Tag Archives: Donald Rumsfeld

If You Haven’t Canceled Your L.A. Times Subscription Yet…

…um, what are you waiting for?

Unless you read the Hollywood trade magazines or frequent local L.A. blogs, you’ve probably missed the latest drama over at the Times, the so-called Grazergate, and for that you should feel lucky. It’s a pretty localized story that merges big media and big Hollywood and I wouldn’t have even bothered you with it if it hadn’t have been for the latest wrinkle that’s reportedly been thrown into the mix, name of Donald Rumsfeld.

Join me over the flip…

The L.A. Times has certainly not been free from controversy over the past few months. It was only October that The Tribune Company, which owns The Times, replaced publisher Jeffrey Johnson with David D. Hiller when Johnson openly defied mandated cuts from corporate bosses (as did popular editor Dean Baquet who was similarly forced out just a month later.) Since taking over as publisher, it would seem Hiller is not exactly making new friends at the paper. He had an idea: bring on selected guest editors of the Sunday editorial page, called Sunday Current. Sunday’s edition was to be guest-edited by Hollywood producer Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, The Grinch…)

Yeah well, that didn’t happen. Why’s that you ask? Here’s a little rundown:

[L.A. Times Editorial page editor, Andres] Martinez resigned in pique after The Times publisher, David D. Hiller, told him  he couldn't go forward with a Current section that was being guest-edited by  Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. Hiller intervened when it was learned that  Martinez has been dating a Hollywood publicist whose firm represents the  producer. In fact, the agency obtained Grazer's business after Martinez's  girlfriend's boss facilitated the arrangement between the producer and The  Times.

Martinez denies any wrongdoing and even Hiller concedes that his dropping Grazer was to avoid the "perception" of any conflict of interest. As you might expect, Martinez is pissed. So what does he do? Spout off to local blog L.A Observed, of course. His latest revelation, which could make Grazergate look like small potatoes indeed, is that Donald Rumsfeld may be tapped as the next Current guest editor. At the very least, it’s clear that Hiller asked Rumsfeld to come on by and guest edit the section, because, well, they’re old pals, you see.

Nikki Finke has the scoop over at HuffPo:

I'm told that Donald Rumsfeld was asked to guest-edit the newspaper's "Current" opinion section which appears on Sundays. The ex-Defense Secretary is a long-time personal and professional friend of LA Times publisher David Hiller, who supervises the paper's editorial, Op-Ed and opinion pages. Rumsfeld also has strong ties to the LA Times' parent company since he was a member of Tribune Co.'s board of directors for years. Sources tell me that Rumsfeld's selection was suggested and approved by Hiller.

As I was composing this post, I found this report that in fact, wisely, the Current guest-editor experiment of 2007 has been quashed. At least something good came out of Grazergate.

But seriously, does it even matter? Apparently at some point in time the publisher of The LA Times thought it would be a good idea for the former Defense Secretary to guest-edit an editorial page that one has every right to expect would address the war policies put in place by said Defense Secretary and which might very well weigh in on his former boss’s administration, whose reputation it’s completely in said Defense Secretary’s interest (and apparently, power) to redeem via said editorial page. Seriously, are you kiddin’ me?

Now about that subscription…