There seem to be two leading schools of opinion about Michael Kinsley's impact on the Times as a voice of Los Angeles. One group believes that in striving to be accepted in the media big leagues, the LAT is abandoning smart, intellectual discussion of the city on the op-ed page and in the to-be-renamed Sunday section. Others feel that Kinsley is making the Times more provocative and worth reading. In the February issue of Los Angeles magazine, media columnist R.J. Smith argues for the latter view: "If Kinsley makes a dent here, he may help the city cultivate a chattering class for the first time in its history." He calls Kinsley "a satirtist who can people jackasses and still get asked to all the good parties," but says his Sunday columns have been "far from his best work: They seem too careful, too dutiful."
Kinsley will probably take some ribbing for Smith likening him to Paul McCartney: "utterly at ease in the spotlight, sometimes coasting on glibness, a crafter of hooks you can't get out of your head." Smith makes a note that the Seattle resident only spends five nights of each fortnight in the city where he is now the leading opinion gatekeeper. In the piece, Kinsley calls retired LAT reporter Ken Reich "an idiot" for blogging that his politics echo columnist Robert Scheer's and that the two of them have hijacked the editorial pages: "Anyone who thinks that I have the same politics of Robert Scheer is either stupid or dishonest." The piece isn't online; the Los Angeles website has become more impossible than ever, with some stories from the December issue all that is accessible right now.
Also in the February issue: a graphic on local blogs has blurbs about, in order, LAist, Blogging.la, Art.blogging.la, LAVoice.org, Defamer, The Elegant Variation, SportsbyBrooks (links to all are on the left) and L.A. Observed.