LA Times Zero


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."

NEXT: Sock It to Penn Jillette

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  1. Joe L. Your diferentiation between newspapermen and journalists is a little obscure, perhaps you could explain the diff? Also, perhaps you could name one "objective" newspaper published at any time in the past hundred years? thx
    (BTW: I think, the only objective reporting comes from objectivists and they are obviously biased.)

  2. the only thing u touched is yourself you moron. your comments are to be 100% disregarded because you're such a partisan jerk. you've only exposed yourself as a dumb jackass who probably can't find france or iraq on a map. but you're an expert on foreign policy.

    why don't you go inhale a tailpipe from a 61 edsel.

  3. Mooserack, when you say Joe L is "too dumb to realize that it's fox news that claims to be unbaised", are you saying the LA Times does not claim neutrality (as fox does?) and is therefore not open to criticism that it is not neutral, because it simply never made that claim?

  4. AFAIK, Patterico was the first to break the story about the Times's snarky remarky over Paul Bremer's supposedly nonexistent farewell speech. They finally got around to correcting that error today, but have yet to apologize for the ancillary snark. Instead, they shifted the blame from themselves to the U.S. government, by making an issue of the fact that Bremer's speech "was not publicized to the Western news media." Maybe the western news media could all chip in and hire one Iraqi couch potato to sit around and watch TV all day, and call them when anything interesting comes on.

  5. "why don't you go inhale a tailpipe from a 61 edsel."

    Geoff? Is that you?

  6. We all know where Fox news stands, but at least it?s easy enough to change the channel to another news station. We in L.A. have one newspaper, and it?s a leftist one. It?s annoying having to read our morning paper while suppressing the urge to roll one?s eyes and make the jerk-off gesture at the breakfast table. This is why we southern Californians sometimes sound like broken records when talking about our newspaper.

  7. Gee, I haven't seen a post like Moosecracks in Hit -n- Run ever.

    I DO like that "suck on a '61 Edsel" comment, tho.

  8. so why subscribe?

  9. The only news source I know of that goes out of its way to trumpet its "objectivity" is FoxNews. The NY Times, the Wall Street Journal and, I believe, the LA Times, do not similarly blow the objectivity horn. Therefore I don't understand what the fuss is about.

    And to the extent the Republican apologistas on here are frustrated about the news coming out of Iraq, I have one thing to say: tough. You got us all into this bullshit, and now someone else is going to have to come in and clean up your damn mess.

  10. "The only news source I know of that goes out of its way to trumpet its "objectivity" is FoxNews. "
    You mean by claiming to be "Fair and Balanced"? "Fair" is a relative term, to most to the right of CNN or NY Times FNC is much fairer than other news sources. And I interpret "Balanced" to mean they try to show both sides to the debate. Even O'Reilly tries to have someone who disagrees with him on the show to debate with. His show is only biased if you think O'Reilly is always right.

  11. debate with? have you ever actually watched the o'reilly factor? all he does is scream at people.

    which is what makes his show worth watching, natch.

    "fair and balanced" is hilarious, and would be hilarious coming from CNN too. or the NYTimes. that the frothyness generally displayed on FOX is an enjoyable side-effect that cannot be underestimated or duplicated by anyone else.

  12. John Q. I was gonna call BS on you, but I bothered to look and whaddayaknow the NYT does not seem to trumpet objectivity. From their website:

    "The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment."

    Of course one would think the "paper of record" would not want that record misrepresented by the partisan opinions of it's Democrats, er journalists:) And it wants to "enhance society" - there's a clue that it's not just about reporting pure facts.

    And from the LA Times:

    "The Los Angeles Times is a newspaper with a global vision and a West Coast perspective. Its staff covers Washington, D.C., the rest of the nation and the world, with special emphasis placed on California, the Western United States, Latin America and Asia."

    West coast perspecitve! Hey, they're honest!

    WSJ doesn't seem to have an obvious mission statement (at least one I can find within my lunch break), but advertises itself as basically being all about business.

    But I think you are wrong about Iraq - nothing to apologize for. I see great success from a lot of forward thinking (not that I credit Bush for the thoughts though). Normal Muslims fighting terrorism with us. Democracy and rule of law growing in the Mid-east. Other coutries taking note that the U.S. will act if it even thinks they are or may be plotting against the US or aiding our enemies or our friend's enemies. Allies starting to see we were right to act - just wait till the trials for crimes against humanity begin and the evidence comes out publicly and the bathist convictions start coming in and sentences handed down. Will anyone be left saying, "but we still shouldn't have been there"? (except iraqwarwrong posting here!) Thousands of previously dormant ignorant mid-east religious extremists dead and rotting (er, I mean martyred and in heaven with god or chicks or something). Old ordinance used up. Allied troops given training mission. Oil markets stabilized. Reduced need for alternate energy projects, Deficit up...oh, wait, shooting down own argument, must stop now

  13. Does anyone bother to notice that O'Reily is not a conservative? His is a populist crank. There is as much for a conservative to disagree with in his show as there is for a liberal. Liberals all have a fit about him and site him as being a conservative because they are so used to the dull, monotone, liberal roar of media conventional wisdom that when anyone steps out of it, they seem like they are from the John Birch society. Fox and O'Reily are only considered conservative because all the rest of the big media is so leftist.

  14. WSJ News Page is the best printed in the US. They seem to do a very good job of keeping the front page distinct from the editorials.

    They write well, too.

  15. Fox News may be biased to the right BUT the New York Times and USA Today are even more biased to the left.

    Google for the Tim Groseclose UCLA/Stanford study on media bias.

  16. Loved the visual (eyes rolling while making the jaggoff gesture), but, actually, we So Cal folks have a couple of other choices, even though the LAT does seem to have a lock on LA County (ever since the Herald Examiner went on strike in the '60's never to return).

    Don't forget, locked solidly behind the Orange Curtain, that the nation's only explicitly libertarian op-ed page resides at the Orange County Register.

    San Diegans have the Union Tribune, which may or may not be better. And there is the LA Daily News, small but they cover a lot of ground.

    The good news is that the Riverside Rag may be making some progress now that they have hired a certain ex Washington DC Reason Editor to massage the opinion page. I can't tell you who he is but his initials are Rick Henderson.

    On another note, I don't see the lack of clarity in Joe L.'s comment regarding newspaper people becoming journalists. The point is well taken.

  17. "Even O'Reilly tries to have someone who disagrees with him on the show to debate with"

    He sure does:

    GILLESPIE: Bill, Bill...

    O'REILLY: Mr. Gillespie, I'm going to cut your mike now, because you've had your say...

  18. Sorry to ruin a spectacular epithet, but you can't suck a '61 Edsel tailpipe because there aren't any. Tell 'em to suck on a '58 (or '59 or '60).

    Then again, maybe that's the beauty of the insult, there aren't any....

  19. "Democracy and rule of law growing in the Mid-east"

    allow me to correct your statement:

    Democracy and rule of MARTIAL law growing in the Mid-east.

  20. I think we are all educated enough here to read between the biased lines of all the newspapers in the US. For those of you who flunked out, I got a tab or two of some good LD-25, are you experienced?

  21. Wow, Mooserack got to me... had to trundle down to the local libary, sort thru all the Playboys and Archie Comixs and discover one of them thar map-thingies.

    SHAZAAM! That there Eye-Rak place ain't no where NEAR Cancun, like I thunk'd it was....

  22. "debate with? have you ever actually watched the o'reilly factor? all he does is scream at people."
    Yeah, and when I watch I scream back.
    I had to stop watching though, my roommates were getting worried. It seems yelling at a TV is not considered a sign of sanity by some people.

  23. Pseudojournalism? I thought that's what Mickey Kaus does.

  24. Does anybody recall the blowback the LA Times got for their biased reporting during the recent California gubernatorial election?

  25. The venerable LA Times? Now there's a surprise.

    None the less it is good to rub their collective faces in it.

  26. Well who better to critique the LAT, then, John Q.? The LAT did an AWFUL job of the Gray Davis Recall-Replacement Campaign, having decided that Schartzenegger was simply NOT going to win, not if THEY had anything to do with it at least.

    Being a partisan paper is FINE. Just don't claim to be objective. The Arkansas DEMOCRAT used to be just that, a papaer for Democrats. And that's OK.

    Newspapers began their decline when they quit being "newspapermen" and became "journalists"-and yes, I know that that idea is not mine.

  27. "Being a partisan paper is FINE. Just don't claim to be objective"

    i guess the jackass who wrote this, or writes this phrase in general, is too dumb to realize that it's fox news that claims to be unbaised and no spin, and they report, we decide. and all that. and it's as biased as the bbc or other krap like that. oh yeah. god wanted his guy to be president

  28. Gee Mouserack, did I touch a nerve, there? What's the problem, you don't like Bill O'Reilly? You don't like YOUR side getting caught out? In that the LAT and ohter obstensible "responsible" media outlets are increasingly coming under fire from a variety of sources AND the criticisms are taking root in the public? What's the problem?

    You like Democratic Underground OK, you like Instapundit, OK, what's the basis for your outburst? Or are you just trolling?

  29. "You mean by claiming to be "Fair and Balanced"?"

    Well, I for one, appreciate that Fox News, more often than any other news agency, actually posts the full text of proposed laws, speeches by world leaders, intelligence reports, and many other things so that I can read it my own damn self instead of reading some lame asshole's selection bias and collection of the reactions of all the irrelavant people who I don't give a shit about.

    If you're constantly annoyed by someone telling you what to think, go elsewhere. If you're not, THEN IT'S WORKING.

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