Patterico's Pontifications


Why Would Leftists in the L.A. Times Newsroom Have Been Upset at the L.A. Times Opinion Pages?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:54 am

In recent posts, I have argued that a cabal of left-wingers in the L.A. Times newsroom made a huge deal out of the Andres Martinez/Grazergate non-scandal to embarrass Martinez because he resisted their efforts to politicize the opinion section. Okie on the Lam thinks he sees one potential problem with my theory:

Honestly, I don’t see how the LA Times op-ed section could get any more “leftist” . . .

I don’t mean to imply that the editorial page under Martinez was some kind of hangout for Townhall-style conservatives. But consider the following:

  • Under Martinez, Jonah Goldberg was a columnist, and Robert Scheer wasn’t.
  • Under Martinez, the editorial page had a (kinda-sorta, and very tepid) endorsement of the surge:

    But if Congress accepts Bush’s argument that there is still hope, however faint, that the U.S. military can be effective in quelling the sectarian violence, that U.S. economic aid can yet bring about an improvement in Iraqi lives that won’t be bombed away and that American diplomatic power can be harnessed to pressure Shiites and Sunnis to make peace — if Congress accepts this, then lawmakers have a duty to let the president try this “surge and leverage” strategy.

  • Under Martinez, the editorial page was bucking the leftist line on Wal-Mart.

None of this means that the editorial page under Martinez was a hotbed of conservatism, notwithstanding the fevered nightmares of extreme leftists. But the page was probably less consistently leftist than Okie on the Lam has noticed — or than certain leftist staffers would like it to be.

8 Responses to “Why Would Leftists in the L.A. Times Newsroom Have Been Upset at the L.A. Times Opinion Pages?”

  1. Well, like I said on another post, they were upset that the page was being given to outsiders when they weren’t allowed to touch it. Kinda like that girl they had a crush on in college…

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  2. Patrick, can you cite any statements from members of the LAT news staff that bear on the points you’ve listed? Are any members of the news staff on record as opposing the drift of the ed pages under Martinez?

    Tim McGarry (096d58)

  3. At this point, it’s a theory — supported only, as far as I know, by Martinez’s public statements on the issue.

    But the available facts seem to fit the theory.

    Yours is an interesting question, though, Tim.

    Patterico (04465c)

  4. I think Tim is right on and anyone reading Martinez’s comments cannot find any support for it, either. As I said below in several comments, Martinez wrote his emails very carefully, and he does not make that charge either.

    peter warren (f7c0b3)

  5. from below:

    Patterico–you are usually pretty good on this stuff, but even you know you are reaching here.
    Resentment isnt advocacy.
    Recall that Martinez was very careful in how he described the so-called interference; one was a case of a content editor emailing the publisher and suggesting the editorial pages might want to write about a major investigative series, and the other was a much lower level (lower than Martinez) non-content editor calling Martinez to suggest coverage coordination between news and editorial.
    He obviously ignored her and felt he had the power to do so.
    That people in the newsroom resented him for ideological reasons isn’t action; rather it could be likened to someone lusting in his heart or wanting to steal. Thoughts aren’t actions and your taking Martinez’s carefully constructed email and moving beyond the facts won’t change the facts of what he said.

    peter warren (f7c0b3)

  6. You’re right on here — mostly, anyway. I beg to differ on any suggestion that Martinez has brought balance to the op-ed page. Yes, there’s the excellent conservative writer Jonah Goldberg, but among the seven or eight other regular columnists (I’m guessing at that number, since I don’t remember the full list) maybe two could be considered middle of the road and the rest are solid lefties of the Rosa Brooks stripe.

    James Fulton (af68eb)

  7. Thanks for the link, Patrick!

    Maybe I’ve been missing a few not-so-very-left itmes, but reading this paper is like prepping for a colonoscopy each and every day, and I do look through the dead-tree edition each and every day. The wife HAS to have a paper, and that time is, well, “quality time” together.

    If they would stop printing cartoons by the likes of Mr. Fish and Ted Rall, I’d probably pay more attention to their unsigned eds.

    But, I must say that it is fun to watch the letters section have a nutter’s meltdown over the Goldberg and Max Boot columns. My eyes glaze over when I see the Rosa Brooks and Joel Stein bylines, though.

    Great job — keep killin’ them!

    OkieBoy (380225)

  8. More from the sewer of the SMELL A TIMES and the stink is over power

    krazy kagu (06a9a4)

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