'LA Times' Reveals Schwarzenegger Tapes,
Can't Get Audio Online

By Joe Strupp
Editor & Publisher
Published: February 05, 2007 12:25 PM ET


NEW YORK


It's the juiciest story spreading across California Web sites and news outlets today; the Los Angeles Times' disclosure of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's taped private conversations, in which the governor calls a top legislator " a very sick man" and compares the petty and childish acts of politicians to those he found among movie executives.

But because of an unidentified technical glitch, the Times has not been able to post the recordings themselves on its Web site, editors said, leaving many who likely logged on to hear the comments disappointed. "There appeared to have been some technical difficulties, I don't know what they were," said Sean Gallagher, latimes.com associate editor, who declined further details. "Suffice it to say, we had a problem and we are working on it."

The Web glitch, however, did not mar the paper's scoop, which first came to light Sunday when the Times obtained the recordings, which were reportedly made by Schwarzenegger's staff in 2006. The Times released a snippet of the conversations in September, which included just six minutes of the governor but contained a reference by him to a state assembly woman as "hot."

The most recent recordings, which run more than three hours, offer a lengthier and, at times, more critical view of certain fellow elected officials, the Times reports.

"In the latest recordings, the Republican governor describes Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) as a 'very sick man' and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) as 'a political operator coming from the union background' who evinces no real 'passion' about issues. And he worries that a federal plan to build a fence along the Mexican border will send a troubling message," the Times reported. "Are we looking at Mexico now as the enemy?" he says in the recording. "No, it's not. This is our trading partner."

The Times goes on to report that the tapes "also feature him chatting about American resentment of illegal immigrants, about his taste for gas-hungry Hummers and about his wife's habit of tinkering with his speeches."

The governor's office eventually released the recordings to other media outlets late Sunday, prompting similar stories from most California dailies, as well as the Associated Press. No other Web sites appear to have audio files of the tapes either.

Tim Garrison, the latimes.com day news editor, said the technical problem is being pursued and will hopefully be corrected by the end of the day. "We are working on it," he said. "I am not sure what it was."

Even without the audio files, the story has continued to be the most viewed story on the Times' site today, Garrison added. Times Editor James O'Shea could not be reached for comment Monday morning. The Times did not disclose how it had obtained the new recordings, but its story noted that the previous six-minute portion had been provided by aides to Phil Angelides, Schwarzenegger's Democratic opponent in last year's gubernatorial race.

The Times also reported that Schwarzenegger's staff had made the recordings "in an effort to produce better speeches by capturing the governor's thoughts and speech patterns."
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