Writing in the New York Times, David Carr has a hilarious take on the L.A. Times mess:
Reporting on the contretemps at The Los Angeles Times last week brings to mind a scene in which you come upon a sinking vessel and see people scrambling everywhere. And then you realize they are not looking for buckets, but guns.
At The Times last week, editors took aim at other editors, writers sprayed shots at their own newspaper, and the publisher drew a bead on his own foot. The shootout went off on the Web in real time, with blogs annotating every ricochet. Fittingly, the whole thing ended when the editorial page editor, after resigning, explained himself on a blog, using the digital platform to throw a grenade on the way out.
Andres Martinez, who shows no signs of slowing down in his zeal to provide usable quotes, provides insight into the factions’ use of blogs (L.A. Observed comes to mind):
[L.A. Times leadership] panicked it was like a university administration besieged by student protests and in the end, it was a rather pathetic cave, said Mr. Martinez, whose romantic entanglement became the focus of people in the newsroom concerned about the papers credibility.
What changed between Wednesday morning and Wednesday evening was a couple of blog posts, he said. It was a weapon that the newsroom used to ratchet up the pressure on Hiller. It was fascinating in its transparency, but it was also very disruptive.
Like me (and many other people), Carr doesn’t think that Grazergate was equivalent to the Staples Center scandal:
This was not the Staples Center. The Current section is frequently an afterthought and in need of some rejuvenation. Connections aside — my reading of the facts suggest that the relationship between Mr. Martinez and Ms. Mullens had no effect on the selection — Mr. Grazer was not a dumb choice for the experiment.
Of course, Carr’s article preceded the revelation of Rummygate. But I don’t think that was the Staples Center either. I’ll explain in an upcoming post.