Parting Shot

I knew that Nikki Finke is an idiot, of course, but I had no idea that she was such a fuddy-duddy. Among the malevolent non-sequiturs and damned-if-you-do-or-don't accusations in Nikki Finke’s appreciation of my tenure at the LA Times [“The Michael Kinsley Experiment Ends,” July 29 - August 4], my favorite passage is this one, scolding me for moving too fast. “Normally, any change at a newspaper happens slowly amid much careful thought and laborious planning so as not to upset subscribers.” It’s a pity that Finke finds the torrid pace of change at the LA Times so upsetting, since she is the only person to have noticed it.

Finke is hard to please. John Carroll stands accused of alienating “conservative subscribers” by hiring a “legendary lefty” (ie, me) to run the LA Times opinion pages, and also of “overlooking” Los Angeles’s “progressive movement” by hiring an “old school liberal” who makes no “serious argument” (also me). I came to work in Los Angeles in 2004 in order to “draw attention” to myself “on the East Coast” (which I demonstrated my excessive attachment to by leaving it in 1995). A light-hearted cartoon about the mayor’s race shows that I hold LA in “contempt” as a “third-rate city.” A solemn editorial series about malaria in Africa “left unanswered the question of whether there weren’t issues closer to home that deserved equally extraordinary prominence.” Because I always go for cheap thrills over substance, my pages are “packed with pablum.” If I’m not publishing “lefty cronies” I’m publishing “wacko neocons.”

In all of this, Finke peremptorily attaches her own odd views to the entire city of Los Angeles. If the Times or I were to portrayed the citizens of Los Angeles as Finke does in her article -- humorless, easily upset, provincial, intolerant (not to mention demagogic and deranged) -- Nikki Finke would be the first to throw a fit.

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Michael Kinsley Editorial and Opinion Editor The Los Angeles Times

To read Nikki Finke's article, “The Michael Kinsley Experiment Ends,” click here.


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