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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.

Michael Kinsley
Editorial and Opinion Editor
The Los Angeles Times


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

LA Weekly