Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 20, 2006
POLITICS: And I Agree With Myself!
Patterico catches his nemesis, LA Times writer and blogger Michael Hiltzik, posting comments under a pseudonym - even on Hiltzik's own blog! And better yet, Hiltzik cited the pseudonym's comments as if they were independent support for his position in a battle with another commenter at his site. You have to read the whole thing to get the full effect (even better if you've followed Patterico's lengthy and acrimonious feud with Hiltzik). Chalk this up as further proof that any time a journalist gets in an argument with a practicing lawyer, bet on the lawyer.
UPDATE: Hiltzik responds, essentially admitting the charge but - rather than apologize for deceiving readers through the use of multiple online identities who interacted with each other - setting up a straw man (that the issue is about pseudonyms generally) and ranting generally about Patterico (no such attack would be complete without calling Patterico a racist, and Hiltzik manages to work that hoary canard into his rant). Really, I'm starting to wonder if Patterico is actually Hiltzik - this guy is just too pitch-perfect a weaselly, sneering, blinkered, high-handed caricature of a big media liberal to be for real.
SECOND UPDATE: Hiltzik's blog is down now, but there was an announcement earlier that the blog was being suspended pending an LA Times investigation:
The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik's Golden State blog on latimes.com. Hiltzik admitted Thursday that he posted items on the paper's website, and on other websites, under names other than his own. That is a violation of The Times ethics policy, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public. The policy applies to both the print and online editions of the newspaper. The Times is investigating the postings.
Wow. Even Dan Rather didn't go down this fast. I didn't and don't think this was a firing offense, but I can understand why they suspended the blog. The Real Ugly American explains that the problem was Hiltzik's failure to observe the rules of the medium he chose:
What is bad form, and cowardly, and has resulted in lots of people being run off of websites, blogs, message boards, video game communities, etc in shame and ridicule is using multiple names in an attempt to hide your already anonymous self to make a particularly offensive comment, or create phony allies for your arguments.