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The post-newspaper environment has arrived

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Forget what you've read about the prospects of living in a post-newspaper city sometime in the future.

You already are.

If you live in LA outside of the Daily News' distribution range, the day in which you are living in a post-newspaper city is today.

You require no further evidence than the Times' gratuitous mopping up of the Zuma Dogg - Craig Rubin fracas at the eleventh hour of a Mayor's race that never materialized as such.

It is obvious to me that whatever happened, both candidates are feeling a little at loose ends because they have been playing to well-attended event after well-attended event with no LA Times media coverage whatsoever. And they are looking for scapegoats among themselves.

That's what people do when things go badly. They scapegoat.

I've been writing about the lack of coverage the candidates have received for weeks now. My only goal has been to try to invest the challenger candidates with the dignity they deserve as challengers.

Yesterday, in fact, I got a chance to state some of my case for greater coverage for the challenger candidates on Which Way, LA. And even as I was telling the host that the Mayor's race was transpiring in a "cone of silence," Candidate Rubin and Candidate Dogg took their frustrations to an inappropriate level.

I'll not be a hypocrite and pretend some of the candidates don't have their glaring shortcomings. In fact, the one question I asked every candidate I interviewed was an elaborate one in which I hoped to learn how the candidates might respond under a pressure situation such as the nascent moments of a civil disturbance. I thought the question to be responsible media vetting, even as I had seen William F. Buckley ask Ronald Reagan such a question early in the 1980 presidential race, to test his mettle.

For yesterday's fracas, I think both candidates owe the City of Los Angeles an apology. A very contrite apology. As well as to we who have tried to invest them with more dignity than other media have.

But I also think the Los Angeles Times owes the City an apology for suggesting that interviewing these and other candidates "veers towards pointlessness."

Some of us have been pushing hard for more coverage because old media were not only ignoring challenger candidates, but they were treating them as something less than ordinary citizens.

Even Warren Olney yesterday suggested the candidates recalled the days of Eileen Anderson, who wore swimsuits and sang her positions.

But these candidates of 2009 wear suits and ties and generally show up to debates well prepared. Yet the Times and most broadcast media have not even treated our nine challenger candidates with the same dignity they even treated Anderson sixteen years ago.

To my mind, old media need to treat marginal candidates with condescension, because they have to boss someone around. Old media are now too impotent now to bring due diligence to actual people in power.

So forget wondering what it's like to live in a post-newspaper city. As the Times has demonstrated all through this City's election cycle that wasn't, that day has already arrived.
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