Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2008

It happens every year: I read every post I’ve written over the past 365 days about the Los Angeles Times . . . and I think to myself: this is just unbelievable. There’s something appalling and eye-opening about seeing an entire year’s worth of the paper’s bias, omissions, and distortions gathered in one post.

This year, L.A. Times editors slammed Sarah Palin, John McCain, and McCain’s ally Joe the Plumber — while they protected Barack Obama and his allies, including unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and radical Palestinian Rashid Khalidi. The paper described a 19-point margin in opposition to gay marriage as a “narrow margin,” and displayed the usual politically correct attitudes on race, abortion, and crime. We watched the paper overreach on the story about Judge Alex Kozinski’s porn collection that wasn’t. And the paper retracted a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chuck Philips, in one of the most embarrassing incidents in the paper’s history. This year saw a campaign of relentless distortions on DNA evidence; the bankruptcy of Tribune Company; and a collection of errors like none we’ve ever seen before.

Yup, it was a fun year for liberal bias and incompetence at the local rag. So without further ado, here is my sixth annual review of the Los Angeles Times, otherwise known as the Los Angeles Dog Trainer. We’ll start at the logical place:



The newspaper completely ignored some stunningly ignorant comments that Hillary Clinton had made about Pakistan and its elections. Then the editors ignored them again. Editors continued to ignore these statements even after Hillary was nominated to be Obama’s Secretary of State — on the strength of her alleged expertise in foreign policy.

But, as with John McCain, the editors showed no kindness to Hillary when she was posing a threat to their preferred candidate: Barack Obama.

Hillary got a taste of how Republicans are treated by the L.A. Times.

They even misquoted Hillary after Super Tuesday in a way that made her sound like she was making a concession far greater than the one she had actually made. I wrote the paper and obtained a correction. (Read on; you’ll see many similar instances of my correcting the paper’s inaccuracies.)

Hillary got a little taste of how the paper slams Republicans on a daily basis with the wording of an article. And then she got yet another taste, to the point where I was surprised that the editors hadn’t explicitly labeled her a “shrill and desperate bitch.” (Meanwhile, the articles about Obama focused on how Republicans loved him too.)

When the editors reached in their rhetorical bag of tricks and came out with the observation that there was a “growing consensus” that her presidential bid was doomed . . . well, you knew it was over then. You might be able to fight City Hall, but you can’t fight a “growing consensus” in Big Media.

Hillary had the last laugh, though, when she put reporters (including an L.A. Times reporter) in a restroom. I found it oddly appropriate, given the nature of what L.A. Times reporters generally produce.

As for the Republican primaries, the paper followed a strategy of propping up McCain, to set him up for a later knockdown.

The paper endorsed McCain in the primaries, causing Jack Dunphy to observe that this was a sign for true Republicans to support Romney. But the paper’s editors foreshadowed how they would treat McCain in the general election, when a story’s lede blamed McCain for a supporter’s capital crime of using Obama’s given middle name — something that McCain had expressly repudiated, as the story only later explained.

The newspaper has always claimed to care about substance vs. style — but when a candidate of substance came along (Fred Thompson), the paper focused on his dullness.




Above: the editors’ view of the candidates

Love for Obama

The pro-Obama spin kicked in early.

The editors’ preferred candidate

When the Reverend Wright controversy hit, TV sets across the nation were looping clips of Wright screaming “God damn America” and saying that America’s chickens had come home to roost on 9/11 — yet the initial L.A. Times story on the Wright controversy, incredibly, omitted mention of both controversial statements. The paper finally gave prominence to these details . . . after Obama resigned from the church.

The editors weren’t quite sure what Rev. Wright had said that was so bad.

How much did the paper love Obama? Well, one story began, in a quote I am not making up, “Words helped get Barack Obama where he is today. Elegant words. Inspiring words. Words that swoop and words that soar.” This stuff mocks itself.

When Obama blatantly broke his pledge to accept public financing, the L.A. Times anticipated the decision by spinning it as a positive — just as I had predicted they would. After Obama’s rejection of public financing was official, I was briefly shocked when the initial L.A. Times story actually took Obama to task. But, true to form, the editors got their hands on the story and fuzzed it up for the print edition.

After the Heller gun rights decision was announced, legal affairs reporter David Savage allowed Obama to pretend he had always supported the principles enunciated by the decision, when in fact, Obama’s campaign had supported the D.C. law struck down in that case.

The paper also protected the image of Bill Ayers, and minimized the extent of Obama’s contacts with Ayers. The paper gave Bill Ayers a little puff piece in April, allowing him to falsely whine that he had been misrepresented in the media. Not mentioned: Ayers’s expressed lack of regret for setting bombs.

To the editors, Bill Ayers was a nutty, nutty radical whom Obama barely knew.

On Ayers, the paper asserted: “McCain alleged that Obama launched his political career in the former Weatherman’s living room, an assertion for which there is no recorded basis.” I proved that this was not true, with a link to a blog entry written by someone who was there who had claimed exactly that. (Shortly after my post, that blog post disappeared down the memory hole, but I had, of course, saved the evidence.) Evidently the blogger thought that the post had showed the critical Obama-Ayers tie for which the paper claimed there was no evidence. But the paper refused to issue a correction.

The paper also covered for Obama when it emerged that the newspaper possessed a tape of Obama at a dinner honoring Palestinian radical Rashid Khalidi. The paper said it had made a promise to a source not to release the tape, which made some sense, but it made no sense that the paper wouldn’t release any additional information. Former L.A. Times reporter Evan Maxwell wrote me to argue that the paper should release the tape, but that never happened.

I’ll give editors credit for this: they did run an article in July saying that Obama can’t pay for everything he promised to do when elected.

But for the most part, we learned about Obama’s shortcomings only after he was safely elected. Only then did editors fully reveal some issues that the paper had previously downplayed or completely failed to disclose — like the fact that Obama oversimplified the foreign policy challenges he faced, or the fact that his economic policies are terribly worrying to some investors, or the fact that he is unlikely to chart a centrist course. After the election, a blog at the paper’s web site also revealed that Obama’s small donor base image is a myth — shocking news, except that I had revealed it before the election.

Anti-McCain Bias

Once McCain clinched the nomination, the paper started in with the hit pieces, beginning with one that revived a set of hoary old howlers regarding ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda — including a misquotation of the 9/11 Commission Report. I wrote the Readers’ Representative and obtained a correction, which was inadequate.

The L.A. Times liked John McCain . . . until he got nominated.

In August, the L.A. Times published an article describing six major issues where McCain had taken on his party, and zero issues where Obama had done the same. The theme of the article: McCain is not a maverick.

Without any context, the paper claimed that after the economic crisis hit, McCain “declared that ‘the fundamentals of our economy are strong'” — an utter distortion of McCain’s initial reaction to the crisis. And the paper grievously distorted the record on responsibility for the mortgage crisis — leaving out scads of facts pointing to significant Democrat culpability.

McCain finally responded to the economic crisis by giving a speech that hit hard on the Democrats’ responsibility. The L.A. Times cut out the portion of the speech relating to the economy — and then quoted Obama saying McCain was scared to talk about the economy. George Orwell would have been proud.

Then, after I wrote about it, they sent that story down the memory hole.

I don’t make this stuff up, folks. I just report it.

The paper quoted a voter implying that Obama cared more about gas prices because he mentioned them first in the conventions — omitting the rather obvious point that Obama mentioned gas prices first because the Democrats had their convention first.

When McCain got a serious bounce after the convention — 10 points in one poll — the paper did its best to minimize it.

After John McCain talked about firing the SEC Chair, the L.A. Times jumped on the Media Conventional Wisdom Bandwagon and repeated the canard that a president can’t fire an SEC Chair. Of course, he can — as the paper finally admitted in a correction prompted by my complaint.

The paper went on and on and on about the anger at the Republican rallies, to the point where a friend who is an Obama supporter thought the article was an opinion piece.

A news article called a debate “a perfect distillation of McCain’s general election campaign, with all of its inconsistent messages.” Now that’s objective!

Just as the paper protected Obama ally Ayers, it attacked McCain ally Joe the Plumber. When the Joe the Plumber phenomenon hit, the L.A. Times found it very important to note that Joe, a citizen who had dared to asked Obama a question, had tax liens. The fact that Obama’s treasurer had tax liens? Not so important. After I pointed this out, and Howard Kurtz picked up my observation, the L.A. Times story that had generated the criticism disappeared down the memory hole — re-emerging in a different form at a different Web address.

As we have seen (and will continue to see), the editors are really fond of that little “memory hole” trick.

Anti-Palin Bias

The paper found it important to report the silly rumors that Trig Palin was not Sarah Palin’s son, but rather the son of her daughter Bristol. The paper also helpfully included a picture of Bristol holding Trig in a motherly fashion, just to ensure there was visual proof of this nonsense.

Above: The editors never liked Sarah Palin.

Some of the paper’s reportage on Palin was at least halfway fair, mixing some deserved praise in with the cheap shots. And to their everlasting credit, they criticized Charlie Gibson for mischaracterizing a prayer of Palin’s — even if the article had some silly and misplaced criticisms as well.

Of course, not all the staff writers got the message. Even after the paper caught Gibson’s distortion, the phony charge was repeated by staff writer Mary McNamara, in a column (rife with misspellings and bad writing) that was sent down the memory hole. (I told you: they do a lot of that at the L.A. Times.) Then columnist Steve Lopez flew all the way to Alaska on the newspaper’s dime, just to repeat the exact same canard. I guess not even Steve Lopez can be bothered to read the L.A. Times.

The paper not-so-subtly compared Sarah Palin to Dan Quayle, with a story titled Before Sarah Palin, the GOP Had Dan Quayle.

The paper published an article saying that Palin said “yes” to a “road to nowhere” — and saved for the 31st paragraph out of 33 the news that it might actually be a road to somewhere. Whether it was or wasn’t, the idea that Palin’s justification for the road — a central fact of the story — could be relegated to the end of the story is truly unbelievable . . . or would be, for a more responsible and less biased paper.

The Times quoted a Fox News transcript of a quote from Sarah Palin about Bill Ayers. As I wrote in a letter to the Readers’ Representative, the quote was obviously garbled, but apparently the paper felt no need to watch the show to see if the transcript was accurate. After I called them on it, the paper issued an elliptical correction and set forth an accurate version . . . on page A2. By the way, the initial story on Palin’s quote left out a bunch of facts that supported what Palin was saying. Par for the course.

The coverage of Palin just got more stupid and more insulting as time went on, until the paper was literally doing entire stories about her winking.

The paper did manage to do a puff piece on the vice-presidential candidate . . . the one on the Democrat ticket, that is.

The only VP candidate meriting a puff piece from the L.A. Times was the Democrat.

The paper’s coverage was very often in lockstep with Democrat strategy. For example, before the vice-presidential debate, Democrats tried to lower expectations for Biden and heighten them for Palin . . . and so did the L.A. Times.

Double Standards

The paper did a big expose on Palin’s college years, even though she was merely the Republicans’ vice-presidential candidate. But I found no evidence that the paper ever bothered to do a story on presidential candidate Obama’s mysterious Columbia years, which (according to the New York Times) Obama had misrepresented and refused to discuss.

The paper said that Obama was more honest than McCain — overlooking a huge bounty of Obama falsehoods to reach that conclusion.


Pro-Democrat bias didn’t stop with the election of Obama. The editors falsely told readers that Democrats didn’t have 10 Republican votes necessary to pass the auto industry bailout. The paper eventually corrected the error after I brought it to their attention.

The paper did a great job suppressing the story that John Edwards was having an affair with Rielle Hunter. Mickey Kaus revealed that blog boss Tony Pierce had e-mailed a gag order to Times bloggers asking them not to mention the affair. One blogger wrote me and denied feeling gagged, citing as evidence a blog post written by someone else and published before the gag order was circulated.

A blogger eventually interviewed Pierce, who explained that he simply felt that one item was enough if there was no new hard news. (Because when Republicans get in trouble, the paper always runs just one story and leaves it at that. Right?)

When the Readers’ Representative asked readers if they considered the paper to be biased to the left, I encouraged readers to (politely) let her have it. In July, the paper attempted to refute claims of liberal bias, using laughable and easily refuted arguments.


One of the ugliest episodes at the paper this year occurred when Tony Snow died. At the L.A. Times Top of the Ticket blog, which says that comments are moderated, a steady stream of ugly vitriol appeared in the comments, reveling in Snow’s death, and hoping that he suffered.

The ugliness spread to comments on Snow’s obituary. Blogger Andrew Malcolm wrote me to defend the publication of the ugly comments — which he told me he found “vile and despicable” — arguing that he shouldn’t engage in viewpoint censorship. But I couldn’t understand why he didn’t criticize them on the L.A. Times blog. Criticism isn’t censorship, after all.

The L.A. Times actively approved comments hoping Tony Snow suffered before he died.

The paper doesn’t censor hateful comments, but it does censor profanity — meaning that it approved comments saying “I hope [Tony Snow] suffered at the end [of his life]” but refused to approve my comment saying that “[a]nyone who would say they hope Tony Snow suffered is a dick.” (Oddly, a comment was approved for a period of time that said Snow looked like a “dick.”)

The year’s bias started on January 1, when a year-end political quiz falsely claimed that George W. Bush “[e]rroneously said Nelson Mandela was dead.” Bush had clearly been speaking metaphorically. Over a month after the item appeared, the paper wrote me to say that editors refused to correct the error.

An assassination plot against Obama got big play — but I noted that plots against Bush had gone unreported.

The paper erroneously claimed that the Supreme Court “determined” Bush won the presidency in 2000.


Other than the election, the big story of the year began in March, when The Smoking Gun revealed that a story written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chuck Philips appeared to have been based on forged documents. Later that same day, the newspaper admitted that the documents relied on by the story were, in fact, forgeries. I urged the paper to take a closer look at the entire body of Philips’s work, and predicted (to derision from my commenters) that Philips was not long for the paper.

Chuck Philips wrote a story based in part on forged documents.

It turned out that the paper had been warned in advance of the story that Philips had relied on anonymous sources with shaky credibility — but the paper had ignored the warning. What’s more, Philips had overlooked a series of red flags that made his story sound . . . peculiar.

The article earned the “Error of the Year” award from a web site that keeps track of newspaper corrections. It made Gawker’s list of the Top Ten Worst Media Moments of 2008. And local notable Kevin Roderick called it “one of the most embarrassing mistakes in [the L.A. Times‘s] history.”

How bad was it? So bad that — I swear I’m not making this up — even Mary Mapes was making fun of Philips.

Even Mary Mapes thought Chuck Philips had really screwed up.

Some argued that if Philips had been scammed, he should disclose his sources — something he has not done to this day. L.A. Weekly editor Jill Stewart observed: “Take away the anonymous sources, and Philips’ entire story turned on a bogus document.” The question of the day was: who gave him the phony documents?

Finally, on April 7, the paper formally issued a stunning retraction of the entire story, making it clear that the problems with Philips’s article went beyond a reliance on forged documents. It was an utter rejection of the story in its entirety. The announcement came on the very same day the Pulitzers were announced — and not only did the paper come up empty, but editors were no doubt worried that Philips would have to give his back.

The paper gave Philips temporary cover, saying he would remain at the paper even as critics were ticking off the story’s multiple failures of fact-checking. But when the publisher compared the retracted story to a plane crash, Philips’s days seemed numbered.

Why was Philips so sloppy? Had his editors required him to cut corners and produce stories too quickly? Not hardly: I calculated that in a 41-month period, he had done only 43 articles . . . barely over one a month.

Philips was finally let go in July, in the middle of a massive round of layoffs, which I believe the paper used to mask the fact that Philips was simply being fired — and would have been fired anyway. He hadn’t published a single story in the four months since The Smoking Gun had destroyed his retracted story.

In July, I learned that James Sabatino, the guy who allegedly hoaxed Philips, is a reader of this site.


Chuck Philips

Anthony Pellicano

Chuck Philips’s reporting typically favored Anthony Pellicano.

Anthony Pellicano, who stands accused of trying to intimidate former L.A. Times reporter Anita Busch with a Mafia-style threat left on her windshield (a fish, a rose, and a note saying “Stop”), was convicted of dozens of federal felonies this year. After the verdict, I interviewed Busch, who told me how the paper had mistreated her after she was threatened. The paper’s top lawyer and Chuck Philips had even tried to enlist the aid of Pellicano . . . the very person who, as it turned out, was fingered by law enforcement as being behind the threats.

Although it is now known that she had truly been threatened, L.A. Times employees mocked her, calling her the “Tawana Brawley of the newsroom.” Chuck Philips rolled his eyes at her. (In an odd side issue, even after it was announced that Pellicano was suspected of having been behind the threats, an editor continued to display a paperweight from Pellicano that said “Sometimes you just gotta play hardball” — although he claimed there was nothing to it.

Anita Busch was mocked at the L.A. Times for reporting death threats that turned out to be genuine.

Although Pellicano turned Busch’s life upside down — tapping her phone, listening to her most secret conversations, and ruining her journalism career — an L.A. Times staff writer still found it appropriate to ask: “[W]here’s Anthony Pellicano when you need him?” and said almost admiringly that “there could be a cool efficiency to how he operated.” Not surprisingly, Pellicano’s victims objected to this insensitivity.

The paper seemed very tight with Pellicano, and after Pellicano was charged, Chuck Philips wrote a series of pro-Pellicano articles. After the conviction, Busch called for an independent investigation of Philips’s reporting on the Pellicano case. Local news legend Pete Noyes served up a rebuke to Philips when he said that a journalist should recuse himself from covering the criminal case of a long-time source — something Philips hadn’t done with Pellicano.

Pellicano did seem to share the paper’s disdain for bloggers; he reportedly said of one that he deserved “a good beating.”

Philips wrote letters to a prison inmate who was a witness in the Pellicano case. In the letters, Philips said he believed that the government had engaged in misconduct — even as he was reporting on whether the government had engaged in this misconduct. Also, he repeatedly ran a particular factual scenario past the witness — one that would benefit Pellicano. In an interview with me, Philips admitted writing the letters to Proctor and defended their content.

Above: An objective reporter writes a witness.

Now that Philips is gone, the paper has been doing good reporting on the case. After it was learned that Pellicano had a man inside the FBI feeding his defense team an FBI report through an intermediary (reportedly actress Linda Fiorentino), the paper caught Pellicano’s lawyer in some contradictory statements regarding where he had gotten the report.

Above: Linda Fiorentino

When Pellicano was finally sentenced, Anita Busch read a statement at his sentencing that was an utterly damning indictment of the paper and its treatment of her. The paper didn’t quote any of Busch’s cutting references to The Times — or even acknowledge that she had been an L.A. Times reporter when threatened. An editor wrote me to defend the omission, saying Busch’s statements were “neither true nor new” — a defense that ignored mountains of evidence supporting Busch’s claims.


In January 2007, Philips wrote a front-page L.A. Times article asserting the innocence of an inmate named Waymond Anderson in a 1993 arson/murder. The article claimed Anderson had a solid alibi, asserting that Anderson was in Jackson, Mississippi on the date that the murder had occurred in Los Angeles County in California. Philips believed that Anderson’s alibi was valid; he has told an interviewer that he believes Anderson is innocent. Philips also told me: “I helped him out doing legal things for his case.” (Full disclosure: my boss prosecuted Anderson.)

Waymond Anderson contradicted his alibi and told tall tales about the “real killers.”

As it turned out, however, Philips knew a lot of evidence that undercut Anderson’s claims of innocence, but didn’t publish it.

For example, Anderson had repeatedly contradicted his alibi in recorded statements made to police. He admitted this year under oath that, on dates that Philips claimed Anderson had been in Mississippi, Anderson had told police that he was in fact in Compton, California — listening to the murders being planned. Philips admitted to me that he had known this fact, but hadn’t reported it.

Philips also knew Anderson had credibility problems. In a deposition, Anderson told tall tales about the “real killer” — who (Anderson claimed) had also killed legendary rappers Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. According to Anderson, the “real killer” had phoned Anderson — while Anderson was incarcerated, facing murder charges — to keep Anderson apprised of his every step in planning these murders . . . and to confess his guilt afterwards. It was a bizarre and utterly unbelievable story.

Above: Tupac Shakur

Above: Biggie Smalls

Waymond Anderson said the guy who framed him also killed these legendary rappers . . . and then confessed to Anderson.

If Anderson’s stories had been true, Philips would have had the biggest story of his career — but he didn’t publish a word of it. Why not? I theorized that Philips didn’t believe Anderson. Philips later confirmed this in an interview with me.

So why didn’t Philips tell readers that Anderson had said unbelievable things about the man who had supposedly framed him for murder? Philips told me he didn’t report these facts because they “muddied up” the story too much.

Well, the truth is sometimes messy — but that doesn’t justify concealing it in the name of simplicity.

It turned out that the facts that Philips and his editor withheld from readers were some of the very same facts that caused a judge to reject Anderson’s claims of innocence in court.

In August, Philips got his reward for championing Anderson’s cause: Anderson accused Philips of conspiring with Suge Knight to suborn perjury and threaten the inmate with messages smuggled into prison. Philips had regularly written pro-Knight articles, but this was going a step further, if Waymond Anderson was to be believed.

Did Chuck Philips smuggle threatening messages for this man? Waymond Anderson said he did.

Of course, Anderson was not believable and never had been — but Philips only recently figured that out, even though the evidence had been staring him in the face from the beginning. In his interview with me, Philips claimed: “Waymond Anderson is a liar.” It would have been nice to have had that point of view when Philips was advocating Anderson’s innocence of murder.


In June, the paper said that the chief judge of the 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski, had published pornographic materials to a web site. This was seen as ironic because Kozinski was presiding over an obscenity trial.

Alex Kozinski came to be in the editors’ crosshairs. (HO/AFP/Getty Images)

That evening I read that the paper’s tipster was Cyrus Sanai, who had battled with Kozinski previously over issues relating to Sanai’s parents’ divorce litigation. Sanai left a comment on my blog; I phoned him and spoke with him. By early the next morning, I had obtained and published actual images from Kozinski’s “web site” (a private web server that Kozinski used to share odd items with friends). I followed this up later with a second set of images and videos.

It soon became clear that the L.A. Times had overreached. The paper had described a twisted porn collection, when in fact, Kozinski mostly had assembled a collection of humorous or offbeat items that sometimes had a pornographic aspect. There was some questionable and offensive material, as even the judge admitted. But overwhelmingly, my readers said that the actual images themselves were far more innocuous (and often more humorous) than they had been led to believe by the L.A. Times.

The paper stretched to find a parallel between Kozinski’s material and the material produced by the man on trial in Kozinski’s court for obscene images of bestiality and defecation. For example, the paper described a video in Kozinski’s collection as “a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal.” It turned out to be a humorous video of a man running away from an aroused donkey. It was on YouTube and had been on television.

The paper also referred to “themes of defecation and urination” — but vastly understated the humorous context of any such themes. Rather than graphic depictions of bodily functions, material with themes of urination turned out to be stuff like this:

The L.A. Times described images like this as material with “themes of defecation and urination” — failing to adequately convey the humorous context.

The turning point came when Judge Kozinski’s wife harshly criticized the L.A. Times in a letter posted on my site, saying that the paper’s article had been “riddled with half-truths, gross mischaracterizations and outright lies.” The Associated Press quoted liberally from the letter, which was eventually quoted in the L.A. Times itself.

I went on local radio with the reporter, Scott Glover, and had the pleasure of criticizing his story directly to him.

I also dug deeper into the background between Sanai and Kozinski — an angle that the paper had never even mentioned. Tipster Sanai admitted to me that his misconduct complaint against Judge Kozinski was part of a “litigation strategy.”

Critics started to notice the difference between the descriptions and the images. One critic said that “the subsequent revelations of the actual content of his site and how greatly it differs from what Glover describes is in many ways more disturbing than anything Kozinski had in his stash.” Critics also noticed the unsavory goals of the lawyer who had tipped off the paper. The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed titled “Smearing Judge Kozinski.” There was even an op-ed in the L.A. Times that opined that the story had been overblown.

Remarkably, the very same paper that had put the story on the front page editorialized that Kozinski should respond by saying: “So what?” Less than a month later, the schizoids in charge of editorials opined that “it’s alarming that he would have taken on such a case given his appreciation for squalid pictures and videotapes.” Let me get this straight: according to the editors, Kozinski’s material was alarming . . . yet Kozinski’s attitude toward the issue should be “So what?” Hoo-kay.

I interviewed ethics expert Stephen Gillers, who had been quoted in an early L.A. Times story on the Kozinski controversy, and who told me that he thought Kozinski should not be disciplined.

After the paper failed to bury Kozinski with the “porn web site” story, it put out a nothing story about Kozinski’s private e-mail list of people to whom he sends off-color jokes.


This year we got to see how an Arab terrorist’s obituary reads in the L.A. Times: like Arab propaganda.

When computers were seized from FARC terrorists, and their content showed Venezuelan assistance to the terrorists, the paper reported: “No independent confirmation of the laptops’ content has been made . . .” — even though the AP had independently confirmed the laptops’ content. What’s more, information found on the laptops had been successfully used in a raid on a FARC safe house.

The paper’s headlines screamed about Palestinian civilian casualties from an Israeli attack, but saved the context for the 14th paragraph: that civilian casualties were reportedly caused by Hamas’s placement of targets inside civilian areas.


When President Bush made a farewell trip to Iraq, the paper predictably emphasized the loss of life there, and downplayed our successes.


The paper published an unsubtle picture of a young Latina girl crying over a headline: “The Effects of Immigration Raids.”

Subtle social commentary from the editors.

But the paper largely ignores the rampant stories of people killed by illegal immigrants who should have been deported, complete with pictures of the victims’ crying survivors.

When examining local issues that relate to overcrowding, the paper never mentions illegal immigration. The paper ran an entire article speculating on the reasons for Los Angeles’s overcrowded emergency rooms — but somehow never mentioned the elephant in the room: illegal immigration. Similarly, an article on the cost of prisons failed even to mention the cost of housing illegals. Another article portrayed deep thinkers thoughtfully scratching their heads as they labored in vain to determine why traffic sucks in Southern California — again never mentioning the obvious factor of millions of illegal immigrants.

Top editors carefully consider the effects of illegal immigration on overcrowded hospitals, prisons, and freeways.

The paper noted that Obama won Western states with help from a large Latino turnout — but editors seemed remarkably incurious as to whether illegal immigrants had played a role in this victory.

At times, it seems like the editors truly don’t understand that illegal immigration is, well, illegal.

The paper tried to convince readers that the federal government was really cracking down on illegal re-entry cases, because the Central District had doubled a miniscule number of prosecutions, making the new number . . . still miniscule.

I was asked by the paper to give a quote on immigration, as part of a feature quoting 40 “prominent Angelenos and Southern Californians.” (That word “prominent” . . . I do not think it means what you think it means.) And the paper interviewed Jack Dunphy on Special Order 40, which interferes with officers’ freedom to target illegal alien criminals.

The paper decried a movement to take DNA from [i]mmigration detainees and others arrested for federal crimes,” quoting a lawyer who said: “A lot of these folks don’t have any crimes other than the fact that they’re here unlawfully.” Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?


An anti-gay marriage measure was leading in polls by 19 points. (It later passed.) The L.A. Times told readers that voters “slimly reject” gay marriage; voters “narrowly reject” gay marriage; that voters reject gay marriage by a “small margin” or a “narrow margin” or “a bit”; and that a “bare majority” oppose gay marriage. It took the New York Times to report the gay marriage poll properly.

Above: editors said these percentages were basically the same.

David Savage didn’t get the memo, and described this 19-point margin as a stable majority.

But then, the size of a lead is in the eye of the beholder. There were no such qualifiers when Obama led McCain in California by a mere 7 points — and when Obama led McCain nationally by 12 points, that was described as a “sizable lead.”

(In fairness, the L.A. Times was not alone in misrepresenting statistics this way; TIME Magazine later said that McCain “edged out” Obama on national security when the gap was 20 points.)

The paper lobbied for gay marriage in news articles in other ways, going so far as to publish a piece arguing that gay marriage would be a boon to a slowing economy.

The paper claims to care deeply about precedent for the sake of precedent, when the precedent is Roe — but when it’s an anti-gay precedent, precedent is suddenly less important.

This all revealed bias, to be sure . . . but there were times when incompetence trumped bias — such as when the paper completely failed to report a key court decision declaring “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional.

An article about bias based on sexual orientation bore a headline talking about “sex bias,” which Eugene Volokh called “an outright mischaracterization of what’s going on.”


It’s seemingly standard policy at many major newspapers to withhold the race of criminal suspects who are black, even if a physical description would help catch the criminals. The L.A. Times proved that it also follows this politically correct and dangerous policy — although it claims not to.

The editors seemed worried that Obama’s election would cause people to think there is no racism. Of course, there still is . . . but the examples they gave to prove it were lame.

I have discussed in previous year-end reviews how the paper tried to lend credibility to the Tennie Pierce case — a lawsuit brought by an Los Angeles firefighter who claimed he had been pranked due to racial discrimination. When a jury found that Pierce had in fact been pranked because he had pranked others — and awarded $1.6 million to two white supervisors who had been scapegoated — the paper refused to take responsibility.

Tennie Pierce pranks another firefighter, before getting the L.A. Times to support his lawsuit for being pranked himself.

An op-ed told us that most Muslims love women’s rights and hate terrorism, ignoring a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

An L.A. Times blogger thought it was racist to use the phrase “Barack the Magic Negro” — but neglected to mention that the phrase had first been used by a black man . . . in the L.A. Times.


As he does virtually every year, David Savage cried “wolf!” about the highly unlikely prospect of Roe being overturned if McCain were elected.

Above: A little-known portrait of David Savage

When you cry wolf, you have to do it again and again, and Savage was no exception.


Ed Whelan had an excellent critique of a David Savage article on Bush’s judicial legacy.

The prison crisis in California (caused in part by illegal immigration, as we have seen) is being overseen by three of the most liberal judges on the planet. But the paper couldn’t be bothered to tell readers that all three judges had been appointed by Jimmy Carter.


In early January, the paper decided to scale back the Homicide Blog, which also changed hands from the tireless Jill Leovy, who wrote a moving Column One piece about the experience of covering every homicide in L.A. One story covered only in the blogs was a heartbreaking story of a man gunned down as he was bringing home a teddy bear for his two-year-old daughter.

Luis Albert Leon died getting a teddy bear for his daughter. He was remembered in a blog entry.

There is a war going on in our city, and the paper largely ignores it. So when Hillary Clinton visited Compton — just down the street from where I prosecuted a guy for shooting four kids — she mentioned nothing about the rampant violence in the area, and nobody (including the L.A. Times) said boo.

At least they reported the story when, in March, there were fatal shootings within a block of the Compton courthouse where I work. (Full disclosure: I’m now handling one of those cases.)

Meanwhile, if Britney Spears has so much as a minor fender-bender, it warrants a mention on the paper’s main web page. You couldn’t make up better stuff than this.

Stop the presses! Britney had a fender-bender!

The paper ran a front-page story on Roman Polanski’s bid to have his child molestation case dismissed — but managed not to mention the fact that the 13-year-old victim had alleged that Polanski had sodomized her.

There has been one bright spot in the paper’s crime coverage: the paper has done a good job covering the violence in Mexico relating to turf wars between rival drug cartels. If only the paper could do as good a job covering local crime . . .


In a perfect example of how the paper reports police uses of force, the paper gave headline space and the lede to the anti law-enforcement view of a suspect’s friend, leaving for later in the story the fact that two disinterested bystanders corroborated the police version of events.

Other newspapers’ reporters might quit to become cops, but at the L.A. Times, they quit to work for the Public Defender. And the paper is quick to attack police mistakes or misconduct, but is stingy in identifying examples of police valor.

In 2004, when an LAPD officer was caught on tape hitting a suspect with a flashlight at the end of a pursuit, Steve Lopez wrote three snarky columns and never tried to get the officer’s side. Years later, in 2008, Lopez finally talked to the officer, and found out that he is actually a good guy. Unfortunately, the officer had long since been fired by LAPD brass responding to a hostile climate that had been fueled in part by Lopez’s one-sided columns.

Steve Lopez: What? You wanted me to do research the first time around??

Lopez was hardly the only anti-law-enforcement offender; Jack Dunphy slammed Tim Rutten on his column about mandating financial disclosure for officers assigned to anti-gang and narcotics units. Jack wasn’t willing to say Rutten didn’t care about the truth — but I was.

Rutten apparently dislikes cops so much that he got angry at the mayor for praising their bravery. Rutten was hardly the only columnist who insulted cops; so did the perennially insipid Al Martinez.

The paper wrote about a case involving an employer’s right to dismiss an employee for physician-recommended marijuana use; Jack Dunphy called the paper’s news story “little more than an editorial slamming the Court’s decision.”

All this anti-law-enforcement sentiment was odd, given that people need police to make the streets safer. After all, the L.A. Times is scared to deliver the paper in Boyle Heights because of the gang problem there.

Oddly, though the editors seem to hate the cop on the street, they love Chief Bratton. Jack Dunphy couldn’t find a story about Bratton’s threatening his enemies by comparing himself to the Mafia chieftain in “The Godfather.”

In an obituary for a federal judge, the paper quoted criticism from anti law-enforcement jerk Stephen Yagman — while omitting several salient details, including the fact that Yagman was a recently convicted felon who was entering prison that very day.

The editors had what sounded like a damning video showing police misconduct. So why didn’t they post it?


All year, the paper’s editors have been engaged in a holy war against the use of DNA in criminal cases. It started in May, when the newspaper ran an article about statistical probability in cold hit DNA cases, and it was immediately clear that some of the assertions didn’t make sense.

The editors don’t seem to like DNA when it’s used to convict.

For one thing, the article seemed to assert that larger databases made cold hits less reliable, when it would seem that the opposite would be true — at least in cases where the search revealed only one hit. A statistics professor named David Kaye agreed with me on that point. In addition, he told me, the article had falsely portrayed an anti-prosecution view of the statistical question as the consensus view — when, in fact, there is a competing view more favored by peer-reviewed articles. (The author of the L.A. Times article wrote me to claim that he had acknowledged there is a lack of unanimity of opinion, but the article didn’t clearly express this.)

But the biggest error was a flat-out statistical misstatement in the article. Professor Eugene Volokh outlined the problem. I drafted a letter to the article’s authors, and ultimately sent this e-mail about the misstatement. Then I noticed yet another error in the article, again having less to do with the math, and more to do with how the math was expressed in English. Of the three errors I identified, the paper corrected only a trivial arithmetical error, leaving the more significant misstatements standing.

The editors denied they’d made a misstatement, even though they admitted that it would be wrong to make a different statement that my readers overwhelmingly agreed was identical.

Although editors denied that they had described the statistics incorrectly, they did start describing them correctly — which I took as a silent concession that I was right.

But true vindication came when a statistics expert — one whom the paper had previously quoted as an expert — claimed in a scholarly article that the paper had “mischaracterized” the statistic that I had complained about. I once again wrote the Readers’ Representative, citing the expert’s opinion. She didn’t give me the courtesy of a reply.

A second DNA kerfuffle began when the paper ran a front-page story portraying certain matches in an Arizona database as shocking. Why, the paper suggested, the results defied the laws of statistics! Only on the back pages were readers told that most of the matches “were to be expected statistically.” One of the authors of “Freakonomics” later pronounced himself surprised that the matches were largely to be expected; apparently, like many readers, he had been misled by the article’s initial spin.

A local jury freed a clearly guilty man accused of rape; the foreman was heard expressing concerns about the case based on “recent controversies” about DNA — a clear reference to the L.A. Times‘s misleading series of articles.

In discussing a technique called familial searching, the paper did its usual shtick with DNA: it played up phantom privacy concerns, and buried the fact that the technique has been used to free wrongly convicted individuals.



Guess who got his column back? That’s right: sock puppeteer Michael Hiltzik. In 2006, the editor had taken it away, saying that Hiltzik’s sock-puppeting dishonesty meant that he could no longer credibly write about corporate duplicity. Guess the new editor disagrees . . .

Above: Michael Hiltzik

In making the announcement about Hiltzik, the Readers’ Representative blog mentioned that Hiltzik had been reassigned to Sports in 2006, but never mentioned exactly why. When my commenters tried leaving comments on the Readers’ Rep blog, to explain the mystery, those comments didn’t get approved. [UPDATE 1-3-08: I have since learned that Gold, apparently prompted at least in part by commenters coming from my site, wrote a subsequent post that explained that Hiltzik has “redeemed himself” by writing some articles since his sock puppetry.]


Tim Rutten — or, as Tim Cavanaugh calls him, the sanctimonious endomorph — continued his past pattern of periodically telling outright lies to readers.


Tim Rutten, Sanctimonious Endomorph of the Dishonest Variety

Dick Cheney told an audience: “We do not torture — it’s against our laws and against our values.” Writing about Cheney’s speech, Rutten told readers: “[Cheney] told them that he was glad the administration had tortured people and that he’d do it again.”

Although I agree with the editors about the legal dangers posed by waterboarding, I don’t believe in lying to readers about what a public figure like Cheney has said. I wrote an impassioned and angry letter to the Readers’ Representative, but I knew from past experience that editors would never issue a correction to a Rutten column.

Rutten never seems to understand that such falsehoods are free propaganda for the enemy.

A Patterico reader was motivated to write a letter to the editor about Rutten’s dishonesty. Naturally, the excellent letter was selectively edited to remove the most pointed comment.

I got so fed up with the newspaper’s distortion of the truth that I wrote a satirical column about Tim Rutten in which I employed the paper’s favorite techniques of trickery. The deceptive techniques were explained in detail in this post.

I continued the ridicule later that month, imagining how the paper might use Rutten-style techniques to misreport a Saturday Night Live skit as serious news.


The UAW pays people not to work. But at the L.A. Times, columnist David Lazarus was upset that the UAW made any concessions at all — while Dan Neil actively wants the federal government to buy General Motors.


Joel Stein continued his ridiculous series of cries for attention with a column about how he doesn’t love this country.


Al Martinez, the paper’s most inane columnist, became the paper’s most inane blogger as well. Martinez’s achievement as most inane columnist is quite a feat, given that he works at the same paper as Joel Stein.

Al Martinez: Did you read his blog entry about his bunions?


Steve Lopez continued a career seemingly driven largely by columns deriding the Hummer driven by a local government official.


Rosa Brooks ignored Democrat complicity in enabling excesses by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and blamed it all on Republicans.


James Rainey told readers that “nobody” was seeking the re-introduction of the “Fairness Doctrine.” Uh, not quite nobody.


Bloggers besides myself had good fun at the expense of some of the paper’s op-ed contributors. The paper had a silly and superficial op-ed mocking General Petraeus’s medals as unfashionable, and iowahawk saw a satire opportunity. And an op-ed about how women are allegedly patronized and silenced by men was ripped apart by Amy Alkon.


In February, NRO columnist (and occasional Patterico guest blogger) Jack Dunphy returned to the pages of The Times.


To the paper’s credit, the editors let me participate in a week-long online discussion about the future of the paper, on the paper’s web site. I pulled no punches; the links to the five entries are collected here, complete with some choice quotes.


In March, Kevin Roderick reported: “The Los Angeles Times has lost more subscribers in the past four years than any U.S. newspaper and it isn’t even close.” But never fear; even if you don’t read the paper, it works great as rabbit bedding.

Tribune’s stock performance in better days

As circulation has dropped, the paper itself has gotten smaller and smaller.

And so has the paper’s staff.

In January, editor Jim O’Shea was fired for refusing to make budget cuts. It didn’t change a thing. Massive layoffs happened in July, and the publisher was also dismissed. (The paper lost a good man when Tim Cavanaugh appeared in the list of names of people laid off.) News of the bloodbath continued over several days.

Then, in October, before the paper had a chance to recover from these deep cuts, the paper had more of them. And then more still.

At least editors kept their priorities straight. As the paper was crashing, editors were said to be focused on unearthing the author of the critical web site “Tell Zell” — which, as it happens, hasn’t published anything new since October.

The paper was so financially desperate it started spamming people on behalf of a foreclosure auction service.

The paper is turning to the Web for its future . . . but in October, (a site put out by two bloggers) had almost 1/3 the page views of (the Web site of a major newspaper employing hundreds of people).

In December, the paper’s parent company Tribune Corp. filed for bankruptcy, and its stock price lost 94 percent of its value in a single day. The paper soon began discontinuing payments to former staffers.


There are bound to be errors in any piece of writing, including this blog post. But the paper’s writers and editors have repeatedly boasted that their standards are far superior to bloggers’ standards, so it’s only fitting for a blogger to point out when they have fallen short.

Certain media outlets were fooled by a phony Facebook entry for Bilawal Bhutto. Some bloggers caught it, even before L.A. Times columnist Rosa Brooks got taken in.

An L.A. Times staffer wrote that George Washington served only one term. The staffer later corrected the error with humor and class.

Ten days after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, the paper published a Parade Magazine insert asking “Is Benazir Bhutto America’s best hope against al-Qaeda?” Many readers were outraged; apparently they had missed the tiny note on Page A2, where the paper buries all its corrections.

An editorial falsely (and outlandishly) claimed that 60 million people in America survive on $7 a day. This turned out to be propaganda from the World Socialist Web Site.

The paper got fooled by some Iranian fauxtography (with a Photoshopped rocket) and had to issue a correction.

If you have personal familiarity with any aspect of a story that appears in Big Media, you will find an inaccuracy in that story — as I found out in a story about a crash near a Compton airport, which shortened the traditional mile to about 1/6 its usual length. I wrote the Readers’ Rep and obtained a correction that was still wrong — but was closer than before . . .

The paper has a recurring problem with words that sound alike. The paper confused “acclamation” and “acclimation.” Editors also said that an engineer in a train crash had never hit his “breaks.” The paper also made a reference to a “Noble prize-winning” economist.


Above: The editors have trouble with words that sound alike.

In a lead article on the front page, the paper spelled the Republican nominee’s last name as “MCain.”


The paper published an embarrassing front-page article criticizing Silda Wall Spitzer for standing next to Eliot Spitzer after he was caught whoring around.

The paper amusingly panned Gladstone’s — a local restaurant that people go to for the view, and not the food — by saying that the food is not good. Duh.

Funnyman Roy Rivenburg mocked the paper with a satirical edition of the paper called Not the L.A. Times. In one entry he claimed that the paper had become a parody of itself — that is, more than usual.

In an e-mail printed on my site, an attorney accused the paper of giving favorable treatment to its former editors, in the paper’s coverage of a scandal involving alleged overbilling by a public relations company. These claims were undercut to some extent by information provided by one of my commenters, but questions remain.

Throughout the U.S. Attorney scandal, I had criticized portions of the L.A. Times coverage of the scandal, while acknowledging problems with the Bush administration’s handling of the matter. A report came out that substantially supported my criticisms of the paper’s coverage.

A review of a book by Sandra Tsing Loh said — again, I swear I’m not making this up — “Loh is a cunning linguist who’s honed her craft over 20 years, and it shows.” Who wrote this review — Seymour Butz? Riffing off an iowahawk bit, I found and published the first draft.


I hope you enjoyed the post. If you’re interested, I have done five previous annual reviews of the newspaper. The previous annual reviews can be found at these links:

UPDATE: Thanks to Hot Air, Ace, Instapundit, and others for the links.

For posterity, I’ll note that I just added a line about Chuck Philips admitting to me that he had done legal work for Waymond Anderson. I also added the bit about the Sandra Tsing Loh “cunning linguist” book review. Somehow I had missed both points initially.

UPDATE x2: Thanks to Jonathan Adler at The Corner for the link.

UPDATE x3: Thanks to Kevin Roderick and Pejman at Red State for the links.

UPDATE x4 1-3-08: I added a reference to Jamie Gold’s post explaining Hiltzik’s alleged redemption — and also a line about the L.A. Times blogger who thought “Barack the Magic Negro” is a racist phrase, but neglected to mention that it had first been used in the L.A. Times. These happened in 2008 and belong in this Year in Review, even though I learned about them today.

265 Responses to “Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2008”

  1. Wow. A Masterpiece.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. Killer.

    I started reading this blog because I was uncertain as to the degree of media bias, and my nutty far-right brother-in-law recommended it to me. I was educated.

    Your coverage of the Times’ missteps has been excellent. I enjoyed TYIR very much.

    One note: I want to see the Times survive and be strong. The paper, for all its warts, is a net plus to society, and a significant one. It needs to improve and survive, and not continue down the path to having the front page be the Lindsay Lohan section (with advertisements for her movie.)

    We’ll see how it goes.


    JRM (355c21)

  3. A simply irresistably excellent polemical exercise. Mr. Frey should write a book about the Dog Trainer and get paid as the paper’s ombudsman also. I was thinking he should be DA; I’d be down with his appointment to Attorney General….would necessarily be head and shoulders above the likes of Reno or Gonzalez. Omnificent and Patterico are interchangeable and the dude’s not even a Quinquagenarian yet.

    aoibhneas (0c6cfc)

  4. Looks like I’ll have some interesting reading material for quite a while.

    It appears to be thorough – I anticipate it to be equally good.

    rls (14b9d3)

  5. That’s entertainment Patterico!!!!!

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  6. Shocking but not surprising.

    When the LA Times joins all the other newspapers in the dustbin of history, blog posts like this will be its memorial. Let us hope we never see its like again.

    Evil Pundit (843b74)

  7. Well done. Very well done.

    DRJ (1a6fbf)

  8. Excellent.

    Daryl Herbert (b65640)

  9. Wait! The 2008 insanity is not over. The obscene analysis of the Democrat/Schwarzenegger budget was just published moments ago, on Dec 31, on LA Times. and have the most absurd budget article in the history of Earth by kind of mentioning a tax increase without mentioning that the Los Angeles sales tax of 11 % is the most aggressive in the 155 year history of California. WTF?

    This is the freaking LA Times and they are so pissing in their pants scared at the elders they meet at their westside cocktail parties, they can’t even state obvious things in the newspaper. “Only conservatives like YOU bark about taxes! — [reporter pisses in pants]” This is the standard article where it only makes sense if you have read other articles on the same topic elsewhere.,0,2967427.story

    Wesson (3ab0b8)

  10. Well, now I have something to read on the dawn.

    Another Drew (wwbkaADitcy) (1b7d77)

  11. Great wrapup.

    I think your finest moment this year is the exclusive you reported from and about Anita Busch. Here a young reporter who was threatened by the one of the best connected scumbags in the world, found no support from her paper. As you reported she was nearly ensnared by a devious maneuver of the paper’s general counsel that would have put her in hands of the very person who had threatened her. The fact that paper and its staff favored Pellicano over Busch speaks volumes about its unethical management.

    This is truly award winning journalism, but just another day for Patterico in bringing truth out of darkness.

    I can’t thank you enough.

    Corky Boyd (62526b)

  12. The election result was the media’s fault. Whether you honestly believe that or not, that cannot be the GOP’s answer moving forward… because that sentiment ‘us against them’ just isn’t going to win you elections.

    truthnjustice (d99227)

  13. I would appreciate it if people did not respond to the comment by “truthnjustice.” The comment responds to an argument never made in the post; it has nothing to do with the topics raised by the post; it is not worth a response. Please ignore it. If you can’t, I may simply delete it, and every comment that responds to it.

    Patterico (12f9d4)

  14. Nicely done and again my personal thnaks for highlighting my posting on Ms. Busch’s ordeal.

    Your piece instantly brought to mind a slow motion projection of the Hindenburg exploding in flames and collapsing to the earth as passengers & crew jumped for their lives.

    To this reader, the LAT is literally pulp fictuion… a dead tomb.

    DCSCA (d8da01)

  15. Great job.
    Too bad the media can’t/won’t get information right.
    Unfortunately, because of the problems so articulated here, they will go to the upcoming Liberal administration with hat in hand and Mr. Patterico and the rest of us will have to dig deep to bail them out.

    Paul Albers (06d9a0)

  16. What did you read on the 366th day last year? Or is there some obscure holiday on the Feb. 29th of a leap year?

    Pat Patterspn (f44efe)

  17. This review is one of the highlights of each new year, and I’m not a resident of LA, or even the USA! I’d like to say things are better in Australia, but we have our own Dog Trainers – more in the vein of The Grauniad.

    Patterico should gather these reviews into a book as obituary when the inevitable happens to the LAT.

    Craig Mc (1022b3)

  18. Outstanding. Patterico, the service you do in your devastating and constant coverage of the corruption, incompetence and mendacity of the LAT cannot be measured. In a truly awful year for the LAT you have surpassed yourself.

    Your 2002 TYIR post brought me to your blog initially, as it appealed to this former L.A. resident and LAT subscriber. I would hate to see you (and us) deprived of your #1 avocation, but it would truly be a blessing to see this paper go down the sewer. They are incapable of serving their community, of being honest and thorough, of preventing political correctness and lefty dogma from infecting every crack and crevice of their operation.

    Now newspapers are getting in line for bailouts. I wouldn’t hand these people Monopoly money. Unbelievable. Happy New Year to us, the U.S. taxpaying suckers.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  19. Happy new year, Patterico (and co-bloggers!) Your bulldoggedness at fisking LAT is enjoyed and appreciated daily by me. This year’s rollup is astounding. Kudos.

    Dan S (9311a0)

  20. Water under the bridge Patterico, water under the bridge. It’a new year people. Let’s move on forward to the promised land of bipartisanship, love for each other, racial equality, truth, prosperity and world peace. But forgiveness is the key. Happy New year my dear host! And to you all my wonderful fellow-bloggers. 🙂

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  21. Once again, this is a real tour de force, Pat. I do hope this finds its way to Sam Zell’s monitor.

    Pat Patterspn, this was posted on 12/31, the 366th day of 2008. “The past 365 days” covers the rest of the year. If you’re gonna post pedantic criticism, it helps to be accurate, lest you look silly. You might also want to check for typos, for the same reason.

    Pablo (99243e)

  22. Will the LAT provide any Hope and Change for its readers in 2009?

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  23. Sometimes I wonder how you have the time to do all of this research, have a heavy-duty full-time job, write some occasionally long articles on all sorts of other things for the site, and still have time to eat, sleep and make little Pattericos.

    Were the publishers of The Los Angeles Times actually looking for ways to reverse a decade-long slide in readership, and maybe do something really radical like try to make a profit, they’d look at criticisms like these (plural, to count all of the past reviews) and at least ask themselves: how is it that this guy, who is basically doing this as a hobby, is so much better an editor than the editors we pay good money to employ?

    But, the more probable response is that they’ll keep plugging along, doing the same things that they’ve been doing, yet expecting better results.

    The Dana who wrote for the UK student daily, but isn't a journalism school graduate (556f76)

  24. Soon, all of these vile people will be unemployed. This is good.

    The revolution is unstoppable: the LAT and the NYT are done for. Their soon-to-be ex-employees will need to struggle to improve their economic existences, and their hereditary owners will be working at retail counters flogging perfume or kitchen appliances. Getting in touch with the real lives that as elite writers and publishers they so disdained. This is good.

    It feels wonderful to have rediscovered optimism about the future!

    MTF (a04f28)

  25. Patterico’s Year in Review of The Los Angeles Times….

    Patrick Frey, the Los Angeles County prosecutor who hosts Patterico’s Pontifications, has written his annual Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review for 2008. I have to admit it: I don’t know how he finds the time to do all of this research…

    Common Sense Political Thought (73d96f)

  26. The condescending class at the LAT are stuck in quagmire with no exit plan.

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  27. Excellent work, Patterico. Funny how — once again — the usual suspects pop in to try to tell us to move on, get over it, a year’s worth of lies is no big deal…

    Rob Crawford (b5d1c2)

  28. Thorough and entertaining. I hope that 2009 gives you nothing to write about, but I won’t hold my breath.

    Thanks for a terrific 2008!

    Pious Agnostic (b2c3ab)

  29. Excellent job, Patrick.

    I agree with the other commenters that say there is book material here; the research stage is already done, all that is necessary is some editing for book format (grouping by year or by topic?) and endnote citations for all the sources used.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (ed9791)

  30. Wow. Terrific work, Patterico!

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  31. Patterico, you can certainly use the late Jim Healy’s old line: I don’t make ’em up Pally!

    What you see at the Dog Trainer in 2008 is what we all got–a dysfunctional newspaper that does not serve its community well. It’s a shame that they do such a bad job that Hillary felt it appropriate to seat the Times’ reporter at a table next to a urinal in a men’s room–but both the reporters and the paper truly had it coming. The Times long ago ceased to be a serious newspaper, no matter that the Times’s editors and reporters were still “legends in their own minds.”

    But the chickens of dishonest journalism “are coming home to roost” as the Rev. Wright might say, and we see a paper that is slowly dying. There is a place in society for a reasonably honest newspaper, but I don’t think that this version of the Times will ever be a reasonably honest newspaper. It’s sad.

    Mike Myers (31af82)

  32. haha. I finally got to patterico! I work here is done. Screw off, folks.

    truthnjustice (d99227)

  33. […] on the realization that newspapers are solely responsible for their own problems need only to read Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2008. It happens every year: I read every post I’ve written over the past 365 days about the Los […]

    Buggy whips [Darleen Click] (7a2640)

  34. Masterful job. I’m so glad to read of posters like JRM who have been persuaded by your work to view the media with a more discerning eye.

    If there were any justice in the media world, there would be a Pulitzer in the future for you.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  35. A bold and devastating stripping away of the veneer. Your thoroughness is remarkable.

    I just re-read my email received from Jamie Gold after she talked to Tony Pierce re the vile Tony Snow comments. Along with their unwavering left-leaning bias, this sort of wussiness is another reason they can’t regain their once impressive stature. I don’t want them to fold but rather hope they can become great again but it may be too late.

    While Pierce understood the objections readers had to the comments, he saw the comments as people expressing themselves; while he acknowledges that the comments weren’t polite, he says leaned toward his desire to allow people to express themselves in a forum that encourages wide debate and discussion. However, as a result of those discussions among editors, Pierce says that the comments at are going to be handled in a more consistent way from now on, with the goal of improving the tone of the online conversations. While he wants people to be able to speak their minds, Pierce agrees that the readers should be encouraged to send more thoughtful notes, rather than the several you saw that led to your sending this note.

    Dana (137151)

  36. Masterful job. I’m so glad to read of posters like JRM who have been persuaded by your work to view the media with a more discerning eye.

    If there were any justice in the media world, there would be a Pulitzer in the works for you.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  37. Nice job. Thanks, Patterico.

    m (56510a)

  38. Quite the tour de force, Patterico. Thouh a number of your cavials are purely partisan (I don’t believe the dog trainer is anywhere near as in-the-tank for the Dems as you do) when it comes to dealing with the nuts and bolts of plain old bad journalism you’re right on the money. The really sad thing is the failings of the LAT are common to the fourth estate as a whole.

    Meanwhile, as Sam Zell’s Folly sinks faster than Leonardo Di Caprio in the last reel of Titanic (with no Gloria Stuart to mourn) one can only shudder to think what will come in its wake.

    It won’t an improvement.

    David Ehrenstein (0c5acf)

  39. Even with the buzzing of certain gnats, Patterico, I appreciated your post very, very much (as well as most of the comments). It took a lot of work on your part to put all this together, and you certainly didn’t do it for money. Instead, you provided a resource for others.

    The late Michael Crichton used to discuss what he called “The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia” effect.

    1. Someone in the MSM writes about a subject you know a great deal about.
    2. The MSM report is grossly inaccurate.
    3. You laugh, saying, well, they are just MSM weenies.
    4. Then you turn the page, read another article outside your own expertise, and actually take those same jokers seriously.

    That is bad enough (and Crichton was far more eloquent). Your post demonstrates what most of us have long known: the LA TIMES has an agenda, and has utterly no ethical, let alone journalistic, scruples. They are willing to knowingly lie like the proverbial rug.

    It makes me angry to read your patiently collected litany of LA TIMES lies….but I am still grateful you waded through the sewage and put it all in one place.

    Again, best wishes for 2009 to you and your family.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  40. Patterico, you’d better refresh your links / saved copy of the Maria Warren post. I tried following your different links above, and they mostly don’t work. The only one that does still work is Wayback Machine’s, and even that leads to a version of Warren’s post which is virtually unreadable.

    ellersburgwhoresonellis (67836f)

  41. Does “I work here is done” mean that he’s finally leaving?

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  42. The only one that does still work is Wayback Machine’s, and even that leads to a version of Warren’s post which is virtually unreadable.

    Highlight the white text as if you were going to copy it and it’s very readable. Good catch, though.

    Pablo (99243e)

  43. Nah, Icy Texan, he’ll need his threadjacking fix soon enough…

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (ed9791)

  44. love just does not get it. It isn’t water under the bridge because the paper and many of the same employees are still there; and, based on the evidence at hand, it will business as usual again this year.

    Or, maybe love DOES get it. The irony in that “Let’s move on forward to the promised land of bipartisanship” line is heartening.

    [love WAS using irony; right?]

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  45. You’re the best ombudsman the LA Times ever had.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  46. The entire staff of Media Matters should be required to read this article. Their insane level of parsing conservative commentators (“O’Reilly said he likes Obama but failed to mention how Barack walks on water! Can you believe it?”) could use a good dose of ACCURATE & REASONED specificity.

    On another note, Keith Olbermann has totally bitten into the “NOBODY is seeking to revive the Fairness Doctrine” line of bullshit.

    Icy Texan (b7d162)

  47. 42 Best to totally ignore certain mutant wads.

    Wondering who else does such an exemplary service exposing a newpaper’s failings? On occasion we do readabout the paper of record’s shortcomings and I think Powerline is on top of the sheer awfulness of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, as I believe Capt. Ed used to also. When I lived in Philly I was aware that some of their stories were dishonest based on my own knowledge of what went on. And I see how horribly slanted the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel can be, even as they may win Pulitzers.
    So who does a better investigative job on papers than our host? Also what is his reputation among his peers in DA’s office? Is anyone aware of liberal blogs bashing Mr. Frey’s efforts to expose the LA Times? I know Charles Johnson gets plenty of heat all over the blogosphere and even world-wide. I’d like to see Zombie travel south and expose some of the shenaningans of LA. I guess Patterico only needs to upset the applecart on some national media figure’s malfeasance. Pity no one seemed able to expose all the dirty little secrets of people like Obama and Blago.
    Will the Times now reveal more of the Obama story whose source they promised to protect, now that O is Potus-elect? Just cracks me up that national secrets seem readily available to clowns like NY Times and Pinch and things that protect politicians from within the media are sacrosanct.
    Libs want the Fairness Doctrine and union check cards, both antidemocratic. And it looks like newpapers are petitioning for fed bailout funds now. Sockpuppet Glen Greenwald thinks the constitution has been shreed the past ten years. I don’t see it. I do see clowns like Franken abusing the vote counting process in Minn. So if papers get taxpayer funding will they also be beholding to their fed paymasters? Will critics be treated like they’d be if the papers were western versions of Pravda and Isvestia?

    aoibhneas (0c6cfc)

  48. Love, your roundup Pat, but at this point, wouldn’t it be better to point out if they got anything right this year. It’d be a shorter column,well that is the point of the thing. Layers of editors it takes to produce this column. Your counterpart at McClatchy Watch, could say the same thing of my Miami Herald, specially since they relied on their satellite office at the Anchorage Daily News, and still got everything wrong about Sarah, or much anything else.

    narciso (57971e)

  49. Patterico, we’re not worthy!

    And on top of all that, the Los Angeles Times horoscopes weren’t even close to being accurate in 2008, either.

    Official Internet Data Office (e781ed)

  50. I blame Bush.

    Anyway, look at the bright side. This time next year you’ll still have a job. Not many at the LAT can say that…

    richard mcenroe (1611a5)

  51. Patterico,

    Please clean up that recurring horsemanure, TnJ. Let it reside in the Kos, MoveOn, MediaMatters, or such sewers from which it spang.

    I still get a kick remembering Neil Cavuto trying to read my comment about the LASlimes on the air.

    It also proves that cats are smarter than dogs. Cats know when their box is full. Dogs just wet away.

    PCD (7fe637)

  52. I work here is done.

    And with that highly educated turn of the phrase, may I suggest a permanent ban on this excreable piece of dung matter – it has been patiently allowed to spew it’s threadjacking idiocy for many months at this point. Time for a new direction for the new year – buh byeee.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  53. And on top of all that, the Los Angeles Times horoscopes weren’t even close to being accurate in 2008, either.

    To be fair, they were closer than their reporting was.

    Pablo (99243e)

  54. Patterico,

    As you said in the opening paragraph, “There’s something appalling and eye-opening about seeing an entire year’s worth of the paper’s bias, omissions, and distortions gathered in one post.” Indeed there is, and you reveal it year after year in all it’s dreadful detail.

    On a related note, Drudge has a Reuters article up by Robert MacMillan, “Government aid could save US newspapers, spark debate” it’s about “Connecticut lawmaker Frank Nicastro” and his efforts to save his local newspaper from “being crushed under hundreds of millions of dollars of debt…” Locals, it seems won’t buy the paper, but apparently it’s vital to area politicians.

    A taxpayer bailout is what Nicastro is after, and of course Reuters fails to inform readers Nicastro is a Democrat Congressman. Par for the course.

    Welcome to the New Year, same as the Old Year.

    Ropelight (d40bc3)

  55. I work here is done.

    LOL. That will go down in dopey troll history like pwned and teh.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  56. But he’s a teacher, so he must be edumacated. Right, and I’m actually George Clooney posting under an alias.

    To be fair, they were closer than their reporting was.


    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  57. Dmac, you and I both know who that character really is—and is not. Hopefully it won’t come back. That last post from it said it all.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  58. […] The continued bias demonstrated by our MSM. Patterico’s post on the LA Times spells it all out, as does the moment Chrissy Matthews had that thrill up his […]

    Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » New Year’s Best/Worst/Predictions from FA Authors! (e7cd22)

  59. Excellent work, as always, Patterico…

    To all of the readers and posters on this site – Happy New Year!

    fmfnavydoc (1849d7)

  60. Sometimes I wonder how you have the time to do all of this research, have a heavy-duty full-time job, write some occasionally long articles on all sorts of other things for the site, and still have time to eat, sleep and make little Pattericos.

    He’s got time to do THAT??? PATTERICO IS THE MAN!!!

    fmfnavydoc (1849d7)

  61. Well, the dawn has come (and gone) and reviewing the low-lights of journalism (or what passes for it) in Los Angeles was quite edifying – and reinforces why I stopped buying, and mostly reading, the Dog Trainer some 18-years ago.

    I would hope that your email distribution of this review included the aforementioned Mr. Zell, and that he (or someone in his circle) would actually peruse this damning indictment of one of Tribunes’ crown-jewels. Perhaps then he would realize that though the business-model has major flaws in it, it is the quality of the journalism that is driving down the readership, which is leading to the tanking of advertising revenue – you can’t correct the revenue problem without getting back the eyes that you need to charge for.

    I superb job of documenting a year in the decline of a once-great news source for America’s Second-Largest City, and the preeminent economic settlement on this side of the Pacific Ocean. All-in-all, informative and yet depressing to those of us who grew up with this paper as our “paper of record”.

    If there is a Pulitzer category for media-accountability, I would submit this compilation for consideration.

    Well Done, Sir!

    AD (c5e3a1)

  62. 57/58…You guys beat me to it!
    My only additional comment is something I think I said before:
    This guy couldn’t engineer a Lionel train, and anything he knows about physics comes from an astrology column.

    AD (c5e3a1)

  63. AD, you are correct. First, yep, Patterico is da bomb. I don’t always agree with his posts, but I always take them seriously. He is thoughtful, fair-minded, and does his thinking and research before he writes.

    As for the second, yep. I’m a scientist and a teacher, and I have no trouble talking about either. On the other hand, this character never seemed to want to own up. It’s not important; it was just here to cause trouble. Sad, really.

    And my guess is that at least one of the other trolls will…coincidentally…vanish at the same time. Funny how that works.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  64. “I want to see the Times survive and be strong. The paper, for all its warts, is a net plus to society, and a significant one“….JRM

    The ability to retain mass quantities dog training material is the only thing that would be “significantly” missed.

    Rovin (a5d8b7)

  65. I think our host has amply demonstrated that even if Zell was serious about rehabilitating the LAT, it would be just shoveling more good money after bad. As we’re witnessing here with the Trib, there’s too much institutional rot and decay entrenched at both places – not worth any more time and effort. Best to sit and wait for the commercial property market to rebound, eventually – and then sell all the assets.

    On the other hand, this character never seemed to want to own up.

    The funniest part was after being seriously questioned about actually demonstrating it’s professed engineering/scientific/Wiccan/teaching skills, it always defaulted to another topic, backpedalling furiously in a vain attempt to prevent further beclowning.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  66. The most amazing part of the magnificent annual thrashing you give the Times is the fact that you read it ! I gave up a few years ago after 40 years. I even remember when they endorsed Nixon in 1960.

    It is a shame to see an institution end like this. My suggestion is that Patrick buy the Times at the BK auction for 50 bucks, or whatever it takes (nothing over 100), then hire Bradley Fikes to get the paper back on track. I think there is a future for a newspaper that is honest and competent but there is little prospect of this from the usual j-school grads who are driving the industry into the ground.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  67. Speaking of which, If I gave you this snippet of
    news, who would you say it referred to:”Shrill, publicity-seeking, demanding a good hairdresser”
    You’d say it was some agregious piece of bias, that Pat left out of his year end, review of how
    Sarah was trashed. However, if you read further you see “many of Margaret Thatcher’s traits were already shining through in 1978, a year before she entered Downing Street’ Now this is a comtemporary piece ostensibly about the release of Thatcher’s official papers, but the quotes are from comments back in 1978, before she became Prime Minister.

    narciso (57971e)

  68. ot but Happy New Year everyone 🙂

    Lord Nazh (201d56)

  69. As one of a legion of former L.A. Times subscribers, I say this paper deserves to die.

    Cicero (a027ef)

  70. Yes, thanks Patrick for another great year of posts. They are appreciated.

    And btw, why are the Democrats so conservative when it comes to the LAT, NYT, B3, etc? Keep them around because that’s what you’re used to? I say no. Let them all die, or not, as markets dictate. You don’t think someone else will rise to take their place and do a better job, one that people want? I do. After all, people filled in after the dinosaurs died. The process will upset many people’s sensibilities, but it will also result in a better world.

    Anyway, happy new year y’all.

    Gajim (e39b35)

  71. Mike K., it’s touching that you recommended Mr. Fikes to take over the Times, it really is. But, isn’t that like promoting him to Captain of the Titanic… after it’s already hit the iceberg? 😉

    Happy new year, everyone. (And Patterico, I’m still waiting for news about how to properly use your Paypal button.)

    qdpsteve (1c8fe7)

  72. Ah, Q. Good to see you.

    Your invective was missed during the Great Troll Wars here.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  73. Sam Zell is apparently a conservative? Why doesn’t he hire Patterico to be executive editor, and give him the power to hire and fire? Patterico starts hiring bloggers and the quality of the LAT increases steadily. Problem solved.

    It all starts at the top with Sam Zell. Ultimately he is responsible, for good or bad.

    Indythinker (24c6ef)

  74. Excellent review! I grew up reading the LAT and it was a fine paper in the 60’s.

    Today it deserves to die an ignominious death.

    My Jr. High newspaper had higher standards than the LAT of today.

    Captain Push (d8da01)

  75. Typical Republican nonsense.

    Tom (76b9e1)

  76. Your invective was missed during the Great Troll Wars here.

    Great Troll Wars?

    Oh come on, Eric, you’re exaggerating. The last two weeks were only a light skirmish.

    We haven’t seen multiple troll bannings (also the banning of several regular commenters draqgged down by trolls) or a thread started solely because of one particular troll’s sheer inability to argue on merit.

    In the middle of all that were one commenter’s legal maneuverings and threats and a husband-and-wife team sheer mind-numbing drivel straight from the service horse’s mouth all over the content of a judge’s computer.

    That time was the Great Troll Wars, and deservedly so.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (ed9791)

  77. Typical Republican nonsense.

    Typical moonbat dismissal.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (ed9791)

  78. Comment by Tom — 1/1/2009 @ 3:46 pm

    The honest and accurate reporting of events and presentation of facts has nothing to do with political persuasion, unless of course one’s politic is far more important to them than their professional integrity and ethics. Those, for some can be easily compromised and/or even sacrificed.

    Dana (137151)

  79. Mr Blair wrote:

    Even with the buzzing of certain gnats . . .

    I am amused. 🙂

    The amused Dana (556f76)

  80. Excellent

    pat (6421d6)

  81. The Icy Texan wrote (#45):

    it will business as usual again this year.

    Seems to me if that’s the case, it won’t be business as usual for too many more years.

    The adjective-laden Dana (556f76)

  82. Patterico:

    I think that is a picture of Jamie Lynn Spears instead of Britney Spears. Perhaps a correction is in order.

    tomhynes (c43c0a)

  83. Or, maybe love DOES get it. The irony in that “Let’s move on forward to the promised land of bipartisanship” line is heartening.

    [love WAS using irony; right?]

    Comment by Icy Texan — 1/1/2009 @ 10:12 am
    Whatever you say, Icy. I have changed. What do you think? Should I change my screen name? I need counsel.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  84. tomhynes,

    When I get back to a computer I’ll check it out. I don’t claim to be an expert on the Spears family so I’m guessing you’re right. Once I’ve determined the truth, I’ll stubbornly refuse to issue a correction, and manufacture a transparent excuse. /L.A. Times.

    Patterico (8b6582)

  85. Dear Amused Dana:

    I wrote that because I was struck by how hard Patterico had worked to create that post—research and thought and editing; even re-evaluating as time went on—compared to people who just post things to pick fights and try to sound like Jon Stewart or David Letterman (with a staff of writers or a genuine sense of humor).

    Using the term “troll” makes them sound important or large, anyway. “Gnat” gives them their true importance.

    The sad part is all the energy wasted–by the gnats, and by people responding to gnats (and I am very, very guilt of that). Maybe a gnat could turn into a decent blogger, with her or his own viewpoints—with work and thought.

    But it sure is much easier just to be a gnat, buzzing about and daring folks to swat you.

    Doing the work Patterico did takes real effort, and the commenters here who count for anything—right and left of center—have been showing their appreciation. It’s a good way to start 2009.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  86. Paul (#78) wrote:

    Typical moonbat dismissal.

    Such a witty rejoinder. Given the complete absence of any intellectual thought in your reply, I’m going to take a wild stab and guess you are probably also a Sarah Palin supporter. There does tend to be a correlation between the two.

    Tom (76b9e1)

  87. All of which explains why, when I still lived in LA, I’d dropped the Times and bought either the Daily News or the ORange County Register.

    Evan (b42348)

  88. Patterico:

    For the Britney/Jamie Lynn Spears correction, send me a few automated e-mails first telling me that values my input. Then wait until I e-mail you five or six times. Only then should you come up with the excuse.

    Actually, it is just a little creepy that a 55 year old guy thinks he knows the difference between Jamie Lynn and Britney Spears.


    tomhynes (c43c0a)

  89. My, how the corpse draws flies.

    This newspaper is dead. Poisoned credibility; circulation numbers in a death spiral and flat-lined ad pages.

    No doubt the employees will learn of its own death in another newspaper from across the country… or get the word on of all things, a gadget called a radio. The young ones will jump soon or get pushed. The old ones trapped by the golden handcuffs.

    Los Angeles is, by its very geography, not a city easily covered by one metro newspaper. It’s just too much of a sprawl with so many diverse communities. And a population that seems to be growing less and less literate, too. Add this list of sad episodes chronicled by Patterico and you have a dead tomb.

    DCSCA (d8da01)

  90. Tom #88, your comment was not an improvement.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  91. My God, what a sorry tale.

    Great job.

    drjohn (97e307)

  92. The Times marches on into 2009 with an inane piece by Rosa Parks that makes Tom sound wise.

    Israel can’t bomb its way to peace
    The assault on Gaza has more to do with internal politics than its national security. The U.S. needs to reengage forcefully in a Mideast peace process.

    Brilliant insight. Where do they get these brilliant thinkers ?

    Mike K (2cf494)

  93. By the way, I wouldn’t be caught dead reading the paper or the web site but I was reading the summary of the SC-Penn State game. SC basically quit the second half and almost got caught. The game was very similar to the 1963 Rose Bowl Game when they beat Wisconsin but Ron Van Der Kellen scored 30 points in the second half for the Badgers. At the time, SC was #1 and Wisconsin was #2.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  94. Such a witty rejoinder.

    Yes it was. A witty rejoinder to a “witty” commnet. Heh.

    Given the complete absence of any intellectual thought in your original comment, I’m going to take a wild stab and guess you are probably also a Barack Obama supporter. There does tend to be a correlation between the two.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (ed9791)

  95. Sounds like a new gnat in town, Paul.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  96. Outstanding. I’m also one of many who got utterly frustrated over many years and finally cancelled. Now, I may read Patterico more than the LAT site itself, and certainly more than the actual paper (in a Starbuck’s or wherever). What does that say when I take more pleasure – in an angry and cynical way – in how a paper is failing than trying to find something in the paper I trust is accurate and worth reading? The newspaper industry probably has insurmountable challenges, but the LAT and the rest have speeded their death with their arrogance and bias.

    Steve (6b9bb0)

  97. #90 tomhynes:

    Actually, it is just a little creepy that a 55 year old guy thinks he knows the difference between Jamie Lynn and Britney Spears.

    OMG! There’s two of them?

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  98. Patterico,

    I hope this is your last review! Its time for the LA Slime, the biased, hateful, irresponsible, low-life, anti-liberty, anti-free market, anti-military, anit-Christian, anti-heterosexual, anti-family, anti-child, anti-gun, anti-individual rights, anti-responsibility, anti-American liberal toilet-paper to die… a slow but painful death!

    A few more years and it will become totally irrelevant.

    John (141125)

  99. I cancelled my subscription after the election. I couldn’t subsidize their poor journalism and contempt for me as a republican any longer.

    NeoCon Don (0d2a35)

  100. Damned fine job this year, sir!

    The Sanity Inspector (41e486)

  101. When I get back to a computer I’ll check it out. I don’t claim to be an expert on the Spears family so I’m guessing you’re right. Once I’ve determined the truth, I’ll stubbornly refuse to issue a correction, and manufacture a transparent excuse. /L.A. Times.

    No correction necessary, Patterico. Unlike the LA Times, you got it right.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (ed9791)

  102. […] Patterico gives his excellent annual round-up of the sins and omissions of the L.A. Times. Each year it seems it can’t get worse, and yet it always does… “This year, L.A. Times editors slammed Sarah Palin, John McCain, and McCain’s ally Joe the Plumber — while they protected Barack Obama and his allies, including unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and radical Palestinian Rashid Khalidi. The paper described a 19-point margin in opposition to gay marriage as a “narrow margin,” and displayed the usual politically correct attitudes on race, abortion, and crime. We watched the paper overreach on the story about Judge Alex Kozinski’s porn collection that wasn’t. And the paper retracted a story by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chuck Philips, in one of the most embarrassing incidents in the paper’s history. This year saw a campaign of relentless distortions on DNA evidence; the bankruptcy of Tribune Company; and a collection of errors like none we’ve ever seen before.” […]

    Friday Round-up: 01-02 « Grand Rants (054690)

  103. The only people who will have a worse 2009 than the shoddy journos and editors of the LAT are the shoddy journos and editors that attract Patterico’s attention after the LAT collapses.

    Karl (2491e1)

  104. Of course you know that the Los Angeles Times’ columnist Rosa Brooks is Barbara Ehrenreich’s daughter. The nuts do not fall far from the tree. The Times business reporter David Lazarus is a graduate of Berkeley and the Crossroads School. Draw your own conclusions.

    Official Internet Data Office (e781ed)

  105. Other than that, Mr. Patterico, how did you like the paper?


    It was very well done, and I alternated between rage and laughter; while I enjoyed it greatly, there’s a little bit of me that thinks you should find a more profitable use of that much energy and time.

    Thank you, and Happy New Year!

    htom (412a17)

  106. Bellissimo! I hope you or someone else can put this post into a downloadable .pdf document!

    L.N. Smithee (098396)

  107. Ah, Mr. Smithee! Good to see you here. I’m glad you are willing to rejoin our group of racists (we had a Troll Like Individual claiming we were all racists over the Kwaanza post). Sigh.

    Seriously, it is good to see you posting again.

    Happy holidays to you and yours.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  108. And ditto your idea!

    Mr Frey, Amazon dot com used to do these “Amazon shorts”—fiction or essays that could be downloaded for a buck or less. I think that your review of the LA TIMES would be a wonderful addition, if Amazon still does that.

    On the other hand, they would probably lack the intestinal fortitude to print such an item!

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  109. wow, what a thorough shredding. nice work

    Mark E (efa0b7)

  110. tomhynes,

    I’ve reviewed the pictures and I’m not convinced. I think that’s Britney. Can you convince me I’m wrong?

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  111. Dear Patterico: the time you spent comparing Jamie Lynn and Britney Spears’ photographs can never be recovered.

    But I remember watching a Superbowl with my father-in-law a few years ago. Britney Spears was in her prime and was shaking and shimmying for Diet Coke or some such thing.

    My father-in-law turns to me, and asks wryly, “What do you suppose they are selling there?”

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  112. Incidentally, Patterico, I really appreciated your “DNA testing” analysis. I will probably be using it in class next Fall, in fact. I may ask you some questions in the future about it—if you have the time or inclination to answer (again, much later).

    I have noticed that people get very, very hard-nosed about DNA evidence when it is used by the prosecution, and suddenly much less concerned when the same techniques are used by the defense.

    That dichotomy does not seem to bother students in the slightest.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  113. “I work here is done.”

    I love it.

    Yes, it is. Truer (and less articulate) words were never spoken.

    Buh-bye, troll.

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  114. I never paid attention to “truthnjustice” — but a guy who leaves a comment in response to a strawman, and then says he “got to” me when I point that out . . . well, that sounds like a worthless commenter.

    He is gone. Let us speak of him no more.

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  115. Buh-bye, troll.

    I love it.

    Happy New Year to All.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  116. […] Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2008 […]

      Oh, That Liberal Media — Just Some Poor Schmuck (2edcfe)

  117. Hey, Patterico. Since you’re revisiting that “collaborative operation relationship” post which we went back and forth on last March, maybe you’d be interested in answering my question about the odd way that you referred to the staff report/statement in your update where you passed along what I told you about where “collaborative relationship” came from. You called it a staff statement, which left the reader with the false impression that it was different from the “staff report” you had already mentioned and described as being very similar to the final report. Why didn’t you tell your readers that the phrase came from the report you had mentioned earlier in your post?

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  118. #117 Patterico:

    Let us speak of him no more.

    Done. But thank you for the New Year’s gift.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  119. First we have this wonderful example of cognitive function:

    Typical Republican nonsense.

    Followed by this gem:

    Such a witty rejoinder. Given the complete absence of any intellectual thought in your reply,

    I wonder if Tommy understands the word projection in a psychological sense – methinks not.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  120. Sadly, you could look at most any major daily newspaper in the USA and come up with a similar record of lies, bias, and misinformation. And they wonder why the newspaper industry is dying.

    V the K (2d455a)

  121. Dmac, you know that that word is a serious troll irritant.

    It’s just more “troof to powder” nonsense. Remember the other one: it openly admitted that was why it was posting. It (and its alter egos) were being brave and independent by copying “The Argument Room” from Monty Python.

    This one is no different.

    Or maybe it likes getting verbally hammered.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  122. LA Times Year in Review…

    Patterico’s Pontifications reviews all the biased reporting that the LA Times exhibited all throughout the year:

    Here it is:

    Defend America (516879)

  123. Foo Bar:

    I see nothing misleading in what I wrote.

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  124. JAT, Mr. Frey. Just Another Troll.


    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  125. Rosa Brooks is Barbara Ehrenreich’s daughter.

    Stunning! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?

    Evan Thomas of Newsweek is the grandson of a big socialist too.

    Maybe the problem with America today is the dynastic nature of politics and the media. We are calcifying, like a bunch of continental aristos or something.

    Patricia (89cb84)

  126. Well, the “day in review” was almost as spirit-raising, as the DT-YIR was depressing.

    PP, thanks for the New Year’s gift!

    AD (58f7b4)

  127. Incredible post. I wish we had someone like this reviewing the Atlanta Journal/Constitution.

    Hal (6fceab)

  128. I miss he-who-will-not-be-named (rhymes with booth is fussed in) already.

    Icy Truth (b7d162)

  129. I just saw Mike K.’s kindly wish for me to take the helm of the foundering LA Times. At least, I think it was kindly. Cleaning up the LAT’s decades of accumulated barnacles, inaccuracies and false tropes would be like cleaning the Augean stables sans water.

    To fix the LAT you’d have to do far more than just replace the top editors. The real resistance will come in the layers of middle management, who set the standards and expectations for the reporters. The ones who cover for their underperforming and biased colleagues. You would need precise intelligence about where the obstructionists and deadwood are located. You’d also want to identify the capable people who are being held back by the deadwood, and support them.

    Internet savvy is part of that need, of course. One test I’d give for that is to ask managers with Internet responsibility to hand-code a hyperlink, like this one I just wrote. That’s an example of measuring for actual skill, not just the ability to spout a barrage of words.

    Then you’d need to go to work with the reporters and find out which ones are really dedicated to reporting and informing, not just insinuating their agendas. You’d above all want people with enough integrity to admit when they are wrong and correct their errors.

    Changing the LAT’s institutional culture like this would take months, perhaps years, and the LAT may not have that time. But if anyone cares to try, Hugh Hewitt’s prescription for the LAT, written almost two years ago, is a great guide.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  130. From Hewitt’s article, some advice the LAT can implement right now (my emphasis):

    After the basic revamp is in place, ask the toughest question of all: What can we do that no one else can do? In LA it is the business, first, second, and forever. The Times doesn’t want to be People, but it can be the first and last word on the American culture machine, though it has never seriously tried to be. It cannot compete with the Washington Post on politics and government, but no one can compete with the Times in covering the culture machine in all of its features, if the Times would only try.

    Nor could anyone match the paper if it really wanted to cover the biggest state in the union in all of its glorious dysfunction in Sacramento or prodigious productivity in high tech. Nine-tenths of every current issue of the paper consists of stories that high school papers could produce instead of unique content that must be read because it is the best reporting on sectors and stories that only a talented and experienced California-based reporter could find and report fairly and fully.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  131. Bradley, I was assuming you would have a clean slate after BK. My first suggestion was for Patterico to buy the paper for no more than 100 bucks.

    Remember, there is value in brand names, even if they have f**ked it up. Think about the guy who bought the Ritz-Carlton name. He has made millions and has nothing to do with running a hotel.

    Abercrombie and Fitch is another such story. That was the store you went to for outfitting a safari. Then safaris stopped happening.

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  132. Maybe the problem with America today is the dynastic nature of politics and the media. We are calcifying, like a bunch of continental aristos or something.

    So true. Just ask Pinch Sulzberger or Senator Caroline Kennedy.

    V the K (2d455a)

  133. Great investigative work. I look forward to the companion piece on Fox News.

    Russell Miller (dd769a)

  134. Eric Blair wrote:

    Ah, Mr. Smithee! Good to see you here. I’m glad you are willing to rejoin our group of racists (we had a Troll Like Individual claiming we were all racists over the Kwaanza post). Sigh.

    I was really busy the last few days, so I thankfully missed the Kwanzaa Krapolaa. This black man has only two sentences and six words to say about Kwanzaa: 1. Christmas Minus Whitey. 2. The Original Festivus.

    L.N. Smithee (098396)

  135. A tour de force! Bravo Patterico!

    JerryT (ba0180)

  136. Wow. This is a great post – full of facts and arguments. Unlike the LAT, which is full of something else.

    I am sad to see the decline of the LAT, because it was the paper I grew up with. But some time in the 70s it took a great turn to the left, while I maintained my steady middle-of-the-road attitude. And while I could ignore the editorial page, I could no longer find news in it. I stopped subscribing to it in the mid 80s and stopped reading it entirely soon after.

    I did miss the Sunday crossword puzzle and the magazine inserts (I don’t remember what was extant in the 80s, but I remember fondly the “West” weekly magazine.) And Jack Smith was sometimes funny or quixotic.

    Maybe they should ask for a government bailout, since they can’t make money on the stuff they’re producing.

    steve miller (6f5245)

  137. […] Patterico blasts the Times’s coverage of the Kozinski incident in his round-up of 2008 L.A. Times reporting at Patterico’s Pontifications.  Among his findings is that the source for the […]

    Judge Kozinski’s “Dirty” Pictures May Not Be So Dirty | The California Blog of Appeal (76522a)

  138. Mike K.,
    OK, you’ve sold me on the idea. I’ll buy it for $100. But I’ll need some help.

    You’ll be medical editor,
    Patterico for national news editor
    Brady Westwater for metro news editor
    Eric Blair to be science editor,
    QPDSteve for political editor,
    Dana will be photo editor,
    Matt Welch as editorial editor,
    Virginia Postrel for business editor,

    . . . Do I have any nominations from the floor?

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  139. Mike K.
    Under your plan, I would get rid of all unsigned LAT editorials. Take this typically pompous and maundering LAT editorial today, yet another condescending sneer at Schwarzenegger and Republicans, in the guise of movie commentary.

    People actually get paid to write that nonsense?

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  140. Not for much longer, Bradley – not for much longer

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  141. Not for much longer, Bradley – not for much longer

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  142. Not for much longer, Bradley – not for much longer.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  143. I see nothing misleading in what I wrote.

    Ok, then I’ll try to keep in mind that you’re prone to referring discussing specific people or things in your blog posts and then referring to the same person or thing again later in the post with the indefinite article “a”. Let me try out a few sentences of Patterico-English:

    “Why is Patterico taking credit in this post for all these criticisms of the LAT? A blogger living in Southern California already made these points at various times during 2008.”

    I don’t whether the use of “a” was inadvertent or not, but it was certainly in your interest to leave the impression that the “staff statement” in the update was not the same as the “staff report” in the original body of the post. You had already said that the findings of the staff report were very similar to those of the final report. You were up in arms about “collaborative relationship” being in quotes in the LAT piece. If “collaborative relationship” was a direct quote from a report whose findings were very similar to those of the final report, then the LAT’s error doesn’t look that bad, does it?

    Not only did you go with the odd use of the indefinite article “a”, you also referred to it as a “statement” in the update when you had called it a “report” in the original post. Either term is fine with me so long as there is consistency, which was lacking here.

    You don’t seriously contend that your phrasing makes it clear that the “statement” and the “report” are one and the same, do you? Or would you argue that it’s irrelevant to the reader’s understanding of the issue that a staff report with very similar findings contained the direct quote “collaborative relationship”?

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  144. Me for gossip columnist, but the LAT doesn’t have such a position. Alas.

    Kate (3d6d93)

  145. Since the emphasis on news reporting will shift to the entertainment business centered here in SoCal,
    I volunteer as a beat reporter covering the NW Valley area!

    AD (58f7b4)

  146. Hi Dmac,
    I devoutly hope so. The unsigned editorials and those who write them are especially egregious offenders. They are worse than deadwood, they are actually negative value.

    Instead of thrashing the spendthrift Democrats who are rushing California to bankruptcy, the editorial writers keep indulging their irrational hatred of the governor. While he’s been weak, the governor at least is squeamish about raising taxes. By contrast, the Dems in the Legislature are salivating at the prospect. And from their anonymous perch, the LAT editorial writers are egging them on.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  147. It’s not much better here, Bradley – I now live in the 2nd highest city/county tax district in the country. And for all that largesse, the city that’s broke couldn’t even clear the snow that fell here last week until almost three days had passed.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  148. If “collaborative relationship” was a direct quote from a report whose findings were very similar to those of the final report, then the LAT’s error doesn’t look that bad, does it?

    That was your contention at the time, but anyone who reads my post can see that the issue was the distinction between what the staff thought and what the Commissioners themselves thought, as revealed by several contemporaneous quotes that I gave at the time. You’re trying to equate the two by noting that I said the conclusions were similar in general, but you’re completely ignoring the one specific point where the Commissioners made it quite clear that the conclusions were not what the media is saying.

    I’m not interested in re-debating it at length. Your argument has been made; I’m not persuaded; I have said why. Anyone who wants to go back and look at the original posts will see exactly what I’m talking about.

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  149. Bradley, I even see arguments on lefty blogs that 11% sales tax is not high ! Washington has a 10% sales tax, last time I checked but no income tax. Oregon had income tax but no sales tax. That way, a lot of people moved to Longview Washington and shopped in Portland. I may be out of date because Arizona did not have sales tax for a long time but does now. Democrats and sales tax are like ham and eggs.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  150. Of course you know that the Los Angeles Times’ columnist Rosa Brooks is Barbara Ehrenreich’s daughter.

    My God, I had no idea, but sure enough it’s true. Does anyone know off hand if either Brooks or Ehrenreich ever criticized George W. Bush as using his family connections to land his jobs? No doubt the irony would escape both of them, just as it does all those Bush-haters who hope Caroline Kennedy [Schlossberg] ends up being appointed to the Senate.

    JVW (bff0a4)

  151. He is gone. Let us speak of him no more.
    Comment by Patterico — 1/2/2009 @ 12:17 am

    Susan Sarandon’s deadpan line as Michaela Odone in Lorenzo’s Oil: “Am I allowed a tiny squeak of joy?”

    Back on topic: very thorough summary, sir. Nice job.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  152. NOYK, to quote Yoda:

    …there is another…


    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  153. This paper should be SUED out of existence through a class action by the American people. Everything from bad investments to misleading elections. Our damages are economic, and geopolitical im degrading the quality of life for all citizens!

    Russ (f349d9)

  154. …there is another…
    Comment by Eric Blair — 1/2/2009 @ 7:40 pm

    Too true. 🙂

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  155. I have said why

    No, you really haven’t said why it was appropriate to refer to the “statement” in the update as if it were not the same as the “report” you had referenced earlier, but it looks like you never will. If you contended that on this specific point the staff report and the final report were meaningfully different, why not try to argue as much without obscuring the fact that the “statement” and the “report” were one and the same?

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  156. You’re trying to equate the two by noting that I said the conclusions were similar in general

    Also, you didn’t say the conclusions were similar “in general”. You said the conclusions were “very similar” in the course of introducing, just after the issuance of the staff report and prior to the issuance of the final report, a quote from Lehman which you were using to illustrate the importance of the “collaborative”/”collaborative operational” distinction. So via the Lehman quote you were attempting to cite the staff report as additional evidence that the Commission never said or meant no “collaborative relationship”. Of course, you didn’t yet know that the staff report contained that exact phrase.

    This is what you said:

    The commissions repeatedly emphasized that Iraq and Al Qaeda had numerous ties — but that those ties did not amount to an operational relationship that resulted in 9/11.

    As another example, after the issuance of the staff report (the findings of which were very similar to those of the final report), Commissioner Lehman said on “Meet the Press”:

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  157. He is gone. Let us speak of him no more.

    Comment by Patterico — 1/2/2009 @ 12:17 am
    Dear Patterico,
    Permit me to ask, but what has truthandjustice said here that is banworthy? Don’t you think it is a little harsh? I hope you will reconsider your decision-in the spirit of the new year.

    love2008 who wants a new name for '09 (0c8c2c)

  158. Mr Fikes asked:

    . . . Do I have any nominations from the floor?

    Is there such a thing as an adjectives editor?

    And can I telecommute?

    The adjective-laden Dana (556f76)

  159. And, what’s the salary? That’d be an important question! 🙂

    The money-grubbing Dana (556f76)

  160. And if adjectives editor isn’t a position which exists or will be filled, how about typoographical and spellling error editor?

    The dyslexic Dana (556f76)

  161. I can think of a job I could fill
    I can lay limericks on with a will
    So keep me in mind
    If you should find
    That rhyming would fit the bill!

    The Limerick Avenger (556f76)

  162. It occurs to me
    that Fikes would be too busy
    he won’t come back here

    The Haiku Avenger (556f76)

  163. Ok, ok. How about “a husband to women and a wife to men”?

    nk (d08690)

  164. That’s one hell of a post, good job. Look, I’m Canadian, and can understand when Canadians roll over for Big Media, but Americans? You guys gonna let these cryptobolshies take over your country?

    General Public (8477a8)

  165. Sorry, nk, but the voters of the Golden state rejected such a duality.

    The snarky Dana (556f76)

  166. OK I’ll say it:

    With each passing year, the population of Los Angeles consists of people who either can’t read or don’t (English or otherwise).

    So maybe the LAT figures, heck, nobody is reading this crap anyhow, let’s say what we want.

    Kathy Shaidle (51a008)

  167. 161, Lovey, TnJ was a malicious little troll who added nothing to the board, but subtracted a great volume.

    As for a new name for you, How about “Clueless Democrat in “?

    PCD (7fe637)

  168. There is the Pulitizer Award and the Nobel Prize. Revive the “Goebbels Award” and present it to the Times! They earned it!


    Mike (144acc)

  169. TNJ was a tool, but no worse than your average lib. OIDO and DCSCA are much trollish, and they’re not banned. Go figure.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  170. As for a new name for you, How about “Clueless Democrat in “?

    Comment by PCD — 1/3/2009 @ 7:17 am
    I am not a Democrat. I simply voted for Obama for other reasons. So, you are off point again.

    love2008 who wants a new name for '09 (1b037c)

  171. TNJ was a tool, but no worse than your average lib.

    No, he was a rampant threadjacker and fraudulent poseur of the rankest order. If you had forced yourself to read his idiotic posturings and claims of victimhood (while at the same time calling everyone else who didn’t agree with him racists), you would never have claimed that he was in any way, shape or form an “average lib.” Good riddance.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  172. Comment by The Haiku Avenger — 1/3/2009 @ 6:18 am

    Did you ever wonder…
    Where do trolls go when they die?
    Kos knows where they go.

    carlitos (34f76e)

  173. […] Times year-in-review Patterico catalogs a year’s worth of errors and lies by the LA Times.  It’s an amazing list.  […]

    LA Times year-in-review « Internet Scofflaw (eb9fec)

  174. Haiku Avenger
    appreciates carlitos
    but he’s still married

    The Haiku Avenger (556f76)

  175. TNJ was a tool, but no worse than your average lib. OIDO and DCSCA are much trollish, and they’re not banned. Go figure.

    I never read anything he wrote. But his comment in this thread indicated that he was simply trying to provoke me and didn’t care if he bent the truth to do so. He can write and apologize if I misconceived his intentions, but they seemed pretty clear.

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  176. By the way, comments should start appearing normally again. I had to enable WP SuperCache yesterday due to a short traffic spike, and it screws with the appearance of comments. It’s off now.

    Patterico (fd66a1)

  177. The Many-Named Dana,
    As the new LAT mogul, I’d be generous for the right people. Getting rid of the deadwood, party hacks and cutting back on those four layers of editors (which is two layers too many), would free up a lot of money.

    Telecommuting would be open to reporters posted elsewhere, but the LAT’s top people need to live in the LA area. The Michael Kinsley debacle wouldn’t be repeated.

    I’d also spend serious money on circulation, to improve customer service for those who want the print edition.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  178. Prospective Los Angeles Times editor Bradley J Fikes wrote:

    Telecommuting would be open to reporters posted elsewhere, but the LAT’s top people need to live in the LA area. The Michael Kinsley debacle wouldn’t be repeated.

    Alas! I live in the Poconos, and have, as JRR Tolkien once described Bilbo Baggins, have “apparently settled down immovably.” I shall, it seems, have to decline any fine offers made by you and your wonderful staff.

    The Dana in Pennsylvania (556f76)

  179. The Dana in Pennsylvania,
    Ah, but read on! Much against his expectations and wishes, Bilbo went out for an improbable adventure and returned with great treasure. Then Bilbo moved away permanently, to lands of plenty and goodness in the West, where he lived happily ever after.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  180. Foo Bar,

    You are droning on about irrelevant trivia and making towering mountains out of dirt piles that don’t even amount to molehills. When I referred to the staff report’s findings it was an aside — tangential to the real point, which is what the Commissioners themselves were saying on that issue. My focus was always on what was expressed by the people actually charged with making findings — the Commissioners — as opposed to their staff. Anyone who goes back and reads the entirety of my work on this issue can see this.

    So, contrary to your scenario where you educated me on fundamental issues of which I was completely unaware, causing me to devilishly substitute one article for another in a futile effort to disguise my perfidy from readers . . . the truth is that you are focusing on an irrelevancy, and boring everyone by beating it into the ground. And, you do so by continually ignoring THE FUNDAMENTAL POINT, which I put in caps so you won’t miss it: namely, what THE COMMISSIONERS THEMSELVES said on the issue.

    Any further arguments on this topic (not that I’m inviting you to make any) should fully take account of what the Commissioners said. Stop ignoring that. Because what they said destroys the implication you are suggesting. Feel free to disagree — but as you do so, have the honesty to quote the statements from the Commissioners that I quoted at the time.

    If you include those quotes in your argument, you will look foolish. If you don’t (as I predict you won’t) you will look dishonest . . . to anyone sily enough to be following this in detail.

    Patterico (598434)

  181. There are trolls and then there are trolls, Patterico. Some of them are always nasty and clearly just present to pick fights and be insulting. Others—like love2008—are often civil. Those posters, even when they are posting a bit…um..insightfully, are not trolls.

    It’s the give and take that make the difference. And the civility. Some trolls carry on that people were “mean” to them first, but I don’t think that the record really reflects that.

    Oh well.

    Bradley, good luck with the LA TIMES.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  182. I don’t think of love 2008 as a troll although I have been annoyed a few times at him/her/it. Trolls don’t contribute to the discussion and post only to stir up trouble and draw attention to themselves. The best response is to ignore them because they are little whorls in the flow of information. They start nowhere and go nowhere.

    I am sensitive to this because I was driven away from a good Usenet group on Tom Clancy’s novels. Clancy used to post all the time and we had long threads on who was responsible for World War I and the like. I thought the Kaiser should have been strung up from a lamp post and Clancy finally agreed that I had a point. Then a troll appeared. Ironically, the troll would post, in caps, meaningless pro-Bush spam. This was in 2004 and I had hopes it would end after the election but it didn’t. I haven’t looked at that group in years. There is now another Clancy group but it is less active and has registration and all the stuff Usenet didn’t have.

    Then another group that I liked was trashed by trolls and Bradley knows whereof I speak. I think the answer is to ignore them and they will go away but few can resist responding and off we go. I also think most trolls are sad little people who live out their fantasies online. I have no need to feed their fantasies.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  183. You are droning on about irrelevant trivia

    It is his specialty. I have a fondness for Foo Bar, but it is definitely his way to find a small point and dispute it as a way to obscure the larger point.

    Patterico, bravo. This post is what having a blog should be all about.

    MayBee (5b642f)

  184. The tough part, is trying to tell which are which, Dr. K.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  185. #174 “OIDO and DCSCA are much trollish”

    Of course, Xrlq, you meant to say much more trollish. (Or maybe you meant much less trollish.) In any case, Xlrq, as I’ve stated before, you seem to have no sense of humor whatsoever. None. I believe you should lighten up, and to that end, I provided you with some punch lines to jokes, to help limber up the humor part of your brain, microscopic though it may be (the humor lobe, I mean). Of course, I realize that our recent exchange concerning the Fauxbama matter may have left a mark, and for that I should apologize to you–but I won’t.

    Remember, we are truly blessed to have this forum, created by a great blogger and righteous attorney fighting for the public safety of the citizens of Los Angeles, as well as for truth, justice, and the American way.

    Official Internet Data Office (e781ed)

  186. 175, By your word, lovey, I think most every has judged you to be a Leftwingnut Democrat. Your words are all we have here to judge you by.

    PCD (7fe637)

  187. […] the most relentless and determined blogger this side of Beldar, the great and good Patterico has his yearly review of the Los Angeles Times out for your […]

    Patterico Strikes Again - Pejman_Yousefzadeh’s blog - RedState (796605)

  188. I don’t mind leftwing Democrats. I have a couple of kids, well one anyway, who would qualify. I used to contribute quite a bit to Kevin Drum’s blog when it was Calpundit. Some of his commenters were very bright and had sources of information that I didn’t have. We disagreed on interpretation but not on the facts, most of the time. Then, he moved to Washington Monthly and the election of 2004 got closer. Kevin was sure Bush would cut and run the summer before the election; he was sure the Iraqi election would never be held, etc., etc. The tone got a lot more hostile from the other commenters and then they began to delete my comments. If I included links to support my argument, they deleted them faster.

    Dialogue with the left got very difficult as they shut out any other opinion, not with facts but with invective. I don’t think I’d like to see that here. Some of the tone gets a bit harsh, sometimes. Trolls, however, have no politics. It is all about themselves. Left wing Democrats are welcome, as far as I’m concerned, as long as they contribute.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  189. But Mr Fikes: While Mr Baggins did indeed go on an improbable adventure, there were many times during it that he wished to back in his comfortable hobbit hole, with the tea kettle just beginning to sing. He did return home, as you have noted, with great wealth, and his much-later move to Rivendell (starting on the day after his eleventy-first birthday) was really made necessary by his separation from the Ring.

    Perhaps Book Editor and Reviewer could be done via telecommuting?

    The Dana who has read Tolkien many times (556f76)

  190. […] the most relentless and determined blogger this side of Beldar, the great and good Patterico has his yearly review of the Los Angeles Times out for your […] » Blog Archive » Patterico Strikes Again (c8cd02)

  191. Of course, if you were referring to his leaving for the Havens, in his extreme old age — at 131, he beat the Old Took — we’re still not sure how a mortal leaving with immortal folk turned out

    Dana the Elf-Friend (556f76)

  192. Any further arguments on this topic (not that I’m inviting you to make any) should fully take account of what the Commissioners said. Stop ignoring that

    I already acknowledged more than once in the original thread back in March that far-left types who claimed there was no Iraq-Al Qaeda contact or linkage whatsoever were wrong. The Commissioners did indeed cite contacts and linkage. As you requested, here are two quotes from Lee Hamilton (you’ll like the first one better than the second one):


    I must say I have trouble understanding the flack over this. The Vice President is saying, I think, that there were connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s government. We don’t disagree with that.


    While characterizing any differences between the commission and the White House on the issue as largely semantic, he said that the committee had no credible evidence ”of any collaborative relationship — period.”

    Amazingly, you cited the NYT piece containing the second quote when we had this original argument as support for the your criticism of the LAT piece putting “collaborative relationship” in quotation marks, arguing that Hamilton really meant something else. That might have been relevant if the LAT piece had elaborated on “collaborative relationship” and argued that this meant no contacts whatsoever, but there was no such elaboration in the LAT piece.

    Anyway, now that I’ve responded to your request by re-acknowledging what I already acknowledged at least twice during the original discussion, i.e., that the Commissioners did indeed find Iraq/Al Qaeda contacts, maybe you could respond to my request. Please finish this sentence:

    “It was appropriate for me to refer to the ‘staff statement’ in the update as if it were distinct from the ‘staff report’ I had already mentioned, even though I was fully aware that they were one and the same, because …”

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  193. I’m sorry, but just why are we arguing over the 9/11 Commission Report that was a barely disguised effort to cover Bubba staff/bureaucratic ass?

    The report changes nothing. It doesn’t prove that “Bush Lied”, it doesn’t prove that “Darth Cheney” caused 9/11 to happen, it doesn’t prove any of the fantasies of the Left, and it certainly does not disprove contacts and/or support for international terrorism (including AQ) by the Hussein regime.

    9/11 happened because the U.S. Gov’t. was seen to be ineffective and a “paper tiger” by the terrorist community after years of provocations that were never responded to with any conviction; just as Iran today has little regard for the diplomatic efforts to side-track its’ nuclear weapons program because for 30-years they have tweaked the “Great Satin’s” nose (with occasional outright kicks in the ass) and suffered no penalty.

    That is the situation that we have to deal with today, before we see places we used to know become wastelands. When totalitarian crazies actually tell you ahead of time what they plan to do, occasionally you should pay attention, or suffer the consequences of your own obtuseness.

    AD (ad74e9)

  194. The Dana Who Has Read Tolkien Many Times,

    I was thinking of Bilbo’s journey to the Uttermost West, where the hurts of fighting the lying Sauron (LAT) were healed by the Valar, the Lords of Truthfulness and Light (Patterico and others in CA).

    But yes, I’ll accept book reviews from your Eastern outpost, although it is uncomfortably near Mordor (Washington, D.C.)

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  195. Dana the Elf-Friend,

    Didn’t see your other post about Valinor. I assume from Prof. T. that settling there was salubrious for Bilbo and for Frodo, as it is stated in LOTR that only in the Uttermost West could they find relief.

    Goodgulf Greyteeth (0ea407)

  196. Foo Bar,

    Please complete this phrase:

    “I beat my wife because . . .”

    Now complete this phrase:

    “I left 500 comments on an inconsequential and meaningless complaint because . . .”

    Patterico (1c48b2)

  197. Dear Patterico:

    What you wrote is how some of the posters feel about folks who are here just to argue, insult, or obscure.

    I don’t know anything about this FooBar person (other than the humor implicit in the ‘nym). Maybe he or she is an okay person outside of this one topic.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  198. Eric and Patterico,
    When an argument gets stalemated, the best thing to do is agree to disagree, and move on to something else. Otherwise, you end up like this dude.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  199. personally, I would rather something get done out DCSCA…

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  200. If you go back and look at the previous post you’ll see that Foo Bar and I argued this stuff out already. He repeatedly tried to call a staff report a report representative of the views of the Commissioners, when in fact one of them explicitly said that Commissioners can disagree with staff reports, and Commissioners have many quotes backing up what I said.

    The L.A. Times ended up running a correction on this, by the way — so even they admitted (however inadequately) that I had made a valid point.

    Patterico (1c48b2)

  201. Nice. I follow through on your request and you don’t follow through on mine, even indirectly.

    What you did was consequential to how authoritative you appeared to your readers on the topic. You portrayed yourself as knowledgeable about the “staff report” in your original post (since you had said its findings were very similar to the final one). You had been ranting and raving about “collaborative relationship” in the original post. I suspect that you didn’t want to admit to your readers in the update that the “staff report” whose findings you were supposedly familiar with actually contained the phrase you were complaining about but you didn’t know it when you first wrote the post.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  202. Well, Bradley, the important thing is that FooBar is coming across very aggressively about this. It sounds like the angry debate in Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” between the “Big-ends” and “Little-ends” in Lilliput.

    But yes, folks should just move on from that kind of disagreement.

    Scott, that situation is just degenerating. Nasty business, yet a victim? And repetitious. Best to move on.

    Or work on anagrams of “trolls are tiresome.”

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  203. And I’m not trying to pick any fights with the above. Bradley Fikes makes the very best recommendation.

    Patterico, most people really do appreciate your post. It was a lot of work.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  204. It’s always interesting to observe that, for many people nowadays, being civil during arguments is considered to be somehow weak or effete.

    British Parliament during the 19th Century was civil, but at the same time very argumentative (and clever, too). The “tough guy/tough gal” business seems to erase wit.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  205. Hi Eric,
    Thank you. And yes, some kudos to the host is in order. That was a huge amount of work, all meticulously documented.

    On a sadder note, Journalspace has just shut down. I got an email from them informing me it was no more. They sent me a file with all the articles from Festering Swamp. Maia, I assume, has got one about Cathy’s World.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  206. I’m with Eric and Bradley. To go on any further would be pointless. To anyone paying attention, Foo Bar, I explained why I hadn’t complied with your request: you had asked me a “Why do you beat your wife” question, with a faulty built-in assumption. I pointed that out, and then you faulted me for not answering the question. That’s the death knell for this conversation; you’re not trying to understand my responses, so why proceed?

    Blather on as you may; I have better things to do. I have said enough to defend myself and will stand on the record as it exists.

    Patterico (76ea71)

  207. So you either deny that your language portrayed the statement and the report as distinct or you deny that you were aware that they were the same (despite having discussed this fact at length with me at the time).

    I see.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  208. Did someone sneeze?

    AD (ad74e9)

  209. No, a mouse just farted.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  210. I’m not saying it is the same thing, but I often find that students can be very, very critical of the tiniest aspect of an exam an instructor writes…yet those same students want extreme leniency regarding their own answers.

    It is VERY easy to criticize. It is much more difficult to create.

    One proof of this is humorous. When students want to get a “regrade” from me, I make them submit the request, in writing (which means typed), based on a the printed answer key I give them.

    They very seldom want to go to the trouble, despite their complaining about a grade. Those that do submit a request are actually interested in learning more, rather than trying to salvage a couple of points that would never matter to an overall grade.

    Eric Blair (3e2520)

  211. Comment by Eric Blair — 1/3/2009 @ 3:14 pm

    (bowing to JD) … It’s all about teh narrative.

    AD (ad74e9)

  212. If anyone wants to explain to Foo Bar my theory of discussion by stating the other guy’s point of view to his satisfaction, go ahead. That’s the only way I’d ever continue this discussion.

    And he gets to go first.

    Patterico (81a628)

  213. Nice. I follow through on your request and you don’t follow through on mine, even indirectly.

    Since you apparently won’t shut up about it, contact the host directly in the future. with your endless series of grievances. Stop polluting a thread which has no relevance to your obsessions.

    Dmac (eb0dd0)

  214. Well, at least the mutant’s nom de plume is apropos- effed up beyond all reason.

    Surely some of the worker bees at LA Times are decent people and one hopes that they land on their feet. The last year of The Wire had some interesting stories involving the Baltimore Sun. I would imagine some enterprising writer could expose the LA Times for the amusement of the whole country as part of some TV drama, but I suppose it is far cheaper to create more reality shows instead. The networks could always base a show using the LA Times though.

    The heirarchy of asshats at the LAT sort of reminds me of the layers of useless bureaucratic supervisory drones I encountered while working among welfare and justices depts. for comm. of Pa. some years back.

    aoibhneas (0c6cfc)

  215. Comment by aoibhneas — 1/3/2009 @ 3:52 pm
    That should be “…beyond all recognition.”

    AD (ad74e9)

  216. One more 2008 irony — The Times criticizes itself for being insensitive.

    This 12/29 opinion piece criticizes conservatives people who listened to (and presumably enjoyed) the Paul Shanklin parody song, which was famously inspired by a March 2007 LA Times opinion piece.

    The 12/29/08 piece naturally does not mention the Times’ role in the origin of the song. Some of the comments are precious. It’s “just opinion” if the Times publishes it, but it’s hateful racism if anybody else happens to utter the same phrase.

    Trained dog (a65e1d)

  217. Foo Bar,

    Here’s what you need to do if you want Patterico to discuss the DNA issue with you:

    1) Fairly state Patterico’s position on the contested issue to his satisfaction, and

    2) Civilly debate that issue without insults, ad hominems, or mischaracterizations of his position.

    When he says “you go first,” he means you should go first stating his position to his satisfaction.

    DRJ (2be0dd)

  218. Civilly debate that issue without insults, ad hominems

    I guess that means I’m not allowed to call him “a brick wall of partisan pigheadedness” but I wonder if that rule would apply equally to both sides.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  219. When you can demonstrate that you understand what your opponent is attempting to argue
    “1) Fairly state Patterico’s position on the contested issue to his satisfaction, and
    2) Civilly debate that issue without insults, ad hominems, or mischaracterizations of his position.”

    then, and only then, will you have demonstrated that you are not “a brick wall of partisan pigheadedness”,
    and a constructive discussion of the two sides will be possible.

    That’s all that both Patterico, and DRJ, are saying, or as this observer interprets what has gone before.

    AD (ad74e9)

  220. If you have to ask, Foo Bar, you don’t get it.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  221. […] commenter Trained Dog, it’s amazing how the L.A. Times can publish this without even mentioning […]

    damnum absque injuria » Barack and Magic Chutzpah (490ac4)

  222. This work you’re doing is some of the most important I’ve ever read. Your dedication is unbelievable. I would think your eyes would fall out or your brain would explode after only a few weeks of reading the nonsense in the LA Times.

    John Fairplay (4970d7)

  223. Let me just say that I would like to “state Patterico’s position to his satisfaction”, but unfortunately he never stated it himself. I
    started out by asking a straightforward question:

    Why didn’t you tell your readers that the phrase came from the report you had mentioned earlier in your post?

    One can respond to a question either by answering it or by challenging the premise (or, of course, by saying “who cares?”, which is what Patterico did, to a large extent). An actual response would have taken the form “I didn’t make it clear that the 2 documents were the same because…” or “No, I think it’s clear from the post that the 2 documents are the same because …”. Neither type of response was forthcoming.

    After I complied with his request to address what the Commissioners said, he responded by suggesting my question had a faulty premise without ever saying why the premise was faulty. Apparently, he contends that it was clear from his post that the “statement” and the “report” were one and the same, but he declines to explain why, probably because it would be very difficult to do so convincingly. So his response, after I complied with his request, was essentially a simple assertion of “you’re wrong” without any accompanying argumentation.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  224. Prospective Editor-in-Chief Fikes wrote:

    But yes, I’ll accept book reviews from your Eastern outpost, although it is uncomfortably near Mordor (Washington, D.C.)

    Ahhh, but might I point out that it was Gondor, the seat of the King and faithfully held until his return by the Stewards, uncomfortably and frightfully near the realm of the Dark Lord, that held the menace of Mordor in check for so long.

    Dana, Steward of Jim Thorpe (556f76)

  225. Dana, Steward of Jim Thorpe,
    Ahhh, but Twodor would have come to naught if it weren’t for the brave Stomper, who battled the evil Sorhed and his nine Nozdrul, to allow Frito and Spam to destroy the Ring.

    Goodgulf Greyteeth (0ea407)

  226. Foo Bar,

    You seem to think that you can get me to respond to you by throwing out selective quotes that mislead (as you did with the Hamilton quote above, removing the previous paragraph that eviscerates your point). And indeed, I do feel the need to respond when people leave deceptive responses on my site, as you have, because someone following this might be fooled into thinking you have a point.

    But I am not engaging in the tit for tat, as I have already explained, because endlessly wasting my time refuting deceptive arguments is not a constructive use of my time.

    You have to make a decision: are you truly trying to engage me and understand my position? Or are you just being a gnat, trying to waste my time by refusing to acknowledge the points I have made?

    Endless time is wasted on the Internet responding to the other side’s mischaracterization of arguments. So I am requiring — requiring — you to state my argument in terms I agree with. Or go away.

    If you can do that, and secure my agreement — and THEN show me that MY argument is wrong — then maybe you can convince me.

    Here’s how it works: you state my argument in your own words to my satisfaction. Then I do the same with you. Then, if any disagreements remain, we resolve them.

    But I won’t spend any more time refuting arguments I haven’t made, and correcting misstatements or false implications in your argument.

    The information necessary to state my position is there. This process forces you not to ignore that information.

    Any future comment by you that does not make a good faith effort to state my position in a way I would agree with it will be deleted. The content of the comment must contain NOTHING other than the good faith effort. You are now not arguing with me, or trying to make a point, or trying to defend your position. That all comes later. Right now you are doing your level best to understand my position — and NOTHING else.

    It’s not easy. You’ll want to respond to what I said about your argument. Not yet. Not yet.

    Patterico (678b36)

  227. Because this is hard, I’ll give you a couple of hints. You might mention who used the term “staff statement” first: me or a Commissioner. You might provide the FULL context for the Hamilton quote above. Then you might concentrate on what you think I consider the key issue to be.

    Again: your comment must contain ONLY your good faith effort to make my argument in a way that sounds like something I’d agree with. One word of anything else besides that good faith effort earns your comment a deletion.

    This is the best way to clear the wheat from the chaff and ensure no time is wasted correcting what the other guy says concerning the nature of the argument. If you try it in good faith, you’ll be shocked at how well it works. You’re a smart guy and you actually may be able to pull it off. Most can’t — which is why most Internet discussions are so stupid and pointless.

    Patterico (c3ca88)

  228. #231, #232

    I must say to the narrow-minded who cannot think critically or see beyond their own disjointed noses, these two comments could easily be misrepresented.

    You say “Patterico said thus and such” and “Patterico meant thus and such” to a point Patterico agrees in general with what you say. Then, you counter Patterico with evidence and logic.

    Sidenote: Quoting a reference in part while disregarding the contextual portion and making a false claim that the quoted part supports your assertions is a form of plagiarism, just so you know.

    John Hitchcock, desirous of truth in debate (fb941d)

  229. Patrick, it is not worth your time to discuss this guy’s complaints. A couple of years ago, I was going to reprint my book on history of medicine. I had a weird fan who used to send me a list of every typographical error he could find in it. I got e-mails from him for a year. He must have read it five times or more. Finally, I looked into correcting all the errors and it turned out to be so expensive that I decided to leave most of them alone. I corrected a couple of major formatting errors and left it at that. The guy was pissed that I hadn’t corrected all the typos he found !

    One good thing; I never heard from him again after I announced that I was ignoring the small typos.

    These people are all about themselves. If you ignore him, he will start pestering someone else.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  230. Dear dentally-challenged Goodgulf: I regret to say that, alas! while I have read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy many times, I have yet to read Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings.

    Does this mean that my application to be Book Editor via Telecommuting will be rejected due to that failure in my résumé?

    However, in honor of this discussion, I have changed my frequently-varying blog tagline to Mr Tolkien’s famous, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

    The Dana with a hole in his résumé (556f76)

  231. Patterico’s position regarding the merits of his original post in March, generally:

    1) After the release of the 9/11 Commission’s preliminary, staff report/statement, there was an uproar in much of the mainstream media. This uproar unfairly twisted the staff’s findings by inaccurately portraying the findings as concluding that there were no links or contacts whatsoever between Iraq and Al Qaeda and thereby implying that the White House had been dishonest to the extent that it suggested such that such links and contacts existed.

    2) The Commissioners were quite unhappy with this uproar and emphasized in numerous quotations that the commission had found repeated contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda and that the commission’s findings were generally consistent with White House statements. For example, Lee Hamilton had this to say in the NYT:

    Mr. Hamilton, a former Democratic House member from Indiana and former chairman of the House intelligence committee, said the commission has found evidence of repeated contacts between Iraqi officials and the Qaeda terrorists and may describe those contacts in greater detail in its final report next month. But he said the panel had been unable to document any ”collaborative relationship” between Iraq and the terror network — against the United States or any other target.

    While characterizing any differences between the commission and the White House on the issue as largely semantic, he said that the committee had no credible evidence ”of any collaborative relationship — period.”

    Other quotations from other commissioners made similar points.

    3) Largely in response to the uproar and for the sake of clarification, when the final report came out, the Commissioners took care to say only that there was no evidence of a “collaborative operational relationship” for the sake of planning or committing an attack on the U.S., while emphasizing that there nonetheless repeated ties and contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

    4) The views of the commissioners themselves, as opposed to the staff, were Patterico’s focus (and rightly so, since the commissioners were the ones with ultimate responsibility for the conclusions of the commission and were the individuals with decades of achievement and experience). Chairman Kean emphasized the distinction between the commissioner’s views and those of the staff when he said:

    “This was a staff statement, and we’ve had commissioners who have disagreed occasionally with the staff statements, and this may be one of those occasions.”

    When Patterico used the term “staff statement” in the update, he was only following the terminology of Chairman Kean.

    5) It is indisputable the term “collaborative relationship” is absent from the final report and therefore indisputable that the LAT made a factual error, as indeed they conceded when they issued a correction in response to Patterico’s letter.

    Patterico’s position regarding whether the details of how he presented the staff statement/report are significant:

    Such details are not significant. The mention of the “staff report” in the original post body was a quick throwaway aside. Any complaints about them are absurdly nitpicky, since his focus was (rightly) always on what the Commissioners themselves included, as opposed to the staff.

    Patterico’s position regarding the issue first raised by me in the first comment on this thread, i.e., whether it is in fact clear in his post that the staff statement and staff report are one and the same:

    Not entirely clear. He seems to imply that the accusation that the post obfuscates the fact that the documents are one and the same is false (first by saying he sees nothing misleading in what he wrote and then by suggesting that a question about why the documents were portrayed as distinct is a “when did you stop beating your wife” faulty premise-type question) but no direct argumentation about why it should be clear solely from the body of his post (as opposed to the comments section) that the documents are the same document has been offered, as far as I can tell.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  232. OK, That settles it, foo bar. It’s been nice knowing you. Bye

    MIke K (2cf494)

  233. No, Mike. He gets points for effort.

    Most of the comment was on target. But Foo Bar: you need to explain why the initial paragraph from Hamilton is significant to the meaning of “collaborative relationship” as described in the second paragraph of the post.

    But Foo Bar, you really need to try again at the very end.

    Again, I’ll give you a hint: my argument would have to do largely with the importance of the distinction between the two statements. To make this argument, refer to things you already said: like the fact that a Commissioner first used the statement, and the fact that the emphasis (which you agree is correct) should be on what the Commissioners said and not on what the staff said.

    Rather than making those points up front as if they were disconnected from the response to your complaint, you need to INCORPORATE them in the response to your complaint.

    Try again. But I’m somewhat encouraged.

    Patterico (cc411d)

  234. Regarding the quote by Hamilton, his emphasis that the commission found repeated contacts means that it is improper to use the quote in which he says there was no evidence of “any collaborative relationship- period” to suggest that the meme present in much of the mainstream media portraying the staff findings as saying there were no links or contacts and the White House had lied is wrong.

    Regarding the question of whether Patterico intentionally obfuscated the fact that the “report” and “statement” were the same document:

    Patterico had no motive to do so, since his focus and the main basis for what he said in his post were always what was in the final report and what the commissioners’ views were (as opposed to the staff’s views). Anything regarding the staff statement/report is really here nor there for the purposes of the case he made.

    Regarding whether it was proper to refer to the document as a “staff statement” in the update after calling it a “staff report” in the main body:

    Since the views of the commissioners (and perhaps the chair in particular) are what’s important, and since Chairman Kean called it a staff statement, it was correct for Patterico to refer to it as a staff statement in his update.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  235. Dear Dana with an easily filled hole in his résumé:

    You can read Bored of the Rings or even download it from this location.

    As they approached, there came a silence, and then the plaintive, blackboard-scraping shriek of a nose-flute pierced the air.

    “They’re giving a pig a rough time of it in there,” said Spam, blocking his ears.

    “Hush,” said Frito, and a voice rose in song, filling the boggies with a vague sense of nausea.

    “A Unicef clearasil
    Gibberish ‘n’ drivel
    O Mennen mylar muriel
    With a hey derry turn gardol
    O Yuban necco glamorene?
    Enden nytol, vaseline!
    Sing hey nonny nembutal.”

    With a last twittering wail, the music died away, and half a dozen stunned birds plopped heavily to the ground in front of Frito.

    “What was that?” asked Frito.

    “It is an ancient lament in the tongue of the Auld Elves,” sighed Garfinkel. “It tells of Unicef and his long and bitter search for a clean restroom. ‘Are there no facilities here?’ he cries. ‘Is there no washroom?’ No one seems to know.”

    Goodgulf Greyteeth (0ea407)

  236. Sorry, the end of the first sentence should read “is correct” rather than “is wrong”, In other words, it’s improper to use the quote to argue that the “no links whatsoever” meme was correct.

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  237. Foo Bar,

    You’re doing OK, but I want you to pretend you’re me, and phrase things AS I WOULD. It may help you to remove the parts I find objectionable. You can set it off in a blockquote: i.e.:

    “Patterico would argue:

    Let’s address Foo Bar’s argument that I somehow misled readers by referring to a “staff statement” instead of a staff report. Foo Bar seems to think that I used the word “statement” as an attempt to distinguish it from an earlier reference to a “report” by the same staff. This argument ignores 4 points: [list 4 points]

    Do I have it right? Signed, Foo Bar”

    I don’t want to write the 4 points for you, since it should be done in your own words. Anyway, you’ve already written many of the 4 points in your own words; you just haven’t begun to tie them together into a coherent argument, written as I would write it. However, to make this a productive exercise rather than an exercise in frustration for you, I’ll outline the 4 points:

    1) One Commissioner used the term staff statement, which justifies — indeed almost mandates — using that term where I did, so that readers understood what I was talking about;

    2) The focus all along was on what the Commissioners said and not on what the staff thought, and properly so;

    3) The alleged misleading statement by me was in not connecting the two (staff report and staff statement) so that readers understood they were the same;

    4) [The toughest argument for you to understand and therefore to make for me] This failure of mine has meaning only if there some significant aspect of the staff report/statement that undercut my point. The allegedly significant aspect is the staff report’s denial of the existence of a “collaborative relationship.” But that has significance only if a) “collaborative relationship” means something different from “collaborative operational relationship” (on this point see the NYT Hamilton quote, especially the paragraph putting that phrase in context, also the final report) and b) the Commissioners agreed.

    Patterico (2ad353)

  238. Patterico would argue:

    Let’s consider Foo Bar’s complaint that Patterico’s post obfuscated the fact that the staff statement in the update was the same as the staff report in the body by (1) using a different term (“statement”) in the body AND (2) using the indefinite article, i.e., “a staff statement” when the document in question had already been introduced.

    The flaws in Foo Bar’s complaint are as follows:

    1) Kean, the chair of the commission, referred to the document as a staff statement, so therefore that’s the appropriate way to refer it, and any complaint about calling it a “statement” fails to acknowledge the authority of the commissioners.

    2) The focus of my post was on the views of the commissioners and not the staff (which is indeed what really matters), so any complaint about how the staff document is described is a trivial one.

    3) The allegation is that I failed to make clear that the “statement” in the update was the same as the “report” in the body.

    4) This could only possibly matter if the staff report/statement had said no “collaborative relationship” AND meant it in a way that materially differed from the no “collaborative operational relationship (regarding planned or executed attacks vs. the U.S.)” conclusion in the final report AND the commissioners explicitly endorsed this staff report conclusion. I.e., it could only possibly matter if the staff report “collaborative relationship” phrase at least offered some minimal support for the “no links whatsoever/White House lied” theme that many in the mainstream media had been pushing. The phrase in the staff report was NOT meant to be interpreted in this way, however. Lee Hamilton, among others, made this clear in the New York Times. Thus, my failure to connect the two documents as the same in no way undermines what I was saying in the post.

    How’s that?

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  239. Why don’t we take this to e-mail, unless anyone objects?

    Patterico (402cfc)

  240. Oh, so I have to make your case for you and dwell on what you take to be your strongest arguments in public, on the comment thread, but you don’t have to do the same for me? That’s a bit of a midstream shift, isn’t it?

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  241. No objection here, Patterico.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (43e430)

  242. Dear prospective Editor-in-Chief Goodgulf:

    Upon looking at the end of said download, I saw the sentence:

    The tall figure offered Frito a six-fingered hand which held a curiously inscribed identification bracelet simply crawling with mysterious portents.

    “I understand,” said the stranger solemnly, “that you undertake quests.”

    Clearly, there is a sequel to be written, one which would just have to be based around the fabulous line:

    My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

    So, which would The Los Angeles Times pay more for prefer: the book review of Bored of the Rings, or a brilliantly written sequel. Enquiring minds want to know.

    The money-grubbing Dana (556f76)

  243. “Pity stayed my hand … pity I ran out of bullets.”

    SPQR (26be8b)

  244. Kean, the chair of the commission, referred to the document as a staff statement, so therefore that’s the appropriate way to refer it, and any complaint about calling it a “statement” fails to acknowledge the authority of the commissioners.

    Fine. Nobody’s reading this anyway, so I can’t imagine it would disturb anyone too much.

    This argument completely misunderstands my point:

    Kean, the chair of the commission, referred to the document as a staff statement, so therefore that’s the appropriate way to refer it, and any complaint about calling it a “statement” fails to acknowledge the authority of the commissioners.

    Try again. Re-read comment 242, point 1: “One Commissioner used the term staff statement, which justifies — indeed almost mandates — using that term where I did, so that readers understood what I was talking about.”

    I didn’t call it a “statement” out of some kind of deference to the authority of the commissioners. Go back and re-read the post where I used the term “staff statement” and then re-read the bold portion of the preceding paragraph. Then rewrite your point 1.

    Also, I would not say this:

    I.e., it could only possibly matter if the staff report “collaborative relationship” phrase at least offered some minimal support for the “no links whatsoever/White House lied” theme that many in the mainstream media had been pushing.

    because what the staff report supported — minimal or not — does not matter if it does not reflect the views of the Commissioners.

    Rewrite point 1, and once you have, try to integrate it better into the rest of the argument. Hint: the idea with point 1 is that (as I believe I have already said; have you been paying attention?) I needed to put it in such a way that readers would understand what I was talking about in referring to Kean’s reference to a “staff statement.”

    Then we get to my failure to include a sentence that equates his reference to a “statement” with my previous one to a “report” — and why the hell such a sentence is necessary (hint: it isn’t, at least in my view).

    You’re getting closer, but these are critical issues and you’re not getting them even though I have expressed my opinion on them more than once.

    Patterico (738d19)

  245. OK:

    1) In my update, I included a quote from Chairman Kean in order to illustrate the distinction between the views and products of the staff and the views of the commissioners. In that quote, he uses the phrase “staff statement”, so in my own prose that I wrote prior to that quote, I used the same terminology so that it was clear that the document I was referencing as the source of “collaborative relationship” was the same as the document in Kean’s quote. That was my motivation for using “statement” instead of “report”,as opposed to an attempt to obscure the fact that it was the same as the “report” mentioned earlier. If Kean’s quote had contained “staff report” where “staff statement” was, I probably would have used “staff report” in my own prose as well.

    4) My failure to include a sentence which connected the “statement” to the “report” mentioned earlier would only matter if the staff document in question contained something which undermined my overall argument. It contains no such undermining content, though, for at least 2 different reasons: (1) The views of the commissioners are all that actually matters, not the staff, and I gave abundant evidence that the commissioners were not happy with the initial uproar in the media, that the commission found numerous ties and contacts, etc. (2) In any event, even if someone were concerned about the presence of “collaborative relationship” in the staff document, Commissioner Hamilton explained that this usage of that phrase was to be interpreted as equivalent to the “collaborative operational relationship” terminology in the final report, i.e., not denying numerous contacts, etc. So “collaborative relationship” as it was meant to be interpreted in the staff document is consistent with the final views of the commissioners which I laid out at length in the course of explaining why the mainstream media had unfairly twisted the commission’s findings and unfairly challenged the honesty of the Bush administration.


    Foo Bar (03f778)

  246. That seems mostly fair. Can you put it all together into one coherent statement? It looks like you only included parts of it there.

    I’m not conceding that this encompasses every point I would make, but I think you’ve made a good faith effort to understand what I am saying.

    Now that you do understand, do you really still have a quarrel with it??

    Patterico (738d19)

  247. Oh, I have plenty of remaining quarrels on this topic, and I certainly hope you’re going to follow through with your end of this process, now that I’ve gone through this.

    Here you go:

    Foo Bar alleges that I attempted to obfuscate the fact that the “staff report” in his post and the “staff statement” in his update were the same document by (1) choosing the indefinite article “a” when first referencing the statement in his update, even though the document had already been introduced in the piece and (2) choosing a different term, “statement”, in the update. However, I had a perfectly good reason for choosing the term “statement” and no particular motivation to hide the fact that the “statement” and the “report” were the same. Indeed, there are (at a minimum) 4 problems with the validity of Foo Bar’s allegation:

    1) In my update, I included a quote from Chairman Kean in order to illustrate the distinction between the views and products of the staff and the views of the commissioners. In that quote, he uses the phrase “staff statement”, so in my own prose that I wrote prior to that quote, I used the same terminology so that it was clear that the document I was referencing as the source of “collaborative relationship” was the same as the document in Kean’s quote. That was my motivation for using “statement” instead of “report”,as opposed to an attempt to obscure the fact that it was the same as the “report” mentioned earlier. If Kean’s quote had contained “staff report” where “staff statement” was, I probably would have used “staff report” in my own prose as well.

    2) The focus of my post was on the views of the commissioners and not the staff (which is indeed what really matters), so any complaint about how the staff document is described is a trivial one.

    3) The allegation is that I failed to make clear that the “statement” in the update was the same as the “report” in the body.

    4) My failure to include a sentence which connected the “statement” to the “report” mentioned earlier would only matter if the staff document in question contained something which undermined my overall argument. It contains no such undermining content, though, for at least 2 different reasons: (1) The views of the commissioners are all that actually matters, not the staff, and I gave abundant evidence that the commissioners were not happy with the initial uproar in the media, that the commission found numerous ties and contacts, etc. (2) In any event, even if someone were concerned about the presence of “collaborative relationship” in the staff document, Commissioner Hamilton explained that this usage of that phrase was to be interpreted as equivalent to the “collaborative operational relationship” terminology in the final report, i.e., not denying numerous contacts, etc. So “collaborative relationship” as it was meant to be interpreted in the staff document is consistent with the final views of the commissioners which I laid out at length in the course of explaining why the mainstream media had unfairly twisted the commission’s findings and unfairly challenged the honesty of the Bush administration.

    It should be clear from points (2) and (4) that the staff document was in no way a threat to the argument I was making, so I had no reason to confuse people about which document was which and any complaint about the way the document was presented is excessively nitpicky.

    Sufficient? Your turn now? If so, do you want to take a crack at summarizing my point of view without any hints, or would you like some prompts from me?

    Foo Bar (03f778)

  248. “Oh, I have plenty of remaining quarrels on this topic”

    Why don’t you two take the argument to a new thread and stop cluttering up this one if Foo Bar indeed has plenty of remaining quarrels.

    You could call it “Foo Bar’s Nit Picks”

    Kudos to Foo bar though for attempting to restate Patterico’s position. Brickbats to him for polluting this thread with trivialities.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  249. […] Times in 2008 Patterico has compiled his annual review of the biases and misdoings of the LA times. Set aside 20 min or so and have a look –  it’s […]

    LA Times in 2008 « Something should go here, maybe later. (054690)

  250. daleyrocks,

    Capital idea.

    Those wishing to follow the Foo Bar discussion go here.

    Patterico (738d19)

  251. We’ll come back here and publish his position as restated by me so he gets equal prominence, but we’ll save you the pain of having to watch the process on this thread.

    Patterico (738d19)

  252. As I have frequently told a fellow Okie who insanely moved to the People’s Republic of Santa Monica: The L.A. Times is barely suitable for bird cage liner.

    Okie811 (014e7c)

  253. Damn sir, this was a stone cold beatdown.

    AndrewGurn (891f6c)

  254. [This attempt to leave a comment is not approved. For one, it accuses me of doing something that I didn’t do. For another, it does not adequately address the reason tnj was banned.

    I have written tnj and invited him to a) make the case that he wasn’t trying to antagonize me with a false argument or b) apologize for doing so. Absent one or the other, the ban will remain. — Patterico]

    truthnjustice (return of) (c313be)

  255. Great job…Patterico. I totally agree with you.

    Paul (3669ce)

  256. […] sorts over at his blog, asking people to send links instead of money, specifically to his brilliant Los Angeles Times Dog Trainer year in review post as a starting point.  I’m more than happy to do so, and let me add that […]

    Dull Razor » Blog Archive » In support of Patterico (7be474)

  257. […] has once again put up a Year In Review and what a delightful read it is.  Take a break, grab a cuppa coffee and go read it.  Oh, and […]

    Patterico’s Year In Review (391595)

  258. Patterico’s Year In Review…

    One of my regular reads is Patterico’s Pontifications where attorney Patterico regularly and with malice aforethought skewers that rag of leftism the Los Angeles Times.  And he does it so well.
    He has once again put up a Year In Review and what …

    GM's Place (391595)

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