Even a well respected former LA Times editor calls his former newspaper a "laughingstock":
"Ken Reich: L.A. Times Becoming A "Lauging Stock"
Former L.A. Times editor Ken Reich has some harsh words for new head ed Russ Stanton and his policies — particularly the "cracking down" on using anonymous sources. Reich notes that former LAT reporter Barry Bearak had a terrifically interesting account in the Sunday NYT of his imprisonment for publishing reports about the Zimbabwean election — stories dependent upon anonymous..."
I don’t think the problem with the LAT is so much the left/liberal bias, as it is the PRETENDING that they don’t have a left/liberal bias, and the unwillingness of just about *ANY* paper to take a right/conservative tack. Even the Wall Street Journal, the closest major paper to a right/conservative stance, remains in favor of the open borders immigration flood and full of "multiculatural" pap, for example.
Obviously, the growth of internet news and other news sources means that newspapers are consolidating. Few cities have more than one substantial newspaper anymore. But this is also because people are sick and tired of "newspapers" that pretend objectivity, but have none.
I think American newspapers will have to follow the British model: admit they have a point of view, and defend it. It is understood in the UK that the Telegraph is independent-rightist, the Times (London) A Tory house organ, the Guardian a Labour house organ, and the Daily Mirror is independent-left (borderline tabloid, that one, but let’s not quibble). And in that country, people often subscribe to two or more newspapers and compare and contrast.
Let’s just look at cable news. Isn’t it given that CNN is more left/liberal, save for a few mavericks like Glenn Beck, and Fox News is more right/conservative, save for a few like Geraldo or Colmes?
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if, say the San Diego Union Tribune or the Orange County Register openly chose to be the right/republican house organ for SoCal, and the LA Times conceeded openly that it was the left/democrat party house organ? People could actually buy BOTH newspapers and compare and contrast.
Meanwhile, in NorCal, it is no surprise that the McClatchy papers (The Bees) acquired the Knight-Ridder papers (Mercury News), and that circulation for both papers declines. How many left/liberal papers can an area with less population than Los Angeles support?
Today the papers operate in an echo chamber, and no rival paper calls them on their all too frequently made up "news". What if the OC Register had a regular feature where they called the L.A. "Slimes" on their made up crapola?
Lacking that, the task falls to the "pajama army" of blogger amateur pundits. That the papers "respond" by creating their own online sites is no help, because those online sites are just online versions of the same lamestream media echo chambers.
Or take CNN vs. Fox News for example. Now Rupert Murdoch is hardly a fire-breathing Republican (he may be a "conservtive" by Aussie standards, but that is a whle different story). But he saw that many people were unhappy with the selective coverage of CNN, and those unhappy tuned into his Fox News with a vengeance. CNN, in response, stopped being yet another echo chamber and began to sharpen its coverage, and even (gasp) hired some right/conservtive hosts like Glenn Beck. Eventually CNN vs. Fox News may turn into Coke vs. Pepsi media style.
The point is, the competition improved both networks.
You know, if the ghost of Mr. Hearst could speak, he would be telling the dolts who run the Chronicle to take a hard right tack. Admittedly this would be hard to do in San Fransicko, but with the Bee and Mercury News basically echoing the same point of view, the left/liberal point of view is basically tapped out in the North.