Patterico's Pontifications

6/2/2007

L.A. Times Bloodbath

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 11:41 am



It’s a bloodbath at the L.A. Times.

Yesterday was departure day for “57 reporters, editors, columnists and photographers” in one day. A partial list of casualties is here.

Regular readers know that while I despise this paper, I take no joy in watching people leave their jobs — and in this case, the paper is losing some of its best people (as well as some others whom I have harshly criticized in the past).

Topping the category of folks I’ll personally miss is Bob Sipchen, who edited my Outside the Tent op-ed pieces for The Times and is a man of great integrity and intelligence. I interviewed Bob in this post. I wish him the best of luck at his new position at Sierra Magazine.

I’ll also miss Roy Rivenburg, long a token sensible voice at the paper.

Also leaving the paper is Sacramento reporter Robert Salladay, who has an excellent reputation within the news media for his reporting.

Also taking the buyout is Rone Tempest, with whom I had a conflict over a misleading story he did on the cost of the death penalty. I was disappointed with his defensive response. Solomon Moore is also leaving. He wrote the story about the airstrike in Ramadi that turned out to be miles away in open fields. He later backed away from aspects of his original claim (such as the claim of 15 “pulverized” houses), after I noted that these claims were inconsistent with other reports.

This paper is slowly dying in front of our eyes. This is just the latest wound.

29 Responses to “L.A. Times Bloodbath”

  1. The best way for newspapers to save themselves is to drop their editorial sections and just report news. No one cares what a bunch of journalism school graduates think. Most people go into journalism because they can’t handle the math required in most other fields.

    Just about any editorial they write will piss off half of the population. Tough way to run a business. Imagine a car dealership that runs opinion ads that insult at least ohe half of their potential customers.

    huey (76a6ac)

  2. Only 57?

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  3. huey,

    If you mean newspapers shouldn’t run unsigned editorials representing the position of the paper, I agree. But an opinion section, with a diversity of well-expressed viewpoints and letters, is a great way to carry on public dialog.

    “We’re a business, just like any other business, except that we employ English majors.”
    — Dave Barry on newspapers.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  4. Funny about this…I just opened my mail and found an offer from the LATs – One year of The Times! Two Dodger Tickets! Only $39!… sadly, their myopic view on the world and their self-importance continues to blind them – even at the expense of losing some solid writers.

    Upon finding not even one editorial in the op-ed Memorial Day about Memorial Day itself, or celebrating the history and freedoms we revel in because of the sacrifices of our armed forces, I wrote them of my sadness at such glaring disrespect. I guess the editorial board felt that readers instead needed yet another whine about Jack Bauer’s possible overuse of torture and a scolding reminder that ‘amnesty is not a four-letter word’.

    They remain utterly clueless.

    Dana (4f7376)

  5. Is anything more pathetic than Pontificators and Hewitt groupies who persist in believing that this has anything at all to do with editorial opinion, as if expressing blue state opinions in the most dependably blue state in the Union would be a bad marketing choice. Just get yourselves a clue, people, about the shifting market for news in this country, and stop embarrassing yourselves with this silly notion that if the Times just put Pat and Hugh on their op-ed pages all would be right with their bottom line. And, Pat, save the damn crocodile tears.

    Asinistra (e5b23e)

  6. The biggest problem with the LA Times is a lack of basic knowledge of the city, exacerbated by its imported leadership. Brady Westwater has collected many scary examples.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  7. Is the L.A. Times in its last throes?

    alphie (015011)

  8. a scolding reminder that ‘amnesty is not a four-letter word’

    So they CAN count…

    Looks like I lost that bet…

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  9. Every time they come to my door I calmly explain I would not take that liberal rag if it was free.

    karen (a01790)

  10. Pat you note that of the 57 only three are due any sympathy.
    Hopefully more will get their pink slips in the near future.
    The LAT, NYT, WaPo etc. are not deserving of any praise except riding themselves of ~ 54 unworthy employees.

    rab (2fd43f)

  11. I knew things were bad ……

    At the L.A. Times, but I hadn’t realized it was quite this bad. This is the day for farewell messages down at the Times … the newspaper losing 57 reporters, editors, columnists and photographers in one day. It’s not a……

    Out on a limb at Mike Lief.com (0d19bc)

  12. Isn’t it great that Al Martinez is one of the casualties? His last column was so perfect and emblematic of his work: hostile, humorless, and graceless to the very end.

    Jack (e88f15)

  13. Another proud Malkin moment!

    [Link]

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  14. And then there’s JA Adande, self-appointed arbiter of what is permissible, and what is punishable, in the realm of racial relations in the sports world. In a recent column he said he ‘despises’ the term ‘political correctness’. Well of course, PC is one of the ways he probably got his job. I think the LA Times is finally getting serious about getting better!

    Jack (d6dc09)

  15. Creative destruction.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  16. Amy Alkon wrote an exasperated piece on Martinez, whom she called “The 2,000-Year-Old Man”.

    Until now, I’ve avoided blogging about global warming or Al Martinez. I don’t understand climatology well enough, and no matter how I try, I can’t get through an Al Martinez column or understand why this tedium dispenser continues to have a job.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  17. Is anything more pathetic than Pontificators and Hewitt groupies who persist in believing that this has anything at all to do with editorial opinion, as if expressing blue state opinions in the most dependably blue state in the Union would be a bad marketing choice. Just get yourselves a clue, people, about the shifting market for news in this country, and stop embarrassing yourselves with this silly notion that if the Times just put Pat and Hugh on their op-ed pages all would be right with their bottom line. And, Pat, save the damn crocodile tears.

    Asinistra,

    Can you point me to a quote of mine where I make this claim?

    Patterico (eeb415)

  18. While the human cost is a shame, it is heartening to see the decay of such a piece of liberal crap.
    I do wonder however Patrick what will become of this blog, were LAT to fold? LOL. Just kiddin’ many other fish to Frey….um….fry.

    paul from fl (ae01cb)

  19. Can you point me to a quote of mine where I make this claim? – Patterico

    Where “Pontificators” claim that editorial lefties are accountable for corporate ruin?

    Pretty much every LAT post.

    steve (ec6587)

  20. Steve — yes the hard-left tilt of the LAT in the NEWS IS responsible for it’s decline.

    Newspaper readers tend to be considerably older, a lot more Anglo (that is to say EXTREMELY more Anglo), and quite more conservative than the ordinary Orange and LA County resident. Who quite often doesn’t speak English let alone read it, and could very well be not even a citizen.

    So right off the bat the LAT News-as-Editorial for La Raza (biased coverage) is going to turn off readers. As will lack of local coverage in general. As will censorship of the news (i.e. not reporting the race of suspects in notorious crimes, or religion, when the suspects are not White Male Methodists).

    Hard Left views color every review of the Entertainment section, so that’s out. So too Sports, particularly realities we can see with our own eyes (gangsta thuggery in professional sports, etc.) So that’s out.

    Editorial doesn’t help, but it’s not the main problem. People can live with a hard-left, debased Volk Marxist editorial page if the news is unfiltered through ideological agendas. But it isn’t.

    Where is the LAT to show how MS-13 controls Wilshire from Downtown to say, up to the Westside? Or the slow ethnic cleansing by gang violence of the African-American community by Latino gangsters out of Watts and South Central? Or the hideous threat to the Westside that Gang violence presents (recall Karen Toshima?) Or the corrupt nature of Mayor Tony and pals, the dysfunction in the LAPD through PC as denoted by Dunphy and others?

    In all these critical areas, the LAT has been absent for reasons of ideology. Hence, no readers. Who won’t sign up to be hectored by Volk Marxists.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  21. steve,

    I read her comment as referring to me. If she was referring to my commenters, then yes, they say that.

    Patterico (eeb415)

  22. Paul in Post #19 talks about the human cost–and it is a shame when 57 folks lose their jobs, or at least sign up for the buyout.

    But things like that happen for any business–and the people in those businesses–when customers no longer want to buy what the business is selling. And the many (former) readers of the LAT aren’t willing to swallow the same old crapola anymore.

    It doesn’t help the business any when the employee/worker/managers don’t have a clue as to why the old line isn’t attractive. You tend to get lectures from people like Tim Rutten who apparently sincerely believes that he knows what’s best for the readers, and that he is performing a public service in the spirit of noblesse oblige by telling you what to do. You can put up with that self centered myopic ego for a while–but there has to be some sense that the product is worth having. I stopped believing that the Los Angeles Times was a serious paper several years ago.

    Mike Myers (2e43f5)

  23. Jim Rockford,

    You see lack of coverage of urban social blight and power structure entrenchment as ideologically-rooted. I see a vestige of happy-face boosterism out of the Chandler past, selling the land of milk-and-honey and suburban bliss. “Come to California and Start the American Dream” is a motto that dies hard at an uppity paper that could for years let assorted tabloid rivals wallow in the slime. There were still vast tracks of land to sub-divide.

    The Chandlers bested those rivals for various reasons and thought – wrongly – that their readership demanded high-minded policy analysis and more foreign desks. Alternative weeklies now do much of the heavy lifting, turning over rocks. It’s all quite asymmetrical and rich comeuppance, but not as conveniently ‘left-right’ as you see fit to describe. They STILL look down their noses at the blood-soaked TV coverage of the kind other major dailies embrace – papers that are still turning a little profit. And they emit an upper crust, “we-know-best” vibe that doesn’t mimic the tides of political incumbency.

    steve (ec6587)

  24. I hasten to say they do play favorites, hold court with the power structure and such. But I view the paper’s story selection as way more academic and formal than SoCal sensibilities. A touching sidebar is offered as a little dessert mixed in with dispatches from the EU summit. This is the wrong coast for that.

    steve (ec6587)

  25. steve,

    Apropos of your last sentence, Hugh Hewitt gave some well thought-out ideas on how the Times could turn itself around. Hewitt advises taking full advantage of the Internet and concentrating on “the American culture machine”.

    When it comes to “opinion,” publish most of the paper’s commentary from writers inside of zip codes in which you deliver. Drop the anonymous pulse-killers of the unsigned editorials. Give them bylines or let them go. And please, no more out-of-state professors. The national writers publish on national forums, but the local voices need the exposure and bring with them local audiences. Obscure academics from faraway cities don’t need –and local readers don’t want—a chance to impress on the west coast. In Los Angeles there are hundreds of talented writers the papers routinely ignore. Why?

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  26. If they had concentrated more on journalism, and less on agenda’s, they might (just might) still have jobs at the LAT; which also, might still be profitable.

    Another Drew (886991)

  27. Die, Baby, Die!

    PrestoPundit (a2369b)

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