For weeks after the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, letter writers criticized The Times for running articles, along with photos, on the lives of shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Now several are saying the paper has brought unwarranted attention to a similarly villainous figure, incarcerated Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, by featuring an interview with his wife on the front page.
Since the article reporting on the interview with Emma Coronel Aispuro was published on Monday, more than a dozen readers have written to express their disapproval. Their letters echo similar complaints in the past to any coverage that could be construed as humanizing notorious killers or giving them the attention they might crave.
Chris Keller of West Covina says The Times has sunk to tabloid-level low:
As I opened my Los Angeles Times on Monday, I was naturally drawn to the featured photo on the front page of an attractive young woman. Then as I read the article I was a bit confused. The wife of a Mexican drug lord is quite concerned about him? This burning issue needs to be put before the public?
I know that newspapers are struggling to be profitable in the age of the Internet. But I wasn't aware that the National Enquirer or another such saucy publication had invested in the Times and was now placing such features on the front page.
Really? And The Times is proud of its “journalism”? Perhaps the paper now just reflects the tastes of the population. How sad.
Anthony R. Miller of Thousand Oaks suggests subjects more worthy of coverage:
I am shocked and appalled by yesterday's front-page article and picture featuring the wife of Guzman. Have you ever heard of Habit for Humanity? Heifer International? Shop Ahoy in Ventura County? These programs are devoted to serving and helping others.
Why do you give attention to the drug king and his wife? How about recognizing all the good that goes on each and every day?
If you're trying to serve Latino readers, I can recommend several men and women here in Thousand Oaks who faithfully serve without recognition but merit articles written about them.
Ed J. Mizrahi of Woodland Hills accuses The Times of bad news judgment:
Is this really the type of newsworthy story that deserves placement on the front page? There are also two full pages, excluding ads, for this article inside the paper.
I assume The Times believes an interview with the wife of Guzman is news, and perhaps that is so. But with all the more pressing problems in the world right now, this interview is not front-page news.
To devote so much coverage to a man who has wrought catastrophe on the public (both here and in Mexico) and to the concerns of his wife for his health and welfare is remarkable. It's remarkable for its obvious poor taste on the part of The Times and for how much of a disservice it does to readers.