[Marxism] scheer fired by la times

Sudhir Devadas sudhirdin at gmail.com
Tue Nov 15 04:58:24 MST 2005


the fate that awaits reporters with integrity in bushland, is once again
made manifest in the treatment meted out to a journalist of quality. it only
proves that those courageous souls not willing to peddle the received
wisdom, as per proprietors and the administration, on the iraqi invasion,
had better pack their bags. at a time when top dogs in the media either
added their howls of encouragement at the slaughter of innocents or lapsed
into craven silence, the worth of scheers is priceless.
 sudhir
 __________________________{{{[[[]]]}}}_______________________ LA Times
Fires Longtime Progressive Columnist Robert Scheer

Nov 14, 2005

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/11/14/1447244

Last week, the Los Angeles Times Newspaper announced that it was firing
longtime columnist Robert Scheer. Scheer has been at the Times for 30 years
and was one of the most progressive voices at the paper. In recent years,
his columns took on the Bush Administration and its justifications for the
invasion of Iraq. Scheer believes that his firing was because of ideological
reasons.

In a posting at the Huffington Post blog, he wrote "The publisher Jeff
Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told
people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to
my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point but only after tens
of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the
carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not
sharper and my words tougher."

The Times also fired Michael Ramirez, a Pulitzer-Prize winning conservative
staff cartoonist.

   - *Robert Scheer*, former columnist with the Los Angeles Times. He is
   author of "The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq" and he is co-host
   of a weekly syndicated radio show along with with Arianna Huffington, Matt
   Miller and Tony Blankley.
   - Website: www.robertscheer.com <http://www.robertscheer.com/>

 ------------------------------

*AMY GOODMAN: *We are joined on the line by Robert Scheer, author of *The
Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq*. He's also co-host of the
syndicated radio show with Arianna Huffington, Matt Miller and Tony
Blankley. Welcome to Democracy Now!

*ROBERT SCHEER: *Hi.

*AMY GOODMAN: *Well, Robert, can you talk about what happened?

*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. I was a punching bag for those guys. I'm
still standing, and the people who run the paper collapsed. And the big
issue here, I think, is that the publisher took over the editorial pages, a
guy named Jeff Johnson. He's an accountant from Chicago, doesn't know
anything about what newspapers are supposed to be about, and he made a
decision to get rid of the column. It had run as a column -- I had worked at
the paper since 1976, but the column had been running for 13 years, and I
think it was a strong column, criticizing the war when the paper was
supporting it.

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. So, you know, it's very disappointing.

The only other fact here that I would throw in, the 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. So this
guy, Jeff Johnson, who is an accountant who cares nothing at all about a
free press and cares nothing about journalism, he's a right winger who
supported the war, you know, who two years ago told people he couldn't stand
a word that I wrote. Why? Because I exposed how the whole Jessica Lynch
thing was a fraud, when the newspaper hadn't even covered the news story, or
that I attacked the whole W.M.D. from the beginning, I attacked the war from
the very beginning? And this is just one column once a week, 720 words on
the Op-Ed page, and he couldn't take that.

The decision came from the publisher. It certainly was cleared by Chicago.
And then they come out with these fine sounding words about relation to
readers and their obligation. It has nothing to do with that. You know, this
was the case, you know, with the *New York Times* with Judy Miller, it's the
case with the *L.A. Times* and the Wen Ho Lee case, where they are now
claiming we have a shield thing, we have to protect our reporters with a
free press. What they are interested in at the *L.A. Times* is profits, and
then when it's convenient to them, they wave the flag of free press.

But you had one voice at that paper on the Op-Ed page consistently opposed
to this war. I've been with the paper for almost 30 years. I have broken a
lot of stories. The paper nominated me 12 or 13 times for the Pulitzer
Prize. I was a finalist for the Pulitzer as a reporter. And new people come
in, and it doesn't go along with their politics, and they fire me, end the
column, silence a voice in Los Angeles. They can't silence it nationally,
but they are able to do it there. And what they know now, because they have
had the response of, I don't know what -- I hear from people in the building
they have had 3,000 or 4,000 people have emailed and written letters. They
have gotten thousands of phone calls. They know that the column resonates in
the community. They know that people like it, and yet they don't have room
for one column once week that consistently got it right.

*AMY GOODMAN: *Robert Scheer, I wanted to play for you a comment of or part
of a speech by President Bush on Friday on Veterans Day.

*PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: *While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my
decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite
the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are
now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people
about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan
Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the
intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They
also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our
assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than
a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass
destruction. (more)


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