Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Steve Lopez Advises Against David Geffen As An Owner Of LAT

Steve Lopez, I daresay, is not going to be fired, unless Rupert Murdoch buys the L.A. Times. He's just too valuable to the franchise.

Yet Lopez weighs in on the question of new ownership of the Times in his column today, and he's worried about David Geffen buying the paper, not to mention a few others that he's chanced to write negatively about in the past.

Lopez seems willing to let Dennis FitzSimons and his Tribune Co. continue to run the paper, despite FitzSimons' record of heavyhanded interference in the paper.

I think Lopez might feel differently had he been personally present when FitzSimons flew to the Burbank Airport last year, summoned editors John Carroll and Dean Baquet there and mandated staff and other cost cutbacks at the Tribune Co.'s most valuable property, the L.A. Times. I wish Lopez had been invited to this meeting. I'm sure he would have found FitzSimons just as undesirable as Geffen might appear to be.

But I'm very happy to see Lopez writing on the topic of a change in ownership this morning, and particularly his report that this has become a topic of conversation around the water cooler at the Times offices.

Any publicity on this matter is apt to be good publicity, because the more it is talked about, the better chance it may actually come about.

The more you think about local ownership, the better an idea it seems, as long as it's not Murdoch or Arnold Schwarzenegger, that is. The fact is, I think, that as owner of the L.A. Times, David Geffen would not be fighting the Coastal Commission to keep beach access closed around his beachfront home. He would tend to become more respectable.

I've disagreed with Lopez before. He was against the Iraq invasion when I was for it. (Well, maybe the less I say about that disagreement the better).

But, believe me folks, the more Lopez and Jim Rainey, and anyone else at the Times writes about the possibility of a sale, the more the idea will catch on. Particularly if the prospective buyer, like Geffen, is likely to build the paper back into the giant it was under the Chandler family.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new name in the mix is Lachlan Murdoch. His father will buy the paper and install the son as the Publisher/CEO. The push is to make California a "red state" prior to the 2008 Presidential Election. The Times will cater to the more conservative Pasadena-area old money crowd, and also to the highly conservative Christian folks in the Inland Empire.

9/21/2005 3:34 PM  

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