Thursday, March 31, 2005

To Err Is Human - But To Screw Up Even the Simplest Facts -- You Absolutely, Positively Have To Be The LA Times!

Getting back to David Shaw's diatribe on bloggers and our inability to perform up to the LA Times' high standards - not to mention how the LAT's many layers of editors and filters protects them from getting their facts wrong... well... just look at Slate's Jack Shafer PRESS BOX column today at

In this article Shafer beautifully dissects an article in this Tuesday's March 29th LA Times and its staggering array of bonehead errors that make Jayson Blair look like Brenda Starr. And even after the LAT published a retraction in its print edition - after a stinging critique in another newspaper - the LA Times had still failed to correct the story in its on-line edition! And even tonight - the article is STILL uncorrected!

But this is hardly an unusual case for the LA Times. Besides the typical incorrectly spelled names, misidentified photos and errant facts in stories that are written on the fly, where one can understand errors happening, the types of errors that daily appear in the Times are at times, inexplicable.

Take, for example, the Sunday Calendar section a week ago. Among the things the LA Times got wrong are such fast breaking news stores as where Mozart's Magic Flute was premiered... in 1791, the correct color of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society wristband, the last two films of Vincent Price, and the premiere date of a 1935 piece of music. The Times also reassigned the tuba to the... woodwind section - and prematurely retired dancer Stanley Holden.

Not bad for a single days work in just ONE of the paper's many sections.

At least, though, the editors and proofreaders at the LAT can be expected to know who works for the LA Times, if nothing else. Well... actually, no:

Sunday, February 27, 2005 For the record Lipari, Italy: A Feb. 20 article on Lipari identified writer Susan Spano as a contributor to the Los Angeles Times. Spano is a Times staff writer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 For the record Pesky plants: In last week's Outdoors section, the byline for an article about trail plants misspelled writer David Lukas' last name as Lucas.

But saving the best for last - there are the endless errors that any sentient, breathing person should be able to spot.

Tow Truck Operator Uses City Bus to Tow Cars in Carpool Lane!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005 FOR THE RECORD Gasoline prices - An article in Monday's Business section on rising gasoline prices attributed the following quote, about how driver behavior would change once the price of gasoline topped $3 a gallon, to tow-truck driver Jesse Gurrola: "That's it - I think I'd have to carpool or maybe take the bus." In fact, that statement was made by motorist Gladys Paz

Bait Licking New Fishing Fad! Or... Sudden Onset Dyslexia Strikes LAT Writer!

Tuna fishing - An article in Tuesday's Outdoors section about tuna fishing referred to an angler as Rusty Johnson. His name is Frosty Johnson. The article also said Jack Nilsen caught a 24--pound fish using a tuna-catching device called a kite; Nilsen did not catch the fish using a kite. In addition, Gayle Johnson was quoted as saying, "Fish hard, lick the bait, and don't think you know more than the crew." In fact, she said, "Fish hard, pick the bait, and don't think you know more than the crew."

San Gabriel Valley City - Vanishes!

Friday, March 25, 2005 FOR THE RECORD Restaurant review - A review of the New Concept Restaurant in Wednesday's Food section indicated that the San Gabriel Valley city of Covina was located elsewhere in Southern California.

The New LAT Mini/MAXI Car! Wider Than It Is long!

Wednesday, February 9, 2005 For the record Auto review - An article about a new Honda pickup truck in the Feb. 2 Highway 1 section included incorrect specifications for the Ridgeline's wheelbase and overall length. The box accompanying the Ridgeline review listed the wheelbase as 122 inches and the overall length as 106.8 inches. The correct figure for the wheelbase is 122 inches, and the overall length is 206.8 inches.

Finally... Proof That Even The LAT's Proofreaders Do Not Read The LAT! Tom DeLay Is Now A... Democrat!

Thursday, March 24, 2005 For the Record Schiavo case - In a commentary Tuesday on the Terri Schiavo controversy, Rep. Tom DeLay's party/state designation was incorrectly given as D-Texas. It is R-Texas.

Lastly, admitedly, it is a high standard that David Shaw wants us bloggers to aspire to, but, somehow, I think that with a lot of work and a lot of effort on our parts, we can all achieve that standard!

PS -- The truly wonderful irony is that almost all of the errors in the above articles could have been discovered in seconds... by fact checking them on the internet.

April Fool's Update -- Now Infamous, Error-Ridden Chico State Story Still Not Corrected on LAT On-Line Site! Will Shortly Be Posting Official Vegas Odds on When LA Times Finally Notices This!

BREAKING NEWS!! LA Times Finally Corrects Chico State Story This Friday Morning!! Or -- does it? Increasing suspicions about other aspects of story now being rumored on the web.

LA Times Discovers Crime in LA!! And They're Shocked! SHOCKED!!

After years of not only hiding from the subject - but also hiding it from the citizens of Los Angeles - the LA Times has finally discovered that we have a crime problem in River City.

It is currently illegal for the LAPD to arrest known criminals if they are illegal aliens... for being illegal aliens. Yup - that's right. And on today's front page - in response the to LAPD finally taking action of their own to address the problem - the LA Times is finally forced to admit that this problem actually exists.

Now this is a far more complicated problem that what I just posited and there are some very real issues that need to be publicly debated. And in any other city with a real newspaper - these issues would have been debated long ago. But at least the issue has been finally raised. Or at least... partially raised. There is still one thing we are not being told by our paper of non-record.

And that is that we have 30,000 (that's THIRTY Thousand - almost the same number of people who live in Beverly Hills) illegal alien criminals - largely preying on other immigrants - roaming the streets of Los Angeles. And that fact is still considered information that the LA Times feels needs to be hidden from us. And that is why you will only find facts like that reported in the New York Times, our default paper of record for Los Angeles.

Andy many thanks to Mickey Kaus at for keeping this issue alive.,1,621980.story?coll=la-headlines-california

LA Times' David Shaw Explains It All To Us Poor, Benighted Bloggers!

When I started this blog, I had no intention of turning it into a LA Times bashing site; however... when the Los Angeles Times daily home delivers us fish-filled barrels and then passes out loaded shotguns with hair triggers -- well -- what are we poor bloggers supposed to do?

The immensely frustrating part is that the LAT has so many skilled and gifted writers -- two rather different qualities, I might add -- that it almost seems impossible for the LAT to then so totally fail the people of Los Angeles in delivering a product that in any way explains or reflects the city it purports to cover.

But fail the LA Times does do in its ever-continuing downward spiral -- and then the Times has the chutzpah to pointedly look down upon whomever dares point out their columns of clay.

The latest repeat offender is David Shaw in his March 27th column (,0,5319183,print.story) on bloggers. While his main topic was whether or not us bloggers deserve our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech protection, his main offense, as far as I am concerned, is to challenge the ability of anyone other than institutions like the LA Times to get their facts correct.

Now many people have already taken him to the wood shed for his journalistic sins -- Jack Shafer and Mickey Kaus in Slate to name just two ( and, but in subsequent posts I will point out just a few recent examples of the LA Times much vaunted filter system that has so superbly protected them against the errors that we bloggers are so prone to committing.

Spring on Downtown's Spring Street! Sunday April 3rd Walking Tour!!

The Los Angeles Conservancy is celebrating Spring on Spring Street with a behind-the-scenes look at historic landmarks that are coming back to life with surprising new uses.

What was once known as the Wall Street of the West is now home to a National Register Historic District, hip new lofts, night spots, art vibrant future. Spring Street is a microcosm of downtown's renewal, as showcased in a special, one-day tour on Sunday, April 3, 2005 from 10:00 - 4:00 PM. The self-guided tour will include:

Art galleries along Gallery Row -- 10 galleries will be open specifically for the tour.

The immense bank vaults beneath the 1911 Los Angeles Trust and Savings Bank building,which are being converted into a cocktail lounge.

The 1913 El Dorado Hotel,closed to the public and remarkably intact from its heyday.

A nightclub on the trading floor of the former Pacific Stock Exchange

Brand-new lofts in the century-old Douglas Building and 1924 Mercantile Arcade building.

The 1906 Alexandria Hotel, L.A.'s premier hotel at the turn of the 20th century, featuring the 196-foot Palm Court with a spectacular stained-glass ceiling.

The magnificent Globe Lobby in the 1935 Los Angeles Times building, with 10-foot-high murals by Hugo Ballin that were covered for nearly 30 years.

Tickets are $25 for Los Angeles Conservancy members, $30 for the general public, and $15 for children 12 and under.

Over 900 tickets sold! Due to overwhelming demand, we are no longer taking advance orders. Tickets will be available for purchase the day of the tour at the LA Times Building.

The LA Times Building is located at 202 W. First St. (SW corner of 1st and Spring Streets). Parking is available in the surface lot on Spring Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Covered parking is also available on Spring Street between 3rd and 4th Streets.

Proceeds benefit the LA Conservancy's efforts to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic resources of downtown and greater Los Angeles.

"Spring on Spring" is generously sponsored by Bank of America. Additional sponsors are Killefer Flammang Architects and Paul Su/Spring Arts Tower. Patron sponsors are Gilmore Associates, David Lawrence Gray Architects, and Spring Towers LLC/City Loft LLC/Izek Shomof.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

LA Times - Still In Denial; Still Unwilling to Tell the Truth

In today's editorial on LA's violent transnational gangs, the LA Times still refuses to tell the people of Los Angeles the truth. As many other outlets - including the NY Times and SLATE's Kausfiles - have reported, one of the biggest problems facing the LAPD is that they are powerless to deport the estimated 30,000 illegal alien criminals who prey on the citizens of Los Angeles, and particularly the immigrant community.

Now it is one thing if the LA Times wants to continue to support this policy and it is yet another thing for the LAT to correctly report and acknowledge this problem, but to then not take a position on it. But to refuse to even allow the people of Los Angeles to know about the extent of the problem... is criminal.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Mindlesss Tv Newscaster Remark of the Night

"This is the longest that Terri Schiavo has survived without food or water."

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Real Pro Wrestling vs. Totally Amateur LA Times

Today is the TV debut of a professional sports league for amateur style wrestling ( And while I had watched all the matches live when they were shot at the downtown Los Angeles LA Center Studios last year, I was anxious to see how the shows would come across on TV, particularly after a fire destroyed or damaged many of the taped bouts.

And while I knew it was going to be shown on air on PAX TV (Channel 30) some time during the day, I now had to check my TV guide to see at what time. So I turned to my LA Times TV Guide and discovered... no PAX listings, which puzzled me as I had seen them listed before. Then when I checked the evening listings, I saw that the LAT did list the shows on that network - but only in the evening.

So as usual, if you want to find out about anything that is happening in LA - the very last place to look - is the ever bush league LA Times.

Friday, March 25, 2005

No Matter How Low One's Expectations of the LA Times Are -- The Times will Always Manage to Undercut Them

In the previous post of yesterday, I predicted that the LA Times would dismiss the major revolution in city government proposed by Mayor Hahn (his giving the Neighborhood Councils unparalleled powers) with a few paragraphs while they would likely play up the Maxine Waters endorsement of his opponent.

Well, I was wrong.

This tectonic shift of power in this city didn't even rate a single sentence of its own. Instead the Neighborhood Councils were parenthetically grafted onto the butt end of a sentence about Maxine Waters's endorsement. So an announcement of how one politician will vote - which in itself has nothing to do with what either candidate will do once in office - is given two pages of coverage, while a major policy shift that will forever change how Los Angeles will work - was virtually ignored.

So when one reads Kevin's post today on LAOBSERVED about how the LA Time's circulation is now down to what it had been in 1968 - it is clear that the LA Times has been and is still increasingly losing touch with the city purports to cover. I know if I want to know what is happening in LA - it is now down to the 5th source I would check with.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mayor Hahn, the Neighborhood Councils... and Northern Kyrgyzstan.

While people's revolutions from the Ukraine to Lebanon and now the capital of Kyrgyzstan make international headlines, an increasing transfer of power from a handful of government officials in Los Angeles to the far more broadly based neighborhood councils is all but ignored by the LA press (i.e., the LA Times).

As an example, today Mayor James Hahn unveiled a new - and unprecedented - gift of power to the Neighborhood Councils, but it is unlikely you will hear any of this on the six or eleven o'clock news - and it is just as likely that there will be very little in the printed press other than a few brief paragraphs.

Among the Mayor's extraordinary proposals anounced are agreeing to place at least one Neighborhood Council member on each city commission - including those supervising the Police Department, the Department of Water and Power, Public Works, LAX, and all the other city agencies.

This once unimaginable move will not only give us a voice - and a vote - on each of these commissions, but it will also give us an advocate we can directly talk to about our individual concerns on the governance of each of these agencies. Plus with the Memorandum of Understanding between the NC's and the DWP possibly just days away from being preliminarily agreed upon - soon we will have agreements with each city agency on how they will work with us and how we will work with them, creating a true partnership between equals.

Mayor Hahn has also agreed to allow the NC's to help vet every new general manager - as he is already doing for the new Planning Director, and he also agreed to allow us to review the performance and budget of every city department. He also restated his agreement to allow the NC's to audit the city budget and to be involved in every step of its preparation.

All this was communicated today before an audience of NC activists from throughout the city and a gaggle of the local press. But when it came time for the press to ask questions - not one, and I mean not even one question asked of the Mayor addressed what he - or any of us present - said about the Neighborhood Councils. They were only interested in a sound-bite on what he thought about Maxine Waters endorsing his opponent or how he handled the replacing of Chief, now Councilman Parks, with Chief Bratton.

Finally, two widely respected South & Central LA activists exploded in anger at how the press not just completely ignored the Neighborhood Councils - but how they were only interested in what politicians felt about Bratton replacing Parks and had zero interest in talking to the people who actually lived in the gang threatened inner city. And these two plain talking Black women let the press know loud and clear how much they supported the Mayor's hiring of Chief Bratton and how much safer their neighborhoods are because of that decision. And the rest of us there loudly applauded them both.

But, again, don't look for this on the 11 o'clock news, or in the LA Times.


Kevin Roderick at LA OBSERVED has some excellent comments on the import of this story (though I do not recall him being there and it appears he is working off of the press release), but, even more illuminating, are his ruminations on what long term affects this might have on the Neighborhood Councils.

He correctly opines that as we develop real power, we are going to have to be increasingly vigilant on special interest groups and people with hidden agendas getting elected to the councils. The danger is that will just push their own narrow interests and not the interests of the community of large. Plus the rather loose voting requirements will also have to eventually be firmed up. And Kevin is the first - to my knowledge - journalist - to bring up this point that many of us in the NC revolution have been concerned about. More on this over the weekend.

LA Unified School District Gets Another Failed Grade

With a School Board still under control of the teacher's unions, there is little surprise that much needed reforms have been either stalled or out right killed. Proof of that is a Harvard University study released Wednesday that revealed that the abysmal high school graduation rates previously told to us taxpayers were incorrect. The real dropout rates turn out to be far, far worse. The only possible explanations are either the people who run the school district are incapable of doing simple arithmetic - or they have been lying to us.

The report's conclusion is that we have been lied to. Yes, the same school board that has just agreed to give the teacher's union who elected them lifetime free health benefits without the teachers having to pay even one dollar towards those benefits, has been lying to us about what those teacher are doing (or in this case, not doing) in the classroom.

Prepare for five minutes of meaningless outrage, and then business as usual.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

LA United School Board Pays Off Unions - Again

The complete domination of the School Board by the teacher's union was evident today as a new contract was announced that calls for tax payers to continue to pay for 100% of all teacher's health care premiums - with the teachers not having to pay even one dolar towards their health insurance either now - or for the rest of their lives. We will continue to pay all of their payments for them.

Needless to say, virtually no one in the real world gets this kind of a free ride. And, equally needless to say, the LA Times, omitted this little detail from their 'coverage', leaving the Daily News to let us know what is really going on in this city.

Additionally, the teacher's union is now also taking greater control of the hiring and firing and discipling of teachers, allowing them to even more protect the far too many incompent - and even at times even dangerous and violent - teaches and principals in our school district - from being removed from our schools. Exactly how bad that situtation continues to be - no one knows as they only paper willing to cover that story - NEW TIMES - was bought and closed by the LA Weekly in their attempt to stifle any competing newspapers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Four Writers - And LA Times STILL Misses The Story. But At Least the NY Times, As Usual, Covers The Story Accurately.

Both LA Times (four reporters) and the New York Times (one reporter) cover the story today of over 100 violent Central American gang members being arrested around the country. And both papers report that many of those arrested are here in this country illegally, even though many of them have been deported several times. But only the New York Times' single writer - Charlie LeDuff, who has finally learned the territory - has the courage to cover the real story affecting LA - that over 30,000 criminals who are illegal aliens are preying on Angelinos. And that they are esentially being given sancuary here since the police are not allowed to even inquire if they are in this country illegally. Makes you wonder what else does not get covered in a one newspaper town. Below is the end of the New York Times article:

One problem with dealing with criminal illegal immigrants, law enforcement officials say, is that cities like Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York have either written or understood "sanctuary" policies that prohibit their law enforcement officers from asking a suspect about his immigration status. This makes it difficult for police officers to work with federal immigration authorities until an illegal immigrant commits a crime.
The thinking is that illegal immigrants who lead normal and productive lives would be unwilling to approach the police as witnesses if they feared that they, too, would be deported.
The problem is especially acute in Los Angeles, where gang members often return after being deported. Local police officers may know a criminal by face, but until they catch him in an illegal act, he is allowed to remain on the streets.
But a new era may be dawning in the fight against gangs, as police departments like Los Angeles's share street intelligence with the federal authorities.
"You think an immigrant Hispanic family who is here illegally would mind if we targeted the violent criminal?" Capt. Michael Downing, commander of the Hollywood precinct, asked. "I don't. But every time you mention it, they say it's a slippery slope and so the violent criminal is tolerated."
In Central America, the judicial system has employed a no-tolerance policy for gang members deported from the United States known as "mano dura" or the "hard hand." Gang members deported there may prefer to return to the United States rather than risk the long sentences for gang affiliation and particularly onerous prison life there.
Federal immigration officials estimate that there are 80,000 to 100,000 criminal illegal immigrants in the United States. If the 30,000 in the Los Angeles area were all to be apprehended at the same time, they would overwhelm the 1,400 beds allotted for them. So immigration officials say the current operation is meant to single out the most hardened criminals with longstanding gang ties.
"L.A. isn't the only place where this is happening," said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the immigration bureau. "We've thrown down the gauntlet, and this is only the beginning."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Mark Swed Redeems LA Times! (for one day... at least)

Every once in a while one of the LA Times better writers - and there are many fine writers at the LA Times - produces a article so well written, so inspiring and so spot on in its coverage and its understanding of Los Angeles - that one almost forgets how completely the paper as a whole... totally sucks.

And today's (Tuesday March 1st, 2005) Calendar article by Mark Swed about the LA Philharmonic's weeklong residency in Cologne is one of those articles. Rather than detailing all the data he gathers up, dissects and then elegently displays together under one wide spreading umbrella... just read the article, savor the crescendo of his words, and appreciate the intellect behind his thoughts and his observations. And then become profoundly depressed at how rare it is that an article that actually tells you anything important about LA ever appears in the LA Times.