Saturday, March 12, 2005

Rainey Article on Estrich-Kinsley Row Shows John Carroll Stands Behind Kinsley

Jim Rainey's workmanlike article in the L.A. Times Calendar section Friday, March 11, on the unseemly row between Susan Estrich and the Times' frequently absent editorial pages editor, Michael Kinsley, tends to show among other things how much editor John Carroll stands behind Kinsley.

Carroll has unnecessarily injected himself into this dispute, and, I wonder whether Kinsley will long survive as editorial pages editor when Carroll does retire. I would think not.

The Rainey article, among other things, mentions that Estrich opposed in a written article the publication by the Times, just five days before the 2003 Recall election, of accounts that Arnold Schwarzenegger had sexually harassed several women. She called it a smear.

The sexual harassment report has been verified, although questions persist about its timing. It came so close to the election that it appeared to some readers to be a smear.

Now the interesting thing about this is that Carroll wrote a vehement defense of publishing the sexual harassment report. Carroll has a long memory, and it would not surprise me if the real origin of Estrich's estrangement from the L.A. Times is her opposition to Carroll's position on the sexual harassment issue.

Carroll was responsible for hiring Kinsley. I remember how he walked around the paper the night it was announced to defend his choice. He is very close to Kinsley, who has not turned out well thus far as editorial pages editor, and it would not be surprising if he had discouraged Kinsley from any thought of running Estrich as a columnist, or even running further op-ed page pieces by her.

It is quite unusual for any newspaper to run an article about internal matters such as discussed by Rainey in Calendar on Friday. Again, I wonder if Carroll suggested the article. Or whether Kinsley might have put some pressure on Carroll to defend him along the way of this dispute.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Friday it is moving its outstanding columnist, Frank Rich, to the Op-Ed page and will expand Op-Ed page presentations to two pages on Sundays in the NYT's Week in Review section. Rich's lengthier essays are a real contribution to the NYT.

Kinsley has been responsible for weakening the LAT's Sunday Opinion section, with lighthearted pieces, his own hapless weekly column and many, many cartoons. So as the NYT improves its presentations, it has ever less real competition from Kinsley's editorial pages. That's too bad.


Blogger Flap said...

Nice piece, Ken.

When is Carroll expected to retire?

3/13/2005 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Ken. I've got a dilemma; what if I can't stand any of them?

Carroll is a bigot, proven by his unwillingness to identify terrorists as "terrorists" or "murderers", prefering to call them "militants" or "freedom fighters".

Kinsley is yesterday's news, literally.

Susan Estrus is just plain offensive and has never really done anything of note, except perhaps, manage to run one of the singular worst campaigns in modern memory for poor, hapless Mike Dukakis. His tank shot is still the gold standard for monumental bad judgment in campaigns.

A pox on all their houses. Thanks for reporting on it, (yawn).

I would like to hear your take on the Mayoralty race, however. You were always my favorite political writer before you became enamored with earthquakes, volcanos and other natural disasters. I guess the Take Back The Times Blog is a natural sequence follow on to those other disasters.

3/13/2005 8:18 PM  
Blogger Matt Weinstock said...


John Carroll somehow reminds me of Dan Rather. How can that be?


3/14/2005 10:49 AM  
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