Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Covering Taxes, Covering Rallies

Some LA residents (8,000 in fact) are wondering why their huge taxes protest did not make local news. Check out an article about their protest via

8,000 people show up to a 'Tax Revolt' rally in Fullerton and the L.A. Times fails to cover it because it's not newsworthy? Maybe if you covered the things important to the folks in the Southland, you'd sell more papers.

So said a number of others who wrote over the weekend asking why there was no story on a rally promoted by KFI-AM talk-show hosts to protest recent proposed tax increases. The rally drew (depending on who's counting) 3,000 to 15,000 people.

The Times noted the event with a short post on the L.A. Now blog on March 8. The rally was covered by the Orange County Register and San Gabriel Valley Tribune (which noted: "The radio station reported as many as 15,000 people attended, but a Fullerton police sergeant estimated 3,000 to 8,000 people were there").

Other events with similar numbers don't always get stories; an earlier post on this journal gave the thinking on that last year.

California Editor David Lauter wrote back to scores who asked about the event. The gist of his response: No, The Times didn't cover the rally. But yes, The Times has covered the issues that led to anger behind the rally.

Here's the e-mail Lauter sent out late Monday to many dozens who wrote:

Thanks to each of you for writing. I appreciate hearing from all of you -- even the ones who called me a moron.

We all agree that the tax issue is extremely important. That's why, in the last few weeks alone, the Times has run more than 30 stories about the tax and budget proposals being pushed by the Legislature and the governor. That's also why we ran a tax chart so you could see how much the new taxes would cost you.

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