Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sheer Business

ROBERT SCHEER: Well, what happened is that I had been the subject of vicious attacks by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Sometimes Bill O'Reilly would sometimes go after me every day, and this went on for the last couple of years, and I’m still standing. ...And even as recently as last week, my last column, which I'm quite proud of, was on the Defense Intelligence Agency report that Senator Carl Levin released last week, and I wrote about how in February 2002 they knew there were no ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, that the key witness was a phony. This was released. Eight months later George Bush went before -- spoke just before the Senate decided its decision and at that time knew that the key witness for this, really the only witness they had, was a phony, yet went and lied to the country. That column last week broke that news for the readers of the Los Angeles Times that the paper neglected to cover in any serious way.

...[T]he paper is concerned about what the Bush administration thinks, because the Tribune Company bought the Times Mirror Corporation and now owns a television station, a very profitable one, in the same market in Los Angeles as the newspaper. And next year they have asked -- they have to get a waiver in order to be able to do that, because that violates the law right now. They expected Congress -- when they bought the property, they thought Congress would pass that law allowing them to have those two major outlets in the same market. It is now illegal, and in 2006 they are coming up for a waiver, and the Bush administration's F.C.C. could easily deny that waiver to them.


AMY GOODMAN: Robert Scheer, I wanted to read you some comments of the people in charge. We did try to get someone on, but they didn't respond. Andres Martinez, the editorial page editor, said, “The opinion pages are our newspaper's town square. Our readers expect us to publish all points of view and the broadest range of opinion, from those of our editorial board and columnists to those of our readers and op-ed contributors. And we intend to do exactly that.” The Los Angeles Times publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, said, “You’ve got a new editorial page editor and a new publisher. We sat down and talked about the pages and decided to make changes.” The Times op-ed editor, the opinion editor Nicholas Goldberg, said, “I think we have put together a smart, original and provocative team of writers who reflect a variety of interesting and thoughtful perspectives on local, national and foreign affairs. A good column involves a relationship developed with readers over time, and I invite our readers to develop their relationships with these engaging minds in the weeks and months to come.” Your response, Robert Scheer?

ROBERT SCHEER: You know, somebody who could say that, when all isn’t said, they can condone anything. We talk about a free press. These people hide, they make a lot of money off the media. They hide behind the slogans of free press, and then they can come out with crap like that. It’s just garbage. It’s insulting to the readers. They know I have a strong -- not only that I have a strong relation to readers, but so did Ramirez, the cartoonist. You know, it’s just gibberish.

The Los Angeles Times is being shroodled by -- its owners are laying off 70 people this week. They’re just gonna -- John Carroll, the distinguished editor of that paper, left because he said they are just going to pillage the paper. He won 13 Pulitzer Prizes in recent years for the Los Angeles Times, and he clearly – it was discussed by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker -- left because he said these people don't care about journalism. These people are just going to suck what they can out of the property.

- Robert Scheer on being fired from The Los Angeles Times

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