Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The LA Times - Stranger than Fiction - or is it?

There's been a lot of chatter around and about the blogosphere concerning the LA Times and it's suppression this Obama video. It's even gone (having now received a link to the story from my mother) viral and people are, rightly so, suspicious as all hell. There are quite a few excuses and theories being postulated as to the Tinsel Town Fishwrap's motivations and it does seem strange. Protecting their source? From what? Has the man/woman committed a crime? Are they likely to suffer harm through release of this video? When you're dealing with a mob witness or government whistle blower - sure - I get it. Woodwar, Bernstein - I'm right there with you. But how does this rise to that level? Someone with a home camcorder in the audience - maybe they won't get invited to any other parties. A corporate or event video company hired to film it? Maybe in danger of losing a gig? Seems like small change to me.

But what about something that's so obvious it's being entirely overlooked. (And I'm not talking about the Obamaniac one-upsmanship that's likely to happen at the next newshawk convention.)

What if they (or the writer) made the whole thing up? Could this be another Jayson Blair?

OK, you say, in that case why cover for him? The paper's actions and lack of convincing reasons are making them seem wholly biased. Their credibility, already weak in many corners, is taking a hit of major proportions. Why not just throw him to the wolves and attempt to salvage whatever reputation they may have left?

It may be an easy answer. The LA Times, like most newspapers is losing readers like crazy. They just endured another round of layoffs and as one who subscribes (one of the few), I can tell you it's approaching the thickness of a well round pamphlet. Maybe the conversation wasn't something like, "how can we protect our sources," but maybe it was something like, "we can still run a paper if only 50% the population (the half we don't really care about) doesn't believe what we write, but if 100% of the population doesn't believe it..."

NOTE: I've noticed that among all the Obama signs in my neighborhood very few actually have print editions of the LA Times sitting under them in the morning.