Los Angeles Times Went Woke, Now Is Going Broke

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Los Angeles Times Went Woke, Now Is Going Broke

People make their way past the Los Angeles Times office building in downtown Los Angeles on July 16, 2018. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

John Seiler

John Seiler

1/28/2024

Updated: 1/28/2024

Commentary
Going woke dried up a significant portion of Bud Light sales. Making woke movies tanked Disney’s stock. Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated went so woke it went broke.
Now the Los Angeles Times, long a woke leader, is laying off 115 journalists, 20 percent of the workforce. “The cuts were necessary because the paper could no longer lose $30 million to $40 million a year without making progress toward building higher readership that would bring in advertising and subscriptions to sustain the organization, said the paper’s owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong,” the paper reported.
Said the owner, who bought the paper six years ago, “Today’s decision is painful for all, but it is imperative that we act urgently and take steps to build a sustainable and thriving paper for the next generation. We are committed to doing so.”
The announcement came after the Washington Post last October laid off 240 staffers three months after the New York Times reported the WaPo was losing $100 million a year. That’s not as serious, because its owner since 2013, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is worth $181 billion. That’s the third largest fortune in the world, and within striking distance of the $205 billion of No. 2, Elon Musk. By contrast, Mr. Soon-Shiong is worth a measly $9.6 billion.
A big problem is the new owners are businessmen, and very good ones, who haven’t realized they cannot be kings of every business. The news business is very different from hawking books or inventing life-saving medicines.
Both new owners pledged not to interfere with news content. That gave their staffs carte blanch to tilt even further to the left—right as wokeism was taking over the left and poisoning almost everything in national politics. Say what you will about the old liberal publishers, they didn’t have any difficulty in defining the difference between a man and a woman.

Liberal ‘Bias’

Of course, both papers long had liberal “bias,” as conservatives long charged. But it was nothing like wokeism.
The papers even sometimes conceded the “bias” was a problem they were trying to deal with. In 1990, the L.A. Times actually ran a long investigative piece by one of their best journalists, David Shaw, “Abortion Bias Seeps Into News.” It’s still worth reading. He found, “A comprehensive Times study of major newspaper, television and newsmagazine coverage over the last 18 months, including more than 100 interviews with journalists and with activists on both sides of the abortion debate, confirms that this bias often exists.”
And consider these “biased” themes he listed and see if they apply today—even more so, and to so many more subjects:
  • “The news media consistently use language and images that frame the entire abortion debate in terms that implicitly favor abortion-rights advocates.
  • “Abortion-rights advocates are often quoted more frequently and characterized more favorably than are abortion opponents.
  • “Events and issues favorable to abortion opponents are sometimes ignored or given minimal attention by the media.
  • “Many news organizations have given more prominent play to stories on rallies and electoral and legislative victories by abortion-rights advocates than to stories on rallies and electoral and legislative victories by abortion rights opponents.”
Nowadays it’s even more wildly biased on abortion, as the L.A. Times, WaPo, and other left-wing media use such phrases as “reproductive freedom” instead of “abortion rights.” They even now feature stories of and by women who actually had an abortion, and are proud of it.
And get this one from Mr. Shaw 34 years ago: “Newspaper editorial writers and columnists alike, long sensitive to violations of First Amendment rights and other civil liberties in cases involving minority and anti-war protests, have largely ignored these questions when Operation Rescue and other abortion opponents have raised them.” Operation Rescue, now called Operation Save America, in 1990 was involved in nonviolent blocking of abortion clinics, leading to arrests.
The parallel today is with the mostly peaceful Jan. 6, 2021 protesters at the U.S. Capitol, whom the left-wing media now roundly scourge as “insurrectionists” attacking “Our Democracy.” A Jan. 4 story this year in the Times was headlined, “‘How are we going to defend ourselves?’ Inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.” And the WaPo sports a large online section titled, “THE JAN. 6 INSURRECTION.”
No such hysteria ever occurred about BLM and Antifa violent riots during the long, hot COVID summer of 2020.

Newspaper Problems

Of course, all newspapers have had difficulties since the mid-2000s. That’s when the Web took over much news reporting. It also hit hard revenue sources, especially display advertising for department stores (themselves the victims of Amazon and other online shopping sources)—and, most of all, classified ads, which almost entirely flipped to Craigslist because it was mostly free.
But there also are self-inflicted wounds. The WaPo and the L.A. Times are unionized on the model of the old industrial concerns such as auto plants and steel mills from a century ago. But the news business now is highly decentralized. I write from home. So do most journalists. The union model is outdated.
This was clear even in the mid-1990s as the Web was a lurking threat few realized was threatening the business. Journalists and other workers at my two hometown newspapers, the Detroit News and Free Press, went on a 19-month strike from 1995 to 1997. That was just about the time the internet began taking off.
Some journalists from both papers during the interim started an online source for news. But they didn’t see they were making the future online even as their strike was crippling both papers. The Detroit News and Free Press have had difficult times since, with shifting ownership.

The Wokeism Plague

As bad as the old liberal bias was, at least you could get a general sense of the news from their staffs. They would include relevant quotes from conservatives, even if you had to turn to an inside page to read them at the end of the story. They ran such conservative columnists like Pat Buchanan, who retired last year. They also ran long excerpts of major speeches by both liberals and conservatives, something valuable in those days before you could read speeches online, or watch them on YouTube.
As the left-wing media go even more woke, that’s why we need The Epoch Times more than ever. I read the L.A. Times and report on it so you don’t have to, and because it remains influential among the state’s elites and politicians.
But just look at some recent Times headlines: “Trump’s ‘lost cause,’ a kind of gangster cult, won’t go away.” “Trump’s immunity arguments are laughable, unpersuasive—and dangerous to democracy.” And: “Texas’ defiance of federal rule echoes Southern segregationists—with a key difference.”
The last was by Harry Litmen, who said the key difference was: “Under his ‘Operation Lone Star’ initiative, [Gov. Greg] Abbott has unabashedly declared that the state will undertake wide-ranging efforts to prevent immigrants from crossing into Texas from Mexico and send them back if they do enter. He insists that ‘Texas has the sovereign authority to defend our borders.’
“One small problem: It doesn’t. The Constitution unambiguously assigns regulation of immigration to the federal government. Federal law preempts state laws that purport to exercise immigration authority, and there is no serious argument to the contrary.”
Has Mr. Litman, a lawyer, read the Constitution lately? The noble document does give this power to Congress: “To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
But as Gov. Abbott explained: “I have already declared an invasion under Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 to invoke Texas’s constitutional authority to defend and protect itself. That authority is the supreme law of the land and supersedes any federal statutes to the contrary. The Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and other Texas personnel are acting on that authority, as well as state law, to secure the Texas border.”
Here are the exact words of Article I, Section 10, Clause 3: “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
The key word is “unless.” Because President Joe Biden has shirked his duty and allowed and “imminent Danger” to Texas, it has the right to defend itself.
You won’t read that in the L.A. Times, another reason it’s so woke it’s going broke. But you will read it right here in The Epoch Times.
John Seiler

John Seiler

Author

John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. Mr. Seiler has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com and his email is writejohnseiler@gmail.com

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