Blame for Killer King *

King/Drew protestThe Times' five-day series on the bad situation at King/Drew Medical Center wraps up with a story by Mitchell Landsberg pointing the finger at African American community politics and reluctance to act by the county Board of Supervisors, especially Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. Her district includes the hospital known to some as Killer King. The hospital was created in response to the 1965 Watts riot and became a symbol to blacks, but it has always been troubled and, apparently, poorly run. Meanwhile, there are now many more Latino than black patients. Today's story ends with this unusual note:

On Dec. 23, The Times will publish an article discussing potential solutions to problems raised in its five-part series, "The Troubles at King/Drew." In addition to seeking the opinions of healthcare experts, political leaders and others, the newspaper welcomes ideas from readers. These may be sent to kingdrew@latimes.com.

In today's letters to the editor, community activist Larry Aubry complains that the series was infected with racial bias on the Times' part. But the other letters applaud the series. It has been praised by bloggers who usually find only fault with the Times, including Cathy Seipp and Patterico, and has been a topic this week on Warren Olney's Which Way, L.A.? on KCRW and Airtalk with Larry Mantle on KPCC. Reporters Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber are scheduled to talk about the series Sunday at 1 p.m. on KPFK's Deadline L.A.

* Also: Marc Cooper writes in LA Weekly: "I canít remember the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed reading a series of articles in the L.A. Times as this weekís Pulitzer-class five-parter on the horrors of King/Drew hospital....Itís not just the superb reporting by the Times team, not just the elevated craft, however, that so impresses. Itís also the art of the writing being turned in by Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein and the other members of the series team....[The] series brazenly breaks the Timesí standard rules of 'objectivity,' and thank God for that small favor. Itís painfully obvious that the reporters on this series ó and apparently the editors ó have very strong opinions about Killer King; they clearly think the place sucks." He goes on to add, however, that "unfortunately, the courage displayed by the Times in the Killer King story is the exception, not the rule." Cooper also takes off on Carroll's memo last year about liberal bias.


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