Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Andres Martinez Goes To China, After Cuba

Andres Martinez, editor of the L.A. Times editorial pages, had a good article on his recent trip to Cuba, and, I said so in a blog. But now, Martinez, a failure as an editorial writer, has gone to China as well, and it raises the question of how the Tribune can afford to send him around the world on trips when it says it can't afford to support the Times in other particulars.

His column on Shanghai was not nearly as informative as the one on Cuba.

If only Martinez would learn how to write an incisive editorial and hire a decent stable of Op Ed Page writers.

Also, it is for his well being that he not travel. Martinez was apparently unaware that poor editorial writing can lead to a five year prison term in China, and the Chinese are not loathe to enforce their laws.

I was not aware until recently that Martinez was taking a much longer trip than Sacramento, where he journeyed to fire one of his Pulitzer Prize winners, Bill Stall.
He has the good grace to allow Stall to write Op Ed pieces, 15 a year, but he should not have fired him in the first place.

The way it is right now, it would not surprise me if Martinez, and his mentor, Times publisher Jeff Johnson, moved full time to Chicago, where they could be even more under the thumb of the Tribune Co. executives.

Martinez's travels might be a fit subject for a Steve Lopez column. Lopez wrote an excellent and funny column last year when Cardinal Mahony flew first class to the Pope's funeral, raising the question whether Jesus would have gone coach. Now, he ought to ask just what class Martinez is traveling in.

I would presume it's coach, but from Martinez's work that might not be a safe presumption.


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