It's Nice That The L.A. Times Editorial Page Has Room For Dissenters, But It Would Be Better If It Took Consistently Sound Positions
But it would have been better had the Times, which supposedly has a liberal editorial policy, taken a majority editorial board position consistent with that policy and opposed doing away with the filibuster, period.
It was nice that the Times endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa for mayor of Los Angeles. But it would have been nicer had the Times editorial page been more definite and more persistent in its support of Villaraigosa and taken a firm position against the scurrilous campaign the inept incumbent, James Hahn, waged against him. The editorial page shouldn't have left it to columnist Steve Lopez this morning to take the ringing position he did for tolerance. It should have taken that position, before the election, itself.
An editorial page should choose clearly, and not be the mishmosh the Times as a newspaper is today. The paper, rather than commanding admiration for reflecting all views and trying to do everything, has sadly ended up by disgusting many of its readers by such seeming inconsistencies as noted above.
Similarly, I must admit, Michael Kinsley finally put it on the line today with an eloquent column defending stem cell research. It turns out he can write a good column. I'm glad to see it. But a ringing Times editorial on the stem cell question would not have been out of place today, either.
I'm glad he gave Judy Dugan a chance to put on the editorial page a rational argument for keeping the filibuster, because, at its best the filibuster is consistent with the sound American principle of majority rule but minority rights.
But then why did he remove Molly Selvin from the paper's editorial board? She has been a consistent living exponent for many years now for good judges and rational, humane principles. It's one thing to take the position, as Kinsley did, that nobody should be on the editorial board forever. It's another to remove Selvin just at this unfortunate moment, when she's so needed.
One other matter, about the paper in general.
There's a letter on the editorial page today from Ray DiPietro of Rancho Santa Fe Springs making another point that the Times ought to be adhering to more than it does, and that is sticking with the American side of the War on Terror, at least in some fundamental respects.
DiPietro writes to object to an article that ran in the news pages last Thursday, titled, "In Brothers, Two Faces of the Iraq Insurgency." That article ran on Page 1.
DiPietro writes, "This article completely overlooks the pain caused by the Iraqi insurgents to our American soldiers and their families. Buried within the story is the comment that one of the terrorist brothers had orchestrated the suicide attack on a U.S. base that killed 22 U.S. and Iraqi troops and civilian contractors.
"The Times' never-ending quest to report both sides of a story is misdirected when it comes to this war, in which America is fighting terrorism. Printing a story such as this one is the same as having The Times interviewing family members of SS soldiers or Kamikaze pilots for their side of the story -- during World War II. I don't believe that would have happened."
Amen! I wonder how my father and mother would have felt in 1945
had The Times interviewed the family of the Kamikazi pilot who struck my father's ship, the Destroyer-Escort Rall, off Okinawa killing or wounding one third of the crew. They didn't think there was a good side to suicide attacks that needed to be presented to Times readers.
Both on the editorial pages and in the news pages, certain defining choices must be made. The paper can't take all sides in an imperfect world and expect its readers to stay loyal to it.