Could Trump be Correct? Could the Media be the Enemy of the People?

CORRUPTION WATCH -Even a stopped watch is correct twice a day. Could not Grumpy-Trumpy be inadvertently right when he calls the media the “enemy of the people?” 

Let’s take a look-see at Los Angeles and more specifically, let’s look at the homeless crisis, and still more focused, let’s pay some attention to KNBC Channel 4's series on homeless, Streets of Shame.   

Newscasts of Shame 

Although KNBC announced its Streets of Shame series on November 1, 2018 in connection with its story on the typhus outbreak on LA’s skid row, it had done several previous stories on homelessness.  KNBC’s general themes have been: (1) Homeless are criminals, (2) Homeless inconvenience decent homeowners, (3) Homeless camp fires endanger our lives. 

KNBC Assiduously Avoids the Causes of LA’s Homeless Crisis 

The series is silent about why LA’s homeless crisis has mushroomed. Since mental illness and drug addiction have not similarly risen, the series’ impression that the homeless themselves are to blame is designed to mislead the viewers. 

The first thing a responsible news agency should do is point out that the destruction of the rent-controlled [RSO] apartments of over 60,000 people since 2001 plays a major role in creating homelessness. KNBC will never broach this subject because the mass destruction of RSO apartments flows from Garcetti’s Manhattanization Mania. During 2018, approximately 2,000 more RSO units will have been destroyed, but KNBC won’t analyze the connection between tearing down poor people’s homes and people being homeless. Oh no, blame it on mental illness!  

Of course, if someone is mentally challenged and has only a minimum wage job and loses a $500/month apartment in a city where the average rent is over $1,000/month, how can any legitimate news agency blame it on this person’s mental troubles? The only thing that changed was that the poor guy’s home was torn down by one of Garcetti’s greedy developer buddies. The connection between demolishing poor people’s homes and their being homeless is too complex for KNBC’s Joel Grover to comprehend.   

Why the Media Will Not Connect Destruction of Poor People’s Homes with Increased Homelessness 

Trumpy’s claim that the media is the enemy of the people comes into play at this juncture. While he means that the media will not publish stories favorable him, the reality is that the media’s misinformation plays a major role in Los Angeles’ deterioration. Since its inception on December 4, 1881 (six years before Lord Acton wrote, “power tends to destroy, and absolute power destroys absolutely”), the LA Times has been the mouthpiece for LA’s ruling class. One might think this would leave an opening for legitimate news organizations to fill the void. But that’s a mistake, judging by the content of KNBC’s Streets of Shame

The Homeless Crisis is a Mere Harbinger 

The factor that caused LA’s homeless crisis has also given us the worst traffic congestion in the world, the nation’s worse GINI coefficient for any urban area, the highest housing costs, the flight of the Millennials, gentrification, the squandering of billions of dollars on fixed rail mass transit in the face of a decade’s long decline in ridership. Not only do KNBC and the other media ignore the origin of our troubles, they become cheerleaders for our criminogenic City Hall. 

The Media Hypes Subsidization of Billionaires to Help the Homeless 

Trickle Down Economics is alive and well in Los Angeles, except for the fact that Trickle Down Economics is a fraud and only makes the 1% wealthier while everyone else suffers. The much ballyhooed $1.2 billion for Affordable Housing had two components: (1) give money to developers (2) give more money to developers 

Has John Sleazemac ever done an analysis of the Affordable Housing Scam? As exposed here and elsewhere, the scam is not new. A city gives hundreds of millions of dollars to a developer to include affordable units. The developer’s LLC pockets the money, then bankrupts the project. Thus, he need not repay the city. A kindly bankruptcy judge decides that the project cannot be financially feasible with affordable units as the rents are too low. Thus, by Merlinesque magic, the judge turns the dross of affordable housing into the gold of all market rate apartments. The poor are still suffering and dying on the streets but who cares so long as Garcetti’s best buds make a few extra bucks? 

The Feds, however, put a stop to this scam. No longer will a developer be allowed to take funds for affordable housing and transform the units into market rate via bankruptcy. 

The other way developers rip off the public is having taxpayers subsidize entire projects for the poor. Did Lolita Lopez take the time to report that the destruction of 2,000 rent-controlled units in 2018 would evict about 4,500 people? Stopping the destruction would have been a far greater benefit than constructing 55 units of affordable housing.  Two thousand divided by 55 is 36.36. At this rate it would take over 36 years to replace the RSO units which Garcetti’s Manhattanization has destroying in 2018.  

The media does not admit that destruction of poor people’s homes results in poor people becoming homeless. Such a callous concealment of a major cause of homelessness makes them a candidate for being called Enemy of the People. The U.S. Constitution awards them freedom of the press and they squander it by covering up the criminality at city hall. 

The Media Approves the Destruction of Poor People’s Homes 

The media knows that City Hall can stop the mass destruction of poor people’s homes, but instead it encourages the demolitions. Any project that is not by right can be stopped by City Council; yet, the LA Council unanimously approves all destruction 100% of the time. The media conceals this habitual criminality from the public. 

The City could have lowered the post-construction density on any RSO property which had been sold for development. If the new density were not allowed to exceed 30% of the lot’s density of RSO units, developers would have ignored RSO units and we would have no homeless crisis

If the media had ever investigated the criminal enterprise behind “development” in Los Angeles, the criminality would have been exposed and the politicos could not have continued to bamboozle the public. 

Nothing Will Change 

Thieves never voluntarily stop. No one has any intention of upsetting the status quo. This includes those in positions of power such as the new LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, the Los Angeles County DA (ha, ha), the U.S. Attorney (do we even have one?), or any TV news channel. Everyone at the top is raking into too much loot to care about people.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.