L.A. Times' Coverage of the MTA strike

by Ben Hoffman Wednesday, Sep. 20, 2000 at 3:48 PM
blazer@antioch-college.edu (707)280-9656 4477 Hollywood Blvd, Ste 213

A letter adressing the LA times' one-sided coverage of the current MTA strike.

This is a letter I wrote in response to an article in the L.A. times on Sept 19th. The article said that the unions were responsible for the strike, but did not offer one single comment from any worker, union official, or any other strike supporters. I honestly didn't really expect any more, but something needs to be said about this, as the LA times is by and large the newspaper that people read while waiting to get on buses/trains that are now shut down. We do not need the riders to be turned against the unions by nearsighted reporting. This, with the former article on the IMC site paints a picture of the Times' diminishing care for the communities that buy it's paper. Anyway, the letter is as follows.


Dear L.A. Times,

I arrived in the city of Angels about a week ago as an intern for a small local film and video company. During my short stay I have been reliant on the MTA's buses and trains to travel to and from work. While the MTA strike means that I must walk to and from work (a definate inconvenience), I still support the strikers, as their continued economic prosperity is directly proportionate to the safety and timeliness of the MTA systems. I noticed, however, that the vast majority of your articles in your paper covering this crisis do not even consider the voice of the people who are striking. Instead the articles focus around the politicians and upper-management's opinion. The unions and the drivers who support them should have at least equal time if your article's intent is to give the reader a fair view of an issue that directly affects them. I understand the need for discretion, but to print a 2000 word article that talks about the union without ONE union voice is simply one-sided... biased. If it is your goal to be "the (proverbial) voice of the people", union opinions on the issue must be in the same article as the mayor's statements, not consigned to a blurb somewhere amongst the movie-listings and comics. Anyway, I will get off my soapbox now and hope that these words are considered.


Ben Hoffman


I encourage people to read (on the web... don't support their paper by buying it off the stand) the times' articles and see if their coverage is really as one-sided as I read it.

Original: L.A. Times' Coverage of the MTA strike