Dare we call it Genocidegate?

Nah, but the LA Weekly's Daniel Hernandez adds good new details in the dispute we reported Tuesday between Times managing editor Doug Frantz and West magazine staff writer Mark Arax. After Frantz killed a story by Arax claiming that he had a bias conflict as an Armenian American, Arax emailed some in the newsroom:

Colleagues, You should know that I had a Page One story killed this week by Doug Frantz. His stated rationale for killing the piece had nothing to do with any problems with the story itself. In an email to me, he cited no bias, no factual errors, no contextual mishaps, no glaring holes....

Because his logic is so illogical, questions must be raised about Frantz’ own objectivity, his past statements to colleagues that he personally opposes an Armenian genocide resolution and his friendship with Turkish government officials, including the consul general in Los Angeles who’s quoted in my story. Frantz is heavily involved and invested in defending the policies of Turkey.

Frantz lived in Istanbul for the Times and the New York Times for several years just before coming to L.A. in 2005 to be managing editor for his close friend Dean Baquet. What happens now that the fight is out in the open, and Baquet is gone, is hard to predict. Arax's assignment at West is ending — the magazine's staff of anointed lead writers is being disbanded as part of a downsizing of West's ambition — and he could have trouble finding a landing spot within the paper during this era of buyouts and layoffs. There's also speculation about Frantz. He doesn't seem to have gotten strong backing in this episode from editor Jim O'Shea, who inherited Baquet's number two. Then there's the question of why Frantz is moderating a panel in Istanbul next month that includes a speaker that Armenians consider a "notorious genocide denialist." The LA Weekly story talks about previous Armenian community complaints about Frantz.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent LAT stories on LA Observed:
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
Why the LA Times' new theater column needs a new name
Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back
Memo: New LA Times publisher drops web widget
Warren Olney leaving KCRW's radio lineup
LA Times purge 'capped a month of newsroom turmoil'
As the L.A. Times turns ...


LA Observed on Twitter