Editor and Publisher 11/14
Readers to Protest Dropping of Scheer Column Tuesday at 'LA Times'
By Dave Astor
Published: November 14, 2005 1:55 PM ET
NEW YORK Los Angeles Times readers upset with the dropping of Robert Scheer's column plan to picket outside the newspaper's building Tuesday at noon.
"We think he was fired totally for political reasons," Karen Pomer, a media activist who helped organize the demonstration, told E&P Monday. "Now they don't have anyone who covers national issues in the same way. The Times needs a full spectrum of voices. It's becoming insipid."
To make the point about blandness, demonstrators plan to distribute slices of Wonder bread at the Tuesday picket.
Scheer believes he was dropped at least partly because Times Publisher Jeff Johnson didn't like his column's anti-Iraq War commentary and other progressive opinions (E&P Online, Nov. 11). Pomer said a delegation of protestors will request a meeting with Johnson.
When asked if she had an estimate for Tuesday's turnout, Pomer said she did not. Pomer noted that some people might not be able to leave their jobs to attend the demonstration, but that organizers wanted to respond as quickly as possible to the dropping of Scheer's column (which is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate).
Pomer added that a number of readers have cancelled their Times subscriptions. "Robert Scheer has a big following," she said. "Many readers are just fed up."
According to Pomer, protestors are upset not only with the dropping of Scheer, but with what they feel is the Times' poor coverage of anti-Iraq War events in its circulation area.
A Times spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment about the planned picket, about how many subscribers might have cancelled, and about whether or not Johnson would meet with the protestors.
Dave Astor (email@example.com
) is a senior editor at E&P.