Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Pay to Play" & The Press

Both of Los Angeles' leading print newspapers the LA Times and The Daily News published stories on the upcoming municipal election. Both seem completely intoxicated with fundraising. Only those candidates who had raised the most money got a mention, leaving their readers completely uninformed as to the very existence of other candidates.

Is this really the state of news reporting in Los Angeles? Haven't we seen enough of the evils of the "Mega Bucks" attitude that has led to our current economic woes? It's a very worrying message isn't it? Raise the most money and the press will roll over and love you for it without even questioning the source of the money.

Jack Weiss is the hero of the Los Angeles press, it seems, with a special interest warchest of $1.2M. The LA Times article at least mentioned that his campaign manager is non other than disgraced Mayor Villaraigosa, and at least mentioned two other candidates who have raised significant campaign funds. The Daily News article was strange. The Daily News has historically been less behooved to Mayor Villaraigosa and the special interests that fuel his campaign. Yet the Daily News failed to mention the names of any other City Attorney candidate whatsoever.

Worse still is that neither the Times nor the News conducted any analysis whatsoever as to of the source of Weiss's warchest. So here it is:

Yes. The ugly truth is that over $1M of Jack Weiss' money comes from developers, developers' lawyers, and their associated special interests. These figures are based on the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission's figures.

We all know that print media is facing extremely hard times, with newspapers losing money faster than a Bernie Madoff investor.

Could it be that editors overrode their reporters copy? After all, with Mayor Villaraigosa and Jack Weiss poised to spend their combined warchest of almost $4M on advertising, perhaps the Times and the Daily News editors want to make sure they don't upset their political "bailout packages" by printing anything negative about the Mayor and Weiss?

Just a thought.

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