Patterico's Pontifications


Stop, Stop, the L.A. Times Is Already Dead!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:35 pm

Simpsons fans will recognize the reference:

The beatdown to which I refer here was administered by one Jack Dunphy, once a contributor to this blog, in an absolutely brutal takedown of some lazy woke “reporting” by Los Angeles’s Dog Trainer of Record:

Gentle readers, today I present the latest, incandescently glaring example, brought to you by that seemingly endless font of such rubbish, the Los Angeles Times. The story, by staff writer Jeong Park, appears on page B-4 of the paper’s Sunday print edition, but was posted Friday evening under the provocative headline, “They say sheriff’s helicopters buzz lowest over Black homes, and they’re out to prove it.”

“Aha,” the reader is expected to say, “those dirty, racist cops are even harassing black people from the sky!”

Park begins the story thus: “Law enforcement helicopters routinely buzz around Greater Los Angeles. But in certain neighborhoods, they swoop in — low and loud. So say two community groups that are studying the effects of helicopters on the health of county residents.”

I’m tempted to quote the whole thing, it’s so good . . . but I want to send you over so you can read it for yourself. I was expecting a fairly standard “helicopters fly where the crime is” sort of analysis, supported by some statistics that the paper had conveniently omitted. There’s some of that, but this is oh so much more. First, Dunphy addresses this paragraph from the story:

Shapiro said the groups had found that in every census block of L.A. County that is more than 40% Black, the median elevation of helicopters was below 1,000 feet, the “minimum safe altitude” for congested areas as set by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Well! If the FAA says 1,000 feet is the minimum safe altitude, and the cops are routinely flying below that, ipso facto we have a problem, don’t we? Except, as Columbo used to say: there’s just one more thing. Here’s Dunphy:

The online version of the story links to the FAA’s Guide to Low-Flying Aircraft, which indeed says that aircraft operating over a “congested area” maintain “an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.”

Alas for Times writer Park and the Oxford and Bard College-educated Shapiro, they failed to thoroughly read the very document they present as proof that police helicopters are operating in a racist manner over Los Angeles. If they had, they would know the 1,000-foot minimum altitude rule applies to fixed-wing aircraft. Had they bothered to read a mere two paragraphs beyond the point where the 1,000-foot rule is mentioned, they would have learned that helicopters are explicitly exempted from this rule, and that helicopter pilots are directed to “comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed by the [FAA] Administrator.”

Go ahead and read the document yourself. He’s right.

But it gets worse. The “reporter” forgot about a little thing called . . . LAX:

The journalistic face-plant doesn’t end there. Had Park bestirred himself to do any actual reporting beyond Googling up the FAA document he believed supported his premise, had he done more than speak with the people making the specious accusations he wants his readers to believe, had he bothered to pick up a telephone and speak with someone at the FAA, or even a pilot working for one of the local television stations, he would have learned the following:

A few miles to the west of South Los Angeles, where one finds the highest concentration of black residents said to be so disturbed by low-flying helicopters, there is a place called Los Angeles International Airport, one of the nation’s busiest. (Perhaps Mr. Park has noticed it when looking out the window of the L.A. Times’s offices in El Segundo.) Because of its proximity to LAX, the FAA designates the sky above South L.A. as Class B airspace, the most highly restricted. All aircraft entering the area must first receive clearance from the LAX control tower, and though clearance is routinely granted it is only under certain conditions, among which are that helicopters remain below 900 feet between the Santa Monica Freeway and Florence Avenue, and below 500 feet between Florence Avenue and the Century Freeway — the very neighborhoods where the concentration of black residents is highest. This is done so as to avoid interfering with aircraft approaching LAX (and under certain weather conditions, departing from it).

That’s my bold type.

Oh my. That’s quite the oversight.

Also, that’s where the crime is. Dunphy notes that the paper’s own Homicide Report online database documents where the murders happen, and used to have a map with dots on it to represent where those murders happened . . . until the dots were removed for reasons that are, we all agree, a total and complete mystery. Dunphy:

The Los Angeles Times can make the dots disappear on their map, but they can’t do anything about the murders. That’s why the police are in — and above — those neighborhoods.

Just a devastating post, delivered with Dunphy’s usual humor and wry understatement. Kudos.

22 Responses to “Stop, Stop, the L.A. Times Is Already Dead!”

  1. Game, set, and match to Dunphy.

    If more people read his articles, there wouldn’t be so much erroneous thinking about the police.

    norcal (7345e5)

  2. What a well done evisceration. This is interesting:

    There was a time when an article such as Park’s would have been looked over by some curmudgeonly editor, a man with a cigarette dangling from his mouth and an ashtray full of stubbed-out butts on his desk, who would have told Park to get off his keister and do some actual reporting. Alas, such editors are creatures of the past, with the result being journalistic disgraces like this one. Everyone involved in its publication should be ashamed, but surely are not.

    While I think he’s right in his observation, I think we also can’t ignore two things: 1) readers have expectations of viewpoint reinforcement, and 2) the publication needs to keep subscribers. Thus, if it takes sacrificing journalistic standards to meet expectations and keep subscribers, so be it.

    Dana (1225fc)

  3. As someone who used to live just north of LAX, I will also point out that there is a very narrow corridor for north-south traffic in the area if it crosses the flight path. It was generally over my house in an upper-middle class neighborhood.

    Frankly, if I wanted to make a stink about aircraft noise in South LA, there are parts of Inglewood that are terribly loud due to descending jet aircraft. I think our host spent some time down that way and can verify. I think the egg came before the chicken there, however.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  4. If only the Koch brothers had managed to buy the paper it might have been saved. I think even Otis Chandler would be ashamed with the current woke nonsense.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  5. The black and brown communites remind us of the words of thomas jefferson nearly 250 years ago. Do not fear in the presence of free men tremble in presence of slaves when they break their chains. White racism has sown the wind now its complaining about reaping the whirlwind? Most people in ferguson mo. didn’t know who michael brown was ;but they knew what the white people running ferguson had done to them. For the umpteenth time you and me don’t make we! Lets forgive and forget the past or at least not teach it in schools. WHY? White conservatives think if they can find an error that negates the whole thing. Right wing media makes a living selling this to their conservative audience. Every day we get more and you get less. I told you 2022 would not be republican sweep. More republicans died of covid after the vaccine. In AZ 100+ latinx turn 18 (voting age) every day add dreamers its 130 a day. Turning AZ from red to purple also now more democrats are moving to AZ the republicans from CA. We are the future you are the past and we are now overwhelming republican voter suppression in AZ and now ga. Rethugs still moving into floriduh more ;but puerto ricans and other latinx will even things out in a few years.

    asset (4a6b3c)

  6. Asset,

    You’re banging the table screaming racism in a crowded theater. No surprise that the facts are yet again not on your side.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  7. I just hope that he’s not using his Latino Gen Z-er act

    We are the future you are the past and we are now overwhelming republican voter suppression in AZ and now ga.

    to catfish on teen sites.

    nk (bb1548)

  8. I’m just surprised that there’s enough black people still doing wrong in south LA to warrant the low altitude helicopter activity. During the height of the greenlight era (mid 2000s), there was fear that Brown would render Black extinct. I wonder if the liberalization of criminal laws eg AB109 were really a sordid olive branch to the black community’s “OG” adjacent class to keep them on the Dem plantation in light of the increased power of the Latino community.

    urbanleftbehind (6fd15a)

  9. I hope that asset never learns that using whitespace in his post would make them more readable. As it is, I get tired after clawing through the first few sentences.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  10. Former msnbc kristol ball says he had to ask permission from president of msnbc before she could say any thing negative about hillary clinton. ace

    asset (ec44c7)

  11. @asset She not he. (Krystal Ball)

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  12. There was a time when an article such as Park’s would have been looked over by some curmudgeonly editor,

    who would have asked: Are you saying they are ignoring FAA rules for a long period of time? How is that possible? Find out!

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  13. I dont think the reporter invented this statistic. He was fed it. It’s typical — facts are true as far as they go but the conclusion is not and no explanation for why they would do it is given. It’s very typical.

    A classic case of lying with statistics. The proposed remedy is probably to give some money to somebody.

    Incidentally, in 2011 Jeff Grogger published a study in which he asserted that when voice is factored in, nearly all wage differential between black and white males disappears. Probably a whole lot of things are captured by voice.

    I found this:

    And this is the study:

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  14. I think the problem is that the Times has a lot of precocious young reporters who don’t cost them a lot. Each thinks they are the smartest person in the newsroom and if they think they see the reasons for something it must be right. It never dawns on them that a thousand people noticed what they did and decided it had a mundane answer.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  15. In Los Angeles, people who don’t speak both English and Spanish can’t work retail. Racism!

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  16. R.I.P. Raquel Welch

    Icy (ad55d3)

  17. @asset: Let’s assume arguendo that everything you say is true. How does that justify blatantly false and misleading reporting? Is your argument that two wrongs make a right?

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  18. Is your argument that two wrongs make a right?

    Consider that two wrongs never make a right,
    But that three lefts do.


    Kevin M (1ea396)

  19. Somebody (well, as you might have guessed, it was a South Carolina based Democratic strategist named Tyler Jones) has released into a circulation a tape of Nikki Haley speaking before a group called Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2010, in which she says that states have a constitutional right to secede (that, and chattel slavery, was given up even by the Ku Klux Klan after the war!) ; expresses support for a Confederate History Month in schools, on analogy to “Black History Month” (“as long as it’s done in a positive way and not in a negative way, and doesn’t harm anyone” she said) and said the Civil War was fought between one side that was fighting for tradition and one side that was fighting for change.

    There is a spellchecker here, although not a spell corrector

    The word Confederats is underlined in red.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  20. This should have been in the Nikki Haley thread.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  21. LA Times is dead and it was nice of Dunphy to deliver such a nice bouquet to go with the eulogy.

    I’ve worked for a couple of Chandler heirs and they’ve been very nice people, very gracious. They always made a point to say thank you to the men, delivering Cokes (you can’t go wrong offering Coca Cola to hispanics from Mexico). I’m glad they got out at the right time, just before the LA Times stopped printing money (in the form of advertisements)

    steveg (e0ecc1)

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