The Los Angeles Times Sinking Lower and Lower and…
The best laugh of the day comes via a letter from 24 Democratic Congressman bemoaning the paper’s cancellation of Bob Scheer’s ravings. Dennis Kucinich posted it at the Huffington Post. Before you think, “Good for the Times for dumping the crazy,” ask yourself if there has ever been a columnist for the paper whose column –if cancelled– would elicit a protest from two dozen conservative members of Congress? There is of course no such columnist, and never has been. In fact, there isn’t a single high profile center-right writer identified with the Times in any capacity other than syndicated columnists. But the Times cheerfully indulged Scheer all these years, and then in a vain attempt to cover its quality control firing of the around-the-bend Scheer, tossed the only conservative on Spring Street, cartoonist Michael Ramirez, over board at the same time.
What a disaster the Tribune Company has on its hand: It knows it must win back center-right readers to survive, but it lacks the guts to try to do so boldly, and its Ramirez-move steps on its big anti-MoveOn.org gesture. Here’s the whole letter:
Jeffrey M. Johnson
Los Angeles Times
202 West First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear Mr. Johnson:
We, as Members of Congress, object to the dismissal of Robert Scheer, a 32-year veteran of the LA Times with a long history of excellence in reporting and op ed pieces. For example, over the last 10 years:
Scheer, in 1995, was a leading critic of the Gingrich plan to cut social spending to record low levels and he wrote adamantly about the need to save affirmative action.
In 1996, Scheer criticized welfare reform for its effect on the poor as soon as the economy turns south.
Scheer wrote in 1999 in defense of Wen Ho Lee, the nuclear weapons scientist accused by many of selling nuclear secrets, despite the lack of evidence.
In 200, Scheer predicted the Bush/Cheney ticket’s close ties to the oil industry would ensure consumers would “feel the sting from the exorbitant price of gas.”
In 2001, Scheer identified the dangerous precedent of the Patriot Act. He forecast the attack on our basic liberties.
In 2003, Scheer was already making a strong case for the U.S. getting out of Iraq.
Scheer’s final column highlighted military intelligence documents that suggested Iraqi intelligence was manipulated, as opposed to simply bad intelligence.
On Nov. 11th, the LA Times reported this dismissal along with other staff cuts. According to the article, a conservative contributing editor to the National Review has been hired to write for the op-ed pages. In effect the LA Times has hired a Bush Administration cheerleader to replace a leading critic of the Administration.
Your readers, and the nation, deserve better. We hope that you will reconsider your dismissal of Robert Scheer.
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
John Tierney (D-MA)
Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
Richard Neal (D-MA)
Michael Honda (D-CA)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
John Lewis (D-GA)
George Miller (D-CA)
Bill Clay (D-MO)
Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Hilda Solis (D-CA)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)