Changes On L.A. Times Op-Ed Page, Scheer And Ramirez Dropped
The L.A. Times, in an unusually candid and explicit article by Michael Kennedy and Rong-Gong Lin II, this morning, Nov. 11, announced major changes on the paper's Op Ed page, including the ouster of leftwing columnist Bob Scheer and rightwing cartoonist Michael Ramirez.
In what looks like another unfortunate cost cutting move from the lackluster Tribune Co., of Chicago, the disastrous Times owners, Ramirez will not be replaced. The Times will no longer have its own cartoonist, although it will run cartoons. That's too bad.
But both Scheer and Ramirez have been in the Times for a long time, and no one should have an indefinite lock on an editorial page. It needs variety.
Having long called for the removal of Scheer, who is a dreary foe of everything the United States tries to do in the world, I will not be critical of that move in any way. Also, Ramirez's extreme conservatism was out of sync with the rest of the editorial pages for a long time.
The Times announced this morning a new lineup of Op-Ed Page writers that on the surface seems quite good. There is both ideological variety and more women. We'll have to see how this works out.
Also, in light of the fact that on Page 1 yesterday, the Times called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a "militant" rather than a "terrorist" (when the New York Times wisely used "terrorist" in the very first word of its Jordanian bombing story), the L.A. Times editorial this morning marked a refreshing change in language about the War On Terror.
Under the headline, "Pain and anger in Jordan," the LAT editorial began, "Chechen criminals murder children after taking them hostage at a school in Beslan, Russia; Palestinians kill Israeli civilians marking a religious holiday at a hotel; now, in the Jordanian capital of Amman, terrorists murder wedding guests. turning what should have been a celebration into a tragedy. As the atrocities mount, so does the anger."
This, at long last, is the right tone to take on the war.
I say this, fully aware of Ken Silverstein's excellent article on Page 1 this morning on the extensive ties between the CIA and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Even if everything Silverstein says is true, and I have no doubt it is, it still was not appropriate or humane for al-Zarqawi to send a suicide bomber into a wedding reception on Wednesday to kill innocent celebrants.
One final word about the Op Ed Page announcements this morning. I hope disclosing the removals of Scheer and Ramirez on the same day does not mark a tit-for-tat designed to please a consensus. The Times' inconsistent stands on the Special election seemed such a tit-for-tat.
The way to run an editorial page, and a newspaper, is to act as appropriate in single cases, and let the chips fall where they may.