The inside story of the LA Times Arnold investigation
Jill Stewart blows the doors off the LA Times with her inside sources. Excerpt:
Despite the obvious need to get the sex harassment story in the paper well before the election so that it would not act as a last-minute and unfair smear, another source says that Carroll then made a very conscious decision to hold back the article while a story about Schwarzenegger's steroid use was edited (see interview below). The steroids investigative piece was a disappointment to editors, this source says, because it did not portray Schwarzenegger in nearly the horrific light that they had hoped.
A leak about the story's contents from the Times to the Democrats might explain why Democratic operatives seemed able to mount an incredibly fast and coordinated attack on Schwarzenegger the moment the story appeared.
Leaking by a journalist to help a political campaign would be a firing offense at most newspapers. Yet Carroll appears to be utterly dismissive of Bradley's story. Bill Bradley and I both specialize in writing about the Sacramento power elite, but we have almost never seen eye-to-eye on politics or politicians. We do not socialize, and at times our relations have been poor. However, both of us can clearly see that something went wrong at the Los Angeles Times.
The overriding issue is the out-the-gate bias with which the paper conducted its coverage. The Times ultimately created a huge---wait until you hear how huge---team dedicated to digging dirt, of any kind, from any decade, on rumored and reported personal behavior by Schwarzenegger. Yet while the newspaper poured massive resources into this effort, (is it too crazy to suggest a pricetag of $100,000?) it did not create a similar team, or even seriously discuss a team, to dig dirt on rumored and reported personal behavior by Davis. (See my Oct. 4 column at www.jillstewart.net.)
It's fine that John Carroll is pushing the Times local staff toward investigative reporting. However, Carroll's own behavior, as described below by someone who was there, and the manner in which the Times staff gleefully seized upon personal dirt about Schwarzenegger while avoiding personal dirt about Davis, does not instill confidence that the Times will use its investigative powers wisely.