Opinion: Scandal Roundup
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Andrés Martinez in L.A. Observed:
The disgruntled news staff is cheering [Jim O’Shea] on as he leads the charge to storm the editorial page and bring it back into lockstep with newsroom, but pretty soon they will remember why those pictures of Dean are still up on their walls and what Jim’s mission here really is. With any luck for him, the second floor witch hunt can prove so time-consuming he can get a delay on those firings.
Read all of the above post, then Jim O’Shea’s response to the troops:
I also want to correct some misinformation being published on blogs by Andres Martinez. I don’t want to engage in mud-slinging with Andres. He is a good journalist and I feel bad for him, worse today, in fact, than yesterday. But I’m also not going to sit here like some silent lamb while he distorts my record and attacks this newspaper and my newsroom. I am not in charge of the editorial board of this newspaper. The editor of the editorial page reports directly and independently to Publisher David Hiller. That is as it should be. I strongly believe in the principle that separate editors should be in charge of news and opinion. To suggest that I told David Hiller I didn’t want the editorial board reporting to me on a ‘whim’ is untrue. He is referring to part of a longer conversation with Nikki Finke, and to take my remarks out of context is unprofessional and sloppy. Moreover, no one in this newsroom is on a campaign to ‘storm the editorial page and bring it back into lockstep with the newsroom.’ It is true that we have journalists in the newsroom who don’t agree with Andres’ views on the ethical problems that led to his resignation. I count myself among them. But these are legitimate, genuine differences of opinion held by people with a passion for the news and this newspaper. To suggest otherwise is pitiful. He also attacked Sue Horton and Julie Marquis for having the audacity to alert the editorial pages to the important work of the staff in case it might make a good editorial. Sun and Julie did nothing wrong. Lastly, Andres suggests I came to Los Angeles as some sort of agent of Tribune Company to quell an ‘uprising by the imperial subjects.’ To refer to the journalists at this newspaper in such a manner in an insult to hard-working people who happen to disagree with Andres. I came here because it was an honor to be selected to lead a great newspaper with an excellent staff in one of the most interesting cities in the world. I will stand on my record and credentials as a newsman and journalist. The suggestion that I make decisions simply to curry favor with the staff is also simply untrue. We face hard times. If I have to make decisions that are unpopular with the staff but in the best long-term interest of this newspaper, I will not hesitate to do make them. That is what leadership is about. I’ve said that openly from the day that I walked into this newsroom. I believe in full disclosure.
Mickey Kaus agrees that the whole unfortunate business is a big nothing.
At Radar, John Cook takes a look into the glass house of Martinez’ accusers.
And Nikki Finke puts a tremulous finger on the real infection: ‘Sanctimonious newsroom reporters and editors acting all holier-than-thou about journalism ethics, even though they never complained about the impropriety of their ousted editor Dean Baquet’s behind-the-scenes cozying up to a Billionaire Boys Club of potential local buyers for the LA Times. An editorial editor who oversaw the opinion/Op-ed pages spiralling into irrelevancy, in part because Spring Street’s 2nd floor now panders to neo-con and libertarian and other fringe ideologues whose main qualifications for being published there seem be that they’re all palsy-walsy with each other.’ (There’s plenty more of this one, but long ago I vowed before God to stop reading any text once I come to the phrase ‘palsy-walsy.’)
At today’s very moving funeral for Cathy Seipp, Allan Mayer started off his eulogy by noting his brouhaha with the Times and regretting that longtime Times-watcher Seipp ‘isn’t around to enjoy the festivities.’