Baseball Crank
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.

I have seen it first hand many times. People who do this become the laughing stock of the community and their ruined reputation lives on in infamy years after they have been excommunicated.

In an anonymous community the only thing you have is your name. People learn to trust it, or suspect every claim made by certain individuals based on their posting history.

What Hiltzik appears to have done (he may yet deny he is guilty of this unpardonable interweb sin) has brought many an anonymous 16 year old to tears and shame. For a professional journalist to be caught red handed is an embarrassment to not only him but to his profession and his employer.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:21 AM | Politics 2006 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Leave Hilzik alone, he's a great writer and humanitarian.

~MikeKosho

Posted by: Roger Thistle at April 20, 2006 4:58 PM

That thread at Patterico is downright hilarious.

Posted by: Dwilkers at April 20, 2006 5:10 PM

You're right Dwilkers. I agree with you completely. You are a very smart person.

Posted by: ThisIsNotDwilkers-DontEvenThinkThat at April 20, 2006 5:11 PM

Did anyone else notice that "dwilkers" and "ThisIsNotDwilkers-DontEvenThinkThat" have the same e-mail address? Check their IP addresses, Crank. I think they may be the same person posting under two different names!Hmmmmm.....

Posted by: Al at April 20, 2006 7:10 PM

Hilarious. This is the sort of thing you'd think would have happened before, but apparently hasn't. Hard to believe.

Posted by: Matt at April 20, 2006 9:01 PM

Nice summation, Mr. Crank.

In a broader sense, Mr. H is typical of the Worst Media in History that Americans currently endure.

Not only firmly commited to giving out the incomplete picture, but standing in the deep background pulling strings.

You at least have to appreciate the LA Times for not allowing its credibility to be completely washed out to sea by suspending the blog; although as Patterico says, it would be a shame for the blog to disappear simply for the reason that its manager was corrupt. It was truly a way for the public to interact with the professional media, even though -- I repeat -- it's the Worst Media in History.

Posted by: Wouldn't Touch Dwilkers With a 10-foot Stick at April 21, 2006 8:59 AM
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