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la times building

The Hypocrisy of the L.A. Times on Prop 16

How does the L.A. Times publish an editorial column in support of Proposition 16 with a straight face?

In one of the most ironic – and unctuous – editorials I have ever read, the L.A. Times Editorial Board wrote an auspicious lament over the failure of Prop 16, which was an amendment on the California ballot this year that would have stricken down a 26 year-old state law that prohibits discrimination in the workplace, and if passed, would have allowed employers to consider a job applicant’s race, gender, or ethnicity as a basis for hiring – i.e. affirmative action.

In their editorial, the L.A. Times writes, “Despite a summer of racial reckoning…Voters decided Tuesday not to help dismantle racism. What a shame, and what a missed opportunity. It’s a reminder too that while California is often viewed as a progressive bastion, the state and its electorate are still fairly conservative when it comes to confronting racial inequity.”

So let me get this straight – the L.A. Times defended a new law that would wipe away anti-discrimination legislation and implement state sanctioned “racial reckoning,” yet they do not even have a single Latino on their masthead, and Latinos make up just 13% of its editorial staff?

Talk about a lack of self-awareness!

To Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, publisher of the L.A. Times, Sewell Chan, head of the Editorial Board, Norman Pearlstine, Executive Editor: If you want a “racial reckoning,” how about ushering one on among your C-Suite level executive director offices? If you want to bemoan the fact Proposition 16 lost the vote and condone using things like race as a hiring guideline, how about hiring more Latinos to your news department and maybe put at least one on your masthead? After all, your publication covers a city with over half its population identifying as Latinx. To ignore that is not only ignorant, it’s indignant.

Now for the record, (I speak for myself, the author, and not LATV Network on this issue) I am nuanced in my support of the controversial practice of affirmative action. I believe affirmative action has its place in many, but not necessarily all, sections of workplaces and industries. In politics for instance, people should absolutely be governed by leaders and government officials who represent their communities. And one other place where representation definitely matters is in the media. Particularly in newsrooms at daily newspapers and local news stations that cover and set the narratives for a community.

In both of those arenas, Latinos are so disproportionately underrepresented that even the most conservative person with at least half-a-brain, and who looks at the numbers, would have to admit we are glaringly omitted. I hope the decision makers in media take note – our absence is really noticeable, and growing increasingly pedantic. I used to joke that if you have too many Latinos at a party, we take it over (which is funny because it’s true). Well, the mainstream media got the message. And despite the woke messaging to their general audience, community partners, and corporate sponsors, the evidence shows Latinos are being kept out where it counts.

With this editorial, the L.A. Times continues to prove again and again that they are tone-deaf to the issue of Latino representation. We will keep reminding them. And I look forward to the day when I write the article praising them for finally putting a Latin surname on their masthead.



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