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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mark Steyn On The LA Times Fiasco

On the heels of the non-news that the LA times has screwed up again (I call it non-news because when it comes to newspapers, the LA Times is half dead, and has always been a yawner). It seems that a kerfuffle has occurred there as the LA Times had to let someone go this week. Brian Grazer, some bigshot Hollywood muckety-muck, was supposed to be guest editor of a section. The problem is that the PR firm he uses has a girl working for them that is dating someone from the LA Times, or something like that. So, Grazer got the ax over a conflict of interest. Now that's the short version. But due to the ineptitude of the MSM, and especially the LA Times, Mark Steyn decided to unleash his rapier wit on the Times, and in typical fashion, hilarity ensues:

(HT: Hugh Hewitt)

JPod, I couldn’t agree with you more about The Los Angeles Times and the latest sanctimonious huffing and puffing of the ethics bores. The first responsibility of a newspaper is to produce something readable. If you don’t do that, nobody’s ever going to get to experience your fabulous ethical integrity. The Times, like all the other dreary monodailies across the land, has forgotten that these days nobody needs to buy a newspaper: it’s a discretionary item. The only difference is that, unlike The Nowheresville Sun-Herald-Picayune-Indicator, the Times is the monodaily of the entertainment capital of the planet and it’s somehow decided that virtue requires it to be the dullest newspaper on the face of the earth.

The "appearance of a conflict of interest" in the Times scandal is supposedly this: Brian Grazer, Mister Bigshot Hollywood Producer, was invited to guest-edit a section, but it turns out he uses a PR firm which employs a gal who dates an editor at the Times. How this can raise any "integrity" issues is beyond me. If the obscure Times functionary is trying to figure out a way to get to Grazer, using a personal contact who has an in is exactly what journalists are meant to do. Or is the "conflict of interest" supposed to be the other way round? That Brian Grazer, one of the most powerful men in the most powerful industry in town, had been panting all his life for the opportunity to guest-edit four pages of sludge in the local fishwrap but had no way of bringing himself to the attention of a minor Times functionary except through his PR lady’s pillow talk? If the paper truly believes that, it certainly explains a lot.

And in any case how can you have "ethics issues" about a guest-editing feature? By definition, getting non-journalistic celebrities to guest-edit is a marketing gimmick. If you’re so hung up on J-school integrity, maybe you shouldn’t be outsourcing your editing in the first place. At least Graydon Carter and Vanity Fair understand that much. Read
this story about the LA "scandal", as reported by no less than three New York Times reporters in their own inert house style. Doesn’t everyone quoted on every side of the story sound like a sanctimonious pill you’d hate to get stuck in an elevator with? Listen to this fellow:

Henry Weinstein, a veteran reporter at the paper, said he and others had told Mr. O’Shea that they were concerned about even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

"The newsroom’s credibility is the coin of the realm, and the paper shouldn’t do anything to erode its credibility or give the appearance that it has eroded its credibility," Mr. Weinstein said.

How did this guy wind up in the journalism trade? Yes, yes, I know "veteran reporter at the paper" translates to "unionized staffer you’ll never get rid of". Why don’t they just put "May cause drowsiness" above the masthead and leave it at that?

Rather than repairing it's image with a complete top-to-bottom revamp, the LA Times has continued to hire and keep dolts around like Michael Hiltzik who had his blog yanked by impersonating nobodies commenting on his own work, and starting a feud with a blogger he really shouldn't have. Unlike Patterico, Hiltzik has less ttalent, and even less witty comebacks.

Regardless, the LA Times, much like it's bastich cousin on the East coast, the NY Times, is dying on the vine. No one wants to read the boring pap the editors put out in their fish wrap. Most savvy political/current events/sports junkies have figured out how to navigate the 'Net and get their daily fix. (For some of us, it's more like an hourly fix, but hey we have our reasons. Those would be the six or seven readers coming here. Just kidding.) Come on, my grandfather was a die hard Cubbies fan before he died, and he had figured out how to dig up their paltry, embarrassing performances on the diamond via the Web. The average Dodger fan can't do that? Is there some witty columnist that isn't online. (Maureen Dowd doesn't count because nobody in their right mind pays for garbage that virulent.)

The problem with the LA Times isn't any fabricated non-scandal that the average person yawns over like they would a repeat of Dallas or Falcon Crest. The problem at the LA Times is the content, all supposed conflicts of interest aside. Hugh Hewitt said last year the Times needs a makeover, badly, from top to botom, stem to stern. I tend to agree. I find reading most of the news articles similar to listening to Hillary talk. (Like nails on a chalkboard, and a sudden desire to "to drink a gallon of rat poison while lying across a railroad track".) Come on, folks, the New York Times does a better job, and they've stunk for years. But at least they don't have to create a controversy, and then spin it to attract a dwindling readership. No, they just shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly with reporting things they shouldn't be. The nuanced LA Times can't seem to hit what they're aiming at, let alone have the gun loaded in the first place.

Publius II


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