Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

November 14, 2005

More on Scheer's Ouster at the LATimes

Bob Scheer responds to his ouster at the LATimes with this e-mail to blogger DownwithTyranny:

"On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. The publisher Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq. Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher."
The Los Angeles Times has gone downhill since its acquisition by the Chicago Tribune. It seems rudderless and without direction, having gone through changes and experiments that didn't improve overall content. Letting go of Bob Scheer would go down as one of its more careless mistakes; the proposed editorial roster is now more uninspired than ever.

Marc Cooper of LA Weekly writes:
Unlike the NYTimes or even the WashPo, the LATimes has lacked a signature set of opinion writers. That omission will now continue. With Scheer’s departure, the Times line-up is now bereft of a single, muscular journalist with veteran national and international reporting experience– the sort of experience,by the way, that is pre-requisite for strong local columnizing in a place like L.A.

They didn’t even steal some proven commodity from another paper. The new list is full of wonks and magazine editors along with a self-obsessed comedy writer and a Gen X autobiographer and memoirist. The only hard-core political writers are conservatives: the extremely dull and excessively ideological Max Boot and the terribly annoying and gossamer-weight propagandist Jonah Goldberg (who by contrast, makes David Brooks seem one of the towering intellects of the modern era).
Cooper also noted that most of the writers are freelance, thus giving the L.A. Times a revolving-door "flexibility" that will allow them to kick off writers at whim. Not exactly encouraging for us natives hoping for a steady source of solid editorials.

Fortunately, we haven't heard the last of Bob Scheer. His column will be resurrected front and center at the Huffington Post. He is also launching a new webzine called TruthDig, which will open its doors November 29th.

Other reactions of note:

Bob Berger, Scheer's original editor was furious.

Ditto Robert Greenwald.

Matt Welch was more circumspect, but agrees Scheer's ouster is the wrong move.

Kevin Drum wasn't too fond of Scheer's writing but correctly notes that the ouster leaves his end of the political spectrum with inadequate representation in the paper. However, I disagree with his opinion that Goldberg is an improvement over David Gelernter, considering Goldberg's so-called credentials.

posted at 8:23 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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