Patterico's Pontifications

4/21/2006

Hiltzik Story Hitting More Mainstream Press Outlets

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:46 pm

When I was talking to my friend Marc Danziger (aka “Armed Liberal”) about the post I was planning to do about Michael Hiltzik’s sock puppets, he told me it was going to hit the mainstream press. I told him I didn’t think so. I figured it would cause a nice little blogosphere ripple and die there.

Given Hiltzik’s flippant response to my post, he evidently thought the same thing I did: this will soon pass. But he and I were wrong, and Marc was right.

Following Howard Kurtz’s story in this morning’s Washington Post, the story has hit the Reuters and Associated Press news wires. Not surprisingly, the AP story is making its way into numerous publications.

The story is not going away.

Like Kurtz, the reporters who wrote these stories either didn’t know about Hiltzik’s 1990s e-mail snooping scandal, or didn’t consider it relevant (even as they found his Pulitzer prize worthy of mention).

The L.A. Times has not run a story yet, which is no surprise, given that they don’t really know what to say at this point. But the print edition of the paper ran this editors’ note (the same one that currently sits at the top of the now-suspended blog) in a small box on page A2, just above the corrections.

Cathy Seipp says that the paper is investigating Hiltzik’s past writings for evidence of dishonesty. I suppose they have to do that, but I wouldn’t read too much into it.

Hugh Hewitt’s producer called me today to ask if I could be on the show at 3:30 or so. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, due to my day job. Sorry, Hugh. I appreciate the invitation.

Hiltzik has apparently been told he cannot comment. But I’d like to think that he has privately told Times editors that he has learned from the experience. I have no evidence to support this hope, and plenty of evidence to indicate that he is not the type of person who easily admits guilt. This Slate piece by Michael Weiss sums up Hiltzik’s reaction better than the overly “objective” mainstream media reports do. Weiss says:

Defiant and unapologetic to the end, Hiltzik scorns his critics as making his liberal politics the issue, not the cloaked medium through which it was presented.

So it’s unlikely that Hiltzik will simply learn his lesson, admit guilt with contrition, and move on. But that is still my hope.

Many on this blog have said that I am going soft on Hiltzik by saying that I don’t think his actions warrant discipline — certainly not dismissal. I respect your opinions, but I continue to believe that embarrassment is a sufficient punishment. As I said this morning, I believe that far worse sins of intellectual dishonesty have been committed by many at the paper, on many occasions. For us to pretend that Hiltzik’s juvenile antics somehow sully the wonderful reputation of The Times for integrity and truth is to ignore the fact that, on many occasions, the paper’s editors have shown a disdain for the whole truth in their pursuit of an ideological agenda. This intellectual dishonesty has been far more detrimental to the dissemination of the truth to the public than Hiltzik’s silly Internet sock puppets.

I may try to further articulate my thoughts along these lines in coming posts.

18 Comments

  1. A sweet compassionate lawyer.

    That deserves to be in the news right there.

    I agree with you though. No one is perfect. We don’t have to draw blood every time we catch a leftie doing something wrong.

    Good Lord, it would be a bloodbath.

    Comment by Rightwingsparkle (934a68) — 4/21/2006 @ 6:12 pm

  2. That’s a nice conceit, Patterico, but hoping for the LA Times to see it your way is unrealistic. In their world where they’re all dedicated, credible journalists with unimpeachable integrity, they’ll want to do something about this.

    I don’t think he should be fired either. But the Times is going to have to do something about this, and I would predict a short suspension while the investigation proceeds. I expect he’ll be cleared and return to work afterwards. Curiously, what the Times does is far less important to me than what Hiltzik does.

    Comment by See Dubya (3689ec) — 4/21/2006 @ 6:12 pm

  3. Editors editorialize and often advance outlandish, unworkable, ridiculous ideas, with, to say the least, questionable biased arguments. It’s what they do.

    Reporters do not make up false identities agreeing with them while they work for a newspaper in violations of black and white rules that they agreed to.

    Not if they plan on working for that newspaper.

    Comment by Chris Dollis (5d90a2) — 4/21/2006 @ 6:15 pm

  4. FYI, Chris Dollis and “Chris from Victoria, BC” are the same person. I sign my full name on my own blog to distinguish myself from other Chris’s yet I use Victoria, BC to identify my country and place of residence when signing on other blogs.

    In both cases, by clicking the link by my name, a person can quickly realize that I’m the same person. My “autofill” browser feature had the “Chris Dollis” moniker in memory since I just left a comment on my blog.

    Comment by Chris Dollis (5d90a2) — 4/21/2006 @ 6:20 pm

  5. Many on this blog have said that I am going soft on Hiltzik by saying that I don’t think his actions warrant discipline — certainly not dismissal. I respect your opinions, but I continue to believe that embarrassment is a sufficient punishment.

    Agreed. FREE HILTZIK! NO BLOOD FOR SOCK PUPPETS.

    Comment by Allahpundit (4ba106) — 4/21/2006 @ 6:58 pm

  6. The question that should concern us, your readers, is “how are we going keep him on the farm blog now that he has seen Paris mainstream press outlets?” (Smile)[Where can I get one those little smiley faces, anyway?]

    Comment by nk (06f5d0) — 4/21/2006 @ 7:09 pm

  7. Hiltzik lied! Sock puppets died!

    Comment by Evil Pundit (1772ee) — 4/21/2006 @ 7:16 pm

  8. Good Lord. How long have I been doing this? I am krites.blogspot.com. I have absolutely no connection to krites.blogpsot.com (an actual site, apparently).

    Comment by nk (06f5d0) — 4/21/2006 @ 7:39 pm

  9. Since it is Hiltzik that maintains this is all about his politics, it doesn’t surprise me that he is behaving exactly the way liberals behave when caught with their hand in the cookie jar: blame the accusers. He would do well to show that the geniuses on the left also know how to do the right thing.

    I am not holding my breath.

    Comment by West Coast Minority (51c752) — 4/21/2006 @ 8:04 pm

  10. NK, this guy has been trying to trick people into heaven for a long time. Try krites.blogpot.com, too; betcha get the same result.

    Comment by Xrlq (1fd2ef) — 4/21/2006 @ 8:10 pm

  11. I don’t believe you’re going soft on him. You nailed his hoo hoo to the wall. I think you’re wrong.

    You’re looking at this as an opponent of the LA Times who wants to change their bias. They don’t wanna change their bias. They don’t have to. It’s a private enterprise.

    What one of their goals is is to protect their franchise economically as well as what they (perhaps not you, but they) will see as their integrity.

    The fact that having Hiltzik hanging around as your punching bag isn’t going to be a strong argument for them. For all the reasons that your commentators have laid out, often in more reasoned detail than you have offered, he should be disciplined.

    The nature of the discipline is up to the Times. It’s their paper and it’s their reputation.

    Comment by Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2) — 4/21/2006 @ 8:34 pm

  12. It has not been properly emphasized how courageous (or maybe ballsy is a better word) you were to click the “publish” button to post Three in One.

    It’s one thing to argue policy and opinion. It’s quite another to take on, in such a direct way, a question of fact touching on the ethics of an established figure in the liberal media. Yeah, you had the evidence lined up nicely, but in the event you had been wrong, you would have paid dearly with a loss of credibility–and maybe with a loss of your day job, too. If you had consulted a hundred lawyers, ninety-nine would have warned you not to publish!

    Contrast the courage of your lonely decision with the arrogance that permits a Hiltzik no doubt that his status as a minor star in the MSM firmament divinely empowers him him and his sock puppets to make stuff up as he goes they go along.

    Maybe Hiltzik doesn’t deserve to lose his job for his juvenile sock-puppet stunt. Not for that. But his subsequent response, such hubris in the face of the truth, disqualifies him from every position that would presume to make any claim upon the public trust.

    Comment by Bathus (c9d8ef) — 4/21/2006 @ 8:51 pm

  13. Well, my friend, looks like you are famous or possibly infamous, depending upon the point of view. The Google news page linked in your post includes lots of US MSM outlets and also Reuters India. Reuters Freakin’ India! The Reuters story is actually quite good with lots of details unlike the AP story which can’t even bring itself to admit Hiltzik was exposed by a blogger, let alone actually name the blog.

    Great work. One of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog is that you are good at framing and presenting an effective argument, a talent most journalists surprisingly lack. It’s no accident that so many of the top right-wing blogs are authored by lawyers that understand that particular skill. Glad you are on our side both in your blogging and through your work putting away the bad guys.

    Comment by Jeff C. (428193) — 4/21/2006 @ 11:03 pm

  14. From Reuters:

    The Los Angeles Times has suspended the blog of a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who posed as an Internet reader to defend his own column and attack his conservative foes.

    Accurate and brief. First sentence in the report. They don’t mislead with some nonsense about how its all about internet anonymity. The only salient point they missed is that it was done on the blog owned and operated by his employer, the LATimes.

    I’m impressed.

    The AP report is considerably more lame and does a poor job of explaining what happened IMO.

    Comment by Dwilkers (a1687a) — 4/22/2006 @ 3:52 am

  15. RWS-

    A sweet compassionate lawyer.

    That deserves to be in the news right there.

    No less than a prosecutor!

    Comment by Dwilkers (a1687a) — 4/22/2006 @ 3:53 am

  16. Does this mean that our esteemed host has gotten way to used to plea bargains?

    Comment by Dana (dd8e7e) — 4/22/2006 @ 1:36 pm

  17. [...] Kurtz isn’t the only mainstream reporter to cover the story. Articles have appeared from Reuters, the AP, and the New York Times. The L.A. Times has kept largely mum about it except for columnist Tim Rutten, to whom Patterico responded here. And yet, despite all the coverage, not only have most media accounts continued to misrepresent why Hiltzik’s actions were objectionable, but only one reporter has even attempted to contact Patterico about the story. Fancy that. [...]

    Pingback by Hot Air » Blog Archive » Radio Alert: Patterico To Discuss Hiltzik on “Hoist The Black Flag” (3ca10e) — 4/25/2006 @ 12:55 pm

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