Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Quote of the day.

Friday, April 4th, 2014

As the crucial special session neared, the Times began to resemble a Democratic house organ.

–Robert Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, page 198 in the paperback edition (Chapter 11, “The Majesty of the Law”, discussing the legal and legislative battles over Moses’ parks plan).

Dear Prudence…

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A Slate Plus membership will give readers special access to the site’s editors and writers, as well as members-only discussions with Emily Yoffe, Slate’s Dear Prudence advice columnist. Members will also be invited to give advice on which politicians or entertainers they would like to see profiled.

This will almost be worth $5 a month to watch.

Bad journalist! No biscuit!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

I was going to put this in one of the random posts, but simply forgot. It probably deserves a separate post anyway. Back in December of last year, the LAT ran a story about Occidental College. Specifically, the LAT alleged that Occidental had failed to report 27 incidents of sexual assault in 2012: the paper stated that the college was required, under the terms of the Clery Act, to report those incidents. It appears that there was some back and forth between the college and the LAT over this, and…

Occidental representatives approached The Times early this month to seek a correction. Documents reviewed by The Times this week show that the 27 incidents did not fall under the law’s disclosure requirements for a variety of reasons.

Some of the incidents were “sexual harassment, inappropriate text messages or other conduct not covered by the act”. Others took place off of campus property and thus did not have to be reported. Others took place in 2011 and were reported then. So, basically, the LAT‘s article was bullshit. But wait, there’s more!

Separately, as they began looking into the complaint, Times editors learned from the author of the articles, staff writer Jason Felch, that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with someone who was a source for the Dec. 7 story and others Felch had written about Occidental’s handling of sexual assault allegations. Felch acknowledged that after the relationship ended, he continued to use the person as a source for future articles.

Can you say, “conflict of interest”? Can you say, “the Times fired the reporter’s ass“? I knew you could. (Hattip: Romenesko.)

Leadership Secrets of Non-Fictional Characters (part 11 in a series)

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

“He was always such an a—— to people working for him,” one insider says of the bombastic Brit. Morgan’s last show is likely to be this week, but no specific date has been set. We hear it was low ratings and a bad attitude that killed it, and the decision was made by network boss Jeff Zucker. “The makeup girls suffered the worst — he was rude and belligerent,” says our source. “The general feeling is Morgan didn’t show any respect to anyone working under him — the people who were trying to make him look good.”

Yes, this is a gossip column in a NYC paper. As much as I dislike Piers Morgan (and hope he spends time in prison for phone hacking), I would recommend taking the report itself with a grain of salt.

It does, however, give me an opportunity to make a point.

I don’t remember who originated this quote: I want to say it is a Dave Barry-ism, but I could very well be wrong.

Anyway: “If someone is nice to you, but rude to the waitress, they are not a nice person.”

You come at the King (City), you best not miss.

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The LAT has a second-day story on the King City PD arrests, noted in this space yesterday.

There are several interesting new aspects to the story:

Obit watch: February 21, 2014.

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Former NBC news correspondent Garrick Utley.

Fluent in Russian, German and French, he reported from some 75 countries in a multifaceted career that included 30 years at NBC. He was a bureau chief in London and Paris for the network, chief foreign correspondent, weekend news anchor and substitute for John Chancellor and Tom Brokaw on “NBC Nightly News.” He also hosted magazine programs and moderated the Sunday morning program “Meet the Press.” He later worked for ABC News and CNN.

Random notes: January 28, 2014.

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Yeah, yeah, Pete Seeger’s dead. A couple of reactions I liked: Tam. Travis McGee Reader.

One additional thing you have to like Pete for: giving a name to one of the great combat aircraft of our time.

How unethical do you have to be in order to be denied a law license in California? This unethical.

Or do you? I’ve seen a fair number of people posing this as Glass being unfairly denied a shot at redemption. After all, his crimes were nearly twenty years ago, they argue, and for the past ten years he’s not only kept his nose clean but done “exemplary” work as a clerk for a law firm.

And I’m not unsympathetic to the “shot at redemption” argument. I don’t hold any brief for Glass, or his behavior, and it bothers me a little that I’m more willing to give him that shot than I was Michael Vick. I need to search my soul a little more over this.

But the hand wringing is a little more offputting. Those arguing in favor of Glass seem to be missing some key findings:

The record also discloses instances of dishonesty and disingenuousness occurring after Glass’s exposure, up to and including the State Bar evidentiary hearing in 2010. In the New York bar proceedings that ended in 2004, as even the State Bar Court majority acknowledged, he made misrepresentations concerning his cooperation with The New Republic and other publications and efforts to aid them identify all of his fabrications. He also submitted an incomplete list of articles that injured others. We have previously said about omissions on bar applications: “Whether it is caused by intentional concealment, reckless disregard for the truth, or an unreasonable refusal to perceive the need for disclosure, such an omission is itself strong evidence that the applicant lacks the ‘integrity’ and/or ‘intellectual discernment’ required to be an attorney.” (Gossage, supra, at p. 1102, italics added.)


Our review of the record indicates hypocrisy and evasiveness in Glass’s testimony at the California State Bar hearing, as well. We find it particularly disturbing that at the hearing Glass persisted in claiming that he had made a good faith effort to work with the magazines that published his works. He went through many verbal twists and turns at the hearing to avoid acknowledging the obvious fact that in his New York bar application he exaggerated his level of assistance to the magazines that had published his fabrications, and that he omitted from his New York bar list of fabrications some that actually could have injured real persons. He also testified that he told his lawyer to work with Harper’s Magazine to identify his fabrications, yet evaded questions concerning whether his lawyer had done so, while insisting that he took responsibility for an inferred failure to follow what obviously were significant instructions. He asserted that he had been too distraught to recognize that the list of fabrications The New Republic gave his lawyer was incomplete — or that in his response he had denied that articles including the egregious Taxis and the Meaning of Work were in fact fabricated — while acknowledging that within a few days of his firing he made arrangements to reschedule a final examination for the end of the exam period and did well on the exam he took within a week of his exposure. Indeed, despite his many statements concerning taking personal responsibility, and contrary to what he suggested in his New York bar application, it was not until the California Bar proceedings that he shouldered the responsibility of reviewing the editorials his employers published disclosing his fabrications, thus failing to ensure that all his very public lies had been corrected publically and in a timely manner. He has “not acted with the high degree of frankness and truthfulness” and the “high standard of integrity” required by this process.” (Gossage, supra, 23 Cal.4th at p. 1102, italics added.)

This strikes me as being less “a bunch of snobs who don’t want to let a reformed man in” and more “we found ongoing evidence of dishonesty and deceit by this person who is supposedly reformed and asking us for special consideration”.

I totally missed this one until today:

A Los Angeles jury on Tuesday convicted state Sen. Roderick D. Wright on all eight counts in his perjury and voter fraud trial…
In a trial that began Jan. 8, prosecutors accused Wright of faking a move to a rental property he owned in Inglewood so he could run in what was then the 25th Senate District.
They accused him of lying on voter registration and candidacy documents and of casting ballots in five elections he was not entitled to vote in from the Inglewood address.

(Sen. Wright’s party affiliation is actually mentioned in the second paragraph, which I trimmed for space reasons.)

Random notes: January 22, 2014.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena!

He is the walrus, goo goo a joub.

Is Gary Kasparov trying to buy the presidency of the World Chess Federation?

Two months earlier, Kasparov and Leong negotiated a deal in which Leong would help Kasparov’s presidential run in exchange for $500,000, according to a draft contract reviewed by The New York Times. Kasparov also agreed, after his election, to open a new federation office in Singapore, to be run by Leong, for which he would be paid an undisclosed amount.

“Leong” is Ignatius Leong, who lives in Singapore and is the current general secretary of the federation. He serves under the current president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who is also running for re-election to the federation presidency. Kasparov’s spokespeople say that draft contract has been superseded. But if Kasparov is trying to buy the office, would that be a bad thing? In the last election

…Ilyumzhinov, who has been president of the federation since 1995, defeated Karpov, 95 to 55. Much of Ilyumzhinov’s support came from Asia and Africa, and many votes were cast by proxies.

(“Karpov” is Anatoly Karpov. You know, the former world champion and the Karpov who played Kasparov.)

And this is interesting:

Ilyumzhinov was, by any measure, a strange choice. He was a businessman who was born in Kalmykia, an impoverished Russian republic on the Caspian Sea, and amassed a fortune after the fall of the Soviet Union, though exactly how and how much are something of a mystery. He was largely unknown within the chess world, though he had been elected president of Kalmykia in 1993, at age 31. He stepped down from that presidency in 2010.

So he’s an ex-politician who went into chess?

Ilyumzhinov is well known for his eccentricities. He has said that he believes the game was invented by extraterrestrials, and he claims to have been abducted by aliens in yellow spacesuits on the night of Sept. 17, 1997. He built Chess City, a huge glass dome surrounded by a housing development, in Kalmykia’s obscure and inaccessible capital, Elista, and had the federation hold championship tournaments there.

Ilyumzhinov was also tight buddies with the late unlamented Muammar Qaddafi.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! Part deux.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas acknowledged Tuesday that a taxpayer-funded project to install a security system in a converted garage at his home involved improvements “over and above” that job, but said he reimbursed the county for the upgrades.
The Times had disclosed that county-paid crews worked at the supervisor’s Leimert Park home for a week and replaced the garage’s interior walls, installed electrical wiring and equipment, and put in appliances, including a wall-mounted air conditioner and heater and a television.

How the Statesman got scooped on the Wendy Davis story. (No paywall.)

Fundament, hindquarters, hind end, keister, posterior.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Donavan Raynold Hunt, aka “Tanka 2″, is in custody.

Mr. Hunt was involved in an incident last November at a place called the “Quantum Lounge”. (The Statesman does not note if there are any cats in the Quantum Lounge, nor does it mention the living or dead status of said cats, nor does it give a position for said establishment. I think we can safely assume it has zero momentum.)

Anyway, Mr. Hunt was performing with his musical group, “Da Young Outlawz”, when they got into a dispute with some other folks.

The argument became so heated that the club’s management asked Hunt and his friends to leave, according to an affidavit, and both groups went outside and continued to argue. Around 1:40 a.m. on Nov. 8, a fight broke out and Hunt pulled a gun and started to shoot, according to the affidavit. One man was hit in the arm, side and foot, and a second man was hit in the butt.

“hit in the butt”? Are the Statesman writers and editors ten year olds? Couldn’t they have found a better word than “butt”? Perhaps “upper part of the thigh” as a homage to Robert B. Parker? “Posterior” isn’t a bad word, either. You say someone’s been “shot in the posterior” and everyone knows what you’re talking about.

But “in the butt”, Bob? Really?

Random notes: January 12, 2014.

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Various news sources are reporting that the local cedar pollen count was 16,785 grains per cubic meter yesterday, and 13,340 today. For the record, these numbers are. (Records, that is.) This would explain why my skin feels like it is trying to crawl off of my body.

(“Why don’t you take some Benadryl, or a good anti-histamine?” Well, I don’t have any Benadryl, and I wouldn’t want to take it unless I was about to go to bed. I have an entire box of the good Zyrtec that I haven’t even opened yet, because, as scratchy as I am, getting the good stuff is such a hassle that I want to wait until I really, really need to use it before opening the box. Meanwhile, the Mexicans are purchasing pseudoephedrine in bulk and turning out high quality meth. Thanks, Obama!)

A Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey writes….

Lawrence made what I thought was a profound observation at dinner last night: every now and then, the NYT publishes a story that seems to be crafted in such a way as to make you hate not just the subjects, and not just the writers, but the entire population of New York City.

A half-dozen people were gathered around the tasting bar at the Henley Vaporium in SoHo on a recent Friday evening.

Let me interrupt here: where did the name “Henley Vaporium” come from?

The name, according to Ms. Eisenberg, has no significance other than that it sounded “cool” and “British.”

They should have named it “Henway”. What’s a “Henway”? About three pounds, give or take a few ounces. But I digress. Jumping back to where we were…

Behind the bar, two vapologists in white lab coats stood before a selection of dozens of tiny bottles, each containing liquid nicotine. The customers, all students or young professionals, leisurely inhaled on their so-called vape pens. Clouds of mist curled upward and vanished. A slightly sweet smell lingered in the air.


…the title was actually stitched on the breast of each lab coat…

Their parents must be so proud.

After an hour sampling the “juices,” Chris Gsell, 39, a director of product development at a nearby ad agency, settled on creamy banana. “It’s delicious,” he said between pulls from his vape pen.

By a strange coincidence, “creamy banana” was also the flavor of the bubblegum cigars I used to chew when I was five years old.

You know, I try not to be judgmental about what people put into their bodies. And it does seem like e-cigarettes are less harmful for you than regular ones; if this is what gets you through the night, God bless you. But the “vape” culture that seems to be springing up around what is a replacement for smoking is starting to try my last nerve.

You. Don’t. Say.

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Gun facts and terminology can be complicated for those not intimately familiar with the topic. But many readers are knowledgeable, and lapses like these hurt our credibility with them.

Merry Christmas from the Los Angeles Times.

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

If you’re like me, and just a wee bit tired of Virginia, here’s a Christmas story you might enjoy (reprinted: it originally ran on Christmas Day in 1986).

This is a story that has everything: a dying child, an impossible request, and a gruff but kind hearted hard-drinking city editor. It is almost as if someone took many of the cliches of 1950s journalism and rolled them into a single morality tale.

He listened to the problem and told me to telephone the Secretary of Agriculture and have him clear the peaches when they arrived.
“It’s close to midnight,” I argued. “His office is closed.”
“Take this number down,” Reck said. “It’s his home. Tell him I told you to call.”