Mickey Kaus, last seen publishing the contents of a private email list for his own amusement, has now come up with a new idea (he gets one a year that have nothing to do with “let’s destroy teacher’s unions”); he wants to see a newspaper covering the Westside of Los Angeles. It actually starts off rather good:
Over a million people live here. Affluent people. People semi-obsessively concerned with local issues like crime, traffic, development, city and state politics and ill-served by the magisterial L.A. Times in far off downtown, which has to cover all of Southern California and seems to think paying attention to the West Side is somehow elitist, if not racist. … You could hire five reporters–cheap, these days–and you’d have about four more reporters covering the area than the Times has. If they’re the right reporters it shouldn’t be that difficult to steal the Times’ richest readers and the advertisers who want to reach them. (Many of those readers already get the New York Times for its national and international coverage. You would be the local supplement.)
There’s no question that the LA Times is too big and too poorly mismanaged to pay proper attention to the many communities of Southern California. And it’s also true that cuts to staff at local papers leave the country open to political trickery at the local level. So there’s a lot to like about a niche-marketed local paper serving a fairly well-off community that would pay for the privilege. Instead of newspaper bailouts, fostering increased competition at the local level makes sense.
Which leads us to what Mickey Kaus, a guy who is somehow a paid writer, thinks is a good use of local resources for a new newspaper:
We want to know whom Mayor Villaraigosa is dating, and we want to see her picture. And if John Edwards visits his mistress at the Beverly Hilton and gets chased into a bathroom by National Enquirer reporters–hey, you know, maybe that’s a story! (The LAT didn’t think so.) By covering politics in a way that got at least a few hundred thousand readers to pay attention, you could take the first, big step toward changing the apathetic culture of Southern California (the culture that lets Democratic interest groups fill the void and call the shots).
That’s right, Mickey’s conception of a paper that would change the apathetic culture of Southern California is one that is essentially a tabloid with a selective bias toward people Mickey Kaus hates. Amazingly, he thinks that would be a big seller! I’d bet they could call it “The Things Mickey Kaus Obsesses Over Tribune” and print tens of copies! What a well-informed citizenry that would engender! Maybe a free pair of panties (perfect for sniffing) could come with every edition!
Since Kaus apparently Googles his name repeatedly and has emailed me in the past when I’ve called him out on his nonsense (and a guy who links to random Tumblr pages on his own site seems to have a real sensitivity to this kind of thing), I’ll repeat to him what he said to Ezra Klein: “All communications are on the record.”