Sunday, June 19, 2005

Wicky Wacky Wickatorials Post Mortem!!! What The &%$%#% Went Wrong???

First, what is a wickitorial- wicky wacky or not? Read the Times' definition below, or skip to the paragraph below the link.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-wiki17jun17,0,4157492.story

Basically, it is a DIY (Do It Yourself) Editorial. You take a LA Times editorial (selected by the LA Times) and use Times supplied software to rewrite it. Then, if they deem it worthwhile (or, at least - not totally moronic, no wait - they publish Robert Scheer, so that barrier is not insurmountable) - they post it. The (theoretical) goal is a more interactive newspaper and a more engaged public.

Now as for the results? Well, its failure was not quite of full Hidenburgain proportions, due to the lack of loss of any lives. Also, the most accurate reports of bloggers running down streets crying out, "The Horror! The Horror!" appear to be in the low four figures and the oft-claimed reports of self-mutilating injuries to one's eyes whiles looking at one's monitor are - so far - strictly anecdotal.

Now to determine why the end results were so... dismal... I submit the editorial itself:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-iraq17jun17,0,6259238.story

For those of you were unable to remain awake long enough to read through the whole editorial, after much thumb sucking and pointless finger pointing, the Times said if the Iraqis can't defend themselves in one year, we should fire all of our military commanders. Honest! That's it!!

My God, why didn't Roosevelt think of that during WW II? Or Lincoln during the Civil War? They could have wrapped up both of those wars in just one year just by firing Eisenhower and Grant!

Now while there are dozens, if not hundreds of variables that might have been intelligently addressed in what might be done to solve the situation in Iraqi, there is nothing else of a concrete nature in the endless wasteland of cliches.

So, the first thing that the Times did wrong, was to select an editorial that was basically about - nothing; an editorial about a subject so complex that it was impossible to debate within a single editorial.

The second offense though is far worse and even more puzzling. Since the goal was claimed to be to develop a sense of community in Los Angeles - why select an issue as your first building-a-community editorial that the community has no direct involvement in and which does not affect our daily lives?

Now of course, any war has long and short term impacts on our lives, and any war has overwhelming consequences for those most directly involved, but a foreign policy issue is simply not a unique a part of our daily common, shared problems - such as traffic, the failing school system, air pollution, the lack of affordable housing, crime, and Steve Lopez.

Additionally, Iraq is an issue that has been argued to death and which is so highly emotionally charged that it is very hard to debate in a rational, reasoned way. It is also an issue about which the average citizen of Los Angeles really does not have enough facts about to argue when it comes to detailed real world solutions.

So, if there was any single subject virtually guaranteed to generate lots of heat and absolutely no light - this was that one issue. As proof, I submit that the Times has shut down the site due to all the -objectionable - posts that were flooding in.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-wiki-splash,0,1349109.htmlstory?coll=la-news-comment-editorials

So why chose the one issue guaranteed to split us apart as a community as opposed to an issue that could bring us together to intelligently debate a common, shared problem?

Again, it all comes down to one simple thing. At the very top of the masthead of the LA Times - there is not a single person from Los Angeles - and not a single person who cares about LA. Experiences like this prove once and for all that the people who run the putative LA Times all really want to be working at the New York Times, and not having to bother covering Los Angeles.

2 comments:

Bob said...

That's what Lincoln did, actually. He settled on Grant after disappointing experiences with other generals.

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