Damage control (cont)

The fallout continues, or sort of. Arnold’s back on the campaign trail, being greeted by cheering fans — er, voters — but after his apology and non-acknowledgement of the Hitler reference (from almost 30 years ago!), he’s keeping his mouth shut. As a strategy, this is probably as much of a winner that he’ll come up with at this point of the campaign. I wonder, though, if a third shoe is being prepared for the Sunday edition…
Arnold may be under attack, but the LA Times appears to be suffering the damage . Susan Estrich gets her shots in from the editorial page of the LA Times itself:

So this is the October surprise? The Los Angeles Times headline that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped and humiliated women? … But none of these women, as The Times emphasizes, ever came forward to complain. The newspaper went looking for them, and then waited until five days before the election to tell the fragments of the story. What this story accomplishes is less an attack on Schwarzenegger than a smear on the press. It reaffirms everything that’s wrong with the political process. Anonymous charges from years ago made in the closing days of a campaign undermine fair politics.

Debra Saunders, the Chronicle columnist who is a rare conservative voice in San Francisco, responded in Howard Kurtz’s Media Notes:

“[I]t makes our profession look horrible. To look at something that’s 20, 30 years old, that’s just not fair and not relevant,” Saunders said. “If you have to go back to the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s to make your point, maybe it’s not a point.”

Also in Media Notes, LA Times Editor John Carroll defends his decision to run the story, arguing in part that “We’re in the business of publishing, not concealing. ” Kurtz apparently didn’t ask Carroll whether the Times is in the business of creating news, or why the Times never reported on the Gray Davis story in 1997. Isn’t a candidate — who at the time was a public office holder — who physically attacks his staff worthy of some investigative reporting?
Back in the LA Times, Steve Lopez carries the home team’s water with a funny but deceptive column:

“It doesn’t matter,” Beers said of the allegations. She said Arnold’s misbehavior happened a long time ago. (Actually, the latest incident reported was in 2000.) Besides, she said, Clinton’s scandal took place while he was in office. True, but Clinton also had a willing participant, unlike Arnold.

Lopez conveniently seems to forget about Kathleen Willey and Juanita Brodderick (thanks to Mickey Kaus and Mona Charen, respectively). But he does relate a funny story about Arnold’s speeding and his Nissan Sentra that I can support, having owned a Sentra years ago.
UPDATE: Just perused Hugh Hewitt’s blog and found this nugget:

Readers of the report on Arnold Schwarzenegger in this morning’s Los Angeles Times should ask themselves when did editorial standards change at the paper. In January 2001, the Los Angeles Times censored a George Will column because it contained a reference to Clinton victim Juanita Broadderick.

No permalink available for the post, but it was written 10/02 at 10:55 am.

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