Monday, January 01, 2007

Attacks Against David Geffen in Slate Are Highly Suspicious

Ever since Michael Kinsley was properly dismissed from his post as editorial pages editor of the L.A. Times, a position in which he had quickly established himself as highly confused at best, he has been on a veritable tear against the Times, and newspapers in general.

Kinsley has written a number of venomous articles in Time magazine and elsewhere making suggestions that newspapers are outdated, and has persistently been very negative about his Times experience. Of course, he was entirely responsible for his own failures at the Times, but he blames it all on Jeff Johnson, the Times publisher who terminated him, and other Tribune Co. executives. (Getting rid of Kinsley was one of the few actions by Tribune which I wholeheartedly favored).

Kinsley, whose wife is a top executive of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was once editor of Microsoft's Slate magazine, and he presumably retains influence there. I say that, because Slate has also lent itself to a number of articles that parrot Kinsley's views.

Now, last week, we see an article by Kim Masters in Slate that declares entertainment mogul David Geffen to be an unsuitable future owner of the L.A. Times.

I am highly suspicious of the authenticity of the charges made against Geffen, such as that he would be a temperamental and dictatorial publisher on the order of Wendy McCaw at the Santa Barbara News Press. And I even think Kevin Roderick made a mistake in L.A. Observed to give so much space to Master's article, which is attributed to "multiple sources" which, not surprisingly, are not named.

Geffen recently made a $2 billion cash-only offer to buy the L.A. Times, and of all the people who have come forward to express an interest in saving the paper from further depredations at the hands of the Tribune Co., he appears to be one of the most serious.

So, it's not surprising to me that Masters and Slate, are out after him. They seek to follow Kinsley in balling up the works at the Times and spoiling its future as one of the nation's great newspapers.

If someone has something against Geffen, let them come out under their own names and make their charges publicly. In the meantime, we ought to ignore anything written or influenced by Kinsley, who recently took a job with the anti-American British paper, the Guardian, and shows signs of going further and further off the deep end.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a fascinating peek into the politics at LA Times. Thank you.

It's obvious that newspapers are not on a sustainable trajectory. Do you think that Geffen will change that for the LA Times? I made some wild speculation about how his perspective could change things, but it certainly isn't based on any first-hand knowledge of the LA Times or David Geffen. You can read it here:


1/06/2007 8:40 PM  

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