Not Coming Up Roses

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WOW. Just wow. Paul Pringle's Bad City feels like a gut punch reminder of how power and money corrupts absolutely. Pringle lands on a tip that Carmen Puliafito, the Dean of Medicine at USC, was found in the hotel room of a woman overdosing in Pasadena, and did nothing. If you think that's bad, oh just you wait, because that's just the beginning of what Pringle has to share. The culture, headed by university president Nikias, at USC is one of power, control and obfuscation, and as Pringle pulls together the information he needs to publish an article showing the reach of problem he finds a problem just as bad. The reach has extended to the publisher and editor of the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper he writes for. In a world full of fake news that is often viral on social media, knowing that a traditional media outlet respected for integrity in reporting news is being controlled by a university is disgusting. And while the majority of the book is focused on Pringle's investigation of the Puliafito story and his difficulties getting it published, he also makes it clear that this was not a single one-off situation. The book also briefly delves into the cover-up of sexual assault and sexual harassment by ob-gyn George Tyndall that went on for decades where staff were told to look the other way, and the disproportionate number of parents trying to get their students accepted into USC during the college admissions scandal. As horrible as all of this is, wouldn't it be nice to think it's a unique situation? The sad truth is that it probably isn't. Many universities are reliant on money coming in, and there's probably plenty of them willing to overlook things that should never happen. The bright spot of this story (yes, there is one!) is that there are people like Pringle and his fellow staffers out there, that are willing to do what it takes to expose corruption and bring people justice, and there are people out there like Devon Khan, who becomes a whistle-blower when he sees something so wrong that he's not willing to stay silent anymore. This is the world we live in, folks! Thank you to the publisher for a complimentary copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.