- Fall 2017 -

... "everybody's got one ...

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Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
Fall - 2017

Everyone Has One

Once and for all,

* I graduated - was graduated - from journalism school.
Took that major because it had no language requirement.
From the first day they taught us to write facts only.

Accusations were not substantive. They were hot air till
they were proven: only then they got printed.

Today anyone claims anything and news media grab
it if it gets attention.

Alleged - says - claims - accuses: all are flapdoodle.

And as the details of claims - should they be spicy - grow,
the newspapers banner them higher. It’s clear that news
suppliers today take their cue from the National Enquire

* Newspaper reporters are self-inflaters. They make grand
statements that indicate what two, five, or twenty people
aver: “People are concerned throughout the nation.”

* May 27 NYT Eli Rosenberg. The howl over a conservative
woman’s speech at CUNY is pegged “the latest dispute
in the heated national dialogue over free speech.”

Who’s against it? A national dialogue could be two people
on the phone from NY to LA.

* 7-1 Women. One’s suit failed -
“but it sparked a debate about bla bla bla.”

This technique, inventing a worldwide movement, is
a journo-disease. Each reporter knows a dozen
others who share their perceptions, so each proffers
a notion of nationwide, nay, worldwide chatter.
-------------------------------------------

These Are The Times of LA

5-3 Kate Mather opines that “for many” the May Day
demonstration was somehow more important now that
Trump was in office.

“How many?” was what my hard-nose J-school teacher would say to her. (‘Many' means me and a couple others.)

5-4 There are rules, and there are rules. Veronica Rocha not only supplies the name of a woman who alleges she was raped, but also the name of a student she accuses, ergo endorsing her. (Why give the name of a to-date innocent person?)

(I don’t like violent attacks, but I went to J-school
before the rules about accusations were “eased.”)

5-7 I didn’t read the whole article, because Ryan
Faughnder’s references to “Industry insiders,” “some
executives” and “audiences” suggested that the rest
of the story was as fact-free.

* No date. David Montero and Jaweek Kaleem combine to quote a cousin of the deceased that “the family was distraught over his death.” Oh …

5-19 Lorrain Ali pours it on the late “disgraced”
Roger Ailes, ignoring - or ignorant of - the fact that accusations, alone, got him ejected from Fox. But she is an entertainment writer, not a reporter.

* “Motorcycle thefts climb 2% in 2016.”
Climb? How about trickle. Peep.

5-25 Letters bemoan a reviewer’s slam of a Moody
Blues concert. Mikael Wood, knowing and fearful
of his peers, toes the crit-world line that says they’re
corny.

Fans of such corn had a swell time. Someone onstage
should have pointed him out, so fans could kick and
pelt him in advance of his pre-written peer-frightened
slam.

* No date. August Brown, about rock fests, blithely cites “the misogyny and coercion underlying much of the ‘free love’ culture of the ‘60s rock scene.” Say what?

5-31 August Brown heads-ups us that a band’s
upcoming appearance will supply joy “For any NY-
to-LA transplants nostalgic for the vanished Zebulon
music venue in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.” This a big wedge of LAT readership?.

* No date on page: Snot Mikael Wood describes a
former boy-band singer’s solo shot as an attempt “to
lift himself out of the realm of branded lunch boxes,
and touch down among the real rock artistes.”

This twit should be on Twitter.

6-1 Mary McNamara gets “Essay” space to claim that
“Virtually everyone in America was horrified” at
Kathy Griffin’s severed Trump-head. For chrissake.

* Guy gets big obit. He wrote publicity for Warner
Bros., proferring reasons for people to see his
employer’s movies. Judging by this salute, the Times
dutifully printed them.

6-3 Makeda Easter’s lede graph about an Uber
kerfuffle: “To err is Uber.” Ugh.

6-4 Tracey Lien: “Uber was the ‘bad boy’ of” - NEXT!

6-5 Rosanna Xia, on about USC, humorously asides
the worn “University of Spoiled Children.” Newbies
have tittered that for centuries.

6-6 “Witness tells of Cosby encounter.” Of course.

6-7 “California Journal” features Robin Abcarian
musing about her car-scrape with a bicyclist, with
plenty of insights and reminiscences about herself.
Half page.

* Steve Zeitchek’s account of this day’s Cosby trial
dutifully details lines and lines of allegations. (In
the absence of facts, write what’s said?)

6-13 Columnist Michael Hiltzik, Business section,
decries Delta Airlines ceasing funding for New
York’s Public Theater. No LA news today?

6-14 Love the kerfuffle about right-wing nag Meg
Kelly’s switch to liberalism after her “victim” suit
against Fox.

Newsreaders are performers!
File in Entertainment!

6-18 “Anger erupts after London fire.”
News would be joy abounds.

* Someone was probed, but not charged, so D. Cloud
and J. Tanfani REPEAT THE ACCUSATION.

Then, color: No one at the office would comment.

Then, no one answered the door or the phone at a
“three story home in a gated community in
Huntington Beach.”

Why? Decorate their failure?

6-19 The Nation. A nut slammed his car into a
Ten Commandments display in Arkansas. Full
color photos of slab, scene, crazy guy.

Half page.
Useful … not.

6-22 Airport cop stabbed in Flint, Michigan. Half-
page- plus, with photo of cop, his dog. Mayor says
her thoughtsand prayers are with him.

Our sister city?

* Steven Zeitchik “Old studio hands like Ron Howard
quickly were thrown around into the rumor mill.”

Try to imagine something less substantial.

6-24 “This just in” to Podunk Press: Gaga Mikael
Wood recounts an “only-in-Hollywood moment”
seeing two members of Fleetwood Mac rehearsing
on a soundstage.

In LA! Where people rehearse!
(Can you beat that? Oh, you can?)

6-26 Three reporters file a story from Pakistan
about a fiery oil truck accident, according to
information phoned from “a man who did not give
his name.”

Well, they certified someone called them.

* Music snot Mikael Wood observes that music at
a fest “avoided the Top 40 pop and hip-hop, regarded
by many as the musical equivalent of ‘The Bachelor.’”

Clumsiness aside, who? How many? Get over yourself.

* Randall Roberts, at a kiddie-rock fest with his wife
and kid, tells us about his fair-skin family’s
(message; he married within the race) struggle
with all-day sun. Apparently their first exposure.

Both the above reviews shared the banner hed “Off
to a bland start.” The music, or the reportage?

6-29 Egyptian comic is in LA. paid-by-word Jefferey
Fleishman avers “Out near La Brea (?? AF), drizzle
blows through jacaranda, a gardener hurries past a
pool.” You don’t have to paint me a picture.

7-3 Three reporters in Illinois covering a Chinese
student’s abduction wrote “In the midday heat, the
campus was mostly quiet Sunday.”

Mostly? Why noon?
Was it cloudy at 3:15?
Did it get noisy later?
Isn’t space precious?

7-9 “Russian media praise Putin.”
From our Moscow correspondent.

* Goddam “Grim Sleeper” monicker for a killer.
Clumsy, shames the namer and the paper.

7-11 Half-page obit for Greta Garbo’s niece. We'll miss her.

7-15 Everybody wants to be an art director, everybody wants to call the shots.

Andy McCullough, in Miami for a Dodger game, opens
with a critique of the stadium’s visual garnish.

“It is a Day-Glo daydream, an Art Deco acid trip.”

Misuse of Art Deco aside, why add this film flam to a
sports piece? Make it MORE trivial?

7-16 Three reporters ponder parents’ ‘suspicion’ that their dead son was coerced by others to take the drugs that killed him at a party.

Really? Could such ponderation lead to a suit against
the wealthy host of the party? Ya think?

7-17 Tre’vell Anderson coerces a movie studio’s distribution chief to admit that its hit movie is “epic episodic storytelling.”

* Mark Swed pads his word count to 'divulge' that Tony Bennett, being reviewed, had previously been reviewed in the LA Times, with a quote. You scratch my back …

7-20 “These allegations, if true, are horrible and
despicable” in a USC med school flap.

How unlike the LAT to insert doubt about accusations.

Oh, it was a quote.

* AP obit for biased-against Wal-Mart greeter (!) cites words of decedent delivered “during her lunch break, after first saying grace over a meal of fast food
hamburgers and chicken nuggets.”

Does this ‘color’ indicate a person ‘of’ color?

7-26 Alene Tchekmedyian reports ad infinitum
neighbors’ distrust of a natural gas plant’s reopening.

The company - and govt’s - denial gets short shrift. Also a former (disgruntled?) employee’s fears.

Viva la revolution.

* Wasn’t Robin Abcarian’s rambling piece on Dublin,
California scattershot with ‘tude? I should talk.

* Shashank Bengali and Parh M.N.’s half page about ‘art’ being mishandled by Air India was a sure cure for insomnia.

7-28 Deborah Vankin, re OJ’s release: “Many, of course, believe” yada yada.

As my J-school prof said, “HOW many?”

As I say, “Shaddup!”

7-29 Sub-hed, Business section car review: XXX car
“is a shameless bad boy.” There’s shame there ...

7-30 Thomas Curwen writes that a gold prospector’s
mantra (…) is “Buy low, sell high.” Remarkable. Not.

8-1 French actress “fearlessly played complex women” says hed. The opposition was intense!

NO DATE ON PAGE “Special correspondent” half page
that a school's name, Lynch, disturbs some cranks
— in Oregon. Big color photo of school parking lot.

8-3 Joe Senna reports that Caltrans plans to clear
rubble from a landslide in Big Sur.

And you thought they’d just close that coastal road.

8-4 Though the race for nicknaming is paramount at
the paper, couldn’t they have done better than “Suge” as short for sugar?

It seers him in its resemblance to meshugina.

8-8 “Sexist memo a new blemish on diversity in tech.” Memo reporting is front-page news.

8-10 Mike Wood, again, ponders Lady Gaga’s quiet
passage in a concert, cheering that “in the past”
such moments were her “phoniest, as though she’d
entered a kind of stage-school zombie state,” but
now it’s grown, in her new show, to a position of
respect. Maybe Wood is the growth.

8-13 Lauren Rosenblatt, half page Nation think-
piece on Educ Secy DeVos’s move to give equal
consideration to the accused and accuser in
campus rape allegations, dares to cite “alleged
survivors” of attacks, out of step with today’s
accusation = fact world.

8-15 Matt Pearce’s think-piece about the Jews-
will-not-replace-us morons in Virginia cites “a
blogger” who claimed to be one.

If true, giving the turd space seems reasonable.
In a pig’s eye.

8-16 Stephen Battnaglio cites “people familiar
with the talks who were not authorized to
comment” to back up a point. Makes it true, or deniable?

8-17 Steven Zeitchek’s ponderation about a
film’s failure is clustered beneath a small
banner of “Analysis.”

Better would be equal but vivider
“Monday Morning Quarterback.”

8-18 Fancy pants Cindy Chang cites a “scrum”
of reporters (Don’t forget the “r”!) gathering to
hear a woman’s claim that she was victimized by
Polanski 44 years ago.

Accusations, facts.
All equal.

NO DATE ON PAGE Cathleen Decker’s opening
salvo spits “testosterone” in rant against - oh,
those bleeders always shreying. (Is this wrong?)

8-24 A guy is fired by a theater group, claims ageism.
Deborah Vankin sees validity, cites various Times
critic’s opinions of the guy. Not exactly outreach.

8-25 Reporters’ astonishment (disapproval) of a
Fairfax Avenue deli’s “C” rating smacks of favoritism.
They like the place, so question the report.

8-26 Backward-bending Robert Lloyd, and the LAT,
cheerily consider brackish bullshit brayer Megan
Kelly’s turn to bubbly liberalism a swell thing.

“Don’t trust me, I’m a political whore” must have
fallen off the paste-up.

* The single page allotted to the STATE gives big
play to a cheery story about a hot dog vendor in
Berkeley who ignores health laws. His supporters
respect his “vision.”

9-14 Smug Charles Bagli gloats about the
cancellation of a rich guy’s planned development
of an entertainment center on the Hudson
River - “Some critics (!!!! AF) called the plan a
monument to a billionaire’s ego (Like the
Rockefeller Center, you twit AF) and it was quickly
renamed (It? Was? You mean you and your
bottom-feeders?) 'Diller Island.'”

9-21 “Business” section goes morning-tv with
big Samantha Masunaga report on Kathy Griffin’s
feud with a big-shot neighbor in some swank
area. Masunaga cites Huffpost AND a Suze Orman
report on the fracas. We stoop to please.

9-27 The Times is obedient. Each time Graumann’s
Chinese Theater is re-bought it honors the buyer’s
insidious takeover.

This day, four reporters joked, I hope, citing
“the famous TCL Chinese Theater.”

LATimes

Scandal at Fox! Fresh Allegations (Meg James) including a quotation-marked remark from “a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to publicly discuss it.” Does that sound like authentication to you?

Same gal, diff story: “according to two people who
requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.” Give names, not fancy dodging that backs up the breast-beating.

Richard Winton & Matt Hamilton hedge some
apparently dodgy fact with “according to a law
enforcement source who spoke on the condition of
anonymity because the source (a person!) was not
authorized to speak publicly.”

If you trust his word, print it. Don’t back-pedal;

“Well, he SAID it” won’t exonerate you if it's false.

* Lorraine Ali, 7-1 entertainment section think-piece
on prez Tweets: “‘Has the president gone too far?’
people ask after each incident.”

Here, again - “People.”
Animals, insects are silent.

The world is in her corner.
Sans names she is the world.

New Yawk, New YAWK Times

5-2 Ben Sisario and Joe Coscarelli give a plug to an
awesome lawyer “who has represented Chris Brown
and Keisha.” (Later he’ll scratch THEIR backs.)

5-3 “Efforts to reach Mr. Oliver on Tuesday night
were unsuccessful” is blather from Manny Fernandez, Dana Goldstein or Christine Hauser. It means they failed.

5-19 Rachel Abrams avers that Walmart is - picture
this - “getting its head around” going online. Groovy.

5-27 Trump at NATO “behaved like the unpopular
rich kid whose idea of making small talk is telling
people how much his shoes cost.”
Hats off to Gail Collins, Op-Ed page.

5-28 Gina Bellafante writes that many people are
hungry in San Francisco “though it is the birthplace
of the modern culinary revolution.”

Effete don’t fail me now.

5-30 Health. Using the swell, really unusual word
“quintessential,” Jane E Brody writes of a fix-it
man who can repair “everything from bicycles to
bathtubs.” What is that range, exactly?

6-19 Two writers quote a law expert who says that
lawyers at the next Cosby trial will study the first
trial. They could have asked me.

6-30 John Koblin, re Greta Van Sustern, recounts
her being fired last year when “a messenger arrived
at her home and handed her a pair of letters
informing her that she was out.”

Why the color? Word-count?

7-1 All reference to Trump’s “sexually assaulting
women” is wide. He was bragging, to someone of his
level. No pussy-grabbed women have come forward.

7-5 Charles Bagli finds a developer who wants to buy
old bldgs and fix them for a profit. “He’s really revved up about it” says the agent handling the purchases.

What is this? News?

7-20 Sewell Chan reports of gender, racial gaps at the BBC, which responds it is closing them.

“Critics were not satisfied,” Chan writes.
Of course. If they were, they’d be out of a job .

* A John Wayne Gacy victim was newly ID’d after
decades. That Gacy “was labeled the killer clown
by the news media” is presented with seeming glee,
not shame, by reporter Liam Stack.

7-21 Just like LA Times reporters (hell, any reporter) John Eligon and Mitch Smith bray impersonally that "efforts to reach” someone “have been unsuccessful,” depersonalizing their failure.

* Obit for rock band singer, Joe Coscarelli gives
album review, cites critics.

Don’t put no horse shit on my grave.

8-6 As above, NYT rounds up critics’ opinions of
dead Robt Mitchum’s acting.

8-7 Scott Shane and Vindu Goel, re election-ad
influence, state that allegations and the “possibility”
of voter fraud cast a shadow on the results.

Thin air casts no shadow.

8-11 Grope-allegation witness’s testimony in Denver
trial bespoke “confidence, irritation and flashes of
humor” writes Donna Bryson. Veracity not noted.

8-13 The plod continues. Hed calls Trump a “wild
card,” meaning nobody knows his next move. A wild
card is valuable, period. Not an unknown commodity.

8-22 Stephanie Clifford and Colin Moynihan pack
their Monday Morning quarterbacking with a juror
who “asked to remain anonymous because one of the
lawyers in the case lives near him on Long Island.”

Wha?

9-16 Not Necessarily The News. Julie Decaro
“Essay” criticizes critics who criticize female
broadcasters.

She got a lot of knocks when she was one so
certainly she's neutral on the subject …

9-20 Words are what we say they are? Sapna
Maheshwari (where are the Joneses? Smiths?)
writes a ‘color’ piece in Business about …

well, I didn’t finish it, offput by her (?) citing
someone’s reputation “careening” out of control.

We in LA accept inexactitude in our daily sandwich-
wrapper, but this common mistake - careen meaning atilt, as a masted ship at dock -is upsetting to we who are told endlessly to face East and worship.

(Something bouncing side to side is “careering.”)

9-21 News tyro Lillian Ross got a neat sendoff, more’n a half page.

- 57 -

 

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