Second tier Mayoral candidate Walter Moore makes a potentially explosive charge in a recent email missive to supporters - that the editorial director of a local newspaper implied to Moore that if he bought advertising in their paper, he would receive more editorial coverage. The newspaper official mentioned ads purchased by fellow candidates Bob Hertzberg and Richard Alacron. It must be noted that Moore is not referring to the LA Times, Daily News or other major newspaper, but the neighborhood publisher, Arroyo Seco News Group
. Still, Moore's charges are disturbing when you consider the potential implications.
When NBC's Channel 4 excluded me from the so-called mayoral debate --
the "debate" the League of Women Voters denied sponsoring -- one of my
colleagues said the media only want to cover candidates with enough
money to buy advertising from them. I thought he was kidding.
However, now that I've deposited $100,000 into my campaign fund, I'm
learning that he was right! Case in point: today I got an e-mail from
the "Editorial Director" of the "Arroyo Seco News Group." Not the
sales manager, mind you, but the "Editorial Director." As some of you
know, I became the first person to file to run against Hahn back in
August 2003, but the first time I heard from this guy was today -- just
days after two papers published stories on my six-figure war chest. So
this "Editorial Director" writes to me, not to ask about my platform,
but to urge me to buy advertising in his newspaper. And it gets
better! Rather than simply telling me his rates or circulation
figures, he implied that if I bought advertising, his paper would start
covering me: "Our last issue featured a look at the major mayoral
candidates, but we are interested in including your candidacy in our
coverage." He also mentioned that Alarcon and Hertzberg had both
bought ads in his paper. So "pay to play" isn't just for crooked
politicians anymore! Now the media are hinting that they're willing to
do their job (i.e., report the news) -- provided you're willing to buy
advertising. Very nice. Doesn't that just give you a warm feeling
about the Fourth Estate and journalistic professionalism? Me, too.
Hey, I wonder how much it costs to get an endorsement?