There are still aftershocks being felt in the media following the recent layoffs at the Los Angeles Times. After the paper cut over 20 percent of its staff, the harsh reality was felt across the news industry. As I covered earlier this week, few journos are interested in looking into the underlying problems motivating this purge. One of the items I came across was that at the LA Times, where they had their newsroom segregated with ethnic caucuses as reporters from various ethnicities were cobbled together.
NBC News has a similar effort in place, with various news departments dedicated to segments of society, such as “NBC Out,” its vertical focusing on gay issues. At another – “NBC Latino” – reporter Suzanne Gamboa looked at the LA Times layoffs and saw the tragedy in the Latino journalists let go and how this loss will translate to a heightened threat of misinformation.
The problem here, of course, is that focusing on the Latino layoffs means you have to diminish the job losses experienced by other ethnicities. This is going to happen when you base your news coverage on a targeted demographic; you become locked in on the component specific to your targeted audience and truncate your converge of the story. It warps journalism and delivers a flawed product. (NBC News is also trapped by the fact the LA Times is an outlet that pushed the use of the term “Latin-X,” violating this desire within its sympathetic coverage.)
According to NBC News, We have to buy into the belief that these Hispanic journalists were especially needed in this coming year to ferret out false stories and fake news items affecting their target audience.
We also get the reasoning that sounds rather xenophobic. It is explained that Latinos have been found, in a study, to be prone “to consume and share misinformation.” Oh dear, who will now protect these naive Hispanics who do not know any better that they are being deceived?! Well, if the reliance had been on the LA Times delivering these protective services, the Hispanic community may have been better served by these layoffs.
Just start with the paper’s insistence on “Latinx” usage, something polls have shown is resisted by the vast majority of the Hispanic community. Then there is that last entry on the list of incendiary news topics – immigration. We have a prime example of misinformation spreading about that subject…from the Los Angeles Times.
A recent story engulfed the news landscape concerning issues at the southern border in Texas. Governor Gregg Abbott has installed the Texas Military Department to take over border protection duties, and this has angered the Biden administration and the press. The LA Times joined in on the flawed coverage of an incident, where it was accused that Abbott’s TMD prevented the federal border agents from entering a park to rescue a mother and her children, leading to the drowning deaths of all three.
This incident will probably stand as one of the worst cases of the press committing malpractice this year, as it was entirely fraudulent reporting. The LA Times added fuel to that misinformation conflagration.
It has come to be learned that numerous aspects of this news report were proven wrong. The TMD conducted searches, the drownings took place on the Mexico side of the river, and U.S. authorities had not even been notified of the incident until one hour after the bodies had been recovered by Mexican border agents.
The Times gave its lengthy report on Wednesday, January 17, still holding the issue as being unresolved. The initial accusatory reporting – from CBS News – was made on Saturday the 13th, and later the same day the TMD was already giving clarified reports. Then that Sunday they disclosed even more information explaining the entire episode. Yet the press – including the Times – spent days rehashing the misinformation that Gregg Abbott was possibly culpable for these deaths.
When it comes to Hispanics and their receiving of misinformation during the coming election year, that is a community that should be better served by not being served as much false news from the largest newspaper in the Los Angeles region.