Patterico's Pontifications


Rutten to Take His Special Brand of Sophistry to Op-Ed

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:55 pm

L.A. Observed reports that Tim Rutten is moving to the op-ed pages. An internal memo from Jim Newton states in part:

We are delighted to announce that Tim Rutten, a veteran of The Times and one of its most distinguished and intelligent writers, will bring his talents to the Op-Ed page beginning Jan. 1, 2008. He will write two columns a week, one on local politics and the other on intellectual life and culture. Tim’s move will bring his already-signature work on culture and politics to our Op-Ed page while also allowing him the opportunity to write about topics closer to home.

Tim is well known to all serious readers of The Times and no stranger to this department. A native Southern Californian, he joined The Times in 1972 and, since then, has served variously as assistant Op-Ed editor, Opinion Editor, assistant National editor, editorial writer, columnist, local news analyst, City/County Bureau chief, cultural correspondent and associate features editor. For the past four years, he has written Calendar’s Regarding Media column and, for the past two, has served as the paper’s principle book critic — a role in which he will continue even as he takes up duties as an Op-Ed columnist.

Rutten is also someone who recently made numerous errors in a column about the Scott Beauchamp affair, and then hid behind the sophistry of the “Readers’ Representative” — much of said sophistry no doubt originating with Rutten himself.

Another reason to avoid the Los Angeles Times.

P.S. What’s a “principle book critic”? Someone who criticizes books about principles?

18 Responses to “Rutten to Take His Special Brand of Sophistry to Op-Ed”

  1. I wonder if this was a voluntary move?

    PS – SpellChecker is not the LA Times’ friend.

    DRJ (9578af)

  2. I emailed Jamie Gold this afternoon asking if this had anything to do with the complaints made against Rutten. I’ll post any response I get.

    Bradley J. Fikes (1c6fc4)

  3. Nah, I assume it’s a step up, right?

    Patterico (bad89b)

  4. Patterico:

    What’s a “principle book critic”? Someone who criticizes books about principles?

    No… criticizes books that have any.


    Dafydd ab Hugh (445647)

  5. Well Rutten has been writing editorials and publishing them as culture & media columns. At least they’re putting this blowhard on the right page–if he’s going to write editorials, then put them on the editorial page. First step in cleaning out the Augean Stable–er “quagmire” that the LAT has become.

    Mike Myers (31af82)

  6. …he joined The Times in 1972…

    At which point his mindset became set in stone.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  7. Patterico, has Gold responded to your follow-up e-mail on that article? I assumed not, but wanted to make sure.

    Hoystory (de9da0)

  8. No… criticizes books that have any.

    Nah, that would be a “principled book” critic. A “principle book” is a book about principles, or perhaps one that teaches them. Some do a good job, others not so much. That’s why we need principle book critics.

    Whether Rutten is a very good critic of principle books, or of anything else, is a whole ‘nother question.

    Xrlq (6c2116)

  9. And Mr. Welch was amused by my comment and opinion of the Times? It is more truth than he is willing to admit. If he admitted to what I said, he’d have to resign and find a job where ethics and truth are respected, not doormats for the unprincipled propagandists the Times hires.

    PCD (b7be44)

  10. What’s really amazing is that Rutten will probably be near the center of the op-ed columnists. And don’t even start me on the cartoonist selection.

    On the bright side, it will remove the op-eds from the Calendar section.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  11. …which suggests a contest:

    Find the most right-of-center cartoon to grace the LA Times’ Opinion section in 2007.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  12. Hoystory,

    No, she never responded. I didn’t really expect her to — not because I don’t think I deserve a response, but because there’s no good answer she could give.

    Patterico (c77b24)

  13. Tim Rutten. . . one of its most distinguished and intelligent writers. . . will write two columns a week, one on local politics and the other on intellectual life and culture

    That speaks volumes to the problems with the LAT, if Tim Rutten is what passes for an intellectual there. I wonder if Steve Lopez is jealous.

    JVW (5be464)

  14. P.S. What’s a “principle book critic”? Someone who criticizes books about principles?

    Isn’t is obvious. It’s a critic who criticizes any book that doesn’t fit his principles.

    Dr T (69c4b2)

  15. Here is the response I got today from Jamie Gold:

    Tim Rutten’s new role as a writer for Op-Ed means that he won’t be writing that column for Calendar anymore. (I don’t know what, if anything, the move had to do with the Media Column.)
    Jamie Gold
    Readers’ Representative

    Bradley J. Fikes (dc58da)

  16. Here’s an except of principle book critic Rutten’s review of my last novel, Prayers for the Assassin.
    Los Angeles Times 3 of 5 Stars
    “Here we enter the realm of the garden-variety thriller in which authors are fearless of coincidence and impervious to burdensome literary conventions like character development. Unlike some of his better-selling brethren, however, Ferrigno does manage to keep his pronouns’ antecedents fairly clear.” Tim Rutten

    Book still made the NYTimes and LATimes best seller list. not like I’m still pissed off or anything.
    Robert Ferrigno

    robert ferrigno (16589e)

  17. The greatest fear of certain persons (who sometimes write columns and review books) is to appear unsophisticated. Why only a rube would believe that Beauchamp lied – they just refuse to see what “everyone I know” knows to be the truth – that Iraq is a mess and the “troops” are brutes. Any deviation from what “everyone I know knows” is tantamount to admiting to belief in the Easter Bunny. How deliciously ironic. The very characteristic so sneered at by “those who know” – that special breed of narrow-minded thinking personified in their mind by the Father Knows Best steriotype – Well they have become what they despise. Group think reigns. So expect only the most conventional narrow pap from Mr. Rutten. Indeed, a 1950’s Babbit rotarian would be a risker bet on deviation from the community standard. So I look forward to your musing, Mr. Rutten – aka Comrade Publicist.

    Californio (a5fb0f)

  18. This is the email reply I got from Gold today:

    If editors had decided that his column was found to have violated acceptable practices, yes, that would be something to let readers know about. That isn’t the case, nor is it the case that his editors have any negative beliefs about his writing or conduct. (Editors have made no decisions about the future of the media column.)

    Jamie Gold
    Readers’ Representative

    Bradley J. Fikes (5aaad4)

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