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The X Files
Xavier Hermosillo is the President of, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 23 years ago. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He has co-founded two publicly-traded companies where he served as a member of the Board of Directors and as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. He has also served as a Hearing Examiner for the Los Angeles Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds degrees in Administration of Justice and Business and Communications. He can be reached at

This column is loosely named after one of the many nicknames I've carried through life, and should not to be confused with a former FOX-TV sci-fi that came into this world four decades after I did. It is called "The X Files", not because my perspectives or opinions may seem strange or mysterious to some, but because we'll look at many issues that will cause a few people in the news business to wish interplanetary aliens would come and take me away.

The rules of the news reporting game and some of the ethics espoused, have changed over time, and one might opine, that is hasn't necessarily been for the better. We'll look at that and a few other topics rarely discussed openly among members of the media because News Matters!

"Opinions," someone once said, "are like a. (a certain part of the anatomy). Everybody has one." This column provides that opportunity to look at news from my opinion and perspective as a very aggressive, seasoned, successful writer/editor/reporter/commentator. I've spent 40 years as a print and television journalist, radio talk show host, businessman, and civic leader, all of it here in Los Angeles. At times, I may offer a quality control check on our beloved news business. Other times, I will examine politics and the news, why the news business chooses to cover what it does, why we cover some folks differently than others, why we keep our hands off some untouchables and mercilessly pounce on others, etc.

This column will NEVER try to pick on people by name, though I have perfected that art in REAL life. Using names is SO inside the Beltway, or inside baseball, as others say!! We want all the readers, no matter where in the world their perch is located, to understand that the news game in L.A. is like no other. The second largest city in the U.S. has its own unique personality, whether it's normal, bi-polar, or bi-something else. The real question is simple: "Are we doing a good job in covering this megalopolis? Are we truly doing all we can as professional story tellers of life in El Lay to communicate to our readers/listeners/viewers what they need and want to know?"

Somehow, here in Los Angeles, we have become the land of "Unless it bleeds, it rarely or never leads." We are the most diverse region in the free world and each of our valleys, for example, (San Fernando or San Gabriel) has a million-plus in population. The "SG" has 34 separate and very independent cities. Yet, today, we have seen, and generally accepted, police pursuits as having more value than other stories in the line-up. We see news directors wipe out dozens of legitimate, important stories, to make room for some zigzagging low-life seeking his 15 minutes of fame over a two-hour chase.

The Harbor, East, West or South L.A. area, the high and low deserts , the OTHER counties - the O.C., the Inland Empire, Ventura, et al - all deserve more attention from the media than they receive. Often, their demographics represent another world that exists, at times, in another language and culture. Are we really in tune with the depth of those cultures?

These are some of the topics we will visit in our journey through the X Files in the weeks and months to come. We'll also explore the world of politics as the November elections approach. It's one of the dirtiest campaign we've seen in years and we will wonder aloud, for example, why the media gave so much coverage to Vice President Dick Cheney using the "F" word against Senator Patrick Leahy, yet practically ignored John Kerry's use of the "F" word in attacking President Bush in an interview in Rolling Stone Magazine.

The "F" word caper then hit the main stage at the Democratic National Convention when
12-year-old redhead Ilana Wexler drew national attention for saying, "Our vice president, he said a really bad word. If I said that word ... I would get a time out. I think he (Cheney) should be given a time out." Where was the media's "balance" on that coverage and why didn't someone ask Ilana about Kerry getting a "time out" or ask the Kerry folks about the double standard? The Republican National Convention is on tap this week. Let's see what, if anything, gets covered or overlooked there.

I have spent the majority of my working years in the media, in politics and in business. I started in this business at a much younger age than most, as a sports writer for the South Bay Daily Breeze and the San Pedro News-Pilot when I was 14 years old, in the mid-1960's. This helps explain why I am a stickler for the old style of news writing and reporting. It was NEVER about entertainment in those earlier days. It was always about being first, and accurate, with the story and beating your competitors to the punch. I was named Sports Editor right out of high school at age 18 and it was all about being first, and accurate, about winning!

The times were also different when I hit All News KFWB at age 21 in the early 1970's. Those were the days of the Patty Hearst kidnap, the war-like SLA shootout with the LAPD in South L.A., and all-out war in the streets with bombings and the like involving local Turkish and Greek Cypriots around the UCLA area in West Los Angeles. How many of you can remember a really pudgy Zev Yaroslavsky in the 1970's riding around in his pink Rambler as a leading activist for Soviet Jewry? Those lacking institutional memories are probably scratching their heads right now.

By the early 90's, it was time for me to do commentaries opposite Bill Press at KCOP-Channel 13 in L.A., and begin a five-year stint as a talk show host at KABC Talkradio. It was a real kick and fortuitous to start as a part timer and immediately become the primary fill-in host for the legendary Michael Jackson, Dennis Prager, and Gloria Allred, while working alongside veterans like Steve Edwards Kern Minyard, and Larry Elder. When ABC acquired KMPC from Gene Autry and named it 710-Talk, KMPC, the full time gig put me with newcomer Tavis Smiley and veterans Peter Tilden, Tom Leykis, and Michael Reagan. These were the heydays of the O.J. Trial and the hated-filled, anti-illegal alien Proposition 187.

I have a lot to share and thanks to Hal Eisner for the chance to do it. A former girlfriend taught me that "All is change. Only change is changeless." In this column, we'll examine change in our news business and among other things, do some gut checks to determine if we have lost the cornerstone of our journalistic underpinnings: institutional memory and the aggressive pursuit of hard-hitting news that provides a service to our viewers, listeners, or the community as a whole.

Please stay tuned.