According to Nikki Finke, Michael Kinsley was no good because he was too much of a leftist:
[L.A. Times editor John] Carroll, just as East Coast–centric as Kinsley, hired him no doubt because of his national rep. But at what cost? The LAT was hemorrhaging conservative subscribers after that Schwarzenegger sexual-harassment probe was published on the eve of the gubernatorial recall election, yet Carroll only fed that anger with red meat in the person of a legendary lefty.
Also according to Nikki Finke, Michael Kinsley was no good because he wasn’t enough of a leftist:
Carroll also overlooked that Los Angeles has long been ground zero for the progressive movement. It probably never occurred to him that he’d disappoint this constituency by hiring Kinsley. That’s because the one-time New Republic and Slate editor brought to the party an old-school liberal penchant for placing witty banter ahead of serious argument. An example is that recent Kinsley-penned LAT commentary downplaying the significance of the so-called Downing Street Memo concerning the timing of the decision to go to war with Iraq and the Bush administration’s distortion of the related WMD intelligence. He had the arrogance and audacity not just to pooh-pooh the memo’s contents but also to poke fun at the progressive movement for pumping up the volume surrounding it. “I don’t buy the fuss. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, as an encouraging sign of the left’s revival. Developing a paranoid theory and promoting it to the very edge of national respectability takes ideological self-confidence,” Kinsley ridiculed.
Rush Limbaugh couldn’t have been more dismissive.
Although the second quote follows directly on the heels of the first, Finke doesn’t appear to register the contradiction. And the rest of the piece is similarly long on potshots and short on insight.
I didn’t think Kinsley was perfect by any means as editorial and opinion editor. But he pioneered some real innovations at The Times. He deserves better than to be criticized by an unserious piece like this one.
P.S. Finke declares the end of the “Outside the Tent” feature:
One of his few editorial successes, inviting the LAT’s most vocal and more articulate critics to have at the institution they love to hate, proved sadly short-lived.
This is the first I’ve heard of that. I am e-mailing Bob Sipchen to ask whether Finke is right about this.
UPDATE: She’s wrong.