Friday, April 22, 2005

Day Four of LA Times/Mike Davis (Lack Of) Truth Watch! And Proof Positive That Mike Davis Is A Big, Fat Liar!!

For four days (and nights) now the LA Times has continued to keep on its website - uncorrected - a column by Mike Davis stating that the San Francisco real estate bubble has... burst. This despite that fact that it only takes minutes to verify that is a lie. For example, the median sales price of a single family house in the city of San Francisco in January 2004 was $648,674 and in the latest reporting period - February 2005 - the median price had RISEN to $790,948! And last year, more houses were sold in San Francisco than at the height of the 1999 dotcom boom.

Now some people have said that I am being overly critical of Mike Davis in stating that he has thousands of lies and errors in his books (and articles) such as City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear. Others have questioned my claim that he fabricated an entire interview in a LA Weekly article.

So let me produce my sources. To being with, my source for his fabricating an entire interview in the LA Weekly - is... drumroll, please... The LA Weekly!

Below I have printed - verbatim, unedited, what was said by Lewis McAdams about how the interview with him was fabricated:

"The first time I met Mike Davis was in the summer of 1989, when he called to say he was doing an L.A. Weekly cover story on the Los Angeles River. Since it was going to be the biggest piece anybody had done yet about the river, and I was running Friends of the Los Angeles River, I suggested we get together down by the river for a talk. He said he wanted to work on the story a little first. A few weeks later, he called to tell me he'd written the story and wanted me to take a look at it.

I was amazed to discover he'd fabricated an entire interview with me: We were standing together at the Fremont Gate entrance to Elysian Park, a place I'd never been, and I showed him a "dog-eared 1890s topographical map prepared for City Engineer J.H. Dockweiler," a document that I'd never heard of at the time. Though we'd never actually talked, the words he put in my mouth made me sound like I knew a lot more about the Los Angeles River than I actually did. I told him to go ahead with the piece just the way it was.

I was still nonplused at Davis's audacity when, a few years later, I finally saw one of the four 11-foot-long sections of the Dockweiler Map at the Huntington Library. The map was rich in detail, composed by a team of researchers operating before suburban sprawl would permanently obscure the river's riparian roots. I realized that what Davis had unearthed from dusty obscurity was the single document that might, on the strength of science, allow us to reverse the bureaucratic inevitability of ill-conceived flood control. I was the expert and the activist, but it was Davis who had put in my hands the blueprint for the restoration of the wetlands of the Los Angeles River.

Davis is the first to admit that he won't let a fact get in the way of a good story. "I was stunned," I've heard him say twice lately, "to find out that something I said turned out to be true."
Now, all you skeptics out there, are there any more questions about my statement that UC Irvine Professor Mike Davis fabricated an entire interview in the LA Weekly?

I didn't think so.

And when the LA Times fires writers for getting a few facts wrong and embellishing a basically true story - how do they justify continually hiring someone who completely made up an entire interview?

Now that that is settled, let's move onto my statement that thousands of Mike Davis' so-called facts are either lies or errors.

And for my first witness for the prosecution I shall call... Mike Davis. Yes, dear readers, Mike Davis himself can be shown that he repeatedly lies about... what Mike Davis himself has said!

And that shall be the subject of my next post. Stay tuned!


Dogtown said...

The LAT won't do anything about Davis's piece. It was published on the Opinion page, so it's just that....opinion, isn't it?

I agree with you, BTW, but I don't see them pulling it, or correcting it. I don't know what they see in Davis, quite frankly. He's a wonderful doomsayer, and would be much more successful writing fiction about a post-apocalyptic L.A.

Brady Westwater said...

Predicting that housing market in San Francisco will collapse in the future is an opinion; saying that the housing market has ALREADY collapsed when housing prices are actually skyrocketing -- is a lie. And the LAT did correct a major factual error in Robert Scheer's opinion column last week, so that they can not use that as an excuse not to correct Mike Davis' factual whopper.

Dogtown said...

Point taken, and understood. Keep the watch going on this one. Will be interesting to see what they do.

Even though my view of the paper has been low for some time, you've given me a whole new perspective with which to observe their style, format, and observance of things L.A. As native, I'm sensitive to gaps in their knowledge of the town, as you seem to be as well.

Keep up the good work!