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Read Me, Trust Me and Vote for Me

November 02, 1998|HOWARD ROSENBERG

For 20 years, I have been watching TV for you!

--Howard Rosenberg


Given the stunningly negative broadcast ad and mailer blitz preceding Tuesday's election, it's important to get some things straight.

Los Angeles Times subscribers have their choice of many columnists, but there is only one they should read, only one writes with the experience to move them forward and the integrity to command their confidence.


Who sat through Howard Stern for you this season? Me.

Who sat through "Costello" for you? Me.

Who sat through "Wind on Water" for you? Me.

Who endured "Brian Benben," "Guys Like Us," "Mercy Point," "The Secret Lives of Men," "Living in Captivity" and "The Army Show," all for you?

The same.

Who is suffering through Donny and Marie's new talk show on your behalf? Me.

Who has fought hard and courageously for a viewer's right to choose the shows that I like, and for those shows' right to life? Me.

Which columnist has been endorsed by his mother? Me. My mother: "You write a wonderful column. I hope and pray no one reads those inferior other columns."

Compare this with what you get from other Times columnists.

TV columnist Brian Lowry not only formerly worked for the trade paper Variety, but while doing so ACCEPTED MONEY from Variety! He received the checks and cashed them. He has never denied being paid by Variety. Nor has he apologized.

I have not accepted a penny from Variety.

You can tell a lot from a picture.

The picture above Mike Downey's column is in cold, austere, foreboding, authoritarian black and white, in contrast with my goodness in rich, warm color. I care about you; he doesn't.

Downey's column is positioned in the first section of The Times, FAR TO THE LEFT of mine in Calendar, which is located much nearer the center of the paper. Downey's column had always appeared on the FAR LEFT FRINGE of Page 3 until Sunday when his column moved even FARTHER LEFT to Page 2.

Any column in such an EXTREME LEFT position is out of step with California, wrong on the issues, wrong for the readers. And don't be misled by my column being shifted today to the left side of Calendar, which is an attempt by "No on Rosenberg" fanatics to smear and embarrass me.

The sports columns of Bill Plaschke and Randy Harvey appear in a section of The Times far,far to the RIGHT of mine.

Being positioned so radically to the right makes them conservative extremists.

Plaschke and Harvey have written about Mike Tyson, who bit Evander Hollyfield after going to jail for sexual assault. These columnists have never denied associating their words with Tyson's name.

These columnists are soft on biting, soft on crime.

Columnist Patt Morrison squanders words on writing eloquently, while I believe in eliminating wasteful words.

Columnist Sandy Banks persists in using elitist perfect grammar, while I favor the plain lingo of ordinary readers.

What's more, my safety record is impeccable. While writing my column, I have never once caught fire.

That's why I'm for me.

Howard Rosenberg--experience, integrity, and I still have much of my hair.


LARRY LISTENS. If you believe Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is a jerk, fine. If you want to vote for her Republican opponent, Matt Fong, fine.

But if you're Larry King--and the topic of your CNN talk show is this season's crush of negative campaign spots--total acquiescence shouldn't be your plan when Fong and one of his supporters run down the absent Boxer.

That happened last week when King opened his hour with a look at those vitriolic election ads marking the Fong-Boxer battle, and followed that with an equally one-sided discourse on the bitterly contested Wisconsin senatorial race.

Even though King said Boxer declined an invitation to appear, that didn't excuse his response--about like a tree stump--when Boxer was savaged by Fong and Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who was in California campaigning for his fellow Republican.

Fong repeatedly characterized Boxer as an "extremist," while King, trying hard to remain awake, it seemed, responded aggressively with near silence.

After showing one of Boxer's especially negative anti-Fong spots, King asked Fong: "The ad we showed about the environment, was that wrong?"

Fong: "Absolutely."

Thompson: "I agree."

That seemed to satisfy King, who, operating from a position of ignorance, should avoid such topics if he's such a patsy and so unprepared to offer resistance as a devil's advocate. At the least, Boxer should have arranged for a surrogate to show up. Yet even so, King is supposed to be hosting a talk show, not a soapbox.

You wouldn't have known that from what happened next, when King this time listened inertly as a Democrat, Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, complained about the nasty ads run by his hard-charging GOP opponent, who also had declined to appear.

Then the signature King bottom line. "Are you gonna win?" he asked Feingold. You held your breath as the suspense built. "We are gonna win," Feingold replied.

In-depth election coverage, Larry King style. The political ads were dumb, the examination dumber.

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