemic corruption.

Placing Parker in such loathsome company is emblematic of the pettiness one has come to expect from the Los Angeles Times. And yet they wonder why their circulation is declining.

–Jack Dunphy

44 Responses to “The L.A. Times Takes Another Small Step on the Road to Oblivion”

  1. Jack – Can readers submit names for the least admired list, such as those of hopelessly biased LA Times columnists?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  2. since corporations are persons, according to SCOTUS, why not just submit the Times-Mirror organization as a hole?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  3. It’s almost as though they assembled this list of monsters just so they could slap on a political figure they didn’t like and send a message.

    If that ain’t petty I don’t know what is. The real consequence of this moral confusion is nihilism. Vicious murders become a punchline.

    There are bigger problems in the world, but the LA Times’s collapse and hopeful reassembly cannot come quickly enough.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. Dustin: you misspelled “collapse and dismemberment”… the Spring Street Building will make a mixed use development.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  5. It’s a huge city. They need a newspaper. They have a lot of problems that cry for real local journalists to destroy their shoes and shine some light.

    The LA Times is too busy playing some kind of game right now, but it is a paper with some history and I don’t think its potential financial failure would end the marque (this is probably dumb of me… papers go away all the time). It’s not like the LA Times is the only effort of its kind there, but something serious and large should take its place. I don’t buy for a second that the basic journalism model can’t work today.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  6. you have the LA Weekly and City Beat, and the local dailies Valley News, Downtown News, Press Telegram, Daily Breeze, all of which are much more responsive to readers, being local papers, plus blogs galore…. and the local broadcast media. what business model is there for an uber paper?

    at our house we get the Green Sheet for local news, the WSJ for real news, opinions and economic intel, occasionally watch the news on tv, and get the free papers when i remember to grab them. what’s funny is when HRH starts to read me a story, and it’s something i read/heard a day or two earlier on line.

    a major part, IMHO, of the downfall of the Slimes was their desire to be a “national” paper, and thus, they lost their connection to their audience, and their focus on what they could do that was of value. reprinting the AP and other party lines isn’t a product most people will pay for.

    the fact that they became arrogant asshats simply made their underlying problems worse.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  7. Yes, to continue the LAT attack on history, let us condemn that racist slavemongers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, history’s greatest monsters!

    docweasel (b970ac)

  8. red, I can’t dispute a single thing you said. Perhaps the LA Times simply doesn’t need replacement then. LA does need a great paper (or more than one would probably be preferable anyway). I think you’re right about how their focus on national coverage is counterproductive.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  9. As an old fart who grew up in NoCAL, allow a few observations. When I was a kid there were so many unsolved murders here that we used to joke that if we wanted to knock somebody off and get away with it all we had to do is trick them into coming to LA and then shoot them in front of a police station. The Police were almost totally corrupt until around 1950 when Parker was hired to clean it up, something he did very well. I mean you couldn’t even give them your license with a $100 bill attached without being arrested. The Parker led Department went from Chicago to Angelic, their rep was what made the old TV show “Dragnet” possible and believed. The real bad guys around here were the political class that grew up during the thirties and forties.

    Howard Veit (0d2b4f)

  10. Howard, interesting. Very interesting.

    Not to be totally non-history friendly, nor to take films too seriously – but I am reminded of LA Confidential by your comment.

    With the asshats at the LA Times – they say tomahto, I say tomayto. Thankfully I live in a two paper town, DC. YAY!

    Vivian Louise (643333)

  11. Charles Manson was from Ohio, and was mostly a lifelong resident of federal prisons.

    Nixon represented Los Angeles County in Congress, but it’s a stretch to call him an “Angeleno”.

    How about the IWW terrorists who blew up the Los Angeles Times newspaper office in 1910? Or did they make the “most admirable” list?

    Glen Wishard (02562c)

  12. I came to LA in 1956 and was shocked to find a scrupulously honest police department. It was a new experience after growing up in Chicago. The other factor was that the LAPD was the smallest of the big city police forces, which saved the tax payers a lot of money. I also remember that the south central part of LA was pretty safe. Lots of people used to visit the “Watts Towers” that a guy built himself and were kind of an attraction. I don’t think anybody goes there now. The city is far less safe and the atmosphere has changed radically. Maybe the residents of south central LA like it better now but I don’t know why. I suspect the black politicians like it better but MLK hospital has shown us what a great job they do with their local institutions.

    This is just a small minded attack by left wingers who weren’t even here when Parker ran the department.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  13. Why no mention of Tom Hayden?

    GeneralMalaise (c34110)

  14. Accuracy v Diversity

    Do I see from the pictures above that even “worstness” must conform to the expectations of racial stereotypes? Four White guys, one woman, one Hispanic, and one Black.

    ropelight (0cfa03)

  15. Fletcher Bowron, Democrat Mayor of LA who, in 1942, presided over the internment of the Japanese-American citizens. “He was the most damaging Angeleno of all time’ because of his ‘us-against-them, all-american, anti-Japanese attitude.”

    Rich (50cbec)

  16. L.A. Confidential is set right in the period, right before Parker’s ascension. Edmund Exley, is very much in the mold of the kind of soldier Parker promoted, Russell Crowe’s character is much more from that earlier era. Now Hanson, the director,
    had a father who was blacklisted, so you can take
    this view into account when you watch the film.

    ian cormac (fb852e)

  17. “Nobody beats former LAPD chief William Parker, said author and former Timesman Bill Boyarsky. ‘He was the most damaging Angeleno of all time’ because of his ‘us-against-them, all-white, anti-minority attitude. That has done more lasting harm to the city than anything.’”

    And I bet that Boyarsky, as is true of limousine liberals most everywhere, has avoided moving to parts of Los Angeles that weren’t predominantly Caucasian or certainly areas that were predominantly black, if not Latino. I bet he certainly hasn’t had his various real estate agents of years gone by look for listings in neighborhoods that could be characterized as “way over there.”

    Such people of the left at the LA Times also are even phony, two-faced, lazy asses when it comes to the environmentalism and green politics most of them love to rally around. That’s because many of them resist the idea of cutting down on their commute time (and use of gas-guzzling, carbon-generating exhaust) by residing near the LA Times operation in the downtown section of the city.

    Don’t even get me started on the schools where they did send or likely nowadays would send their precious children to.

    Mark (411533)

  18. I submit that James Rainey deserves a mention.

    GeneralMalaise (c34110)

  19. and I could have gone at least another year without having to look at those Mansonlamps…

    GeneralMalaise (c34110)

  20. Nice to know the LA Times’ keen journalistic morality remains intact.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  21. Vincent Bugliosi wrote a deservedly famous book about the Manson Family, but does anyone remember another fine book written by Ed Sanders (one of the Fugs)… “The Family”? Excellent read, if you haven’t.

    GeneralMalaise (c34110)

  22. Hmmm, I wonder how LA’s rogues gallery measures up to those of NYC or Chicago…just saying that hometown narcissism may be blinding the usually crystalline perspective of the LAT.

    BTW, say what you want about the LAT content, every since it took over as the “paperboy” for the OC Register, my Register has been delivered on time and dry (almost) every day. At least the Times can get that done mostly right.

    in_awe (a55176)

  23. Arianna Huffington–she made it acceptable not to pay writers.

    Jan Perry–best example of self-indulgence.

    Maxine Waters–best of example of stupidity.

    Chris (c7c0c6)

  24. Interesting that this piece appears in the aftermath of the death of Howard Zinn, a man who spent his entire career trying to rewrite history to suit a leftist narrative that he shoved down the throats of hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting students. In judging Chief Parker past through the political zeitgeist of today, Steve Lopez has proven to be a very able student of the Zinn style of history.

    JVW (48cbba)

  25. Thankfully I live in a two paper town, DC. YAY!

    Comment by Vivian Louise — 1/30/2010 @ 4:29 am

    Yes, but that just means you have to double up on bird cages and puppy training. Seriously though, when I visit the Mom in one paper Escondido, I’ll run through Bradley’s North County Times. They do a good job, especially with local and county. AND SCIENCE-TECH!! Did I do good, Brother?

    political agnostic (827144)

  26. if the Slimes wanted an amoral, unethical white guy who is very much into the “us vs. them” mentality, you’d think they would have gone with the obvious choice: Cardinal Maphoney.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  27. I’m really surprised that there was no mention of Parker’s most successful prodigy:
    Daryl Gates – truly one of the most hated men at the Times in the last 20-years!

    BTW- The corporate entity that owns the Daily News (Green Sheet), Press-Telegram, & Daily Breeze, has also filed for BK protection.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  28. financial or moral?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  29. I’m honestly surprised they didn’t put William Mulholland on there. I guess even the lefties at the Times know that if it hadn’t been for him, they wouldn’t be living in Los Angeles right now.

    Another Chris (35bdd0)

  30. Mulholland was in bed with the Chandlers.
    They might not run the paper any longer, but they are still a major stock-holder in Tribune Cos.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  31. Patterico, I humbly suggest a “Most loathsome LA Times staffer” contest.

    I submit (among current employees): Hiltzig, Lazurus, Rutten and Lopez.

    I’d also include Otis Chandler, Robert Scheer and Harrison Gray Otis. The latter to tar everyone else with. No doubt there are more….

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  32. Otis is the true progenitor of the “National/International” LAT, and really changed the culture there.

    AD - RtR/OS! (90486b)

  33. That’s why he made the list.

    Otis Chandler was the most damaging Times editor of all time because of his us-against-them, all-left, anti-Republican attitude. That has done more lasting harm to the paper than anything.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  34. “Thousands of people are likely to die if this health care bill is not signed into law.” – Billy Boyarsky, who is unclear on the specifics of life in a squalid impoverished dirty socialist hell-hole

    happyfeet (713679)

  35. Congratulations to the Norwegians for having the wisdom to give President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

    He’s earned it.

    guess who?

    happyfeet (713679)

  36. Pat, when The Los Angeles Times finally folds, won’t you have to get someone to redo your blog header? :) That Dog Trainer “PATTERICO! Public Enemy #1″ will just be so passé.

    The inquisitive Dana (474dfc)

  37. political agnostic,
    Did I do good, Brother?

    You made my weekend!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  38. if they were honest (a big “if”, i know), they’d name gang members, the politicians who throw billions of dollars at the problem, and the so called “social w*rkers” who do nothing to stamp out the problem, since then they’d have to go get a real j*b.

    it’s fundamentally a COIN problem, and we should treat it as such. rejoin society, go away to prison or die: pick one.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  39. Popped your head up out of the ground, AC? Good for you. Did you see your shadow?

    Icy Texan (2d4b53)

  40. Mr. Dunphy,
    Thank you for this piece. I saw this “article” and my head nearly blew off. But if you really want your blood pressure to rise, read the “moderated” comments. While many focus on Mayor Villarogosa (I really can’t disagree as he is ruining the city because of his ego and no great concern for the city) some of them were truly personal and insulting to some people.

    Putting both Chief Parker and President Nixon in the same company as Mason and the Night Stalker is truly indicative of the Times mindset. Chief Parker may have done things in a way the Times didn’t like and President Nixon may have ruined his political legacy by his actions surrounding Watergate but neither man was fundamentally evil. Manson and Ramierz were evil. But in the Times mindset disagreeing with it’s leftist dogma is the same thing.

    Caroline S. (4e3063)

  41. Officer Dumphy, thanks for bringing the LAPD Historical Society to my attention. On their web site, in the museum picture section, what the heck is that long barreled piece – the grip looks rather like a flare gun – with the matching Ned Buntline holster?

    cm smith (c07bf4)

  42. Tom Bradley one of the Best? Best thing Bradley ever did for LA was to be buried in Inglewood! Crook does not come close to describing “Teflon Tom”

    tim smith (375c56)

  43. Lopez is hardly a fact-checking reporter, just an opinion guy, but still he could use an editor to keep from putting out downright false information that hews to his self-proclaimed populist nature.

    Although he’s now famous for the movie with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. based on his column – and he’s got an update on the formerly homeless, gifted and mentally ill violinist he helped – when he writes about political affairs and people he shouldn’t be “above” someone holding him to some semblance of truth. He’s also the guy who presented us a false picture of Carmen Trutanich as a Pedro boy, straight out of his own PR lit, when in fact he spent the last 20+ years working for rich criminals including against the city of L A and LAPD, living and working in Long Beach in a ritzy lifestyle, the Pedro worker background was decades ago. Sure the guy went to a populist night school law school and talks and acts “by Pedro rules” as Doug McIntyre another populist wannabe wrote, but that’s not the way he chose to live, doing good for people would be much more someone who took a lower salary being dedicated to public service. Sure some in public service couldn’t get a similar job but lately we’ve seen a tendency to tar them all with one brush as “overpaid” and corrupt, as though inexperience in office and getting along with no one like Trutanich is doing is a good thing.

    Someone questions the choice of Bradley in that regard: somehow Bradley vs. Gates wasn’t exactly a shining role model for how LA’s top cop and mayor should get along either, and the fault wasn’t all Gates’ as liberals present. Though Bradley did do a lot to elevate the self-image of African-Americans in our society, yet it could be said that Gates did as much in that regard as Parks.

    Recently Lopez issued an apology for “being responsible” for Trutanich and while he’s not the only one at the Slimes who gave us that spin he’s now “a rock star” among wordsmiths and he knows it, he needs to own it better.

    phil (0ad898)

  44. I would like to nominate ALL OF the current city council members (each of them) and the now notoriously promiscuous mayor “Smile’n Tony V.”. The reason for these nominations is clear give the current fiscal condition of the city. They have all failed to honor their oath of office and have abused the public’s trust when it comes to fiscal accountability. Each of them is beholden to big labor unions, lobbyist, and special interest groups-all of which the current president PROMISED people would change! Apparently not in Los Angeles! Each of them place their own needs, and reelection desires above the over needs of the people of Los Angeles. They have all played a role and taken the City to the brink of bankruptcy, while city workers take furloughs, and city services are being slashed across the board. Yet, they still have full staffing in their offices; enjoy the “perks” of office such as city cell phones, cars, and “slush” funds. Bernard Parks and Dennis Zine deserve a special mention in this rouges gallery because they were once members of the Los Angeles Police Department and they took and “oath” to serve the public good-yet, have they clearly appear to be ready to “double dip” the city. Both have LAPD pensions, and now have set themselves up for a “City Counsel” pension-all the while voters all over California are facing layoffs, unemployment, and looking for ways to “reform” California’s budget mess. This City council and Mayor, instead of being “proactive” in solving the problems of Los Angeles; they ignore them until they can no longer escape and are forced into going on record and making a decision. One such example it the whole “medical marijuana issue” in Los Angeles-THE CITY COUNCIAL AND MAYOR ALL KNEW ABOUT THIS PROBLEM BACK IN 2005! They did nothing-now look at the problem the city has. Yes, each one of them deserves to have their name placed on this list! As of our mayor, his follies and poor leadership need no further description.

    John LAPD Retired, now a Texan (996c34)

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