Friday, November 11, 2005



I got 3 e-mails today from friends telling me they were canceling their subscriptions to the L.A. TIMES. I didn't have to ask why. Earlier I had gotten an e-mail from Bob Scheer:

"On Friday I was fired as a columnist by the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where I have worked for thirty years. 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 has a piece about it today. My first recollection of Scheer, who is roughly my age, was when American students were starting the battle to end the war against VietNam. I was on the East Coast and Scheer was the most articulate and passionate and well-reasoned student writer in America, at Berkeley. Today he is "Left" on KCRW's "Left, Right and Center" and he teaches at USC. His consistently brilliant and incisive columns were pretty much the only reason to bother with the L.A. TIMES.

My guess is that you'll be able to read regular columns from Scheer at ALTERNET and , hopefully, not having to write for the TIMES will spur him to write more books.


Nancy Hollander is brilliant and cultured. She reminds us all of a poem by Bertoldt Brecht which should offer Scheer some comfort in this situation, "The Bookburning" (Die Bücherverbrennung)

When the regime ordered
Books with dangerous knowledge
To be burned in public and everywhere
Oxen were forced to pull, carts with books
to the bonfires, one of the persecuted poets
discovered one of the best
studying the list of the burned
disconcerted, that his books were forgotten.
He rushed to his desk, flying on wings of rage
and wrote a letter to the authorities.
Burn me! he wrote with a quick stroke
Burn me! don't do this to me! Do not spare me!
Have I not always reported the truth in my books?
Yet now you treat me as were I a liar!
I command you: Burn me! "
-Bertolt BRECHT


It's as though the L.A. TIMES editors said, "Let's get rid of the best columnist we have, one of historical importance and consistent brilliance, and see if we can find a really pathetic hack who will make anyone who bothers to read his garbage puke. OK, best writer we have... ah... fire Scheer. Now how do we find someone really awful, like the real bottom of the barrel-- someone as bad as Ann Coulter but who actually writes their own material. How about the really stupid one who wrote LIBERAL FASCISM? You know, the guy who thinks McCarthy was right on... What's his name? You know... a real sensationalist. He'll drive everyone in L.A. who still reads our crappy paper away. Oh, yeah... Jonah Goldberg. We'll never find anyone worse." They did find him though.


At 10:24 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

This goes beyond "shocking" to "unimaginable." One of my regrets about my daily time management has been that I don't take the time to search out Scheer's columns--and also Molly Ivins'--and so see them only when someone forwards one.

I guess the genius publisher thought that simultaneously axing the conservative cartoonist (when in reality they probably don't want any cartoonist anymore) would provide them ideological cover for axing Scheer. Clueless.


At 11:35 AM, Blogger Matt Weinstock said...


They got rid of the cartoonist and Sheer? THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING LOS ANGELES TIMES continues to narrowcast to West LA and the Peoples Republic of Santa Monica. Oh well, those folks got lots of bucks.

I enjoy Robert Sheer as he clearly expresses his thoughts. He will probably continue on the radio which I try and catch each Friday. I terminated the TIMES several years ago after subscribing for over 35 years and never regretted it.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

I find it hard to believe that Ramirez is a Pulitzer winning cartoonist and I doubt that many will miss him.
Bob Sheer gets the ax most likely because chicken shit media people are caving into the corporate owners.
It's far from a trade-off ... Ramirez and Sheer. The new organization at the Times must be trying to figure out why readership across the country is down. And in the process, they are kissing corporate ass and axing those who stir the pot.
They will further erode their subscription base. Who needs chicken shit faux newspapers anyway.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

WHAT: Join Peace and Media Activists from Across Los Angeles
As We Put the New Publisher on Notice
Picket LA Times/Protest the Firing of Columnist
Robert Scheer & Limited Coverage of Local Anti-War Movement

WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Noon

WHERE: Outside, LA Times Building
First Street Entrance
202 W. 1st St. (at Spring St.)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

WHY: Last Friday, LA Times Publisher Jeff Johnson fired Robert Scheer who had worked there for 30 years, the last 12 years as a weekly columnist.

Robert Scheer's Anti-War Voice
is Critical. Los Angeles Times readers
will not Tolerate the Paper's Op-ed Pages
Tilting Further to the Right with the firing of Scheer and the hiring of Far-right Columnists Max Boot and Jonah Goldberg with No One Holding Scheer’s Spot As Passionate and Contarian National Progressive Voice

A delegation will also demand a meeting with publisher Jeff Johnson, who reportedly has privately told people that he hated every word that Scheer wrote.

We want to read full-spectrum of voices in the LA Times and know that our daily newspaper will fully cover the anti-war movement in Los Angeles.

BRING SIGNS: Suggested slogans.

LA Times Publisher:
Did you hate every word Scheer wrote
exposing lies that led us into the War in Iraq?

LA Times Publisher:
Did you hate every word Scheer wrote
exposing the lies about Wen Ho Lee?

LA Times Publisher:
Do you hate every word Scheer wrote
exposing the lies of the NY Times' Judith Miller?

These "Times" Call for Scheer

What's happening at the LA Times?

Who's voice will be silenced next?

Why no LA Times story on the Downing Street Teach-in?

Why no LA Times story on the Gold Star Families and
Arlington West Veterans Day March?

Why no LA Times story on the Anti-war Protest Against Pro-war Hilary?

More info or things you can do to protest:

Listen/Watch Robert Scheer
On Democracy Now! on Monday Nov. 14.
KPFK 90.7 FM at 6AM and 9AM
DirecTV: Link TV, Channel 375,
DISH Network: Link TV channel 9410
And Free Speech TV, channel 9415

Visit for latest

Check-out: Right-wing bloggers are thrilled at Scheer's firing:
Local Liberty

Fax a letter or e-mail letter of protest against the firing
and consider joining a campaign with hundreds of
readers canceling their subscription to the LA Times:

Publisher Jeff Johnson
FAX 213.237.4401

CEO of Tribune Publications
Dennis Fitzsimmons

President of Tribune Publications
Scott Smith at

Editorial Page Editor Andres Martinez
Fax: 213.237.7968

Contact Marcy

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Timcanhear said...

wish I could be there ... kepp us posted!

At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the L.A. Times is the Pravda of America


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