Patterico's Pontifications

3/25/2007

Rummygate to Replace Grazergate?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 3:59 pm



Hard on the heels of Grazergate . . . it’s Rummygate!

Summary: one of the other names mentioned for a guest editor spot for Sunday Current was Donald Rumsfeld — the former squash partner of publisher David Hiller.

And Hiller is rumored to have suggested Rummy’s name.

Hmmmm.

It doesn’t really sound like some earth-shaking ethical violation . . . but it does add weight to the personal connections angle of Grazergate. The connection to Rumsfeld has fewer degrees of separation than the Grazer connection did (at least as far as Hiller is concerned). It makes it look more and more like guest spots were being handed out to pals like candy.

On the other hand, I am aware of no reason to believe that Nick Goldberg (the editor of the Current section) had any objections to Rumsfeld as a guest editor. And Kevin Roderick — a former L.A. Times guy whose opinions often reflect the general ethos of the institution — seems to think that the problems associated with Rumsfeld go beyond his personal connection, and extend to his politics:

It’s not just that Rummy doesn’t lack for forums to express his views, has already had his ideas repudiated by half of America and would mark the Current section with a partisan stamp while undermining its efforts to foster an image as a forum for cutting-edge and provocative pieces. The main reason not to touch Rumsfeld is his connection to Publisher David Hiller, the guy who killed this weekend’s Current. They were racquetball buddies in Chicago [squash buddies, actually — Ed.] and colleagues in the Tribune fold, close enough that when Rumsfeld left the Pentagon, Hiller wrote a piece in Current about his friend. They are partisan fellow travelers: as recently as 2003, Hiller was donating cash to Republican campaigns. During the Reagan Administration Hiller was an assistant to Attorney General William French Smith.

Somehow, I just knew that references to Hiller’s Republican background were going to come to the fore as this controversy unfolded. I think you’ll see a lot more quotes like that in coming days.

I love the idea that we shouldn’t hear opinions that in any way are affected by Rumsfeld because he “has already had his ideas repudiated by half of America.” That sounds so much like something someone at The Times would say. I have a feeling Roderick is not the only guy saying it.

Don’t put that popcorn away just yet. And take a plate of bonbons to Cathy Seipp’s gravesite.

P.S. Didn’t Tim Rutten sanctimoniously assure us that publisher Hiller “had no trouble at all recognizing an ethical train wreck when he saw it coming”?

Not if he suggested Rummy, he didn’t.

Further evidence to buttress my skepticism of Rutten’s little tale.

12 Responses to “Rummygate to Replace Grazergate?”

  1. …has already had his ideas repudiated by half of America and would mark the Current section with a partisan stamp…

    Evidently, under Kevin Roderick’s rigorous intellectual standards, only Republican ideas have been repudiated and only Republicans are partisan.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  2. What does Jared Paul Stern have to do with this?

    David Ehrenstein (0986a0)

  3. But … consorting with Rumsfeld! That’s an ethical violation in itself!

    [/sarcasm]

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. Who could imagine that liberals would fall for Rumsfeld’s diabolical plan so easily?

    (Thanks, also, for the reminder of bonbons and Cathysushi. Cathy Seipp was a wonderful writer.)

    DRJ (6984d0)

  5. “…has already had his ideas repudiated by half of America.”

    What about the other half; don’t they deserve a newspaper, too?

    I hear the same sort of hostile triumphalism as when leftists bring up the picture of Rummy shaking hands with Saddam.

    As you’ve said, Patrick, what does it matter which celebrity gets the guest editorship, as long as he or she is named? Everyone knows it’s a vanity appointment, not a serious journalistic exercise. The covert bias of the news side still is the real problem.

    Patricia (824fa1)

  6. i gotta great idea, why don’t we find a newspaper editor somewhere and make him secretary of defense!

    assistant devil's advocate (1b0bac)

  7. Patrick, I read you as agreeing with Kevin that, ethically, Rumsfeld would be a poor choice. Let us know if that’s a misread.

    Tim McGarry (798820)

  8. Tim: it is indeed a misread.

    To explain why, I think, merits a post.

    I’ll work one up now.

    Patterico (04465c)

  9. I don’t have any problem with Rummy being given a platform. In fact, I think these idiots should get more of a voice, the better for them to discredit themselves. Let a thousand flowers bloom, right?

    fishbane (80a96c)

  10. Early in my newspaper career, I edited a weekly feature called “Home on the Range” in which a local city councilman or other non-cook-about-town would share what allegedly was a favorite recipe. I went on to become op-ed editor for the San Jose Mercury News and later an op-ed columnist.

    I can see why the LA Times would want Grazer, Rumsfeld or other outsiders to write an occasional article on subjects they know something about. To bring them in as guest editors is as dumb as “Home on the Range.”

    The ethics issue can be handled with an editor’s note. The stupidity issue is more challenging.

    Joanne Jacobs (198379)

  11. Rummy’s damaged goods. Time to ship him off to the nursing home with an afghan to keep his lap warm. 4 years singing the praise of a war that the entire world saw as a disaster doesn’t look good on the old fool’s resume.

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  12. “4 years singing the praise of a war that the entire world saw as a disaster doesn’t look good on the old fool’s resume.”

    Yeah, especially us!

    Saddam, Uday, Kusay (bf73cd)


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