As I noted a few years ago, New York Times Los Angeles bureau chief Jennifer Steinhauer has a penchant for lacing her stories with cutting rhetoric about liberals. It's all too reminiscent of Maureen Dowd, whose derisive coverage of Bill Clinton and other Democrats helped vault her to the paper's op-ed page.
The latest example of Steinhauer's approach appears in her report today on new limits on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. Late in the article, she works in a gratuitous and unfunny crack about supporters of medical marijuana smelling like patchouli oil:
In a crowded, vaguely patchouli-oil scented [Los Angeles City] Council chamber, advocates for medical marijuana peppered Council members with threats of lawsuits and election challenges.
Similarly, her profile of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi back in 2006 parroted conservative codewords, saying Republicans viewed Pelosi as "an Armani-clad elitist who will help push lawmakers toward an agenda of multicultural, tax-raising appeasement," and misleadingly claimed Pelosi "favors... schools without prayer and death with taxes." The last two phrases are GOP spin -- Pelosi actually opposes organized prayer in schools (not all prayer) and the estate tax (whose elimination Pelosi opposes) only affects a tiny percentage of the Americans who die each year. (The Times later edited the sentence online to correct these problems.)
Soon afterward, Steinhauer again parroted Republican rhetoric, calling California a place where "American values are said to go to die" and writing that the state has an image as "a hotbed of liberal lunacy."
If Dowd ever retires, I bet she's on the short list.