Hit & Run

LA Times Zero

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Mickey Kaus thinks that the LAT's atrocious coverage of recent events in Iraq is "embarrassing, and a "fiasco." Citing three recent front-page stories, he notes that one of them (Paul Bremer left Iraq "without even giving a final speech to the country ? almost as if he were afraid to look in the eye the people he had ruled for more than a year") is demonstrably wrong, and that two others make dramatic assertions that are unsupported by the paper's reporting.

In the more recent of the two, a July 6 headline blared, "U.S. Response to Insurgency Called a Failure." Reporters don't write headlines, but the story asserted that "some top Bush administration officials" were criticizing the Pentagon for "failing to develop a coherent, winning strategy against the insurgency." Notes Kaus, "there are no quotes--even blind quotes, even blind paraphrased opinions--from 'top Bush administration officials' backing up the story's dramatic initial assertion." Maybe the assertion is true, but the LAT "does nothing to convince its readers that this is the case."

"It seems like an institutional pattern (each of these three embarrrassing front-page LAT stories was written by a different reporter)," concludes Kaus. "Someone might call it pseudojournalism."