Readers who haven't recently ventured into the fever swamp known as the Los Angeles Times may have a hard time fathoming how utterly obsessed what used to the be the West Coast's paper of record has become with the threat to civilization known as Donald Trump. Once one understands how bad things have gotten, it will be easy to believe that one of its columnists, a Pulitzer Prize winner, actually tweeted the following early Tuesday: "Just wondering: did Trump ask United CEO Oscar Munoz to distract the world from the White House follies today?"
Imagine a Yankees-Red Sox game during which the Yankees broadcasters acknowledged mistakes by their team and good plays by the Sox, while the Boston announcers ranted relentlessly that the Yankees stank and were lucky not to finish 0-162.
According to Kevin Drum of Mother Jones, something similar happens routinely in political media. Drum believes that both in general and regarding Obamacare specifically, liberal pundits are far more likely than their conservative counterparts to discuss their side's failures and give the other side credit where it's due.
Longtime Los Angeles Times reporter-turned-business columnist Michael Hiltzik let his liberal flag fly on the front of Sunday’s Business section. The online headline was “Cultural production of ignorance provides rich field for study.”
The protagonist of this story was academic Robert Proctor of Stanford, touted as “one of the world's leading experts in agnotology, a neologism signifying the study of the cultural production of ignorance.” As examples of propagated ignorance, Hiltzik discussed thinking smoking is safe, and vaccinations are deadly, and...."fabricating" Obamacare horror stories:
Does L.A. Times reporter Michael Hiltzik read the news? Apparently not, since he penned one of the most lapdog press-worthy articles praising the IRS to bubble to the surface in the wake of the news that it targeted conservative Americans. Hiltzik’s column published in the May 25 Business section labeled the targeting as “supposed,” noted that for a small budget – the IRS does a pretty “good job.”
“Showing some love after the ‘witch-hunt,” Hiltzik insinuates that the current fiasco is rather peripheral since the IRS has done such a great job collecting revenue throughout its history. He noted that the changes made back in the Clinton administration, which shifted the agency from enforcement to a greater focus on treating the taxpayers like customers, is the epicenter of the trouble caused two administrations later. Hiltzik also lamented a that the shift away from enforcement led to a “brain drain” within the agency, and that real criminals, tax evaders, were left to operate freely. As for the bipartisan outrage over the scandal, Hiltzik wrote:
Today is Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and freedom of speech never tasted so good. However, as millions of Americans lined up to grab one of their tasty chicken sandwiches and waffles fries, counter protests were also planned over Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's , alleged anti-gay remarks, which were nothing more than an expression of his religiously-informed believe in traditional marriage. In a confusing piece in the L.A. Times by Michael Hiltzik, he directly quoted what Cathy said:
In his column at the Los Angeles Times today (HT to a NewsBusters tipster), Michael Hiltzik engages in predictable whining about discussions on how to bring the federal deficit under control seem "increasingly to be driven by the wealthy." In the instance he cites, one could substitute "big bank and big company CEOs," who seem to have recently decided that President Obama's Simpson Bowles debt commission had a good roadmap in late 2010 after being as far as I can recall pretty much AWOL on the matter when it was first presented.
That's fine. Hiltzik entitled to his take. But he's not entitled to his facts, particularly his assertions on Social Security (bold is mine):