Howard Kurtz provides a summary of the dispute between Michael Kinsley and Susan Estrich over whether the Los Angeles Times editorial page, which Kinsley runs, includes enough material written women. Kinsley is an extremely clever liberal who almost always has something interesting to say. Estrich is just a liberal.
If Kurtz’s account is accurate, then Estrich has been trying to force her way onto the L.A. Times’ op-ed page by threatening Kinsley. Becoming ever more shrill as Kinsley declined to buckle under, she eventually claimed that Kinsley’s illness (he suffers from Parkinson’s) is affecting his brain, judgment and ability to do his job. Estrich also compared Kinsley to Harvard president Lawrence Summers, but the comparison is unfair. Unlike Summers, Kinsley is apparently capable of standing up to angry feminists.
For those who are counting, Kurtz says that about 20 percent of op-ed pieces in the L.A. Times during the first two months of this year were written by women. This exceeds the figure for the New York Times and the Washington Post.
I don’t know whether the prevalence of male op-ed pieces at major newspapers is due to a relative lack of potential female contributors or to the decisions of editors like Kinsley. Gail Collins, the first woman to run the New York Times editorial page, favors the former explanation:
The pool of available people doing opinion writing is still tilted toward men. There are probably fewer women, in the great cosmic scheme of things, who feel comfortable writing very straight opinion stuff, and they’re less comfortable hearing something on the news and batting something out.
In the blogosphere, where there are no editors, men constitute the vast majority of political bloggers with large audiences.
UPDATE: Matt Peterson of the Claremont Institute tells me that Susan Estrich started a blog but recently discontinued it (I guess that’s why I couldn’t find it when I checked to see if she was blogging). According to Peterson, this crude attempt to show bias at the L.A. Times can be found at the address of Estrich’s former blog. The Claremont Institute has been covering the Estrich/Kinsey controversy. See here, for example.