Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Michael Kinsley At Last Off The Masthead

Finally, he is gone. Michael Kinsley is off the LAT masthead and Andres Martinez is on it as "Editorial Page Editor." It can't help but be an improvement.

There can be no doubt, according to Kinsley's own e-mail to the staff that the new publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, gave Kinsley the final shove.

"For whatever reason," Kinsley said, "Jeff isn't merely uninterested in any future contribution I might make, but actively wants me gone."

Johnson must have drawn the adverse conclusions so many close local observers and inside staff did at the Times: Kinsley was bad news. He was costing the paper circulation when it could ill afford to lose any more. He might have meant well, but he had little or nothing to contribute. Congratulations to Johnson, and may this be only the beginning of his benefits to the paper, and to Los Angeles.

Media correspondent James Rainey's article announcing Kinsley's departure was weak. Rainey, it ought now to be said, is a disappointment as a media writer. He lists the controversial rightwinger Bill O'Reilly as a critic of Kinsley without ever mentioning all the local critics he had, without mentioning Jack Nelson's persistent criticism, and without mentioning such squalid episodes as the Susan Estrich affair, when Kinsley followed his mentor John Carroll's lead in keeping her off the Op-Ed Page. Now, both Carroll and Kinsley are gone, and we will see whether Estrich is welcome back on the Op-Ed Page, as she should be.

Today's editorials in the Times showed little improvement, including a rather insipid lead on the disappointingly bland testimony of Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John G. Roberts, Jr. to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But I would guess Martinez, who has written some good columns since arriving from the New York Times, would soon spruce things up. He is quoted this morning as saying there will be more local and state editorials.

Good, after all, the Times is the state's largest paper. It is not, thank goodness, the Chicago Tribune.

Farewell but also good riddance to Michael Kinsley.


Blogger shelly sloan said...

Ken, I hope that you are right.

I often disagree with Susan, but she knows local politics and if you ignore the messenger, you can occasionally hear a message worth thinking about. Kinsley was wrong.

This is a real opportunity for the Times to change its ways. With Kinsley and Carroll gone, maybe we can read where the murdering thugs who blow up large numbers of innocent humans are called "murderers", instead of "insurgents" or "militants".

If that happens, I might just reconsider and subscribe again.

9/15/2005 7:12 AM  

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