Saturday, November 12, 2005

Maybe LAT Editorial Pages Changes Are Like New Coke And Won't Really Last

Don't look now, but the most compelling parts of the L.A. Times editorial pages this morning, Nov. 12, were the letters mostly pleading for Bob Scheer and Michael Ramirez to remain, and Ramirez's cartoon suggesting what will happen with Arab atomic bombings of the U.S. if media columnist Tim Rutten gets his way.

The Ramirez cartoon has too much writing, as many of his cartoons do, but still...The title is "New Congressionally Sanctioned Interrogation Techniques To Find Where Terrorists Have Hidden A Nuclear Device In Your City," and then there's an interrogator with a rule book asking an Arab, "Section Four...Um, Pretty Please With Sugar On Top."

That's the way the articulate Rutten wants to fight the War On Terror. Fire Judy Miller and emasculate the U.S. intelligence services. I don't question for one moment that Rutten is admirably idealistic, and that there ought to be bounds on U.S. conduct. But we may disagree on exactly where those bounds ought to be set.

Meanwhile, Scheer's supporters are on the page with gusto, and they are a lot more articulate than either the Op Ed Page offerings today, or the wonderfully dumb editorial in the bottom left hand corner of the editorial page trying to argue that most of the Special election results should be reversed.

You'd think Andres Martinez was Harry Chandler, for all the unreconstructionist views he has about the unions' victory the other night.

We can't forget that Martinez was hired by Michael Kinsley, who refused to so much as give George W. Bush a pro forma congratulations on his reeelection. Both men are of the school, "Let's Ignore Democracy."

Now, as for the Op Ed Page, I strongly suspect Op Ed Page editor Nick Goldberg would like to keep Scheer. He's been one of his champions as long as I've known him.

No, the decision to ditch Scheer, (which I've supported, by the way) had to come straight from Chicago via the new publisher, Jeffrey Johnson. There is a school of readers out here who believe Johnson has come out here to try and save circulation by dumbing down the Times and making it less controversial.

Maybe, they're right. But the letters section is staying controversial, and since this does resemble the battle for Classic Coke, maybe it's conceivable the Times will yet announce that Ssheer and Ramirez can stay.

Or maybe not. If the stock brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch, and its expert Lauren Rich, have their way, the Tribune Co. will sell out some of their newspapers, maybe even the Times. If Rupert Murdoch bought the Times, God forbid, he certainly would keep at least Scheer on the way out the door.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree strongly with almost everything Sheer is for.

That being said, I think he's a very strong local voice, one that a lot of people count on, he's totally independent in his views, and he's a terrific mind and writer.

The LAT made a big mistake by dropping him, and that's coming from someone totally opposed to what Mr. Sheer has to say.

11/12/2005 6:05 PM  

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