Saturday, June 10, 2006

Another Strange Editorial In The L.A. Times

Sometimes, you'd swear that Michael Kinsley was still editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times. But, after all, Kinsley hired Andres Martinez, and he continued the Kinsley tradition by dropping from his staff every Pulitzer Prize winner the LAT editorial pages had.

Now, in the wake of the killing of the gross terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Times comes out Friday with another one of those curious editorials that are trademarks of both the Kinsley and Martinez editorships.

In an editorial entitled simply, "The news from Iraq," the Times begins, "The killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may not have been the most important news from Iraq on Thursday. That designation may fall to the appointment of three new security ministers..."

Neither the news editors of the L.A. Times or the New York Times thought so. Both papers bannered the news of the Zarqawi killing and left to the inside news pages the Iraqi cabinet appointments.

The truth may be that Martinez and company simply couldn't stomach an American win in the War on Terror, which the elimination of Zarqawi was. God forbid, they seemed to be saying to themselves, that the Bush Administration was to reap any advantage.

The New York Times editorial was more rational. Under the headline, "Death of a Terrorist," the NYT started out, "It is good news for Washington and even better news for Iraq, that the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was finally killed on Wednesday by an American airstrike."

The L.A. Times editorial position was reminiscent of other goofy editorials, such as its anti-press stand in the Judith Miller case, failing to uphold the press use of anonymous sources, and its recent editorial extolling Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales' raid on a Congressman's office, the first such action in the history of the Republic.

Also, it should be pointed out, the letters column of the New York Times is more timely, by a day, than the L.A. Times.

The NYT, probably using e-mailed letters on its page, was quick to print six letters the same day as its banner headline on the subject of the killing of Zarqawi, who the lead letter writer accurately described as "one of the most barbaric, savage creatures to rear his ugly head in the modern era." All six letters welcomed the killing of the monster.

The NYT published five letters related to the killing Saturday, the second day, and all five raised questions about it, or its significance.

By contrast, the L.A. Times ran no letters at all on the Zarqawi killing the first day and today, the second day, ran five, of which three are negative about a killing that thrilled the American public.

The first letter chosen by the L.A. Times continues the slashing at the Administration that the LAT editorial page and op-ed page editors seem to love. "Zarqawi," writes Nik Green of Isla Vista, Calif., "sounds like either a manufactured nonentity or a figure of relative unimportance, built up and subsequently taken down to gain cheap political brownie points for the Bush Administration's failing war."

Tell that to the families of those al-Zarqawi killed in his ruthless attempt to cause a Sunni-Shiite war throughout the Middle East. Tell that to the thousands of U.S. troops fighting and dying in Iraq.

The Times editorial pages are, to use a good word, disgraceful. Martinez ought to follow his Pulitzer Prize winners to other pages of the paper or retirement.


Blogger Paul Weeks said...

Ken, I share your views on the news play of the killing, and, while I have misgivings on Martinez' editorials, I think the appointment of the ministers will have more importance on the future course of the war.

Your blog is valuable to keep us up on the LAT, and your views.
Paul Weeks

6/10/2006 12:25 PM  

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