Thursday, May 24, 2007

Al Martinez Forced To Retire By Jackass Tribune Co.

I haven't always agreed with L.A. Times columnist Al Martinez, far from it. But I'm chagrined to see him forced to take the buyout by the jackass editor James O'Shea and chickenshit publisher David Hiller, the highly-paid toadies of the Tribune Co.

Martinez, in the newspaper business since 1952, will have his last column in the Times June 1. He has been with the newspaper for 30 years.

He has long been one of the most popular Times columnists. In his 70s, he continues to have legions of admirers. He will certainly be missed.

As an extra shove out the door, Tribune Co. is erasing Martinez's e-mail address as of tonight. Another sporting move by that scoundrel, Hiller. When he fired Dean Baquet as editor, he at least had the grace to allow him to keep his e-mail address for awhile. No such favor to Martinez.

A vile plot continues to be mounted at the Chicago headquarters of the Tribune Co. to denigrate the Times as a newspaper, to slam California and to treat Los Angeles as it is were a smaller city than Chicago. For shame! These cursed sons-of-bitches can't hold a candle to the quality of the career of Al Martinez or so many other Times men and women forced into the buyout.

In an e-mail reported today on L.A. Observed, Martinez writes, "I am a victim of the buyout/layoff frenzy...I always thought that I would be the one to decide when it was time to walk away, when my pace faltered and my thinking blurred. But that's not the way it works any more with the owners we have in the climate that exists. Too bad. I thnk I deserved a better way of ending such a long and honorable career."

He says it better than I could have. My anger at these continued depredations often overcomes my peaceful spirit.

It should be noted that Martinez was not only a graceful, sensitive columnist and author of several books, but a Marine veteran of the Korean war, where he conceived a hatred of all wars. He has been an unsparing critic of the Bush Administration and its war in Iraq. I don't think he was right about this, but I still honor him for the sincerity of his convictions.

Jenifer Warren, Mike Kennedy, Simon Li, Cecilia Rasmussen, Frank Clifford, so many others, are being lost to the Times. Lost too is so much of the integrity and quality of the paper, all because of its horrid shortsighted owners.


The Times continues to run much senseless blather on its Op Ed Page. We see it again in Wednesday's silly column by two foreign policy gurus, Clifford Kupchan and Ray Takeyh, who would have joined with Neville Chamberlain in thinking that Hitler was subject to sweet reason. Now, these two socalled savants argue that coercion shouldn't be part of U.S. policy toward Iran, as it feverishly pursues atomic weapons.

"Some will argue that one-track diplomacy (such as they advocate), without threats, will signal U.S. weakness," this duo acknowledge. ABSOLUTELY!

At the same time, CBS News reports the U.S. and other Western powers have undertaken covert action to sabotage Iran's nuclear program. Halleleujah!

The New York Times, which although liberal doesn't have an Op Ed Page editor quite as addicted to running nonsense as the L.A. Times' Nick Goldberg, runs another kind of column on Iran today, this one by Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer.

Gerecht, who comments on the imprisonment in Iran of Haleh Esfandiari, an American citizen and Middle East expert, was an adviser to the Iraq Study Group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker, but he doesn't share its conclusions about the utility of talking of the Regime of the fanatic Mullahs the way Esfandiari did.

He writes, "The clerical regime today is no more interested in reaching a peaceful modus vivendi with the United States thasn it was in the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright all but begged President Mohammad Khatami of Iran to just talk to them." (You remember Clinton and Albright. They were the weak-kneed Ameriucan leaders who wouldn't kill off Osama bin Laden when they had the chance.)

Diplomacy alone won't work, Gerecht writes. "Neither the Europeans nor the Americans will find any common ground with the clerical regime as long as Mrs. Esfandiari languishes in prison. Until she is freed, it will remain clear that the regime understands nothing other than brute force."



Anonymous Matt Weinstock said...

Dear Ken:

I enjoy your writings. I liked Al Martinez too, back when I was wasting money on that pathetic fish wrapper.

Is the INCREDIBLE SHRINKING LOS ANGELES TIMES living up your expectations?

5/24/2007 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said....

5/24/2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger Big B said...

Ken, I thought there were rumors of a the Tribune selling off 'assets' and the the Times might be one of them. That was a few weeks back... Haven't read anything lately about it.

5/25/2007 4:23 AM  
Blogger Kanani said...

The unofficial official scuttlebutt that "SOMEONE AT THE TIMES" has shared is this:

"My understanding is he volunteered for it. A pretty good payday, I heard, especially for a 77-year-old who would have been put out to pasture a long time ago in most other professions."

(well, except for this profession, who have always valued the skills and opinions of people like.... Walter Cronkite, David Halberstam, Jack Smith, Jim Murray, Pauline Kael, Emeritus Journos, if you please.)

Quite frankly, I think "volunteering" is a long stretch.
It's sort of like me telling my kid, "clean your room or they'll be no TV tonite." He'll do it, but he didn't want to.

From what we've heard straight from the lion's mouth is that he really didn't want to quit, had no intention of ever stopping his biweekly column. And in our meeting with him last month, he intended to finish out his career here.

5/25/2007 12:38 PM  

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