The LA Times and Armenian Coverage

BY GAREN YEGPARIAN

We were all pleased when the LA Times finally left the dark side by terminating its use of the word “alleged” every time it referred to the Genocide.  We were also pleased when the paper dumped Douglas Frantz, a clearly biased, Turkophilic former editor.  But is that it?  Is that all we want from the preeminent newspaper serving the region with the second largest Armenian population outside of Armenia?

The LATimes covers our Christmas celebrations every January, but that’s about it for coverage of local issues of Armenian interest.  Occasionally, Homenetmen’s Navasartian Games will elicit coverage.  I suppose thousands of people, largely kids, getting together constructively don’t merit interest more than about once every half-a-dozen years.  Part of this is our fault.  Communities smaller than ours get more visibility.  Why shouldn’t we be pushing more human interest stories?  Vartivar anyone?  Wetting each other sanctioned by one of the oldest churches around sure seems like an interesting story angle, not to mention its origins back in pagan times.  How about our political activities?  Or the social services and support our organizations provide?  We have to reach out to the media more.

But our shotcomings aren’t the whole story.  The March 1, 2008 tragedy got coverage, as did the scheme run by Armenian consular officials in LA to enable some immigrants from Armenia to remain in the U.S. illegally.  Where is the “good news” coverage of Armenia?  I’m not even sure now, but I think the Times covered the Armenia Fund Telethon all of once.  Forget about reporting what the money collected has achieved!

Finally, while the ill-begotten soccer diplomacy and it’s even more illegitimate offspring, the Protocols, were front and center, the coverage has been skewed to toe establishment/state department/pro-Turkey positions.  A somewhat poor light was cast upon the Armenian side in reporting on demonstrations when Turkey’s president, Gul, went to Armenia in the summer of 2008.  An October 4, 2009 news piece about protests against the protocols claiming that “both sides” opposed these documents leaves the impression that “Armenians oppose” them.  Just two weeks ago “The truce in need of a rescue” sang the praises of the “opportunity” presented by the protocols.  All of this had been preceded by Hugh Pope’s “Soccer-match diplomacy” from September 16, 2008.  You don’t have to imagine how this Turkophile’s commentary read.  To be fair, he attempts to palliate his pro-Turkey bent, but ultimately, he is true to his Turkish friends.

Clearly we have a lot to do on the media front in general, and the LATimes, in particular.  Our previous successes (with the Times itself, or more recently with KFI and the inappropriate “joke” about the Genocide) indicate that we can and know how to proceed.  This is an important arena, though not the only one, where ideas and mindsets are formed.  Let’s get our advocacy organizations on this.  I suspect other major newspapers need the same kind of attention from us, too.  All our communities have their work cut out for them.

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4 Comments

  1. manooshag said:

    Hye, following the medias admission that the Armenian Genocide has occurred (but the NYTimes covered the
    events of Turkish Genocide of Armenian nation in approximately 140 articles in those years) I followed these
    medias – and I found they did not ‘speak out’ in denial of this Genocide – instead, they took another stance,
    – just not to mention the Armenian nation, the Armenian Genoicide, et al, at all – until today! Manooshag

  2. Alexander said:

    Those who cover up “the truth” with a lie are the ones who spent money and time to get it done. Those who know the truth don’t want to waste their money to tell “the truth”, which is the genocide happened and it is remembered by the people that witnessed it. Those pro-Turkish journalist are not really pro-Turkish, they are pro-(who puts money in my pocket on the side). They will be punished in this lifetime and mainly in afterlife. Why should Armenians care about stupid LAtimes anyway, we should use those recources in appropriate place like the goverments recognition. And so we are doing that as a people and I hope we passed through all the stages to make it the law in this opportunist country of ours. When Obama will utter words “the Armenian Genocide” this year we will put a dagger through denalist Turkish heart and make them bleed more denial out of their soul, then they will feel that they need to bend over backwards more to American will and power. Yes, American not Armenian. I’m proud to be Armenian-American ex-soviet man that hates men and women that deny thier ancestors crimes and their own too.

  3. Pingback: The LA Times and Armenian Coverage | Asbarez Armenian News | armeniatoday

  4. Lori said:

    You’re right Garen, but merely saying this is almost tantamount to using a paper sherep. We must do something about it. Perhaps our community needs to change our approach and find out what other groups are doing to get coverage and learn from them.

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