Patterico's Pontifications


David Shaw’s Four Experienced Times Editors Fall Down on the Job Again

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 11:03 am

In March 2005, the late David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times wrote a silly article blasting bloggers. That article featured a classic line that has achieved immortal status in the memories of bloggers:

When I or virtually any other mainstream journalist writes something, it goes through several filters before the reader sees it. At least four experienced Times editors will have examined this column, for example. They will have checked it for accuracy, fairness, grammar, taste and libel, among other things.

I couldn’t help but remember that line as I glanced over this morning’s nearly incoherent editorial about Justice O’Connor. Never mind that the editors’ point is so opaque, it is virtually unintelligible. Let’s just focus on how many filters the editorial went through before this was presented to readers:


See if you can identify any mistakes in that passage that the “four experienced Times editors” missed. Click on “more” to see whether you are a better editor than the editors at the L.A. Times.


I’m not saying there aren’t typos on this blog; obviously there are. But then, I never bragged about all the filters and experienced editors this blog has, either.

UPDATE: For a more substantive slam, see Newsbusters. (Thanks to daytrader.)

UPDATE x2: Read about the “civic involvment” of Florence-Firestone citizens here:


20 Responses to “David Shaw’s Four Experienced Times Editors Fall Down on the Job Again”

  1. lol well, i thought the immortal line had something to do with some guy sitting around in his pajamas, which is where pajamas media got its name.

    james conrad (7cd809)

  2. I saw them both. Shame on you LA Times and your layers of editors…

    The sentence “Their son reported she was gratified that her husband ‘was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here.'” could have been better written as well. “son reported she” can be kind of confusing. “Their son reported his mother said…” would have been clearer. But then they couldn’t pick and choose from the actual quote, whatever it was…

    kimsch (2ce939)

  3. I saw them both, but I was expecting a more dramatic error like John had died years ago and Sandra was married to someone else.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  4. What do LAT columns taste like? And this story should not have been reported.

    nk (09a321)

  5. The accuracy of calling O’Connor a “former Supreme Court Justice” is also debatable. It’s a minor quibble, but it would have been more accurate to refer to her as a retired Supreme Court Justice.

    NYC 3L (b162bd)

  6. nk has this right–why report this at all. We certainly didn’t need to know this and anyone who has cared for a loved one suffering, such as her husband is, knows full well the impact. So, they shouldn’t have reported it and then they screw it up anyway. That is called “weak-ass”.

    Tregg Wright (8cb5a9)

  7. Forget the editing

    Newsbusters this morning had a ripping review of this article pointing to the character of the article itself and the venal exploitation of a families tribulations to bemoan a political point.

    The LaTimes should be ashamed of producing such content.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  8. From Arizona last week came the sad news that John O’Connor, husband of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, has grown romantically attached to another patient in an Alzheimer’s facility where both live.

    That sentence sucks too. And the points about the reason for writing this are well taken. “Well, the illness in her family sucks, but so does BU$HHITLER!!”


    Pablo (99243e)

  9. At the least, the LAT should strive to get one thing consistently correct – content or editing. Obviously its too much to hope for both at the same time.

    Dana (a1f2e9)

  10. Careful Dana, that your cynicism doesn’t turn to bitterness.

    The LAT’s descent into irrelevance is unfathomable.

    Another Drew (758608)

  11. I didn’t notice the typos… I was too engrossed in the ridiculousness of the story. I have spent quite a bit of time lately with a relative who has Alzheimer’s, and it confounds me that they are saying “he’s become romantically attached.” That’s crazy. It was a stupid AP story and an even more ridulous editorial. It shows that the people writing these things have NO understanding about this horrible disease.

    Susan (4ead99)

  12. I think they wanted to say: “Sandy, you were stupid to quit. What good did it do? Your husband is in love with some other woman, and so you’re doing him no good. Meanwhile, your Court has been turned over to the forces of evil.”

    But that would be crass to say.

    So they wrote what they wrote instead.

    Patterico (2586cd)

  13. Its a completely vile little thing to publish. Scummy little ghouls.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  14. Patterico….I was thinking the same thing, but I didn’t have the guts to write it because the Op-Ed is an insult to her….but, I think you are absolutely right….it is a subtle slap at her, that she should not have resigned….

    reff (99666d)

  15. What is so abhorrent about the LAT piece is that it only reminds the retired Justice that she probably ought to have left the bench even earlier, before her husband’s disease had progressed as far as it did. No doubt Justice O’Connor has some deep regrets over having stayed so long at the Court and having sacrificed the time that she might have shared with her husband as his health began to fail. Way to go Times. Lay on the guilt trip. How low can you go?

    Iapetus (ea6f31)

  16. Feel sorry for those who read the L.A. SLIMES their being lied to 24/7 by that wretched excuse for a news paper its not worth even lining a birds cage with

    krazy kagu (1f0194)

  17. Iapetus, they went pretty low this time, don’t give them a challenge, they may attempt to meet it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. Who coined the phrase that bloggers sit at home in their pajamas?

    Wesson (fd354d)

  19. her spouse’s alzheimer’s has exacted a toll her, and the country feels it, too.

    not this part of the country. this part of the country is indifferent to the prospect of her spouse cavorting with arizona cardinals cheerleaders.

    assistant devil's advocate (7741f5)

  20. There’s also this:

    Their son reported she was gratified….

    I guess each editor assumed that the next one up was responsible for inserting the word, “that.”

    Four editors, my eye.

    Kevin R.C. 'Hognose' O'Brien (88bf29)

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