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Times Plans New Op-Ed Lineup
By J. Michael Kennedy and Rong-Gong Lin II, Times Staff Writers

In a major shake-up of its editorial pages, the Los Angeles Times announced Thursday that it was discontinuing one of its most liberal columnists as well as its conservative editorial cartoonist.

Editorial Page Editor Andrés Martinez said that Robert Scheer, a Times reporter for 17 years before he began writing a column on the Op-Ed pages in 1993, will be dropped. Cartoonist Michael Ramirez, The Times' cartoonist since 1997, will leave the paper at the end of the year and will not be replaced.

Read the article here

Cartoonist Michael Ramirez is also out in an apparent move to deflect criticism.  A liberal and a conservative, for an equal fair game?  Not while wing nut columnist Max Boot remains.  And definitely not when you compare the caliber of Scheer and Ramirez.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but come on.  

I'm particularly upset because I live in Los Angeles.  Blue Los Angeles.  In Blue California.  You know, the city that helped significantly to defeat Arnold's failed propositions?  And they want to turn this paper into the Riverside Times.  

Scheer said he thought The Times had grown tired of his liberal politics. "I've been a punching bag for Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh for years and I think the paper finally collapsed," he said. He said he and Ramirez "both had strong opinions and [I think] the owners think they can improve circulation by making the paper bland and safer."

I will let the LA Times defend itself:

"The opinion pages are the newspaper's town square," he said in a statement. "Our readers expect us to publish all points of view and the broadest range of opinion -- from those of our editorial board and columnists to those of our readers and Op-Ed contributors. And we intend to do exactly that."

Originally posted to theKK on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:11 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Time to start a campaign (none)
    Boot Max!

    The Perfect is the Enemy of the Better

    by dabize on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:10:32 AM PST

  •  Another Newspaper Suicide (none)
    We gotta get these managing editors into therapy or something, this is becoming pandemic.

    Protection, Peace and Prosperity: Vote Democrat

    by Irfo on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:12:29 AM PST

  •  It's a trade off (none)
    I'm willing to accept. Ramirez is a dick and as full of shit as any 10 FOX allstars combined.
  •  That's the Trib for you (none)
    Tribune Company is determined to wreck that paper. It's not a suicide -- it's death by beancounters and boardroom meddlers. Never mind that Scheer was a popular columnist -- some DuPage Republican idiot in Chicago thinks he knows what's best for Times readers. Hint -- it ain't journalism.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    by Septic Tank on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:19:07 AM PST

  •  Scheer (none)
    I've never found him to be that good. I agree with most of his points, but I cannot get through his columns.

    They have absolutely no one who can hang with Krugman, Bob Herbert, and Frank Rich of the NY Times, or E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post.

    And I'm THRILLED that Michael Ramirez will not offend me over my morning coffee anymore.

    I don't think there is anything sinister here. The entire L.A. Times op-ed line-up has simply not been very distinguished, and it has been in dire need of a major overhaul. I predict this is merely the first step in a great many changes, and it's time for some fresh blood. There are so many great commentators out there in the blogosphere they could land.

    In a perfect fantasy world, I wish they would hire Barbara Ehrenreich to replace Scheer.

    Of science and the human heart, there is no limit. -- Bono

    by saucy monkey on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:20:15 AM PST

    •  He's a great speaker if you ever had a chance to (none)
      hear him at the LA Times Book Festival or on Left Right and Center on NPR.  Scheer may not be as high profile as many of the NYTimes editorialists, but he and others of his ilk play an important stabilizing role in journalism that is diminishing as politics and news tends toward infotainment.

      We need more journalists like Scheer, who have strong opinions yet insist on retaining the standards of journalistic integrity.  Too often lately, oped pages have been dumbed down to anecdotal opinion making.  Making journalistic integrity an oxymoron.

      Gov. Schwarzenegger, I have a special interest in kicking YOUR ass.

      by theKK on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:41:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Half a wish? =) (none)
      "In a perfect fantasy world, I wish they would hire Barbara Ehrenreich to replace Scheer."

      from Marc Cooper:

      "Rosa Brooks, a Virginia law prof and daughter of lefty icon Barbara Ehrenreich, has been writing some provocative fare on the op-ed page for some months now. Good to see her retained."

  •  more from Scheer...... (4.00)
    From L.A. Observed

    Scheer responds:

    In an email to friends and supporters, soon-to-be-ex Times columnist Robert Scheer blames Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson for his ouster from the op-ed page:

    On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. The publisher Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq. Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher.

  •  LA times editorial page (none)
    The LA times editorial page has been really bad lately.  It has also been boring.  Now that section will be irrelevant.
  •  The newspapers are in retreat/retrenchment mode (none)
    After the damage done by our fav first amendment jailbird and arborist. Who is going to have the balls to step up and become the new Paper of Record. Or, is print media dead and its up to us now? A good solution imho, for everyone not on the shady side of the digital divide. However the media collapse is mirroring the societal collapse. Please Lord, (of your choice, or not) let us sieze this opportunity to define the new paradigm and bring peace to this planet.

    "The pen is mightier than the sword, but only at a range of greater than five feet" Malaclypse the Younger

    by buhdydharma on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:30:39 AM PST

    •  We need a public newspaper (none)
      set up like PBS with a huge endowment.  Enough with the corporate media.  We could still take advertising to help pay for the enterprise but knowing that you don't need it for 100% of your revenue could give it some balls.

      The Public Times: Because Blogging is NOT Always Enough

      Gov. Schwarzenegger, I have a special interest in kicking YOUR ass.

      by theKK on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 11:00:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a huge turning point (none)
        one way or the other. The two biggest challenges for Democracy et al are campaign finance and the corporate controlled media. This is the heart of what I am starting to describe as a class war. Not that it hasn't always been so, see the labor/socialist and the corporate violence against them. pre WW2. But with Bushco and deregulation they are just going way over the top and practically begging for a paris scenario.

        A central transparent news source that all can respect is essential. A political process where all Citizens, including the corporations, have a SEMBLANCE of equality are what keeps the ordinary citizen content. If they continue to take these away what is our remaining redress? Our source of power in the system?

        Someone here has a sig (prphrs) the boxes of democracy, soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order.

        We are at the beginning of the Jury phase. Let's all pray (hail Eris) that's as far as we need to go. Getting these guys out of power is not going to be pretty.

        "The pen is mightier than the sword, but only at a range of greater than five feet" Malaclypse the Younger

        by buhdydharma on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 01:05:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not good news (none)
    I think it's a real shame that Scheer will no longer be there - it will be especially shameful if this is involved in some kind of political scheme to get a liberal off the Op-Ed page.

    But I, personally, don't read the LA Times for its Op/Ed page (I used to read the NYT for that, now I don't do that anymore either).  I read the LA Times because it is the best NEWSpaper in the whole world, bar none.  Its website sucks, it doesn't get all the scoops like the other Times and the Post, but its reporting is just absolutely first-rate.  After the Judith Miller fiasco came to full light, I stopped going to the New York Times first for domestic reporting - now that goes to the LA Times every single day.

    •  I agree (none)
      Their reporting is first-rate -- that's why they won several Pulitzers last year.

      Just yesterday they reported on the liver-transplant mess at UC Irvine Medical Center, and now the center's certification has been pulled.  They are ON TOP of these things.  I admire them tremendously.

      Their op-ed voices were not that interesting, even with Scheer .. and the presence of Ramirez was a big disincentive to even go there.

      When they say "will not be replaced", does this mean they won't have an editorial cartoonist?

      Hmmmm .. the Times does need to worry about its editorial page, I think.  A world class newspaper should not have a crappy editorial board.  But I don't know if anything can be done if the Tribune is determined to water it down.

      •  FORGET THE LA TIMES YOU ENJOYED READING (none)
        Check out the piece last month in Vanity Fair pabout the machinations of the Tribune owners against the L.A. Times.

        They don't give crap one about the Pulitizers, especially since their Chicago paper doesn't win  the same recognition.

        The Tribune owners have set out to gut the L.A. Times, and prevent it from further making the Chicago paper look bad in comparison.

        And readership will continue to slide -- I don't even read the website version.

    •  Checked Out The Times... (none)
      as the Jeff Gannon story was breaking. They neglected it for quite some time, like many mainstream papers did. When they finally did cover it, they did a "nothing to see hear, move along" type piece that was well off the front page. I don't agree with your judgement. What your saying may have been true 15 years ago. Sad that it isn't the Times today. What Otis Chandler built up from 1960 on is being destroyed.
  •  IMHO (none)
    Not a fair trade.

    Ramirez? Forget him.

    Gelenter, and Max the Neocon!

    For Scheer, we should be able to 86 this useless pair.

    I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks in Sozadee CA.

    by The Messenger on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:43:06 AM PST

  •  Here is the current line up of columnists (none)
    I'm having trouble updating so am including this here...

    -theKK

    Max Boot, the Olin Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

    Rosa Brooks, a University of Virginia Law School professor

    Jonathan Chait, a senior editor of the New Republic

    Meghan Daum, whose commentaries often appear on National Public Radio

    Niall Ferguson, a professor of history at Harvard University

    Jonah Goldberg, a contributing editor to the National Review and founding editor of the National Review Online

    Erin Aubry Kaplan, a writer for the L.A. Weekly

    Patt Morrison, a longtime columnist for The Times

    Gregory Rodriguez, a Los Angeles-based Irvine Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C.

    Joel Stein, who has written a Hollywood-themed column since earlier this year.

    Gov. Schwarzenegger, I have a special interest in kicking YOUR ass.

    by theKK on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 09:50:05 AM PST

  •  What a drag (none)
    This country need a national progressive daily newspaper.

    Perhaps The Guardian (UK) would help us set up The Guardian (USA). It could begin online and become available on paper as revenues increase. Much of the international reporting could run in both papers.

    Scheer would be perfect at such a paper.

  •  I'm all for booting Max (none)
    But I'm not weeping over the loss of Ramierez OR Scheer.  Boot should be booted just on the fact that he contradicts himself on a weekly basis and doesn't even bother to use any type of fact to back up his muddled "logic".  

    The only problem the milquetoast LA Times now has is that there's no strong liberal voice in it's paper, besides Aaron McGruder.  

  •  Huffington Post (none)
    has picked up Scheer as of next week. And he's apparently starting his own webzine.

    Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war. -- Donald Rumsfeld

    by Mnemosyne on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 11:05:09 AM PST

    •  cool! I wondered if Huffington would get involved (none)
      given their shared biling on Left Right and Center

      Gov. Schwarzenegger, I have a special interest in kicking YOUR ass.

      by theKK on Fri Nov 11, 2005 at 11:19:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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