Monday, November 13, 2006

Some Thoughts On Latest Developments Regarding The L.A. Times

There are so many developments these days regarding the possible sale and breakup of the dysfunctional Tribune Co., and revival of the L.A. Times, hopefully under local control. And, of course, I have some reactions.

I continue to hope that local entrepreneurs, preferably David Geffen, will be able to buy the Times. I kind of shudder when I read this morning that Gannett may make a bid to buy the whole company, that retired insurance magnate Maurice Greenberg may put in a bid or even that Rupert Murdoch may try to buy the Times.

Such outcomes would be very disappointing. After this long struggle that has been taking place, we have to hope speculators, poor-quality newspaper publishers or conservative extremists such as Murdoch do not end up with the Times.

As for Harry Chandler's suggestion in Sunday's Current section that the paper become community-owned, this may be well meaning but is not really feasible. If the Chandler family wishes to prove its good will and regard for the newspaper it once owned, its representatives on the Tribune board should push for a sale to Geffen or some other Los Angeles bidder.

I was a little taken aback when the ousted editor, Dean Baquet, sounded so understanding and collegial in an interview with Editor and Publisher that he even gave reason to understand the new editor sent here by the Tribune had his backing.

This is nonsense. When David Hiller, the Tribune's third publisher in Los Angeles, told Baquet he was through, the proper reaction by Baquet would have been to punch him in the nose.

There should be no welcoming any of the Tribune nominees to be its gauleiters in Los Angeles. If the paper should be sold, God willing, they will not last a week in their jobs.

Meanwhile, two Times columnists, Tim Rutten and Steve Lopez, continue to exhibit outstanding courage and understanding in writing as they do about the Times and its troubles, Lopez in a blog just out, Rutten in last Saturday's column.

When this nightmare is over, prizes will be handed out to those who resisted the Tribune management, and, at that time, Rutten and Lopez, and also, I suspect, Jim Rainey will get the plaudits they deserve.

Lopez, incidentally, refers unfavorably to a meaningless Times ad in the blog. I just wonder whether the hapless design director, Joe Hutchinson, had something to do with this. Whatever Hutchinson puts his hand to has turned out abysmally.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I predicted months ago that Murdoch would wrestle control of the Times. A conservative paper would do great in the Inland Empire, Pasadena/San Marino and Orange County. Enough current Times subscribers would still get the paper to read the horoscopes or do the crossword puzzle to offset the die-hard liberals who would cancel their subscriptions. Rupert would have a West Coast base to further his conservative agenda just in time for Giulani in 2008.

11/13/2006 10:00 PM  

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