Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 20, 2009

STILL PLAYING FAST AND LOOSE.... I had an item a couple of weeks ago noting an instance of the LA Times' Andrew Malcolm playing fast and loose with the truth as part of a slam job on Democrats. Since then, I've received quite a few emails from readers highlighting examples of Malcolm, a former press secretary for Laura Bush, not only being a rather blatant partisan, but being surprisingly sloppy with basic truths.

I mention this because the lead story on Memeorandum right now is this gem from Malcolm, criticizing President Obama's alleged lack of transparency.

We are not making this up:

Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history. This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. to name him "Newsmaker of the Year."

The president is to receive the award from the federation of black community newspapers in a White House ceremony this afternoon. The Obama White House has closed the press award ceremony to the press.... Maybe they'll let the newspaper people pass the award through the fence.

As is often the case with Malcolm's columns, this isn't even close to an accurate reflection of the facts.

To hear Malcolm tell it, the award ceremony is both ironic and an example of Obama hypocrisy. How can be rewarded for his transparency if he's attending an event with journalists that is closed to the media? Outrageous!

Except, it's not. In our reality, the president will be speaking to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, granting them an exclusive interview. There's obviously transparency, since the journalists will report on what Obama has to say. As Eric Boehlert explained, "Press members from the NPPA have been granted exclusive access to Obama and will write about their time with him. But the NPPA does not want other journalists to be in the room when they meet with Obama because that would rob the NPPA of its exclusivity."

Andrew Malcolm works for a major newspaper. One would like to think he'd understand this.

For that matter, one would also like to think he'd tell the LA Times' readers the truth.

Steve Benen 4:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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"Andrew Malcolm works for a major newspaper."

I subscribe the the L.A. Times. It is a FORMERLY major newspaper.

Posted by: Bob on March 20, 2009 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

And furthermore: what's his role as "commander in chief" (of the military) got to do with any of this? He wasn't elected "commander in chief of the country," or "of the government."
Someone who worked in a White House ought to have a basic grasp on the the fundamental constitutional functions of a U.S. President.

Posted by: twc on March 20, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Los Angeles Times was a great paper until the Chandler family sold its holdings to the Tribune Co. Now the L.A. Times is on par with its half-sibling by marriage, the perpetually mediocre Chicago Tribune.

Having grown up there, I can honestly say that ChiTown really hasn't had a decent newspaper since the Chicago Daily News ceased publication thirty-one years ago. The suburban Daily Herald does a better job than the Tribune.

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro on March 20, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Being merely an attack dog now Malcolm has lost all credibility. His only purpose is to smear and anything he writes will follow this agenda. The LA Times needs better editors...ones who actually read for more than how much space is involved while ignoring content or ...truth.

Posted by: bjobotts on March 20, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

the perpetually mediocre Chicago Tribune

Stop lavishing the Trib with undue praise.

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

So if Obama, or any politician, ever grants an exclusive interview to the LA Times, we can expect Mr Malcolm to attack the politician's lack of transparency when other members of the press are not allowed to attend?

I recall an interview with Barbara Walter soon after the election. It was exclusive. How hideously non-transparent of the Obamas. Only Babs was there. I mean, I only watched it on TV and read about it. Incredibly closed, that.

Posted by: J on March 20, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's good that Andrew Malcolm works for a newspaper that no one reads and no one respects.

I used to read the LA Times everyday. Now I glance at it once a week, maybe. I can get national news stories for numerous other sources. Since the LA Times stopped covering local news at least 10 years ago, there are numerous local-L.A. oriented sites and blogs to get local news. Yahoo Sports and Deadspin, as well as what is left of the Daily News, are better for sports. Few people pay attention to MSM sports columnists anymore.

Yesterday, one of the LAT's dipshit entertainment columnists bemoaned the fact that no Hollywood supporters were invited to the White House for St. Patricks day, or that he wasn't going to sleep over at Ron Burkle's house.


Anyway, I'm not sure why any of this is a surprise. The median age of a person who reads the LA Times is over 55 year old and white. The demographic that watch Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News . . .

MSM consumers are old and white, and the big News Orgs are simply trying to hold on whatever audience they have left. It's why Jake Tapper twitters about a joke, knowing it will be picked up by Drudge, then talked about ad nauseum on Cable. Same formula for Politico and Halpern. Old people in general, and aging baby boomers specifically, LOVE being outraged. It's part of their make-up.

I suppose the fear is that the slow drip of negative news stories will filter down to the those who do not watch news, but I'm not so sure. Among people under 50, the MSM has never been held in such low esteem. People under 50 get their news, they just get it from multiple sources, so they aren't as susceptible to the biases of any specific new org.

Anyway, it's going to get worse, much worse.

Posted by: Shine on March 20, 2009 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, this is all over the conservasphere. You'd be surprised how quickly this sort of asshattery spreads.

Posted by: Personal Failure on March 20, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any real difference in what this piece of pig shit has done with the LA Times and what also happens throughout the Corporate Media ? They 'invent' their story lines to peddle, propagandize, the public as if the story lines, lies, that they invent are actually true. And then yap and yap and yap until they become the truth .. at lease for them and the typically stupid American viewer. Is there any real difference between this piece of Repiglican pig shit and say Brian Williams ? Or David Gregory or Wolf Blizter or Chris Matthews, etc, etc, etc, ? And of course they get paid millions to do it. Meanwhile, the teachers of our children make around 30,000 a year. Welcome to the wonders of out of control capitalism.

Posted by: stormskies on March 20, 2009 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

There's another unspoken problem with the article. Obama promised "to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history." As long as he's not kidnapping American citizens off the streets and holding them incommunicado he's still living up to his promise.

Bush certainly lowered the bar for greatness.

Posted by: MikeJ on March 20, 2009 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Malcolm works for the corporate-owned media. He uses that position to deliberately lie to his readers in an effort to undermine their support for and confidence in Obama.

Why would this surprise anyone? It is what the corporate-owned media has been doing since Obama was elected.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 20, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Scherer's over at Swampland expressing complete surprise that the event will be covered by the members of the newspaper organization attending the reception and giving the award. The White House actually had to explain this to him. How the hell did this guy ever get a job?

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, it's the NNPA (the folks giving Obama the award), not the NPPA (National Press Photographers' Association). Scherer, who so seldom gets anything right, made the abbreviation mistake and you and Media Matters picked it up.

Posted by: shortstop on March 20, 2009 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.

Another failure: Obama was not elected "commander in chief." He was elected president.

Posted by: Stefan on March 20, 2009 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Malcolm is from the Bush administration - you mean the very administration that was working the intelligence to fit their predisposed agenda? And, the LA Times hired this guy knowing this? Only one question left to the LA Times - Who the fool, fool? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 20, 2009 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Although Malcolm's blog allows comments, no comments appear. Today Atrios picked him as Wanker of the Day, and the dubious honor has been known to bring down websites. Yet, Malcolm's blog post has not inspired a single comment. Not one. Or has it? Malcolm apparently has to approve a comment before it appears. And since I know I submitted a comment hours ago, it's rather obvious that Andrew is not really interested in being criticized. It's also obvious that all the comments must have been as critical as mine since none have been allowed to show up. What a wanker indeed.

Posted by: Aris on March 20, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Good catch Stefan -- "elected command in chief"

what a moron. these people really all are just little fascists, aren't they. they loves themselves some power & guns.

Posted by: J on March 20, 2009 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for including the fact that Andrew Malcolm was literally former Republican President Bush's wife's PRESS SECRETARY.

ANDREW MALCOLM IS A REPUBLICAN PUBLIC RELATIONS PROPAGANDIST. He's always been that, though he's occasionally been more subtle. Clearly he's become desperate and has dropped any pretense of being anything other than a right-wing attack hack.

Apparently that suits right wing owner Sam Zell quite fine.

"Bob" and "Out and About" above are right: The LATimes was a great newspaper until Sam Zell tore it apart. It was also apparently profitable. But Zell sucked out that profit to pay off the debt he used to leverage his devouring of the best newspaper on the West Coast.

That the LATimes is infected by the second rate blogging of Andrew Malcolm and the editorials of lunatic Jonah Goldberg is deeply, deeply sad. They single-handedly cast a dark shadow over every other LATimes journalist, some of who are very decent at what they do.

Posted by: News Reference on March 20, 2009 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

The Los Angeles Neighborhood Advertise, owned by Chicago financial scammer Sam Zell, has nothing in common with the newspaper that used to be known as the Los Angeles Times. Zell, who proves daily that a Jew can indeed be a Nazi, has the paper staffed more and more with those whose political opinions he approves, i.e., right wingers. Peter Nicholas, who got nearly everything wrong in his coverage of the Obama campaign last year - and who wrote a column about being proud of his lack of understanding of what he was seeing - was made Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Advertiser after Obama took office. Those who fail to see the writing on the wall or notice that the wind now blows from the privy, soon find their jobs on the "economizing track" (i.e., they're dropped).

With any luck, this failed collection of litterbox liner will soon no longer exist.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 20, 2009 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

The reason there are no comments on Malcolm's blog is because it is moderated and they have to be "approved," the same as happens at any blog in Wingnutopia...

Posted by: TCinLA on March 20, 2009 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

This is standard behavior for ex-ReRushlickin politicians who go into the media. Note the most horrid and infamous case of all: Roger Ailes, founder of Faux "News" - the whole point is to be a partisan mouthpiece, advertised with the Orwellian slogan "Fair and Balanced - We Report, You Decide."

Posted by: Neil B ◙ on March 20, 2009 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

If anyone wants to circumvent little Andrew's "moderated" blog comments, his direct e-mail address is:


Posted by: TCinLA on March 20, 2009 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Malcolm is actually fairly amusing to watch, over time.

Most of his output is this sort of disposable B-list wannabe right-wing meme construction - he doesn't trouble himself to pretend any of it has any weight or importance by following up on it. He's throwing shoes, he knows it, and like his brief time with Mrs. Bush, he thinks it's more important work than committing journalism.

He's most amusing when he loses his temper, though, generally when a Republican is getting called on something. The Times actually had to pull down one of his posts about Edwards after he abreacted in comments.

Posted by: julia on March 21, 2009 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK



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