Los Angeles Times Finally Bids Farewell To Laura Bush's Former Flak

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

If ever a writer was suited to pen editorials for Investor's Business Daily, it's Andrew Malcolm. And starting next month, Laura Bush's former flak will leave his post at the Los Angeles Times to go work for IBD, a far-right newspaper that publishes loopy birther columns, climate change denial rants, nasty personal smears, and in general just makes stuff up on a regular basis.

So yes, Andrew Malcolm should be very happy at the somewhat obscure IBD, writing up breathlessly negative appraisals of the president and all things liberal. He's been doing that for years at the Times.

Honestly, it's not really worth the time or trouble detailing Malcolm's long history of dishonesty. (If you'd like examples though, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) Suffice it to say Malcolm has come to symbolize a right-wing media movement that cut all visible ties with journalism, fact-checking, fairness and decency the day Obama was inaugurated, and has instead turned itself into a propaganda movement.

And that's the real reason why this personnel move is noteworthy -- because the Times, one of the largest newspapers in America, for years foolishly gave a national platform to somebody like Malcolm. He was paid to publish purposefully childish, unserious, and disrespectful blog posts, while the faltering Los Angeles newspaper shed employees at a stunning rate.

As LAObserved.com noted in the wake of Malcolm's IBD announcement:

[C]ritics have wondered why the Times devoted a senior (in salary) staff position to a blog that was essentially a gathering place for anti-Obama talking points, while laying off journalists and cutting news and opinion coverage.

And that's been the puzzle of Malcolm employment: Why did a newspaper like the Times decide it would be best if its only opinion writer regularly covering national politics for the largest newspaper in a solidly Democratic state conduct himself like a B-level, Obama-hating blogger? Who at the Times decided it made perfect sense in terms of branding to have someone like Malcolm become the political voice of the daily?

As Media Matters' Jamison Foser once pointed out:

It's one thing to criticize the president or his administration for the things they do and say; that's obviously fair game. But Malcolm's treatment of Obama … is nothing more than childish name-calling, completely lacking in substance or reason. The only thing more odd than the LA Times' sanctioning this petty little sniping would be if any of Malcolm's readers find his tedious taunts amusing.

I'm happy to report the Times, as it should have done years ago, has launched a far more respectable and professional political website than Malcolm's longtime home, Top of The Ticket. The new site is called Politics Now and it's where Times staffers post dispatches throughout the day. And if the Times had wanted to include Malcolm's right-wing views in that mix, that's one thing. But what the newspaper did for years was allow Malcolm to run the newspaper's only political forum and to put his petty, Obama-hating stamp all over it.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with criticizing Obama, or any president for that matter. Instead, the Times' problem with Malcolm was two-fold: He's a hack who does virtual no original reporting but instead surfs the Internet scooping whatever right-wing talking point is being celebrated that day and posts it on a Times site. Second, he's been the only point of view regularly offered by the newspaper.

But all that is going to change next month. For the record, I don't know if Malcolm was pushed from the Times or if he left voluntarily. I do know however, there aren't many journalists in America who would willingly trade in a Los Angeles Times byline for an Investor's Business Daily one.

So enjoy IBD Andrew, it's a perfect fit for you.

Los Angeles Times, Investor's Business Daily
Andrew Malcolm
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