The Failed Kinsley Experiment is Over

Nikki Finke writes with a sharpened pencil in the LA Weekly. She published this screed after Michael Kinsley got bumped out of the editorial page job at the LA Times in early August.

“The Kinsley Experiment, which officially ended this week at the Los Angeles Times not with a bang but with him whimpering to a rival newspaper. It also leaves behind a readership confused by Michael Kinsley’s yearlong fling with editorial freedom during which he flippantly recast the venerable editorial and opinion sections into a comedy of errors — describing readers as “assholes,” hyping wikitorials, inciting blog porn on the Web site, and snidely dubbing his domain “The Opinion Manufacturing Division.”

Increasingly, Kinsley’s sections were packed with pablum penned by lefty cronies and wacko neocons. One of the few significant takeouts he published, part of what was to be an ambitious monthslong campaign against malaria in Africa, proved tainted. That’s because the disease is a major philanthropic emphasis of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where Kinsley’s wife is the co-chair and president.

That faulty attitude was only compounded when Kinsley hired the imbecilic Time magazine columnist Joel Stein, king of the conflict of interest, to write jejune rants about showbiz. Together, Kinsley and Stein were like the Beavis and Butt-Head of the LAT editorial and opinion pages, a pair of cutups thinking up new ways to annoy so that people would notice them. That’s why Stein railed against Harry Potter, and why Kinsley took the contrarian view that Judy Miller shouldn’t protect her sources. That they’re coming off as sophomoric putzes doesn’t matter — they’ll sacrifice principle for a PR prank.”