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Hackneyed Corporate Media and the Myth of Antonio the Great

Count Gary Andrew Poole of Time Magazine among the hacks like Adam Nagourney of the New York Times who mix myth with fantasy to spin a public relations narrative without truth for the benefit of the status quo at a time when the winds of change are blowing at hurricane force.

Here’s how he starts his story this week called “The Resurrection of Antonio Villaraigosa,” a headline you might recall was used here two weeks ago with a considerable degree of irony or even sarcasm.

But not so in Time Magazine

When he was a young man Antonio Villaraigosa, dropped out of school, was in numerous street fights, and had a tattoo inked on his right arm that read: Born to Raise Hell. In 2005 he became the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since 1872. It was practically scripted: the inspirational tale of a troubled boy from the gang-infested Boyle Heights neighborhood of East LA who makes good, goes to City Hall, and turns Los Angeles into a “city of purpose.”

But, until last week, the mayoral tale of Antonio Villaraigosa was starting to look like a box office bomb. In 2007 came revelations of an extramarital affair with a Telemundo newscaster, which seriously hurt his popularity, particularly in the Latino community. His ambitious but ultimately misguided plan for a school district takeover was defeated in court. A weakening economy and his unsystematic management style led to even more political stasis.

While he will be trumpeted for his Latino roots in the coming months, he says the “Latino politician” tag frustrates him. He takes pride that he represents all Angelenos “even though half of the people hate me,” he laughs. “I am a coalition builder. I think that’s the best way to serve the president. Will I also talk to Latinos? Of course! I speak Spanish. But I am comfortable in any community.” He looks at this reporter, an Anglo, in the eye, smiles, and says, “I am comfortable with you, my brother.”

Quite apart from the perverse delight of having a laugh at Mainstream Media heavyweights being seduced at this late date by the charms of the mayor, there is something larger at stake worth a brief comment or two in light of the audacity of the LA Times to start charging $3.99 a month to access their product online.

The MSM isn’t what it used to be. Circulation and revenue have dramatically fallen and staff cuts — almost a third what it once was at the LA Times — have taken their toll in talent as well as numbers.

The advent of television wiped out half the newspapers in the country, replacing a competitive independently-owned industry with highly profitable corporate monopolies.

Now the Internet has wiped out their profitably and what the public is being offered is the soup of the soup of the soup of journalism, thin gruel indeed.

So the question is: At this late date, will charging $3.99 a month for the LA Times online really make a difference to the bottom line or accelerate the decline by turning off readers and reducing traffic?

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10 Responses to Hackneyed Corporate Media and the Myth of Antonio the Great

  1. Alice K says:

    The Los Angeles Times can go to hell — the sooner the better as far a I am concerned. I do not subscribe to home delivery of the rag and I most certainly look elsewhere for news at no charge. Why? Because the Los Angeles Times, as the “newspaper of record” for the City, has abdicated its role as an impartial media investigator. There are outrageous stories of political arrogance, business scams, and public corruption literally ignored by the editors of the Times because of some political agenda of the management.

    The sooner the LA Times dies and is no longer the “newspaper of record”, the sooner people will turn to multiple sources of news and truly local news that are growing. And the more often that stories come from multiple sources, the more likely the stories ignored and suppressed by the LA Times editors will receive proper attention in this City.

    Farewell LA Times. Is you “exciting new membership program” akin to rearranging the deck chair on the Titantic? I hope so. You deserve to be gone due to your complicity with the political machine strangling this City.

  2. jeff says:

    It’s too easy to remove the LA Times from my internet favorites list, the new charge only solidifies the downward sprital of the rag. Why, as a subscriber would I want to pay twice??
    If I cancel my subscription and delete the entry in my favorites list, does the Times still exist?? Only in the forest of saved trees I guess.

  3. Teddy says:

    I agree. I wish the Media would confine their political opinioons
    to the opinion pages. We rarely buy opiinions.

    All media are in trouble and it is their fault. How are they going to pay
    for the production of their newspaper, news magazine. The staff, printing, distribution all take cash. If the customers stop buying, they are out of business.

    I have a newspaper habit. But there it stops. I have my own opinions.

    The Times story of how to free-base cocaine back in the seventies ended
    my subscription forever. Word to the wise.

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      When I first saw the LA Times in the mid 1960′s at Claremont Men’s College, I asked, “why is the only newspaper this tabloid?” I didn’t realize that it was THE newspaper.

      They’ve got one or two good people and the bosses hamstring them.

  4. anonymous says:

    My guess is their money comes from their advertisements. We can stop reading; but when will the advertisers know that?

  5. Teddy says:

    True. But I paid about 175 bucks for the Daily News for the year. Unless they do better than they are doing – like a regular column by Ron Kaye reporting the truth
    about the gang running our Los Angeles city (nothing about that in our daily news, is there?) I don’t care about socialites nor about Hollywood and the Oscars.

    We need education about what is really going on not ads and entertainment.

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      If the LA Times falls, who would notice? It’d be like a tree falling in the woods with no one around. What cares whether or not it made a sound?

  6. Vince says:

    The correct price for the LATimes online access is $3.99 a WEEK

  7. Wayne from Encino says:

    The L.A. Times is on it’s last leg, but the Daily News is all but washed out. If someone would buy the L.A Times and switch to an all-Conservative editorial and staff, readership would go up 2000%!!! Imagine having a weekly editorial from Mike Savage and another one from Congressman Issa! Liberals can’t read, but they understand half naked women and car ads–those do well in the Times.
    Reminder—City of L.A. Business License renewals are due TOMORROW!!!! Word is the computer went down today in their permits division. But with only 5 or so businesses left in L.A. it should be short line!

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