A piece published Sunday titled “The vitriol in politics is driving good people out of public service” highlighted Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin’s announcement that he would not be seeking a third term despite his strong reelection support, citing his battle with chronic depression.
“He has been (wrongly) blamed for crime, fires and the proliferation of homeless encampments in his district —and sometimes beyond. People have yelled at him at public meetings and demonstrated in front of his house, where he lives with his husband and young son. At a lengthy Westchester Neighborhood Council meeting last April on Zoom, attended by hundreds, Bonin was interrupted and heckled, forcing the organizer to mute participants to let him finish talking about the work he was doing to find shelter and temporary housing for homeless people. Later, one person piped up ridiculously: ‘He serves the needs of drug-addicted homeless people’ over the needs of his constituents,” the Times editorial board wrote.
“Politics is a brutal game, and the people who sign up for it should have a thick skin. But public discourse has become increasingly vitriolic over the past few years in a way that no one should have to endure,” the board wrote.
After listing the harassment of other Democratic officials in LA as well as the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Times editorial board added, “None of these tactics should be confused with political debate — or heroic civil disobedience. When the level of discourse descends into screaming and intimidation, and hard-working people decide the price to pay is not worth staying in public service, we all lose.”
However, as author Michael Shellenberger pointed out, the Los Angeles Times has seemingly embraced “vitriol in politics,” particularly during the failed 2021 recall effort against Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Last August, the Times ran a column titled, “Larry Elder is the Black face of white supremacy. You’ve been warned,” which accused the Republican of using “overly simplistic arguments that whitewash the complex problems that come along with being Black in America.”
L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith said Elder uses “taunting and toddler-like name-calling of his ideological enemies” before belittling the gubernatorial candidate with her own insults.
“I’ve learned that it’s often best just to ignore people like Elder. People who are — as my dad used to say —‘skinfolk’ but not necessarily kinfolk,” she wrote before attempting to insult Elder as a “Trump fanboy,” “dangerous,” a “troll” and implied he doesn’t understand critical race theory.
“His candidacy feels personal. Like an insult to Blackness,” the Times columnist wrote.
Appearing on “Hannity,” Larry Elder told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, “I anticipated that would happen.”
“This is why a lot of people don’t go into politics because of the politics of personal destruction,” Elder said. “This is not the first time the L.A. Times has attacked me, there is another writer who all but called me a Black David Duke … They are scared to death.”
Elder, who emerged as the lead challenger to Newsom, ultimately fell short on the day of the recall with Newsom receiving a strong 61.9% of support from Californians.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.