Kinsley Goes Out With The Gracelessness That Has Marked His Whole Tenure In L.A.
Michael Kinsley is going out with the same gracelessness that has marked his entire tenure in Los Angeles, calling his critics idiots and again defending his scatterbrained editorial stands as admirable.
The fact is that Kinsley, a Seattle resident who never worked very hard at his job as editor of the editorial pages, was responsible for losing the L.A. Times many subscribers, and proved himself not much of a journalist period.
In all likelihood, he was forced out. When John Carroll, who hired him and was his strongest backer, went into retirement early, that left Kinsley reporting to the new publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, and it appears Johnson wisely lost no time telling him to make his excuses and get out.
Carroll, by contrast, in his parting interviews has been restrained in his wording.
What is there against Kinsley?
1. He didn't believe in the use of confidential sources and failed to back Judy Miller of the New York Times in her fight with a corrupt judiciary.
He had no discernible position on the War on Terror.
He criticized President George W. Bush but then didn't have the courage to support Sen. John Kerry in his challenge to him.
He purged half the editorial board, including such talented writers as Molly Selvin and Alex Raksin.
He got into a brawl with Susan Estrich when she had the temerity to insist on more women writing on the op-ed page. In this he was carrying water for Carroll, who didn't like Estrich for her criticisms of him.
He didn't answer his phone or answer many of his e-mails.
He introduced broad changes on the editorial pages, but then didn't fight to implement them.
In short, he didn't have the courage of his convictions, didn't have that many convictions, was an ersatz rather than a real liberal, and was the worst editorial page editor at the Times since before Otis Chandler became publisher in 1961.
The next editorial pages editor should be a Californian and work full time at the job.