The Other McCain

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Does the Los Angeles Times Understand the Meaning of the Word ‘Discredited’? UPDATE: Hahn Admits Placing Call on Behalf of Rapist Gangster ‘P.J. Steve’

Posted on | July 8, 2011 | 23 Comments

In a story about Thursday’s debate in California’s 36th District congressional special election, Los Angeles Times reporter Jean Merl twice uses the word “discredited” in reference to KTTV’s reporting on Democrat Janice Hahn’s gang-intervention program:

The exchange came as national women’s groups accused the Huey campaign of trying to discourage women from voting in the South Bay-based 36th Congressional District and the National Republican Congressional Committee touted an “update” of a discredited Fox News report that accused Hahn and a city gang intervention program of hiring and supporting active gang members. Hahn vigorously denied the report again Thursday. . . .
Also Thursday, fallout from a since-discredited Fox TV news report again roiled the campaign. An “update” of the controversy — stemming from allegations Hahn and the city of L.A. gave money to active gang members — featured a gang member saying Hahn had intervened on his behalf when he was arrested, plus a statement from a city attorney who asked not to be identified.
The Huey campaign has distributed copies of the original report and the National Republican Congressional Committee told The Times’ it has spent about $5,000 and sent text messages to voters directing them to the website it created about the updated report.

Notice two things: Not only does Merl repeat the word “discredited,” but she also twice calls this a “Fox News” or “Fox TV news” story — clearly attempting to convey the impression that the investigative reporting by Chris Blatchford was done by the national cable-TV news network, rather than by the news department of the local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles, KTTV.

Readers of Jean Merl’s article might certainly be excused for thinking that this “discredited Fox News report” had been proven false. But Blatchford’s story — both the 2008 story and his 8-minute updated report Thurday — cited facts regarding the gang-intervention program that have been reported by other news organizations, including the local tabloid L.A. Weekly. Here, watch the entire eight minutes yourself, if you have not already done so:

KTTV provides a transcript of the program at its Web site. Can the Los Angeles Times be bothered to do some actual reporting of its own, rather than mere public relations stenography for Democrats? Has the LA Times even bothered to report that Democrats are worried enough about Tuesday’s CA-36 special election that they got Obama’s Organizing for America to send out e-mails seeking volunteers for the Hahn campaign?

Joy –
There are only five days left until the special election in California’s 36th Congressional District on Tuesday. With this race coming down to the wire, every one of those days will be crucial to our efforts to help Democratic nominee Janice Hahn pull out a victory.
OFA California volunteers will be making calls for Janice from now until the election. One of the phone banks is in Pasadena on Sunday — can you make it?
Here are the details:
What: Make calls for Janice Hahn
[then the address is listed–it’s in Pasadena proper]
When: Sunday, July 10th, 3:00 pm — RSVP now
If you can’t make that phone bank, we’ll be making calls at each OFA California office every day from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. — find and RSVP for one of those events here.
Janice is running a campaign to create new jobs, invest in clean energy, and stop the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it. When she gets to Congress, she’ll be a great voice for California and a strong ally for President Obama and other Democrats in Washington.
Join us in Pasadena on Sunday:
Mary Jane Stevenson

That e-mail was sent to Joy McCann (Little Miss Attila), while Darleen Click of Protein Wisdom got a similar e-mail directing her to a separate OFA office on Vine Avenue in downtown Los Angeles Ontario, Calif. (Correction per Darleen’s comment below. — RSM)

UPDATE: Let’s see if the LA Times calls the local NPR affiliate “discredited” for accurately reporting Thursday’s debate:

During a debate at KPCC Thursday, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn — a Democratic candidate for Congress — found herself fending off charges she helped a gang member get out of jail. . . .
An earlier report by Fox 11 TV news that Hahn pushed for the release of an active gang member has been dogging the South Bay Democrat. Fox reporter Chris Blatchford quoted an unnamed Los Angeles City Attorney who said Hahn’s office played a role in the release of convicted felon P.J. Steve, who’d ostensibly worked as a gang interventionist.
“I never worked on behalf of a known convicted gang member to get them out of jail,” Hahn said. In response to a question from KPCC’s Larry Mantle, she added that the man’s distraught mother visited her office, and that she did make a call.
“The only call I ever made was just to say ‘what was the purpose of the arrest of this person?’” she said.
Blatchford (quoting an unnamed deputy city attorney) said he was “told Hahn’s office called and said P.J. Steve worked for her and because he was a gang intervention worker for her they asked for an O.R. release and it was granted.” An O.R. release is a release on an defendant’s own recognizance.

If readers haven’t followed this story closely, they can be forgiven for not understanding what is being alleged, what is being denied, what is now confirmed and whether or not Blatchford’s report is “discredited.”

The Crips gangster “P.J. Steve” presented at his trial a certificate of appreciation signed by Janice Hahn — this is a fact that no one has disputed. Now we have Hahn’s confirmation that she placed a call to police on behalf of “P.J. Steve” after the gangster’s arrest on rape charges. An attorney in the prosecutor’s office told Blatchford that “P.J. Steve” was released on his own recognizance based on Hahn’s call.

Hahn denies exercising that kind of influence with LAPD, but ask yourself: If you were a cop and a powerful city council member called your office “just askin’ questions” about a suspect’s arrest, what impression would such a phone call make on you?

UPDATE II: “Journalism is hard!



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