Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kleinlein's Crimes Against Journalism: Plagiarism, Racism, Irrelevance

Enough of Ken Kleinlein's "Crime Scene" column. He has already been exposed for basing his last effort on fiction, urban myth and e-mails from friends of friends. Surely Gondo editors would simply give his silliness a quick tap with their delete key.

Not so. This week, he rates almost half the page 6 news hole. Here's what Venice subscribers had thrown on their porches yesterday morning:

A "story" with no source. An actual editor would ask Kleinlein what organization gathered the data showing “murders of police officers have increased dramatically.” Kleinlein didn't wake up yesterday morning knowing this. He read it somewhere. He took notes. He folded his source's information into his column under his by-line. He did not tell editors or readers where the information came from. That's stealing -- an ethical felony called plagiarism.

Kleinlein knows very well stealing stuff is wrong. When he uses information he got from sources that he does not acknowledge, his column becomes the crime scene. His editors know that. But they choose to overlook it for the boys in blue.

Readers also got a "story" with no time frame. An actual editor would ask Kleinlein what time periods his sources compared to arrive at his claim that numbers are “on the rise.” Every journalism 101 student knows how to compare this month’s numbers with the “same period last year,” or similar. Kleinlein doesn’t – and local readers deserve better.

Why 1971-1981? An actual editor would ask Kleinlein why he dredges up a decade that ended 30 years ago and uses it to claim “a number” of the period's LEO deaths are the work of “The Black Liberation Army.” Readers deserve better than Kleinlein's racism.

An actual editor would ask Kleinlein to identify the sources of the “answers” he concocts to the loaded, biased, straw man question he uses to frame the rest of his “story:” What contributes to “this senseless and psychotic behavior?” Readers deserve more than his senseless speculation.

An actual editor would ask Kleinlein why the anecdotal reports from New York, Pennsylvania, California? The closest he gets to his publisher’s circulation area is the Florida Panhandle – 400 miles north.

And, one last thing: What does John Wayne have to do with anything?

C’mon guys. If you need filler, surely there’s a nice press release from a hard-working organization or agency that might actually relate to your readership. Kleinlein’s ego-piece is clearly an embarrassment – he just hasn’t figured that out yet.

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