Friday, November 11, 2005

A Sign of the Times.

Here's some bad news from the L.A. Times.

There are three things I find disturbing about this:

• The loss of Robert Scheer, one of the leading liberal voices in America. Sounds like management is caving into the pressure brought by all those wingnuts in high places who got agitated when he called them on their bullshit.

• The current abysmal state of editorial cartooning at American newspapers. Their shrinking numbers, and the fact that many papers are replacing them with work from syndicates, have steadly eroded the experience of the reader. And to see it happening at one of the country's major dailies (even if I never was much of a fan of Michael Ramirez's work) is especially disheartening. Oh, how I long for the days of Paul Conrad once again.

• Perhaps the most troubling thing about all this reorganization, though, is this little tidbit buried about halfway through the story -- new Editorial Page Editor Andrés Martinez will no longer report to the Times' editor in chief, but instead will report directly to publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson. A newspaper's op-ed section is its heart and soul, and the standard-bearer of its independence and integrity. But now to see the Times' influential op-ed section removed from the purview of the trained journalists and given over to the business interests of the paper -- well, that's just a shame. I predict impending tool-dom.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen....

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