Who ordered the scrambled brains?

Filling readers with glee and indignation since 2005.

Chicago gangster decapitates Los Angeles scholar

These days, the story of Information goes something like this. After an event is born, it is whisked away by a reporter in the backseat of his car and taken to an underground bunker in the backyard of his suburban bungalow. There, the event is whipped and beaten and tortured, spun and contorted until it appeals to American sensibilities on the more banal end of the spectrum. He then hands it over to his editor, who pats him on the back and then injects the event with the appropriate commercial or political subtext to ensure a bonus, bribe, or legal favor. The concerned American citizen, already desensitized by the questionable quality and unmanageable quantities, finally throws his hands in the air and disavows any interest in information. Eventually, when the publisher gets wind of what’s been happening under his nose, he fires half his staff to make ends meet, and then leaves Tribune Tower and calls it a day.

Ha ha ha. That was supposed to be my introduction to my thoughts on the situation between the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune debacle that is currently playing out. (Oh! Self-referential criticism… I’m taking an actual event and repackaging it in a more palatable way! Pfft!) Just like local TV news, most papers these days are crap, just on an order of magnitude smaller. They all treat the news with moral indifference. The Los Angeles Times is one of the few papers left that is willing to bear the full moral weight of the press in a democratic society. But these are not good days for the Times.

Long story short, Tribune Co. owns a bunch of second-rate papers and TV stations around the country, the most prominent of which is the (second-rate) Chicago Tribune. These second-rate papers share stories with each other and buy them from wire services (Associated Press and Reuters) in an effort to be “efficient” at the cost of editorial integrity (”Does this generic article from Reuters reflect how we really feel in our newsroom and does it meet our journalistic standards?”) They also report on foreign news through the same wire service proxies. First-rate papers, of which I’d say there are only three in the U.S. (New York Times and Washington Post being the others, with Wall Street Journal getting a half-point since their high-quality is limited to financial news) write all of their articles in-house, and have offices located around the country and around the world to support this goal. so anyway, Tribune Co. bought the LA Times in 2000, then promptly ordered round after round of staff cuts, threating the quality of the LA Times journalism. That’s not only insulting, but despicable.

Check out this article from today’s paper, and this blog with lots of commentary.

Apparently, and without surprise, the Tribune executives are jealous of the status of the LA Times, and rather than support that, they prefer to cut it down from a safe distance of 2000 miles. I guess the 20% profit margin of the LA Times, which is the highest of any newspaper, isn’t enough to support their pocketbooks and the operating expenses of all their “efficient” second-rate papers and TV stations. And check this out: when both the Times’ publisher and the Times’ senior editor refused to lay off more Times’ journalists, they were replaced by the Tribune publisher and the Tribune senior editor respectively (but oh-so respectfully!). A newspaper, in particular a first-rate paper such as the Times, is more than a business. An honorable newspaper performs a public service by fulfilling the vital and central democratic responsibilities inherent in Article I of the Bill of Rights. For a bunch of MBA suits to disrespect the LA Times is a slap in the face of every freedom-loving inhabitant of Los Angeles.

Besides the institutional role in our political society, the Times can be credited for many significant social changes throughout Los Angeles. The King/Drew baloney was initially investigated by Times reporters, and all the attention on the homeless in downtown was prompted by a five-part series by Times columnist Steve Lopez. Imagine if these journalists worked shorter hours or under greater time constraints. We’d still have King/Drew dumping homeless people on skid row, that’s for sure.

Also, the Times is also plays an indispensable role in defining the city, and thus in defining what it means to be part of the city. I’ve been well-served by their regular reviews of bars, clubs, and concerts. Reading about the events of different areas of the city has provided crucial, real education about the different areas of the city and the different lifestyles they support. The Times is my personal Key to the City.

So now I’m documenting how we can support the Times. There’s growing concern about what will be happening there, and I know that changes in the Los Angeles Times newsroom (or other areas of business) will definitely impact me on a personal level. Support the Times by reading it, and if it’s appropriate to your lifestyle, by subscribing. (Though personally I wish they provided some kind of online subscription, because receiving a paper version of the Times is a waste of my apartment space and of natural resources, as I would never use it. Support local ownership, or stewardship by USC’s Anderson School of Education (both of which would result in a newspaper that prioritizes journalistic integrity over shareholder greed). Support the spread of credible information and support a vital city.

Click here to quickly send a fax to the Tribune Co. to let them know you oppose the removal of the Times’ publisher and senior editor. It’s the first step in ripping the Times’ from the fingers of the self-serving money-grubbers of Chi-town.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates, and make sure to check out my community opinion social networking project, Blocvox.



6 Comments

Commenting options at bottom.
Tom said:

Editorial content of The Times is certainly the primary problem with Tribune Company but literally thousands of employees from other departments have lost their jobs in the past few years. Morale within the company has never been so low and hope for one’s future has never been so dim. Nevertheless, as we sink to our lowest point, it is a great feeling to have the support of the people of Los Angeles.

Mike McG said:

Hopefully this wave of support is just the beginning, and it grows into a force that can’t be ignored.

I might be out in front with this, but I call on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to declare war on Chicago immediately. Not only have the residents of Los Angeles been threatened by the Chicago warlords, but the residents of Chicago have struggled under the oppression of poor newspaper management for years. The time for negotiations is over, and the time to lay siege to Tribune Tower has begun. Here me out. My research has yielded that in each scenario, our troops will be greeted by Chicagoan children throwing flowers at us in the street in celebration. And rightfully so. An occupation would last only a few months, so I say, “Bring it on!”

 
 
Marcus said:

Thank you for this wonderful post. I am a reader, not only of Scrambledbrains.net, but of The Los Angeles Times. I am outraged by the idea that Tribune will destroy my newspaper.

…but what if Chicago falls into a civil war?

 
 
Tom said:

Follow the existing template:
1. Disregard conventional wisdom & military advice and advance with minimal troops
2. Dismantle the Chicago Police Force
3. Assemble our forces in the suburbs (far from the museums, armament depots and utility centers)
4. Pray those years of lingering hostilities amongst the Poles, the Irish and the Italians donít erupt into violence.
5. And last but not least pray that Dick Cheney will once again put the national interest above personal gain and allow Halliburton to rebuild the infrastructure.

Whoopee. I sense a mission soon to be accomplished; “…within six days, maybe six weeks but certainly less than six months.” -Donald Rumsfeld

Mike McG said:

“4. Pray those years of lingering hostilities amongst the Poles, the Irish and the Italians donít erupt into violence.”

Hahaha that one’s the best. (I mean, no one would be dumb enough to mess with the Irish.)

 
 

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