Patterico's Pontifications


The Power of the Jump™: Hiding Democrats with Family Members on the Payroll

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Politics — Patterico @ 1:38 pm

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

The L.A. Times ran a front-page article this week about nepotism in Congress. The article contains new information about large payments to family members by several prominent Democrats, including Barbara Boxer:

[F]ive of the top six congressional families in The Times’ analysis of two election cycles were Californians. The campaign fund of Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) paid $251,853 to her husband’s firm, according to the candidate’s campaign filings. She was followed by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-North Hollywood), $205,500; Rep. Bob Filner (D-San Diego), $154,504; and Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), $152,362.

Altogether, at least 10 lawmakers in the 53-member California House delegation have hired family members, according to records and interviews.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Hayward) paid his wife, Deborah, $119,000 from his campaign fund over the last four years to serve as his campaign manager, records show. In the last election, she earned $2,400 a month as campaign manager and was awarded a $2,400 bonus.

“It’s just a matter of paying her for the professional job she was doing,” Stark said.

In addition, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) paid her son, a lawyer, $130,000 over four years to run her political action committee, according to her campaign filings.

But guess what? This new information was buried on page A18. And who was the only politician named on Page A1? Why, that would be Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose payments to family members are old news:

The practice is not illegal but has come under new scrutiny following reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s wife and daughter had received hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2001 from his political action and congressional campaign committees.

That pretty much fits normal news practice, right? New information on A18, old news on A1.

(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for noting this first.)

P.S. Why in the world doesn’t the L.A. Times publish the hard data online so that readers can see for themselves exactly which lawmakers have been discovered to have relatives on the payroll, and how much money is involved? Is there any excuse for not doing this?

L.A. Times Again Ignores Story About Serial Killer in Los Angeles

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 12:20 pm

The local legal newspaper has broken a story about another possible serial murderer in Los Angeles.


L.A. Times Circulation Down

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:19 am

Many readers have written me to report that the L.A. Times‘s circulation is severely down:

Circulation at Tribune Co. papers will show declines in the next Fas-Fax report, with the most troubling plunge at the Los Angeles Times, Tribune Publishing President Scott Smith confirmed during a conference call with analysts this morning.

Though executives declined to break out individual paper’s Fas-Fax numbers, which are due out in May, Smith acknowledged the Times will drop slightly more than 5.5%.

Smith blamed the decline on the paper’s reliance on telemarketing:

When asked why the paper is experiencing such steep circ losses compared to the competition’s — the Los Angeles Daily News, for example, was flat last period — Smith explained the Times relied too heavily on telemarketing. That, along with the implementation of tighter controls on field sales, contributed to the drop-off.

People writing me have a different theory: that the Times‘s troubles are directly attributable to its pattern of distorting facts to support a leftist perspective. I don’t know whether this is true or not. But what would be the harm in improving the paper’s accuracy?

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