Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Los Angeles Times Staff: Fake News Story “Embarrassing and Demoralizing”

lat-full-size-ad-excerptI was pretty blasé about the stunt that NBC and the Los Angeles Times pulled this morning: The paper ran an ad for a TV show in the guise of a fake news story on the front page.

But then again, I don’t work there.

Here’s the text of a petition that started circulating around the LAT newsroom this morning. I’m told that 100 members of the paper’s staff have signed it so far.

We the journalists of the newsroom strenuously object to the decision to sell an ad, in the form of a phony news story, on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.
The NBC ad may have provided some quick cash, but it has caused incalculable damage to this institution. This action violates a 128-year pact with our readers that the front page is reserved for the most meaningful stories of the day. Placing a fake news article on A-1 makes a mockery of our integrity and our journalistic standards.
The Los Angeles Times stands apart from other sources of news and information in Southern California because of our willingness to report the truth, even when it angers powerful interests or puts us in peril.  Our willingness to sell our most precious real estate to an advertiser is embarrassing and demoralizing.

UPDATE: I’m told publisher Eddy Hartenstein is supposed to be addressing the staff this afternoon.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work