Tuesday, November 01, 2005

WHY? WHY?? WHY??? Can Not The LA Times Get Even The Simplest Facts Right?


I just skimmed the above article online - and it seemed - overall - an intelligent and balanced look at SRO's and loft developments using the Bristol, the El Dorado, the St. George and the Alexandria Hotels as examples, among others.

However... and this is a seriously BIG however - the bonehead factual errors were just so staggeringly blatant... I had to stop reading if I expected to get any sleep tonight. Or ... at the very least...to not be tempted into re-enacting the bombing of the Times Building as a cure for my LAT induced insomnia.

To begin with, the single most unforgivable error was saying the Bristol Hotel was built in... 1920. I say this because, first, anyone with any knowledge of... anything... should be able to take one look at it and know it was built a lot earlier than that.

But - secondly - far worse than that, on October 12th, the LA Times (quoting another inaccurate - as if there is any other possible kind - LA Times article) said the hotel was built in 1927. That article also, I might add, misidentified the architecture as being Art Nouveau (instead of the late Victorian Italian renaissance/Queen Anne/Richardson Romanesque influenced architecture it actually is) which it is not.

But getting back to the date; the LA Times was finally roped into correcting that date the following week - at which time they gave the correct date of... 1906.

But now - hardly is the ink barely dry from correcting that mistake - and then they get it wrong again! And they even get it wrong in a totally different way!

I mean, exactly how could one easily verifiable date - morph in three weeks in three different articles from 1927 to 1906 to 1920? And in the same series in the same month on the same story of SRO housing!

And it gets even better...

Next, the Bristol Hotel is described as being a few blocks from the renovated St. George Hotel with its 'modernist exterior'.

Modernist exterior?

Say - what?

The Skid Row Housing Trust's architects took extreme care in restoring the St. George's wonderfully ornate Victorian bay windows and and beautifully preserved brick exterior of the building. In fact, the entire facade (other than a small part of the very narrow ground floor) is exactly the way it was built in 1904.

So how is this... a modernist exterior?

And also, how is it a few... blocks away? To me a few blocks is three, four - maybe five... but nine blocks? I don't think so.

Then the article claims that a loft conversion is planned at the El Dorado. Uh, no. It is not being 'planned' - it has been under construction for most of the year. It is being converted, present tense . But, more importantly - in a sin of omission, what this - and most other LA Times articles fail to say is - the El Dorado was closed and vacant before the first loft was even built.

Its conversion has not displaced anyone. And lofts had nothing to do with its closing.

Then article claims that the Alexandria has been identified as a possible loft conversion.

At this point, it is no longer necessary to question if everyone at the LA Times is stoned out of their minds on drugs.

It is now merely necessary to ask - what drugs are they using over there that have burned out the brain cells of everyone at the LA Times?

I say this because... just weeks ago... still another LA Times article said the Alexandria was in escrow to a low income housing developer and that the CRA had given tentative approval for $55 million to keep the Alexandria as low income housing so it would NOT become... lofts.

Now can anyone tell me why - with of all the many residential hotels downtown - with only the Alexandria now being recommended to be financed by the CRA as low income housing - exactly why would the Alexandria be the ONLY hotel to be mentioned as being potentially... lofted?

Lastly, once again, the LA Times endlessly talks about all the SRO's that have been already converted into loft buildings; but never, not once, has the LA Times ever identified any of these mysterious phantom SRO's that have been converted to mythical lofts with real loft dwellers actually living in them.

And I could go on and on... in just this one article... with error after error... particulary when it came to... the quoted statistics.

And, again, the scary part is that this article is not a bad one. During the brief moments before my blood pressure reached cowboy life threatening levels, it seemed to be a decent overview.

But the simple fact remains... day after day... week after week... month after month.... year after year...the LA Times is simply totally and completely incapable - on every possible level - of ever writing about this city and getting the facts correct.

1 comment:

kipper said...

"I had to stop reading if I expected to get any sleep tonight."

That's a great line!