Monday, March 07, 2005

So here's how I score the flyweight bout Estrich vs. Kinsley (scoring in italics):

When Kinsley joined the L.A. Times last year, replacing a woman, Estrich started pressing her old Harvard Law "friend" to run more pieces by women -- including her syndicated column -- over dinner and through a series of letters. "ONE LAST CHANCE BEFORE I GO PUBLIC," she warned in early February.

-2 for Estrich -- self-promotion. Have you read her column? It's crap.

What really pressed Estrich's buttons was a Feb. 13 Times opinion piece by Charlotte Allen of the conservative International Women's Forum [sic] headlined "Feminist Fatale: Where are the great women thinkers? Thinking so much about women has shrunk their minds." Estrich, who teaches law at the University of Southern California and wrote the book "Sex and Power," called Allen "a feminist-hater I have never heard of."

-3 Kinsley -- running a pig-ignorant column from an IWFer

-1 Estrich -- U.S.C.

When the correspondence leaked to Washington's new Examiner newspaper, Kinsley, a former editor of Slate and the New Republic, told the paper: "I think it may be possible to be a woman even if Susan Estrich has never heard of you. . . . If Susan wants to boycott media institutions that don't adequately reflect her progressive feminist values, maybe she should start by resigning from Fox News, where she is a commentator."

-2 Estrich -- Faux Democrat; faux feminist

-1 Kinsley -- The New Republic

But the rhetoric started escalating even before the leak. On Feb. 14, Estrich told Kinsley she was surprised at his "rudeness" and "blatant hostility" in not getting back to her. On Feb. 15, Estrich wrote that "for a smart guy, you seem to have a real Larry Summers problem," referring to the Harvard president who questioned whether women are less adept at math and science.

-1 Estrich -- egomania

Kinsley, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, wrote Estrich on Feb. 17 that her "mischaracterizations" of his position were "farcical" and her supposed concern for his health, expressed in one letter, was "disgusting." Her response: "You are being a bigger fool than I thought. . . . You are digging a grave for yourself. . . . People are beginning to think that your illness may have affected your brain, your judgment and your ability to do this job." She copied Internet gossip Matt Drudge on a similar letter.

-3 Estrich -- Rush Limbaugh style attack on Parkinson's sufferer.

-10 Estrich -- Associating with Drudge, whose feminist cred lies somewhere between that of Dick Dasen, Snr. and the BTK killer.

That same day, Estrich sent Kinsley a letter signed by dozens of other women, and said if it didn't run she would launch a Web site,, the next day. Kinsley wrote back: "We don't run letters from 50 people, and we don't succumb to blackmail." He said she could submit her own letter in two or three weeks. Instead, Estrich told women in a mass mailing to urge advertisers to complain about the paucity of female columnists.

-1 Estrich -- lame website idea

On Feb. 18, Times Editor John Carroll wrote Estrich to complain about "the extravagant malice of your comments about Mike Kinsley." Estrich responded by accusing him of "constitutionally impermissible libel" and said her attorney would contact him.

-3 Estrich -- frivolous threat of litigation

Kinsley says in an interview that "she is the one firing rockets" and he has sent few e-mails. "There should be more women" on op-ed pages, he says, and he is adding more, including Time's Margaret Carlson. But, he says, "this counting is a little silly. We've already gotten into Talmudic discussions about whether a co-byline counts as one or two. . . . If you're looking for women, blacks, Latinos, people from Southern California, it's a familiar argument that this discriminates against white males. The unfamiliar argument is that every time you add a category, it hurts the other categories, even the ones you're trying to help."

-10 Kinsley -- paying lip service to the idea of women writers on the op-ed page, but what has he really done since joining the Times?

-8 Kinsley -- Margret Carlson? Really, Mike? What the hell are you thinking? Does the L.A. Times really need a talentless Beltway hack spouting Republican C.W.? Your reputation is for deflating flatulent thinkers, not hiring them.

Estrich says that she never intended for the correspondence to become public and that "it's not personal" against Kinsley: "This isn't about egos. My only concern is that the L.A. Times opinion pages, unfortunately like too many in this country, are dominated by men, and I'd like to see that change." Saying that there aren't enough good female opinion writers is, she says, "a self-fulfilling prophecy."

-2 Estrich -- When someone says it's not about her ego...
Final score: Estrich, negative 25. Kinsley, negative 22.

Estrich advances to the next round, where she takes on the bitter diminutive Republican, Mickey Kaus.

No comments: