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Grazergate, the epilogue

David Hiller's decision to kill the Brian Grazer section this Sunday makes my continued tenure as Los Angeles Times editorial page editor untenable. The person in this job needs to have an unimpeachable integrity, and Hiller's decision amounts to a vote of no confidence in my continued leadership. 
 
I regret that my failure to anticipate and adequately address the perception of a conflict in this matter has placed Hiller -- whom I like and respect a great deal, incidentally -- and my colleagues on the editorial board in such an awkward position, not to mention Brian Grazer and Kelly Mullens, who did nothing wrong here but have been caught up in all this. Nick Goldberg and Michael Newman are two of the smartest, most talented people I have worked with, and any lapses in judgment here were mine, not theirs. 
 
I accept responsibility for creating this appearance problem, though I also maintain that the newspaper is overreacting today. We are depriving readers of an interesting, serious section that is beyond reproach, and unfairly insulting the individuals we approached to participate in this guest editor program by telling them it is a corrupt concept. How we come about this decision when 24 hours ago the managing editor of this newspaper was assuring me he didn't see a story after I walked him through the facts, and while Hiller maintains we did nothing wrong, is a bit perplexing. In trying to keep up with the blogosphere, and boasting about their ability to go after their own, navel-gazing newsrooms run the risk of becoming parodies of themselves. 
 
Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times.  I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved. 
 
We're a long ways removed from the fall of 2004 when Michael Kinsley and John Carroll lured me out to the West Coast, with promises of investing more resources on the LAT opinion pages and web site. Some of the retrenchment is understandable given the business fundamentals, but I have been alarmed recently by the company's failure to acknowledge that our opinion journalism, central to the paper's role as a virtual town square for community debate and dialogue, should not be crudely scaled back as part of across-the-board cuts.  Decisions being made now to cut the one part of the paper that is predominantly about ideas and community voices go too far in my view, and are shortsighted.

 
Still, I am proud of what we've accomplished in the last two years. The Times has a provocative editorial page of intellectual integrity that adheres to principles over time, rather than the tactical, shrill partisanship that has become too much the norm of our public discourse and plenty of other editorial pages. The op-ed page continues to provide a lively mix of opinion from all quarters, and we have put in place a strong roster of weekly op-ed columnists and contributing editors. Sunday's Current is firing on all cylinders and we have recently launched a series of online-only feautres, including more columns, weekly online chats, weeklong debates and other features. 
 
It has been a tremendous privilege working here on Spring Street and being associated with the talented team of opinionators on the second floor, and the vast majority of other journalists at the Times building and around the world who are hugely talented and committed. 
 
I am sorry I let you down, 
Andrés 
 

Comments () | Archives (96)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Scott Landsbaum

This is a load of self serving pap. The opinion section has been in serious decline for many years and has been reduced to promo pieces for authors hawking books or "celebrity" commentators. Lately it has been suffering from the same entertainment creep as the rest of the paper.

Here's what I wrote to the Times before seeing this post:

Sirs,

Now we see the result of the Times’ sycophantic pursuit of Hollywood: a wholesale debasement of its business and ethics. The yielding of Current to a producer was a ridiculous and failing marketing concept which ran a greater risk of alienating existing customers than attracting new ones. The yielding of your ethics to a tryst with Hollywood’s public relations machine – never known for its truthfulness – is a permanent stain.

The Times should serve as a refuge from Los Angeles’ inane celebrity culture, not its most enthusiastic casting couch participant. Soon, very soon, the weekly dose of disgust which comes with a product I pay for will smother a life long habit and my subscription will end.

John Edlund

We find ourselves in a world continually threatened by disasters poltical, economic and environmental, yet the L.A. Times, already publishing two or three Calendar sections a day, feels that it is acceptable to turn over the opinion section to a Hollywood guest editor. I think that potential conflict of interest due to a romantic relationship is the least of our worries here. However, I wonder if the real reason for not printing the section is that the Hollywood guy turned out to be better at making movies than journalism, and that the product did not meet even the low standards of the current L.A. Times. Alas, we will never know.

Jeff McMahon

It's truly amazing that David Hiller has suddenly discovered the conflict of interest provisions of journalism's codes of ethics. After all, the Tribune Company's strategy has been to exploit situations in which interests are inherently conflicted — such as owning newspapers, television stations, radio stations, and in one truly unfortunate city, even a baseball team, in the same city, and then creating advertorial synergies between them. It's a bit hard to believe anyone spawned by the Tribune Company headquarters is so concerned about ethics. So what's really going on here?

David T

I am dissappointed with this news for a few reasons. First of all, because I am a fan of Mr. Martinez -- enjoying the opinion page he edits more than I used to several years ago. I have learned quite a bit from it and appreciated his efforts to make it thoughtful and not predictable. I am a lifetime fan of his predecessor Michael Kinsley so my loyalty to Mr. Martinez didn't come easily but was more than earned.

I also have had the good fortune to see Mr. Martinez in person a few times and found him both impressive and having the ideal disposition for one in the position he held. Best-selling author James Collins calls the ideal leader one who has "willfull humility" -- a person who is ambitious for his venture (the opinion page in this case) but who pushes his own ego aside as much as possible in the betterment of that venture. I saw Mr. Martinez run a Zocalo panel discussing whether immigrants were the cause of lost jobs to Angelenos and was struck by how didn't feel the need to display his own thoughts and show off his insights (which is unusual and makes an ideal moderator). I was further struck at this event by his generosity of spirit -- a rare ability to rephrase a questioner's unfortunate wording or speechifying and turn it into a representative point of view that could be reflected on and responded to.

In terms of the specific opinion page editorship it seems to me much ado about nothing. Putting aside whatever one's views of Mr. Grazer, he has been enormously successful in the entertainment business so the fact that someone who works for / with him has a personal relationship with Mr. Martinez isn't particularly relevant to me. Perhaps if Ms. Mullens had been asked to edit the Sunday section I might understand. However, whatever relationship Mr. Martinez had indirectly or directly with Mr. Grazer is not especially relevant to me given that Mr. Grazer's bona fides are rock solid even if he's not a professional journalist (which is partly what would have made this effort interesting).

What a shame for LA and the LA Times that we are losing Mr. Martinez.

larry

While it is true that the opinion section of the Times has been on a long downward spiral ever since Janet Clayton was replaced, and that spiral has become sharper under Mr. Martinez, it may be unfair to give him all the blame. The whole paper has been on a downward spiral since being acquired by the hog butchers, and that may be a primary contributing factor. If that's true, things ain't gonna get betta.

Ron Shinkman

I wrote this article in 2002 for the late, great business satire site The Walnut. Pretty amazing how well it's held up:


Tribune Co. Imposes Employee Celibacy

Chicago -- Responding to a long-ago sexual episode involving a star columnist for the Chicago Tribune, that newspaper’s parent company has imposed a blanket policy of celibacy on its 4,500 print and electronic media employees.

The Chicago-based Tribune Co. -- which in addition to that city’s largest newspaper owns 11 other metropolitan dailies and 24 television stations -- imposed the zero-tolerance policy on sexual relations to quash the risk its editorial employees could enter into a conflict of interest.

“There’s a distinct possibility that someone who has sex with one of our reporters or editors could later wind up reading that employee’s newspaper or watching their news broadcast,” said John W. Madigan, the Tribune Co.’s chairman and chief executive officer. “That’s simply unacceptable.We have our ethics to maintain.”

Mr. Madigan added that the enterprise of news-gathering should take precedence over anything else in a journalist’s life. “A hard-working reporter has no business having or even thinking about sex,” he said. “Does it look like I would do something like that?”

Mr. Madigan indicated the new policy was instituted after an episode involving longtime Tribune columnist Bob Greene. Mr. Greene resigned earlier this month after his editors received an anonymous e-mail chronicling a sexual encounter in the late 1980s between him and a woman in her late teens who was the subject of one of his columns at that time. The episode ended Mr. Greene’s 24-year career at the newspaper.

“It doesn’t matter that what Bob Greene did was legal. It doesn’t matter if it was on his own time. It doesn’t matter if the column he wrote was completely accurate and of interest to its readers,” said Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski. “What does matter is that we fully control the lives of all our employees, even the ones whose writing actually attracts an audience.”

Ms. Lipinski said the removal of Mr. Greene was far more clear-cut than how the paper dealt with legendary columnist Mike Royko. Mr. Royko, who died in 1997, had been arrested for drunken driving in 1994 and at the time made remarks virulently disparaging minorities and gays. His columns of that period were riddled with sexist remarks and contained numerous factual errors. Mr. Royko kept his job even after the Wall Street Journal chronicled his behavior in a front-page feature in July 1995.

“Mike Royko had a right to cause accidents driving drunk and libel anyone he wanted, so long as he didn’t sleep with them,” Ms. Lipinski said. “Having a chronic drinking problem and a big mouth has always been okay in our business – everyone just needs to know where that mouth has been.”

The Tribune Co’s move was applauded by a variety of journalism scholars. “Reporters must be completely perfect at all times,” said M. Richard Mabry, executive director of the Point-A-Finger Institute, a Cleveland-based think-tank that closely monitors the personal lives of the nation’s more than 20,000 working journalists. “Otherwise, they risk losing their credibility. As a result, the American public will hate and distrust them even more than they already do.”

However, financial analysts who cover the Tribune Co. were less sure how the new policy would affect future earnings. They noted that companies instituting similar celibacy policies in the past have met with mixed success. “An enterprise seething with sexual tension is going to have its eyes locked on just about anything except the bottom line.” said Allen Hagel, chief economist for Haymarket Securities, a Chicago investment banking firm. “In fact, the only organization that’s had any success with celibacy in the long run is the Catholic Church, and they’ve been a not-for-profit for years now.”

The no-sex policy was met with grumbling by Tribune Co. personnel, but not a single one has resigned as of yet, according to Mr. Madigan, who added that the company would assist them by installing banks of cold water-only showers in its employee fitness centers.

Indeed, Tribune employees interviewed by The Walnut indicated they would tough it out.

“I worked for more than a decade making less than $500 a week, lived in six different cities and cover public meetings that last well into the morning hours,” said a reporter for Newsday, a Long Island, N.Y. daily owned by Tribune. “Believe me, giving up sex is no big deal. It’s one less thing to worry about.”

However, an editor with the Los Angeles Times, another Tribune newspaper, expressed mild disappointment. “My husband and I were going to try and begin starting a family later this year,” she said. “I guess we’ll have to look into adoption, but even then I’m worried that I might be breaking a company rule.”

Another Times employee, a reporter, believed the policy violated his civil rights, but felt there was little he could do about it.

“I wanted to write a letter to the editor to complain, but I’m worried that expressing an opinion may compromise my journalistic objectivity,”he said. “You could lose your job doing that.”

Jeff Prescott

I have read The Times daily for over 40-years, and while I'm not too happy with the direction of editorial/op-ed and Sunday Current, Mr. Martinez at least has tried to change things. I mailnly ignore those sections, but the paper has let another good one get away. This faux journalistic debate over his relationship with the woman is germain only to those holier-than-thou writers, editors and management. Really, the general public could care less. The section could have been printed and only the Romenesko freaks of the world would have cared. And by the way, as a daily reader of the hard copy of the Chicago Tribune, it isn't as bad a paper as some of you news-critique bloggers think it is.................

Gary Watson

I hate your commie-lib newspaper and especially the opinion section, but I have to rise to your defense in this particular case. Even though Brian Grazer is probably even worse of a leftist that you people, it would still have been fascinating to read OpEd pieces written by him and the people in his circle of friends. The kinds of criticisms that have been leveled at you are absurd, and likewise the supposed conflict of interest sounds pretty flimsy to me. To anyone outside the MoveOn crowd, the LA Times is hopelessly dishonest anyway, so your minor (or non-existant in my view) transgression pales to insignificance against the Times's pattern of openly lying in persuit of advocacy politics.

At least I could have had my views insulted by someone who is genuinely entertaining (like Grazer et al), instead of the buch of whiny pantywaists who now control your festering newspaper (until the blogosphere and Craigslist finishes putting it out of business, anyway).

Warm personal regards,
Gary Watson
Calabasas CA

David Howard

I think Mr. Martinez has done a good job with Current, and although this link with the girlfriend and producer seems a little fishy, it doesn't rise to the level of an ethics scandal that requires resignation.

If you look at what gets the LA Times the most readers every day, you'll find a consistently high ranking of stupid stories about the entertainment industry and Hollywood gossip. Yesterday, a report about an actor's father dying in a Texas prison outdid Iraq and the Gonzalez scandal in the ratings, not to speak of the city of Los Angeles which -- lacking a celebrity in rehab-- didn't even make the charts.

So it's not hard to imagine why the editorial page has to pander to the entertainment industry and the producers of such "masterpieces" as The Da Vinci Code.

That said, Martinez has usually gone for quality stuff. Joel Stein, a perpetual celebrity ga-ga adolescent, also happens to be a genius comic and outstanding writer. I read Erin Aubry Kaplan religiously, and even Jonah Goldberg represents the right wing somewhat intelligently (I would definitely axe Max Boot, however).

Bottom line from this veteran teacher: a solid B+ for Martinez with 5 points off for the shady ethics call. I'm sorry to see him go.

Carter Jones

Character doesn't matter...nah.

joseph mailander

I deal with beautiful publicists all the time, and all I can say to Martinez is, I wish I had your luck.

Susan Tellem

What a mess. As soon as I saw the first ad bragging about Grazer as a guest editor, I thought what BS is this? I don't want a celebrity guest editor. I want to read interesting opinion pieces by the likes of people like Patt Morrison and Joel Stein, not some crap by pseudo writers. Even though I think the paper leans too far left and has been on a downward spiral, it's the only paper in town. Please do not spoil it even more by pandering to people under 30 with the new Image section which stinks and the grazergate fiasco.

David Marcus

In the fourth paragraph, what exactly does Martinez mean when he says the "newsroom's agenda?" Do the critics of the Times who call the news coverage biased have a point?

Mark @ News Corpse

I can't say that I approved of Mr. Martinez' ill-considered guest editor scheme, or his management of the editorial pages overall. And I certainly don't approve of Mr. Hiller's lax management skills that gave the go ahead to Martinez and then pulled the rug out from under him. But the kernal of truth that may make the whole affair worthwhile is this:

"I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda."

Martinez' observation about the Times' reporters and his revelation regarding the incestuous relationship between the news division and the opinion pages. is a more scandalous affair than the one between Martinez and Mullins.

Visit News Corpse, the Internet's Chronicle of Media Decay.

bg mendell

The Los Angeles Herald; The Los Angeles Examiner,
The Los Angeles Times: RIP.
Two things remain constant 1) follow the money; 2) ask yourself "who is sleeping with whom?"
What has long been whispered is now on the front page of the latest
Los Angeles daily to bite the dust. What goes on behind closed doors (apologies to Charlie Rich) isn't behind closed doors. When this paper is truthful and straight forward, (as it beats its chest) and attempts to survive
as the other sinking dailies did by renaming itself The Herald-Examiner,
Sunday, the Los Angeles Times masthead, in the interest of credibility, becomes The Los Angeles Socialist-Times.
And, please, don't ever include the word "News" in your name (maybe "agenda" or "Left-Wing View" might be truthful and straight forward).
There is still the morphed Green Sheet in the valley; there will continue
to be the the yellow-snow journalism on Spring Street.
Just remember what your public reason is/was for removing recent comics
from your paper (or, have we already "moved on?")
Thank you for your time....er, Times.

Bar Rachel

Gary Watson,You are living in the wrong country. Immediately move to the first dictatorship that will have you, and start your own Fox news/Pravda paper to enjoy.You are what is destroying our great democracy which is based on LIBERAL precepts that you are too dimwitted to comprehend.
As this op-Ed scandal unfolds,I beg the great Ron Burkle,Eli Broad and David Geffen to acquire this once great paper and restore it to the journalistic integrity that we readers deserve. Give me back my OP-Ed and Book Review!
Bar Rachel

kanani

EDIT!

squajo

Still LMAO!

Dan Hodina

I find it strange that the same editorial board that bases the Current's direction on building a open public fourm type atmosphere can justify seeking out the interests and observations of popular individuals like Grazer, Speilberg, Steve Jobs, etc. We need the op-ed team to hit the phone book once a week and randomly pick out a name and say "ah, there is our next guest editor.".

Give it a try. Trust that Joe and Jane Doe do have interesting pursuits and interests.

Good luck.

Jerome MBrearty, Sr.

I am an L.A. Times subscriber who has been on the edge of dropping the paper. The gradual movement of the Editorial page to a more balanced view from leftist is the only thing keeping me aboard. I have a tentative developing trust that the paper might look at both sides of an issue fairly.

That there may or may not have been a conflict of interest in this matter is important, but not the major point.

It is ridiculous that Mr. Grazier, a Hollywood producer, would be given control of the Editorial page and influence it's direction. He is an entertainer not a journalist and has no established credibility to frame and direct opinion for the citizens of Los Angeles.

scott johnson

Now I know why you like our Mayor so much.

Chris Nelson

Hey Martinez! When you go work for your girlfriend's company next month, take Joel Stein with you. With both of you gone I might start reading the opinion section again.

Edditor

Please spare us the Blah, Blah, blah. Why is the LA Times in decline? Why can't CNN get viewers? Why is the NYT in decline? Somewhere along the way they all forgot what readers and viewers wanted.....plain straight news.

Opine So Fine

Martinez always struck me as one of those annoying, elitist Ivy League types (you know what I mean), but as an LA journalist myself, I find this episode laughable. There's no actual reason to disbelieve him when he says that his adulterous affair played no role in the Grazer decision — especially since it also appears that he disclosed this relationship repeatedly, to Hiller and others. (To kill the section now, Hiller, is just slimy, because you knew about it all along.) The comparison to the Staples Center debacle is a joke that is ridiculous on its face. I'm all too familiar with self-righteous journalists who prefer to go on witch hunts rather than pursue actual news stories (because I am occasionally one of them; hey — no one's perfect, a byline is a byline is an laobserved link), and it's hard to believe that Martinez has actually fallen victim to this idiocy. The reporters just see it as another scalp. There is a clear distinction between provocative, uncompromising journalism and eating one's own, and the LA Times has allowed that line to blur beyond recognition. Hey, Times newsroom, think about it: Journalism is one the most oversexed professions there is, so if you start peeking into bedrooms ....

Anyhow, you've got to ask yourself, considering the many stories that have appeared in the paper over the past several months: Why are they writing about themselves so much, anyway? Like when the whole Baquet thing was going down? Talk about a conflict of interest! Jim Rainey and his editors should work some leather off their shoes and cover a story that's not happening down the hall. In the end, Martinez will end up back at the NY Times, or whatever, and the torch-shakers will remain on Spring St. publicly wringing their hands over Tribune and praying for Eli Broad's bid to be accepted. Like that would solve anything. Sad.

Achieve-it! blog

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh this afternoon when he said the exact same thing to a listener. "I am sorry I let you down."

Let the conspiracies begin!

Jared

Even if you accept the premise that Grazer's involvement was some sort of plot to help his career, do they really think letting him guest-edit Current is that big a deal? Yeah, maybe this aspiring Hollywood producer can finally make it big now that he's done a little work for The Times?

Bill Bucy

First, count up the people in the Times newsroom have had or are having sex with someone who has tried, is trying or might someday try to influence news coverage or opinion. Fire them. Then try to put out the next day's newspaper.

Marsha

The LA Times has embarrassed themselves, Brian Grazer and their readers. Wonderful.

Having "guest editors" on an occasional basis is not in and of itself a bad idea, because it recognizes that professional newspaper journalists and editors are not infallible and have no particular claim [except in their own minds] to a monopoly on ideas. Successful, creative people in other fields can have worthwhile viewpoints just as worthy, and not being newspaper people themselves, fresh perspectives.

Grazer is one of the most successful producers in the film industry, which is one of the economic powerhouses in Los Angeles. What he thinks is important, is as worth learning as any editor's opinion, except to those who in the news business who are protective of their own significance.

The issue of possible favoritism in choosing Grazer to edit seems to me a red herring. How do editors get promoted into their positions in the first place? By recommendation... and having the right contacts with the right people on the inside. Some would argue they get their jobs by being talented and capable... and I'd suggest that Brian Grazer meets that criteria as well.

larry

people, time to move on. LAT is following the NYT into obscurity as they scramble to keep up with the shift away from the liberal print media that has held sway for 50 years....and first challenged by AM radio, followed by Murdock, and finally the internet with both the left and right more evenly represented.

time to move on.....

Steve N.

You have NO idea how many people could care less about this "scandal". I only clicked through because Drudge linked to it. This type of media has become so out of touch with the community. The majority of us just want unbiased news reports,,,, who cares about Opinion sections. Trust me, it's not hard for us to find opinions on any topic. 99% of the people I know could care less and I am a 38yr old with a good income and a large social network. The major newspapers have such a self inflated opinion of their relevancy in the community!

Jeff Dix

Do the commenters here really believe that a person has to be a trained editor/journalist to put together an interesting or thought-provoking Opinion page one time? I think that these same people would allow for the possibility that a painter might have a chance at expressing a worthwhile opinion about an issue without any formal journalism training? Is it really so terrible to let a guy with a lot of contacts in an unquestionably interesting profession take a shot at developing a compelling Opinion page? Where is the harm except to those lining up for a job as the Opinion page editor?

Mark @ News Corpse

It is just mind-boggling how many people here complain that the Times is a "liberal" paper. Haven't they been paying attention?

In the past few years the paper has sacked progressives like Pulitzer winners Robert Scheer and Paul Conrad. They were replaced by right-wing hacks like Jonah Goldberg and Michael Gonzales. This was followed by a succession of publishers and editors that were imported from the headquarters in Chicago.

Do these people really believe that the corporate masters, who are best known for kissing the rings of the shareholders, sent liberals to see after their biggest publishing asset?

Visit News Corpse, the Internet's Chronicle of Media Decay.

Joe M.

I canceled my La Times subscription more than two years ago. I didn't realize they were still in business.

bg mendell

Dear News Corpse (this is the final nail in the coffin).
No, I haven't been paying attention; I haven't purchased
The Los Angeles Times in a decade; I would not have
known about this More Important Than Thou tug of intellectual
self grand standing if it had not been mentioned on one of the
local morning television programs (oh, I forgot; that local morning
television program was on a station also owned by The Tribune Co.
(never mind).

Mister C

Gag me with a spoon of arsenic

Donald from Hawaii

David T., while I might sympathize with your situation, must journalists' always affix the suffix "-gate" to every real or imagined scandal, big or small? This really annoying habit cheapens the reporting or the opining, and denotes on the part of the writer either a lack of imagination, a stunted political background, or a truncated vocabulary.

The Watergate Scandal was by all accounts a political disaster of epic proportions and a national disgrace; it deserves to stand alone in its infamy. Your editor's resignation, while no doubt regretable, is but a tempest in a "Teapot Dome" in comparison.

Sorry for the cheap pun -- I couldn't resist. But I trust you get my point.

Elevate your own standards, and see if the paper itself will follow your example. If it doesn't, it will whither away, and I trust you'll find something else to do.

David Marcus: "Do the critics of the Times who call the news coverage biased have a point? "

You can either:
(a) Read today's catty article on Al Gore, "Returning as the 'Goracle' ", or
(b) Go all the way to page 13 before you find an article on the U.S. attorney purge.

Either way, you will have thus answered your own rhetorical question.

Jane Schmitt

The LA Times in general, and the Opinion section in particular, have been in a downward spiral ever since they were purchased by the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune seems determined to turn the LA Times, one of the four best newpapers in the US, into some second-class edition of local news and puts too much focus on the entertainment industry . It's a shame. All they're going to do is lose more readers. And it certainly appears that they're losing many of their best editors and reporters. Why the Chicago Tribune won't sell the paper to a local bidder who would, hopefully, restore this paper to it's past glory is beyond my comprehension. It's as if the LA Times is being held hostage by a greedy, ignorant, immoral outsider.

David

This is such a big "who cares" with so many losers. Martinez was out of line courting a celebrity editor (gosh, with Brian G out of the picture, what's Paris Hilton doing). Hiller doesn't win any points for not paying attention until the 11th hour and then reinforcing the TribCo stereotype by micro-managing. But perhaps the biggest losers of all are us readers/subscribers who have no other news source worth our time or attention. How tragic for L.A.

Rob

Anyone with an I>Q> above room temperature knows the orientation of the Times. Perhaps Glazer's slant would not have been Left enough to keep the loyal subscribers from going bonkers. This was a moral transgression? Hilary would have barely broken a sheen.

bg mendell

Los Angeles Times "one of the four best newspapers in the US?"
What are the other three? Oh Jane Schmitt, please tell me.

Josh

Mr. Martinez,

"Guest editor" is a stupid idea, and you are a sorry journalist for pandering to your girlfriend's boss.

APPEARANCE of a conflict?

Go back to Journalism 101 and you'll find out that this is the epitome of a conflict, unless you think a) your girlfriend's boss wasn't pleased to be named guest editor; and b) you don't enjoy your girlfriend's -- ahem -- company. After what Hiller did to you, you probably won't anymore, and you deserve it.

Jane Schmitt

1. NY Times
2. Washington Post
3. Wall Street Journal
4. LA Times

Columbia Journalism Review - 1999
http://archives.cjr.org/year/99/6/best.asp

Although, I believe that 1999 was before the Chicago Tribune got their greedy hands on the LA Times.


S. Fuentes

All I can say is, See what happens when Corporations buy Family operations. It's no longer the same. Corporations impose their will. Free thinking is no longer tolerated. It's their way or the highway.

Dale Andersen

When the Times finally collapses under its own dead weight, no one will notice, mainly because no one is alive now who can remember the Times when it was a good newspaper....

Kip Dellinger

"...Hiller's decision amounts to a vote of no confidence in my continued leadership" states Former Editorial Page Editor Adres Martinez with respect to his resignation from the LA Times. I could not have been more deserved..

The Times editorial page rails constantly over not only actual conflicts of interest in politics but also excoriates businesspersons and politicians for the "appearance" of conflicts of interest - try the Getty and Eli Broad's Brentwood property purchase, or Harry Reid's dealings in Nevada real estate, for example - or maybe the innuendo with regard to just about every Republican politician in the country.

That Martinez would even consider the undertaking makes him unqualified for the job.

More alarming is the implied double standard of his cdleagues that take umbrege to the criticisms of Martinez's conduct. They should find another line of work and, if they remain, the Times should take special care to ensure that they have adult supervision.

CurtisTheCurtis

If the LA Times is a "Liberal" newspaper then the Nazi Times must be a centrist paper...

If Nixon were alive today and he had persued the policies he did (talking with communist China, creating the EPA, calling for ending the war in Vietnam, etc.) he'd be called a flaming liberal...it just goes to show you how far the conservatives have pushed the public perception of the center.

Why all the hate against Liberals...Jesus was a liberal...prove me wrong all you conservatives...Washington, Jefferson, Franklin etc., were all considered liberals in their day, if they were conservatives we wouldn't have this country...so while all you Liberal bashers out there spout off with your hate, bile and misinformation please take a moment to thank your liberal predecessors for giving you the chance to be so uniformed yet still have the right to voice your opinion, because if it wasn't for all the liberals from the past who fought for your rights against the conservatives of their day, you wouldn't have all the things you take for granted now...

Rob C.

I'm confused, Mr. Martinez. You say you're resigning because David Hiller's decision amounted to a vote of no confidence, but then you complain about cutbacks in the opinion section which you feel go too far and are short-sighted. Apparently those cutbacks were not enough to prompt you to resign in protest. What's the point of mentioning them as part of the explanation of your resignation?

LeatherPenguin

I'm still laughing over "I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda,..."

Dude, if you can't recognize how mind-bogglingly asinine that graf reads, it's a good thing you quit.

bg mendell

Columbia Journalism Review? Columbia? Isn't that like, say, getting your information by reading, say, the Los Angeles Times? Columbia? Wasn't
that the place where Al Gore was a guest lecturer? That is so, say, heart
...er Global Warming.

Ken Shultz

The suggestion that those who might have some kind of professional interest in what the Times prints, that they shouldn't be permitted to edit the opinion page, it seems to me that there's an insult underlying that suggestion and that it's directed at every thinking person who might read the Times.

If you're suggesting that everyday people like me, that we're too dumb, that we believe everything the LA Times prints in its opinion page--that we're incapable of independent thought. ...that, with our tiny little minds, that we can't be expected to think for ourselves--not after we've read something edited by someone who may have an interest in what we read. If that's what's being suggested, then I don't know how to interpret it as anything other than an insult.

The LA Times should be free to take whatever steps it thinks are necessary to assuage those who can only tolerate opinions edited by certain people. I ask interested parties to note, however, that people like me will continue to find the opinion page interesting and persuasive or not regardless of who the editors are and the nature of their motivation.

 
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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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