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#SFatPauley: More of the Same from the Daily Pravda

Here we are, a month after the Daily Pravda Bruin put up a soft, puff piece on the student seating fiasco, giving known liar and Dan Guerrero lackey Mark Harlan an open platform to push his blatant lies without asking any tough questions.  Two weeks ago, we pointed out how the Daily Bruin completely abdicated its journalistic responsibility by failing to ask Morgan Center any tough questions or giving any coverage to the widespread outrage over Morgan Center's underhanded, short-sighted bait-and-switch move.

Since?  Not a single tough question.  No mention of the widespread outrage.  Just more deafening silence from the Daily Pravda.

Rather, the Daily Pravda has decided to roll out another soft puff piece that lets Mark Harlan spew the same, tired, disproven lies and downplays the outrage at Morgan Center's latest fiasco under Guerrero's failed leadership.

Let's break that down after the jump.

To put this in context, the Daily Pravda has quite the history of acting as the official bootlicking "news" source at UCLA.  After being called out on BN, we hoped that the Daily Pravda would have been spurred into action, to actually start acting like aspiring young journalists in the Edward R. Murrow mold, but as this latest puff piece demonstrates, no one at the Daily Bruin is interested in doing any real journalism.

The Daily Pravda starts right away by downplaying the negative reaction, making sure not to offend the overlords at Murphy Hall and Morgan Center:

The proposal to move student seating in the new Pauley Pavilion to unify the section at the cost of sideline seats has garnered a mixed and muted reaction from some students.

Mixed reaction?  Except for Bigknife and his Den lackeys, what other students are speaking in favor of this idiotic proposal?

[Sean] Wang said students and other fans he talked to after Athletics announced the seating change were disappointed and angry, but he believes there was a muted student response because of a number of factors, including the buffer year before Pauley opens and the low number of die-hard Den members.

True, a number of factors are at play, but I bet the largest one (and of course, the one the Daily Pravda won't mention) is that a lot of students either don't know about this controversy or feel powerless to do anything since the official voices of student leadership (Daily Bruin, USAC, and the Den) have all been co-opted in a Machiavellian power play by Dan's hacks at Morgan Center.

Why isn't the Daily Pravda reporting that?

Perhaps they don't want to admit that their complete abandonment of their journalistic role is a factor: that students are largely uninformed because they, the Daily Pravda Bruin have systematically ignored this story for over one month. 30 days.  Think about that.  In this modern media landscape, where news is on a 24-hour, 7-day per week, 365-days per year constant cycle, the kids at the Daily Bruin completely ignored this story for 30 days.

Even after being called out for it (twice) on BN, despite the continued negative pressure being applied toward Morgan Center on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, and hell, a former student-athlete straight-out calling for Guerrero to be fired, the Daily Pravda is only now mentioning the controversy.

Moreover, what I find comical is that the Daily Pravda appears to be only concerned with one segment of the UCLA community: the students.  Yes, most of the Daily Bruin's coverage should be geared toward students, but on this issue, one would think that the Daily Pravda would engage in some journalistic integrity and also report that along with the students' negative reaction to this underhanded banishment to the baseline, the alumni are speaking out against this (from the posts here at BN, to the repeated negative comments on Facebook, to alums hitting the pavement and gathering signatures).  No, they'd rather try to spin it as if this kid Sean Wang and a few annoyed students are the only ones complaining.

On a side note, make sure you sign the petition.

What's really shocking is that the Daily Pravda publishes blatant contradictions by known liar Mark Harlan and never bothers to follow up with the tough questions.  For example, the Daily Bruin starts with (emphasis added:

In the original plan outlined in July 2009, the student section was to be moved from the north side to the south side of the court with additional seats behind the west basket. In March, UCLA Athletics released a new plan that consolidates the student section behind the west basket, closest to the visiting bench.

The area behind the west basket, which stretches from row one to the top of the arena, is the only financially viable area for a unified student section, said Mark Harlan, senior associate athletic director for external relations, in an interview last month.

Never mind Morgan Center's pronouncements in January that fundraising was going so well that Wooden Athletic Fund donations were cut 20%, which one would think meant that the Athletic Department was in a position of financial security, which in turn, would make the financial impact of a unified student section on the sidelines (i.e. the expensive seats) a moot point.  But I digress.

Despite having the initial interview and openly acknowledging Baghdad Bob's Mark Harlan's position on financial viability, they follow with (emphasis added):

He [Mark Harlan] added that after Athletics was presented with the problem of student unity, the solution it proposed to student leaders was to move the seats behind the west basket.

Harlan emphasized that nothing regarding the student section is set in stone, and if the advisory vote reflects that students are unhappy with the change, Athletics will continue to work with student leaders. He said the decision to change the seating was made based on student input about their experience at sporting events, not at all for financial reasons.

Does anyone else see that?  The blatant contradictions.  The obvious lie begging to be exposed and blasted by someone resembling a competent journalist.  These kids at the Daily Pravda should probably stick to their respective majors because journalism doesn't really seem like a good career fit for them.

Let's do what the kids at the Daily Bruin could not or would not do: let's break down Baghdad Bob's Mark Harlan's lies.

First, on March 31, in the initial Daily Bruin interview, Harlan defends this student baseline banishment by claiming it's not financially viable.

Fast forward to April 29, and now Harlan is singing a whole different tune, that the decision was made because it's what the student wanted, that it was "not at all for financial reasons."

You can't have it both ways Mark.  Never mind that your boss Dan G. said that fundraising was going so amazing you could reduce Wooden Athletic Fund donation amounts by 20%, which implies there isn't a financial need to banish the students to the baseline.  In one month, Harlan says it's not financially viable but then says the decision wasn't financially motivated.

Is it an issue of money or is it not an issue of money?  Stop being a lying scumbag and quit speaking out of both sides of your mouth Mark.  If the students want a unified student section, and the decision isn't made for financial reasons (and you're doing so well you lowered Wooden Athletic Fund donation requirements by 20%), then why can't the students have a unified student section on the sideline?

Oh, it's not "financially viable" I forgot.

But that's not the only obvious contradiction that the lazy hacks at the Daily Pravda didn't seem interested in following up on.

Somewhere in Morgan Center, I'm sure Dan G. is sweating that his lackey and lying scumbag Mark Harlan spilled the beans on what really happened.  You see, the Daily Bruin has inadvertently broke a major story: this banishment to the baseline was Morgan Center's idea, plain-and-simple, with ZERO input by the students:

He [Mark Harlan] added that after Athletics was presented with the problem of student unity, the solution it proposed to student leaders was to move the seats behind the west basket.

Harlan emphasized that nothing regarding the student section is set in stone, and if the advisory vote reflects that students are unhappy with the change, Athletics will continue to work with student leaders. He said the decision to change the seating was made based on student input about their experience at sporting events, not at all for financial reasons.

Look at that again.  Soak it in.  Morgan Center sends out a survey (which ol' Baghdad Bob Mark Harlan tried to spin was the result of 7,000 students, not around 700 as reported by the Daily Pravda and exposed by gbruin) which contains ONE misleading question about student section unity:

Do you think Pauley split seating (student seats on floor and upper level separated by mid-level public seating) interferes with the effectiveness of the student section?

Obviously, the students surveyed said they'd want a unified student section.  Everyone agrees a unified student section makes it a better experience for everyone at the arena (students, alums, donors, fans, etc.).

Morgan Center then, as they now admit, "propose" a solution to the Den and USAC leaders.  That "proposal" was moving the students from the sidelines to the baseline.  It wasn't as if Mark Harlan sat down with student leaders and they discussed the most effective place to put this new unified student section and they misguidedly chose behind the basket.  No, Morgan Center did EXACTLY what we suspected: they used that bulls**t survey question, which reeks of academic and intellectual dishonesty to justify moving the students to the baseline.

Of course, students at BN were telling us this all along:

So you know how...a few months ago I had posted a comment about how the Campaign of Champions site was wrong with respect to the student seating arrangement? This is what I was talking about. Yeah, we had a meeting about this. But it wasn't like this was what we WANTED.

But it was either behind the basket, or another seating arrangement that you'd find even MORE distasteful for the students. Those were the only two options we were given. So we took the less crappy plan.


This was resolved about a year and a half ago some of us, by us I mean the den president and I, were invited to a focus group about the renovation. We were led to believe that the student seating would remain the same along with adding seats behind the basket. That's the way it should be.

So, in other words, it wasn't about student input Mark, you lying scumbag.  If it was, then why did you only propose a unified student section behind the basket?  If it wasn't "financially motivated" as you keep claiming, then why not propose a unified student section on the sideline, or at the least, an L-shaped unified section (you know, like the original plan for the Campaign of Champions)?

The plain-and-simple truth is that Morgan Center used this as a means to an end: a way to remove those pesky students from the expensive sideline seats and free those seats up for donors.  Donors who would pay out and give Morgan Center the money it desperately needs since the "Campaign of Champions" isn't doing very well (you don't reduce prices 20% out of the goodness of your heart; you do it to respond to the lack of demand at that price-point).

With all of this information out there, with Mark Harlan on the record, it is absolutely amazing that the Daily Bruin once again took the easy road out and did not ask a single hard-hitting question.

At this point, it's apparent the kids at the Daily Pravda Bruin are more concerned about acting as the official bootlicking disinformation "news" source for Morgan Center than actually acting like real journalists. Which is really sad since they've shown potential at times.

A complete abdication of their journalistic responsibility and a total sell-out that shreds any semblance of journalistic integrity.