Columbia Journalism Review Eviscerates OC Register for Its Lapdog Coverage of Angels Stadium Controversy

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The shine of Aaron Kushner-led Orange County Register continues to lose its, um, shine, as national media watchers pay attention to what we've been saying from the beginning: Despite hiring hundreds of reporters, fattening the paper and doubling down on the future of dailies as a viable industry, the end result is little better than what the Register used to be -- a booster paper for the rich with little-to-no actual news.

Nowhere has this been more evident than in the paper's coverage of your Anaheim Angels, specifically the controversy surrounding owner Arte Moreno's efforts to become a welfare queen via a new stadium lease. The first reporting on the subject, by Anaheim beat reporter Art Marroquin, was little better than regurgitated press releases, in the grand Reg tradition. But when the truth emerged about what Anaheim officials proposed -- a giveaway of Miami Marlins proportions -- the Reg fell flat on its face.

That's the conclusion of a brutal takedown by the Columbia Journalism Review, which details how both the Register and the Los Angeles Times botched the story from the get-go. Reporter John Mecklin saves his ire for Marroquin, whom we feel sorry for as he's a new-ish reporter who wants to make waves but has to deal with the reality that he works for a foppish paper like the Register who only wants him to write shiny, happy coverage. Marroquin lamely tried to defend his work by saying the Register now has him and veteran reporters Martin Wiskol and Sarah Tully (a longtime Anaheim reporter who now mostly covers Disneyland) on the story, a development that only further indicts Marroquin's shitty coverage. Son, the Anaheim Stadium imbroglio is the stuff that young reporters make their reputation on. That the Reg is putting other reporters on it just shows you fucked up good.

But the Reg person who came off the worst, unsurprisingly, is Kushner. When Mecklin tried to get an interview with Register editor Ken Brusic, he got a response from Minister of Communication Eric Morgan, who gave Mecklin the usual mealy mouthed bullshit he gives all reporters looking for a quote. This shows that Kushner has installed a hierarchy of communication at the paper in regards to outside media; anyone contacted for a quote must go through Morgan. And when Mecklin asked Morgan to put him in contact with Kushner . . . nothing. Ain't THAT a groove?

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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