Another Journalistic Disgrace at the Los Angeles Times: a Continuing Series

Flowery Language Here at the Daily Grind

The Grind:

For many years, one of the ongoing themes of my columns has been the exposure of lazy, incompetent, agenda-driven “journalism” that purports to reveal some defect in police practices. Most often the burdens of these perceived defects are said to be borne by those racial minority groups favored by the lazy, incompetent, agenda-driven “journalists.”

Gentle readers, today I present the latest, incandescently glaring example, brought to you by that seemingly endless font of such rubbish, the Los Angeles Times. The story, by staff writer Jeong Park, appears on page B-4 of the paper’s Sunday print edition, but was posted Friday evening under the provocative headline, “They say sheriff’s helicopters buzz lowest over Black homes, and they’re out to prove it.”

The Details:

“Aha,” the reader is expected to say, “those dirty, racist cops are even harassing black people from the sky!”

Park begins the story thus: “Law enforcement helicopters routinely buzz around Greater Los Angeles. But in certain neighborhoods, they swoop in — low and loud. So say two community groups that are studying the effects of helicopters on the health of county residents.”

As is often the case in these stories, Park seeks to support the accusation of police racism with a veneer of academic credentialism. He quotes Nicholas Shapiro, an assistant professor of biology and society at UCLA and director of the Carceral Ecologies Lab. “The higher the proportion of Black population,” says Shapiro, “the lower the altitude of the helicopter.”

Park writes: “Shapiro said the groups had found that in every census block of L.A. County that is more than 40 percent Black, the median elevation of helicopters was below 1,000 feet, the “minimum safe altitude” for congested areas as set by the Federal Aviation Administration.” The online version of the story links to the FAA’s Guide to Low-Flying Aircraft, which indeed says that aircraft operating over a “congested area” maintain “an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.” Read more…

Related posts

Donald Trump Returns to the White House: Don’t Let Coronavirus Dominate You


Michigan Supreme Court Strikes Down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Pandemic Powers


Michelle Obama Attacks ‘Racist’ Trump, Defends BLM Rioting: ‘Only A Tiny Fraction’ Violent