Thursday, December 08, 2005

Worse than Jayson Blair

Patterico points to these two articles on LAPD corruption, the murder of Biggie Smalls, and the L. A. Times.

The Front Page Magazine piece seems to pull no punches in going after the LAT:

the once venerable paper faces a scandal of Jayson Blair proportions, one that may topple key players-including a Pulitzer Prize winner-and permanently sully its reputation.

But I have to disagree. When compared to the actions of the LAT, the Jayson Blair scandal pales in comparison. Blair lied, but he lied about matters of slight consequence. It was a grubby little inside baseball affair that served, mainly, to let Andrew Sullivan even some scores. The LAT stands accused of covering up for a murderous mélange of gangster cops, gansta rappers, and just plain gangsters.

The Rolling Stone piece lets Randall Sullivan update his reporting in LAbyrinth (a highly, highly recommended book). The civil case brought by Voletta Wallace is turning over rocks and Sullivan is taking careful inventory of what scuttles out from underneath.

It is more than a little puzzling that our crime-obsessed cable channels have ignored this case and the on-going litigation. They have hours to devote to Aruba, Natalie Holloway, Michael Jackson, and Robert Blake. Yet they have no interest in this juicy story.

One reason for the silence is the role played by Johnny Cochran in the scandals and in the media. He was deeply involved in parts of the cover-up (the Kevin Gaines shooting) and played the race card to buffalo the city into dropping its investigation into Gaines, Death Row Records, and Suge Knoght. Cochran was also a friend and colleague of Dan Abrams and Nancy Grace at Court TV.

Another reason for the media's failure is that the story does not fit their template. The Smalls murder and the real Ramparts scandals upset their simplistic formula of old LAPD=bad and Reno-sanctioned reforms=good. I discussed that aspect here last year.

A final factor is the MSM's pathological reluctance to admit mistakes. Taking a hard look at the LAPD scandals in light of the new information would reveal that the media got it very wrong the first time.

Off to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam

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