Times Moves From Right to Left
Before Otis Chandler became publisher of The Times in 1961, the newspaper was known as unfairly Republican. When Kyle Palmer was political editor, in fact, The Times seldom covered the Democrats. The story is told of a delegation of Democrats coming down to the paper and asking to see Palmer. He came downstairs and leaned over the rail that used to mark the entrance in those days, and demanded in a peremptory tone: "Now what do you want?"
Times have changed. For the most part, the news coverage remains fairly straight. But the editorial pages are now as sharply to the Left as they once were to the Right. And just as before, they cost the paper credibility.
Now, it has become representatives of the Jewish community who have come downtown to remonstrate with editors over Times editorial policy, persistently anti-Israel. But like the Democrats of yore, many of the Jewish leaders have concluded it is pointless to argue. Times editorial pages are devotedly biased and are going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Recently, since Michael Kinsley took over the editorial pages, the situation has gotten worse. Kinsley didn't deign to so much as congratulate President Bush on his victory, before going on to whine about his policies. Kinsley writes a weekly column that echoes Bob Scheer, but I don't think he conveys as much sincerity as Bob Scheer. Together, the two have hijacked the editorial pages. It wouldn't be as bad, if they had shrill writers from the Right as well. But the Rightists that are used are usually bland and respectable.
It's all costing The Times a lot. The late wise editorial page editor and later executive editor of the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Norman Cherniss, once declared, "You can't scream everyday and keep people reading." The Times editorial pages do scream too frequently. We are back to the pre-Otis days, only at the opposite extreme.
Labels: Times moves