The other day we learned that the L.A. Times has put out an ethics code that includes the following risible passage:
A fair-minded reader of Times news coverage should not be able to discern the private opinions of those who contributed to that coverage, or to infer that the newspaper is promoting any agenda. A crucial goal of our news and feature reporting – apart from editorials, columns, criticism and other content that is expressly opinionated – is to be nonideological.
Apparently, the green light to publish ideology in “criticism” means it’s okey-dokey to write a movie review that takes an uncalled-for swipe at James Dobson:
From the first scene of the movie, as screenwriters Steve Faber and Bob Fisher’s raunchy, lunatic jokes begin to spill from the mouths of the protagonists in great, cheerful, Tourretic bursts, it’s clear that “Wedding Crashers” hearkens to a simpler, more innocent time — a time before the movies were hijacked by family-friendly merchandisers and bully moralists. Witty, unhinged and fearless, it’s exactly the kind of movie we need now; if only to give James Dobson something to get exercised about after a long day of focusing on the family.
It’s hard to imagine a Times critic taking a totally gratuitous potshot at a comical leftist figure. (“This is one Chinese restaurant that serves food so plentiful, even Michael Moore wouldn’t be hungry an hour later!”) [UPDATE: Or, a review of the “Dukes of Hazzard” movie might say: “This throwback to simple Southern pleasures, complete with the Confederate Battle Flag proudly displayed, is exactly the kind of movie we need right now; if only to give Jesse Jackson something to go on about after a hard day of shaking down corporate boards.” (Credit for that line goes to Kevin Murphy, with a tweak from the Clam.)]
So, frustrated Times staffers, take your cue from this piece. If you’re itching to have your ideology printed in the paper, and it’s too blatant even for the L.A. Times news pages (a tall order indeed!), you can find your outlet in “criticism” — regardless of whether your ideology is relevant to the piece. It’s a free-for-all! So get in while the gettin’s good!
(Thanks to TVD for the pointer.)