Expression by Advertisement; California State Senator Tom Hayden Runs a Full-Page Ad in the West Coast Edition of the New York Times to Publish a Speech He Said the Los Angeles Times 'Virtually Ignored.'

By Stein, M. L. | Editor & Publisher, May 21, 1994 | Go to article overview

Expression by Advertisement; California State Senator Tom Hayden Runs a Full-Page Ad in the West Coast Edition of the New York Times to Publish a Speech He Said the Los Angeles Times 'Virtually Ignored.'


Stein, M. L., Editor & Publisher


TOM HAYDEN, The 1960's anti-Vietnam war activist who is running for governor ofCalifornia, placed a full-page ad in the New York Times to publish a speech he said the Los Angeles Times "virtually ignored."

The advertisement in the Times' Western edition also charged that Los Angeles Times political editor Mark Saylor wrote an internal memo referring to Hayden's campaign as "amusing" and instructed his reporters not to treat him as a serious candidate. Saylor denies unfair coverage of Hayden.

Most of the ad space was devoted to the full text of Hayden's speech to what he claimed was an audience of 3,000 that gave it "roaring approval" at the recent state Democratic Convention.

Hayden, a meber of the Chicago Seven and one-time icon of the counter-culture movement, joined the "establishment" a few years ago when he put on a coat and tie and ran successfully for California Assembly and then Senate, a position he now holds. Still, he is regarded as one of the more liberal members of the legislature.

In the Democratic primary race for governor, Hayden, according to the polls, is running behind state Treasurer K|thleen Brown, the favorite, and state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. Brown's father and brother were governors of California.

Saylor termed Hayden's accusations "nonsense" adding: "We have covered Hayden amply and will continue to do so. Anyone who is a political editor must make judgments."

He said Hayden was seven or eight percDn4 in the polls while Brown and Garamendi have "much stronger standing," an important factor in allocating coverage.

Saylor said the Times ad brought to mind former vice president Spiro Agnew.

"That's what Agnew liked to do - run against the press," the editor explained. "It's an age-old political tack. Hayden is mining this technique but if it propels his candidacy we'll give him more coverage."

Duane Peterson, Hayden's campaign manager, expressed outrage at the comparison to Agnew.

"That's a pretty wild quotation, comparing Tom Hayden to Agnew, a criminal whose trade mark was personal invec ive," Peterson declared. "This strikas me as overr action."

Peterson said other California media regard Hayden as a serious candidate and have given him commensurate coverage. He scoffed at what he said was the Times' excuse that it doesn't have the resources to give full measure to all candidates in the gubernatorial race.

"I think it's shocking that a behemoth like the Los Angeles Times doesn't have the resources to cover our democracy."

However, Peterson said Hayden's quarrel is with Saylor, not the Times itself. He contended the paper "historically has respected Tom's views" and pointed out that Hayden has written several op-ed pieces for the Times. …

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