Readers of Mickey Kaus's blog at Slate know he's no fan of the local paper, but the Times really got him going this week. On Wednesday he blasted the LAT's news judgement on the previous day's freeway car chase/shutdown, bolding the exclamation: "The people who edit this paper have no clue." On Thursday, under the headline Why Southern California suffers, he derided coverage of John Kerry's military files. Then today, he went long with a pointed LAT critique, taking off from the front-page photo of another freeway shutdown:
Was the paper clumsily trying to make up for its embarrassing and emblematic failure to give any prominence to a far more dramatic and disruptive, nationally-covered freeway chase and four-hour closure two days before?...This is classic LAT behavior. Don't report the news when it happens. Any newspaper can do that!...
Here's another front-page story the LAT buried on B-3--rich Malibu homeowners hire bulldozers to scoop up the public beach and move it onto their private property. No tabloidish populist potential there! ... Note how the Times reporters stoke the drama of the story by calling it "as predictable as the spring tides" in the first paragraph and belittling it as a "brouhaha" later in the piece. ... The thoughtful analytic distance of the Pulitzer-winning Los Angeles Times enables it to see that what seemed like uniquely infuriating, mobilizing news--actual taking of beach!--is really just "the latest chapter in a long-running clash over public access and the private-property rights." The LAT formula for excitement!
I must (sheepishly) note Kausfiles' conclusion: "Suggestion to fellow Angelenos: Get your L.A. news from L.A. Observed! Kevin Roderick links to the Times stories worth reading, and you don't have to bring a soggy stack of paper into your house. He covered the Tuesday freeway drama on ... Tuesday!" Now that's going directly into the praise column on the right side. But for the record, I'm a many-year Times subscriber — and I leave a lot out.