Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Will Not Correct or Clarify the Story About the “Ambivalent” Immigration Activist

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:42 pm

The L.A. Times won’t be issuing any correction or clarification regarding the story of Cyndi Smallwood, the allegedly “ambivalent on immigration reform” entrepreneur who is actually an activist against the Sensenbrenner bill. Recall that, this morning, I wrote Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold about this issue, quoting extensively from sites that had uncovered the extent of Smallwood’s activism. The Readers’ Rep has replied to my e-mail as follows:

Thanks for sending me links to websites that include others’ interpretations of the Times article from last week.

The Times article outlined the reasons why Cyndi Smallwood supports a guest-worker program. It reported that she lobbied her own congressman on the issue. I think the article as a whole makes it clear what Smallwood wants in the way of immigration reform, and why she wants it. There is no need for a correction.

Jamie Gold
Readers’ Representative

And so it goes. As Mickey Kaus says, the Times piece was “based entirely on someone it pretends is a regular citizen (and an “ambivalent” one at that) when really they are a pro-guest-worker activist!” Conor Friedersdorf added this comment:

If traveling to Washington DC to lobby for a trade association, planting pro-guest worker program quotes in multiple press outlets and backing a specific faction in the immigration reform debate is considered ambivalence on immigration reform I’d like to see the Times version of an activist!

. . . .

[I]t’s absurd for the Times to write that article without mentioning those affiliations, and downright dishonest to include inaccurate language that gives readers a flawed impression of who Ms. Smallwood is. This is particularly egregious because we do learn, for example, that Ms. Smallwood had a son that died of a drug overdose — in other words, the information wasn’t cut for lack of space as the most irrelevant thing to the story — and that she talked to her local Congressman about immigration (that near the end of the story), a detail offered without any hint that her political actions go far beyond a citizen visiting her Congressman’s district office.

Evidently, Times readers are going to be left in the dark as to the extent of Smallwood’s activism. And this is a conscious decision by Times editors.

You can express your opinion at the paper’s handling of this issue by writing to:

Wondering When We’ll Get a Correction about the “Ambivalent” Activist

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Immigration — Patterico @ 6:47 am

I’ve been wondering when we’re going to get a correction to that story about the activist against the Sensenbrenner bill whom the L.A. Times described as “ambivalent on immigration reform.” After four days of watching the story go uncorrected, I couldn’t help myself. So I wrote the Readers’ Representative, Jamie Gold, to ask what’s up:


Re: A Job Americans Won’t Do, Even at $34 an Hour, by David Streitfeld, May 18


I can’t be the first person to write you about this, but I am nevertheless curious to know if and when this story is going to be corrected. The offending line:

Smallwood is ambivalent on immigration reform, saying demands for immediate citizenship by those who entered the country illegally are offensive.

As you must certainly know by now, Cyndi Smallwood, the employer described in the article, is anything but “ambivalent” about immigration reform. As Michelle Malkin recently wrote:

[A] simple Google search shows that Cyndi Smallwood is president of the Orange County chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association, and is a member of the association’s “Immigration Task Force.” The activist group opposes the “Punitive Immigration Reform Bill Proposed by Rep. Sensenbrenner.”

Conor Friedersdorf documented Ms. Smallwood’s activism and concluded:

If traveling to Washington DC to lobby for a trade association, planting pro-guest worker program quotes in multiple press outlets and backing a specific faction in the immigration reform debate is considered ambivalence on immigration reform I’d like to see the Times version of an activist!

Again, I can’t be telling you anything you don’t already know. This has been featured on Kausfiles, L.A. Observed, and Michelle Malkin, at a minimum. It is impossible that the editors are unaware that the story gravely misrepresented Ms. Smallwood’s position on illegal immigration. I assume that the misrepresentation was unintentional on the paper’s part, yet it was very significant and highly convenient for the story. It bolstered the credibility of Ms. Smallwood’s laughable (and since debunked) assertion that she could not find American citizens to do landscaping at $34 an hour. Had the reporter dug up the appropriate facts, there would have been a very different story, or perhaps no story at all.

Here’s what I’m curious about: all of this information came out on Friday, and here it is, Tuesday morning, and yet I see no correction to the story. If there has been one, it doesn’t show up in searches using the paper’s search engine, or appear appended to the original story.

I assume the paper must be working on a correction. When can we expect to see it?

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey
Patterico’s Pontifications

In complaining about the fact that no correction has issued for four days, I suppose that I may sound like the media equivalent of the small child in the back of the car who says: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” And I may well get back a response that is the polite equivalent of: “We’ll get there when we get there!”

But it seems to me that instant online publishing has reduced the reading public’s patience for corrections that take days to issue. It was clear on Friday that this story was flawed. Perhaps the paper is still investigating the full extent of Ms. Smallwood’s deception — but if that’s the case, they could post a brief note saying so. In the old days, maybe we would have stood still for the lumbering-dinosaur practice of issuing corrections a week or more after the original error. I’m not so sure we are willing to wait so long any more.

As always, I’ll let you know what I hear back.

Stinky Beaches

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:46 am

L.A. Observed cites a study that says the sand at some local beaches is, as Kevin Roderick puts it, “an incubator for the microbes that reach the Pacific through urban runoff and sewage releases”:

Researchers found the worst offenders were the sheltered side of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Mother’s Beach in Marina del Rey, Santa Monica Beach near the pier and Topanga Beach in Malibu. Sheltered or enclosed beaches showed persistent elevated levels of bacteria…Health officials have long known that microbes, mainly E. coli and enterococci bacteria found in fecal material, can reach harmful levels in ocean water. Urban runoff from city streets, farms and industries carries a witches’ brew of pollutants that are concentrated to unhealthful levels around storm drains and river mouths. The new study, to be published in the forthcoming issue of the journal Water Research, adds to a growing body of evidence that health risks extend to the shore. “People haven’t looked at the sand until recently,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the water division for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Our urban existence yields bacteria year-round.”

I can’t speak for Topanga Beach, but as to the others, The Nose Knows. Anyone who has been to these beaches has probably smelled the sewage smell.

Ah, L.A.

Irony in Action

Filed under: General,Real Life — Patterico @ 6:42 am

My brothers-in-law and their families visited over the last couple of weeks, during the recent gloom. The second one left yesterday morning. Each day the house was fogged or misted in. One of them never got to see Catalina, and probably doesn’t believe it exists. On the last night that the other brother-in-law was here, he barely saw an outline of a portion of the island’s isthmus and the land just on either side of it.

Yesterday it rained, and the rain cleared away all the clouds, mist, and fog. Last night the view was as clear as it’s been in weeks. This morning is even clearer. You can see the buildings of Avalon with the unaided eye.

They’ll never believe it.

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