Thursday, June 21, 2018

LA Times' New Owner Pledges to Fight "Fake News" ... Really

Patrick Soon-Shiong, biotech billionaire born in South Africa, now living in the United States, has completed his acquisition of the failing, flailing Los Angeles Times.

The new headquarters will be located along Imperial Highway in El Segundo, CA, which guarantees nothing but a terrible commute for the vast majority of reporters and staff which still remain with the newspaper.

The liberal chattering classes are celebrating this move because it means "local control" has returned to this newspaper. Lying is still lying, however, and liberal bias remains liberal bias, whether the owner of a media company is located right next door to the employees or is situated one thousand miles way.

Soon-Shiong also pledged not only to compete with the New York Times, but to fight as hard as possible against Fake News.

Today marks a new era for the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and publications across the California News Group. My family and I are truly honored and privileged to assume the mantle of these storied institutions of democracy. To me, this is the culmination of an immigrant’s American Dream.

From today, our important work protecting and building on a rich history of independent journalism begins — with a sense of urgency and purpose.

I believe that fake news is the cancer of our times and social media the vehicles for metastasis. Institutions like The Times and the Union-Tribune are more vital than ever. They must be bastions of editorial integrity and independence if they are to protect our democracy and provide an antidote to disinformation. We will continue our papers’ dedication to truth, integrity, journalistic independence, and storytelling that engages, informs, educates and inspires with care and compassion.

Editorial integrity and independence have fallen into increasingly short supply in the United States. The media has become so obsessed with Donald Trump, looking for every perverse opportunity to see him fail rather than simply reporting what he is doing and what other newsworthy events are taking place in Los Angeles and around the country.

Notice also that Soon-Shiong refuses to define "Fake News". What is he talking about? Does he have any intention of writing the truth about individuals? Let's hope that he expects his writers, reporters, and staffers to get the whole story

In an era of digitally enabled disruptions which pose an existential threat to the traditional newspaper industry, the California News Group must be run as a business in order to grow and thrive, never losing sight of the needs and interests of our readers. 

To run successfully as a business, however, the Times must provide a service which people want.

Most people don't want the left-wing propaganda pablum which passes for news in the LA market. Can Soon-Shiong takes necessary steps to get rid of the wannabe social just warrior reporters at the Times?

As a private, locally owned enterprise, we will invest in the group’s future. While ad-supported print publications will continue to feel the pressures occasioned by the digital era, we are confident that our print products will remain viable and vital. This is especially true for those readers who, like myself, still enjoy the tactile and leisurely experience of a physical newspaper. Yet we are impatient and ambitious when it comes to introducing new products that will inform and delight local and global audiences.

I predict that the paper will fold within one year. The print market is falling on harder times. It's just so much easier to look up articles on-line. It's also become easier to see through the corrupt bias of the mainstream media.

Many of you may wonder why we bought these publications. The decision is deeply personal. America and, more particularly, Southern California, have given me unimaginable opportunities. Here is where I deepened my education, built a family, found ways to contribute to advances in medicine and science, and took inspiration from sports, entertainment and the arts. I grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the son of a working-class shopkeeper.

Working-class and now upper-class. Will he remain committed to doing what is best for working and middle-class Americans? For Californians?

My parents had fled southern China during World War II after the Japanese occupied their ancestral homes. When I was 14 years old, I began earning money to fund my college education by distributing copies of the Evening Post newspaper.

Oh, that's how personal his connection to print media has become. Interesting.

I still recall the sounds and smells of the printing presses as the first papers rolled off the conveyor belt. I would grab as many as 800 copies from an ink-stained pressman, handing them off to my cadre of “runners” who would then deliver them to local businesses and residences.

This is a nostalgia move. I doubt that it's going to generate any long-term victories, however. Just because someone has a strong sentiment about the newspaper industry does not mean that consumers will warm up to the brand.

Newspapers were not only in my blood, they also engaged my mind. Reading the Post’s headlines and stories, I learned what it meant to grow up “non-white” under apartheid. I came to understand the evil consequences of racism and discrimination. I began to appreciate the essential role journalism plays in fostering and sustaining democracy and free societies.

Really? We have another social justice warrior at the top of the newspaper food chain again, it seems. We need newspapers to report the news, not push an agenda. Or if they are going to push an agenda, it should push principles and values in line with the truth.

We purchased the California News Group because we want to preserve the integrity, honesty and fairness we’ve observed in our decades as avid readers of the Los Angeles Times. My family and I fervently believe that The Times, the Union-Tribune and our other titles must continue to serve as beacons of truth, hope and inspiration binding our communities.

"Integrity, honesty, fairness" - I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Dr. Soon-Shiong still does not explain how his prior experience with selling newspapers makes him qualified to ensure quality reporting. 

We view the publications we acquired as a quasi-public trust. We understand they will be the voice and inspiration for our cities, our state, the nation and the world.

We also understand the importance of editorial integrity and independence. We share our commitment to both with the talented journalists at our publications. They are our lifeblood.

I grew up believing the best newspapers are the voice of the people. None of my personal success has changed that belief.

The press has become the voice of the corporate interests and the political class, which is more invested in telling people what they should be believe and what to think. They have pushed an interest for open borders, cheap labor, the destruction of natural marriage and spiritual values. The smug elitism of the printing-press class is particularly damnable.

Will Soon-Shiong ensure that discrimination against all Americans, all Californians receives due exposure, including hatred of citizens of European and Asian descent?

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you. The California News Group will continue to play its pivotal role in our communities, from Los Angeles to San Diego, projecting out to the world. This region is an incubator for change, innovation and discovery, and we are deeply committed to telling its stories.

When I came to Los Angeles, decades ago, I could not imagine the opportunities this region and this country would provide for me. My family and I are deeply grateful for this opportunity to support our institutions and to continue this vital mission.


Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

Final Reflection

I have a strong sense that this venture is going to collapse right before the good doctor's eyes. His discussion about the "cancer" of Fake News is well-played, considering that he is a researcher and scientist working to eradicate that terrible physical scourge.

But the true cancer of Fake News has been the liberal, anti-American bias of the local and national press. Will Dr. Soon save the LA Times?

No, he will be the final hospice care clinician for this rotting corpse, nothing more.

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