Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Schooled by New York Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 9:15 am

Memo to L.A. Times editors: when your poll shows 54% of Californians opposing gay marriage, and 35% supporting it, it is misleading to say:

  • voters “slimly reject” gay marriage
  • voters “narrowly reject” gay marriage
  • voters reject gay marriage by
    • a “small margin”
    • a “narrow margin”
    • “a bit”
  • a “bare majority” opposes gay marriage

Yet your paper said all of that.

There’s a journalistically proper way to report that story, and it was demonstrated today by, of all papers, the New York Times, in a story titled A Poll Finds Californians Still Oppose Gay Marriage:

More than half of Californians support a proposed ballot measure that would overturn a recent ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state, a poll has found.

Fifty-four percent of registered voters would back the measure, according to the survey by The Los Angeles Times and KTLA-TV. Thirty-five percent oppose the proposed measure, which is expected to be on the November ballot.

That’s the right way to do it. No spin. Just the facts.

Now how hard would that have been?

16 Responses to “L.A. Times Schooled by New York Times”

  1. Several years ago the Times ran a column
    on the political preferences of college
    students. The headline read: “College
    Students Lean Left.” Upon reading the column,
    it showed that the preferences between Liberal
    and Conservative were around 50-50. I emailed
    the author of the column and complained about
    biased reporting. She sent a rather nasty reply
    telling me that the editors write the headlines
    not the columnists.

    Apparently not much has changed at the Times.

    Zopilote (e1add2)

  2. The LA TIMES is totally into its agenda, kinda the NPR of newspapers. It’s not interested in presenting facts, only describing “news” in a way that pushes the country left.

    Increase Mather (c28cbb)

  3. The headline is a subtle bit of editorializing–only narrow-minded voters would reject gay marriage.

    Read that way it’s almost clever.

    Walter (86be57)

  4. Yeah, I think the operative word in the title is “Still.”

    You see, in the world of the NYT and LAT, anybody who “still opposes” gay marriage is obviously a troglodyte humunculus who will, and must, be swept away by the irreversible tide of history.

    Good thing these overcredentialed hanyaks didn’t take a poll back in 1943: if they had, they’d have discovered, to their horror, “A Poll Finds Germans Still Support Adolf Hitler.”

    Gee, seems to me the upcoming problem for the gay marriage crowd will be explaining how a 20 point loss in a state referendum is “illegitimate,” yet four state supreme court justices pulling “penumbras” and “emanations” in favor of gay marriage out of their richly-robed asses somehow is.

    MarkJ (7fa185)

  5. The L.A. SLIMES once said we could do with a few less guns well what we realy need is a few less subcribers for the L.A. SLIMES and its probibly has fewer readers

    krazy kagu (a47a9f)

  6. My local newspaper relies exclusively on the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and AP for all international, national and state news. On rare occasion they will do a bit of local reporting. You will never guess which way the editorial board leans politically.

    I suppose that is common for small town newspapers to rely on the city slickers for news, which is very frightening when you think about it. And ironic as well – hitching their professional reputations to a pack of liars and con artists.

    Mwalimu Daudi (f57033)

  7. While I agree with the general argument that the leftist press spins the news, this is much ado about nothing. The statement that “a bare majority reject gay marriage” in the poll is completely correct. You do know what a majority is, right? It’s 50% plus one. 54% is barely half of Californians registering a positive rejection of the CSC’s ruling.

    Homosexual Americans are going to have their freedom of association eventually, as more and more Americans actually think critically about the issue for the first time and come to the factual realization that it’s absolutely no skin off of their noses is homosexual adults are legally allowed to establish legal households just like the rest of Americans; it’s just a matter of time. If I were you I’d put a little effort into getting used to the idea. If forty years ago southern bigots got used to the idea that black Americans had the right to eat at the same lunch counters as whites, then eventually even American social conservatives will get used to the idea that homosexuals can legally have families.


    peter jackson (8e9c0f)

  8. Peter Jackson,

    Do you know what “slimly reject” means?

    How about “narrowly reject”?

    How about a “small margin”?

    Or a “narrow margin”?

    Or “a bit”?

    You approve of the result, and so you blithely ignore the evidence I have presented of the way the paper has roughly distorted the facts.

    I respect facts over propaganda. Evidently you don’t.

    Patterico (cb443b)

  9. By the way, you can stuff your smug assumption that I need to get used to the idea of gay marriage. I support it.

    Patterico (8d28ed)

  10. But Patterico, the whole point of his comment was to wind himself up to calling everyone who did not agree with him racists.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  11. I didn’t call anyone a racist, even the white southerners of forty years ago. I’m a white southerner, from the deep south.

    And I apologize to you Patterico, I did pop off inappropriately at you when it was really some of the comments that had me irritated.


    peter jackson (8e9c0f)

  12. And I did read through the links, back to the LAT article. And I still believe that when their adjectives are in context they really aren’t very subversive, especially since the article descends so quickly into mushy announcements about Californians’ “feelings” about gay marriage.

    peter jackson (8e9c0f)

  13. “You do know what a majority is, right? It’s 50% plus one. 54% is barely half of Californians registering a positive rejection of the CSC’s ruling.”


    You’re ignoring the facts. The result of the poll wasn’t 54% to 46% (a ratio still greater than those that decided the last three presidential contests), but 54% to 35%. And, by the way, I’m from Chicago originally and live in Nashville now. When MLK came to Chicago in 1968 and visited Democratic Bridgeport (hope of Chicago mayors for 50+ years), he said he had not seen such racism even in the deep South. So please keep your self-gratifying Southerners-are-racists narrative to yourself and save it for the Chicago racists, Jessie Jackson and Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan.

    mk (c25a4b)

  14. Sunday’s Peter Nicholas column about troubles in NY, has anyone seen that? Incredible.

    The headline should read: “We are stirring up trouble that we think is brewing in New York for Clinton”

    And, her bid for president, according to the opening sentence, is now nothing more than a “longshot”. That’s all, nothing more. (And I’m no fan of Clinton.)

    And, her term ending date deserves a whole paragraph that is only one sentence long. It’s January 2013. Remember it! What’s a matter with you people!

    JJ (00b1c5)

  15. The only point I might give the LAT is a possible reduction in support since the invalidated initiative was approved (61-39, right?).

    Assume various splits for the undecideds it would be possible the majority has been reduced a point or three.

    Of course, the main point is that this thing is gonna pass. By the by, didja know that the Lakers lost by a sliver today?

    Ed (6b8782)

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