LA TIMES COVERS UP DAVIS VIOLENCE ON FEMALE STAFF
by Jill Stewart
American Reporter Correspondent
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 4, 2003 -- I couldn't have been more shocked to see the lurid stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger and the things 11 women allege he uttered or did to them. But it wasn't over the allegations, which I had read much of in a magazine before. I was most shocked at the Los Angeles Times.
Some politicos dub the Thursday before a big election "Dirty Tricks Thursday." That's the best day for an opponent to unload his bag of filth against another candidate, getting maximum headlines, while giving his stunned opponent no time to credibly investigate or respond to the charges.
It creates a Black Friday, where the candidate spends a precious business day right before the election desperately investigating the accusations, before facing a weekend in which reporters only care about further accusations that invariably spill out of the woodwork.
Dirty Tricks Thursday is not used by the media to sink a campaign.
Yet the Times managed to give every appearance of trying to do so. It's nothing short of journalistic malpractice when a paper mounts a last-minute attack that can make or break one of the most important elections in California history. The Times looked even more biased by giving two different reasons for publishing its gruesome article at the last minute.
Now, there's no time left before the election to separate fact from fiction regarding incidents that happened as long as and 30 years ago.
I should disclose here that I know one of Schwarzenegger's accusers. She is a friendly acquaintance. I have no idea whether she was actually man-handled.
Is it possible that my acquaintance told friends a tall tale, after meeting Schwarzenegger, because back then it made a young woman terribly exotic if one of the hottest beefcakes in the world wouldn't keep his paws off you?
I have no idea.
Or, could she be telling the truth?
I have no idea.
And neither does the Los Angeles Times.
If the Times were a tabloid, this would hardly matter. But the newspaper is influential at times, and claims it has high standards. In this case, the paper gave in to its bias against Schwarzenegger:
Here's my proof:
Since at least 1997, the Times has been sitting on information that Gov. Gray Davis is an "office batterer" who has attacked female members of his staff, thrown objects at other workers, and launched into red-faced fits, screaming the f-word until staffers cower.
I published a lengthy article on Davis and his bizarre dual personality at the now-defunct New Times Los Angeles on Nov. 27, 1997, as well as several articles with similar information later on.
The Times was onto the story, too, and we crossed paths. My article, headlined "Closet Wacko Vs. Mega Fibber" (the full text appears below) detailed how Davis flew into a rage one day because female staffers had rearranged framed artwork on the walls of his office.
He so violently shoved his loyal, 62-year-old secretary out of a doorway that she suffered a breakdown, and refused to ever work in the same room with him. She worked at home, in an arrangement with state officials, then worked in a separate area where she was promised Davis would not go. She finally transferred to another job, desperate to avoid him.
He left a message on her phone machine. Not an apology. Just a request that she resume work, with the comment, "You know how I am."
Another woman, a policy analyst, had the unhappy chore in the mid-1990s of informing Davis that a fundraising source had dried up. When she told Davis, she recounted, Davis began screaming the f-word at the top of his lungs.
The woman stood to demand that he stop speaking that way, and, she says, Davis grabbed her by her shoulders and "shook me until my teeth rattled. I was so stunned I said, 'Good God Gray! Stop and look at what you are doing. Think what you are doing to me!'"
After my story ran, I waited for the Times to publish its story. It never did. When I spoke to a reporter involved, he said editors at the Times were against attacking a major political figure using anonymous sources.
Yet, that's just what they did last week to Schwarzenegger.
Weeks ago, Times editors sent two teams of reporters to dig dirt on Schwarzenegger, one on his admitted use of steroids as a bodybuilder, one on the old charges of groping women from Premiere Magazine.
Who did the editors assign, weeks ago, to investigate Davis' violence against women who work for him?
The paper's protection of Davis is proof, on its face, of the gross bias within the paper. If Schwarzenegger is elected governor, it should be no surprise if Times reporters judge him far more harshly than they ever judged Davis.