Polling—Los Angeles Times Style
March 04, 2005, 04:00 AM
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In more than five years of analyzing how the press reports on immigration, I have never found a more obvious example of bias than the February 4th Los Angeles Times story " Hahn's Woes Leave the Race Up for Grabs

The poll, conducted by Times pollster Susan Pinkus [email her],  purported to be a comprehensive look at how Los Angeles voters are reacting to the mayoral candidates.

LA Times reporter Michael Finnegan [email him] expanded on Pinkus' findings in his February 4th "No Clear Favorite in the Race for Mayor" (and his February 27th stories, "Win May Hinge on Turn-Out."

Basically, he said that no candidate has a decisive lead and a large number of voters are undecided.

But Pinkus and Finnegan only asked and wrote about the five so-called leading candidates: incumbent James Hahn and four of his challengers Antonio Villaraigosa, Bernard Parks, Richard Alarcon and Bob Hertzberg.

Absent, despite having performed impressively on Los Angeles talk radio shows and having received the unanimous, unsolicited endorsement of the Southern California Republican Women and Men, is Walter Moore—the lone immigration reform candidate.

Yet Moore is the only Republican in the race—in a city that has 300,000 registered Republicans (still!). As I reported last week, Moore calculates that a mere 125,000 votes would get him into the run-off that will be held if no candidate gets over 50 percent of the votes cast.

And the bias was even more blatant. Another Times pollster, Ted Werner, unwittingly called a Moore supporter to ask questions regarding the five candidates.

The Moore supporter said: "I will be voting for Walter Moore."

"Impossible," replied Werner, "he is not a candidate."

Moore's campaign manager subsequently called Pinkus. She admitted, without explanation, that she alone decided to list only five names.

I e-mailed Pinkus to inquire why the LA Times omitted Moore's name.

Since I received no response, I will answer for Pinkus. The Los Angeles Times favors open borders and unlimited immigration. Moore, on the other hand, wishes to enforce immigration law.

Result: a complete black-out of the Moore campaign that was finally lifted on February 28th after Moore stalwarts barraged the LA Times with phone calls detailing the polling outrage.  

(See reporter Jessica Garrison's story about Moore, "GOP Candidate Makes Some Waves") [email Garrison]

As refreshing as it is that the LA Times was finally shamed into covering Moore, serious problems remain.

Let's begin with Pinkus. Perhaps the most amazing part of this story is that Pinkus is employed at the Times—or anywhere else—in any capacity, let alone as "Director of Polls."

On September 12 2003, a Pinkus poll regarding the California Gubernatorial Recall election predicted that Arnold Schwarzenegger would receive 25% of the vote. But less than one month later, the final tally had Schwarzenegger at 48.6% of the vote—an error of 23.6 percentage points.

An earlier August 2003 Pinkus poll citing Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante as Gray Davis' likely replacement was equally inaccurate.

The LA Times and its Spanish-language sister publication, Hoy, endorsed Villaraigosa half-heartedly. And, of course, the paper has an editorial right to support whomever it pleases.

But it is an obvious conflict of interest for the LA Times to push its corporate agenda—in this case, open borders—by ignoring candidates who do not promote its philosophy.

To see at a glance the extent to which the Times will go, take a look at the curricula vitae of Villaraigosa and Moore:

VILLARAIGOSA


  • Failed the California bar examination four times.


  • Father of two out of wedlock children

  • Wrote a letter in 1996 to President Clinton seeking a pardon for convicted cocaine trafficker Carlos Vignali. Villaraigosa's political career had received generous contributions from Vignali's father, Horacio.
  • Refuses to work to enforce the immigration laws of the U.S.

MOORE

  • Graduated with honors from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

  • Graduated with honors from the Georgetown School of Law and edited the Georgetown Law Journal.

  • Successfully tried cases for Union Bank of California, Taco Bell Corporation, and Clear Channel Outdoor

  • Represented clients in disputes regarding misappropriation of corporate assets, computer software, cellular telecommunications licenses, natural gas, wills and trusts and employment disputes

  • Promises to use all of the influence of the Office of Mayor of Los Angeles to enforce immigration law beginning by repealing Special Order 40.

If Moore had the same open borders view as Villaraigosa, it is entirely possible that the LA Times might be writing glowingly about him as "a breath of fresh air."

I asked Moore if he could explain why the LA Times had shunned him for so long.

His simple answer: "The Times knows that when people hear me, they join my campaign."

It's not hard to write fair stories. Journalists and editors know how to do it.

What is so galling is that it easy to follow the principles of good and honest journalism.

For example, in her September 2000 column "In Pursuit of Fairness," Pulitzer Prize winner E.R. Shipp, then Ombudsman at the Washington Post, wrote:

"No story is fair if it omits facts of major importance or significance. Fairness includes completeness. No story is fair if it includes essentially irrelevant information at the expense of significant facts. Fairness includes relevance. No story is fair if it consciously or unconsciously misleads or even deceives the reader. Fairness includes honesty—leveling with the reader. No story is fair if reporters hide their biases or emotions behind such subtly pejorative words as 'refused,' 'despite,' 'quietly,' 'admit' and 'massive.' Fairness requires straightforwardness ahead of flashiness."

But, as we have seen before with the LA Times, someone has to ride herd on them to keep them honest…especially if the subject is immigration.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.