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The LA Times' Daring Gambit

by Steve Young

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Maybe they felt left out.

Talk radio has all the fun, pandering to authors of slapdash books that hock spit on anything left of right. Then last week TIME magazine, that bastion of liberal- elite mainstream media, glorifies the right-wing mistress of hate, Ann Coulter, dismissing her poisonous harangues as mere humor the liberals just don't get.

Apparently their liberal- elite pals at the Los Angeles Times editorial page got jealous. They decided to damn the torpedoes, full speed right. Author and right-wing hack David Gelertner was already part of the fold, writing a weekly political op/ed column in what was (once) one of the world's most respective newspapers. Gelertner's muddled and sophomoric slams of liberals and Democrats shows that the Times must care less who appears on their pages as long as it gives the right its serving of raw meat.

Then last week the Times printed an editorial by a Regenry-published (read: far-right) author who presented deceptive information from a right-wing blog to support his claim that liberal talk radio was failing. This is familiar territory for Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the right's Lords of Loud, who also tell you how horrific Al Franken's show is. Yet the man who should know something about this topic, Michael Harrison, editor of "Talkers" magazine, says liberal talk is doing quite well, thank you. Franken is doing such a horrific job that the magazine named him Talk Show Host of the Year. Irony not missed, Limbaugh won the year before.

But the Times saved the best for this past Monday, with "A Rewrite for Hollywood's Blacklist Saga," an op/ed by authors Ronald and Allis Radosh. These "Hudson Institute adjunct scholars" pushed their soon- to- be- released trashing of 1950s Hollywood, saying, among other things, that "[t]he blacklist was a godsend" and that the Hollywood version of the era is "a myth."

I wondered if those who were put behind bars, lost their lives, their families, their livelihoods, mused whether it was a myth or a godsend. So I invited blacklisted screenwriter, Bernard Gordon (55 Days In Peking, Krakatoa, East of Java, Battle of the Bulge, Day of the Triffids) and Christopher Trumbo, son of Dalton Trumbo (Exodus, Spartacus, Johnny Got His Gun), to my radio show this week to settle the godsend/myth question once and for all.

It is just shameful of the Times to give the authors Radosh a forum -- editors always have the right to pass on any column, even if contracted. What next, David Irving to write a "Holocaust hoax" Sunday think-piece?

Now, I can understand wanting a balanced editorial page -- though if we be honest, even if every column was right- winged, O'Reilly would still call the Times a socialist rag. But why are all of these authors used by the Times so obviously incompetent? There's got to be plenty of conservative pundits who could place two thoughts together without needing to be mean-spirited or laughably inept. Well, maybe not many, but I'm sure George Will has some book to sell.

Then it hit me: I had missed the liberal, elite, mainstream Times' shrewd gambit. They know quite well that these authors and columnists are wanting, and readers would find their right-wing rants and arguments foolish, making conservatives and their ilk seem like buffoons.

Brilliant. This way the Times get to have their balance and eat it too. Whew. That was close. I didn't lose my old liberal, elite, mainstream media newspaper after all -- I just gained a newer, more cunning one.

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Albion Monitor April 30, 2005 (

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