Friday, November 11, 2005

Slipping into darkness

The Los Angeles Times has taken another "Mother May I" step toward irrelevance with the dismissal of Robert Scheer, announced today. From his email:
"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."


Sheer is irascible, cranky, and unforgiving. He's an unreconstructed anti-war leftie, who regularly critiques the ever rightward trending Democratic party. And he's often correct, focused like a laser on what he sees as hypocrisy and corruption in the ruling elite of both parties. He thankfully will still appear in The Nation, Huffington Post, as well as his own site, www.robertscheer.com.

As the Times founders and wallows, clearly not finding its way through the political mess surrounding the US, it looks ever more cross-eyed at the world and its place in it.

When the Op-Ed page was reorganized a few years ago, those of us who yearned for leftist perspective were encouraged. Michael Kinsley took over as Editor, and while he was hopelessly untelegenic and outgunned on the original Crossfire, we held out hope that his wit and intellect could energize the sagging section. Of course, at the same time, right-wing cartoonist Michael Ramiriz, who never met a Democrat he didn't dispise, took his place at the center of the right hand page, becoming the turd in the otherwise watered down punchbowl that was Kinsley's domain.

And now the page has changed its name from "Opinion" (simple, clear) to "Currents" (pretentious, silly). Instead of 'Current' call it 'Undertow' as good writing and common sense are swept out to sea to drown. In their piece on the troubles of the United Nations last week, the front page offered reasoned opinions by David Bossie, Ron Silver, and some tool from the American Enterprise Institute. Imagine! That's like asking David Duke, Strom Thurmand, and Clarence Thomas to offer opinion on the NAACP. Such balance, such fairness.

And just last week the recommendations for Schwartzenfartzen's hideous special election were published: my God, what were they thinking! Regarding one proposition: "It's not a good bill, but it's a start"! What the hell does that mean? No, it's not a good bill, and it's a lousy start toward corporate control of the state house. This from the paper of the solidly Democratic LA city and county. If we want conservative opinion, we'll listen to the radio and TV. Now there's even less reason to read the Times, especially since they long ago took their restaurant reviews out of the Sunday section and put them behind a pay wall. Looks like the only paper left in town is the LA Weekly.

Bastards, that's all I have to say.

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