Patterico's Pontifications

4/24/2006

AP Calls . . . Once

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 5:21 pm



I noted this morning that nobody from any Big Media outlet had called me regarding the Hiltzik story. That has changed. This morning I received a message from an AP reporter whose name sounded like “Bob Javelin.” The message came in about 9:00 a.m. I was already in court. I returned the call at 12:05 p.m., and was told he wasn’t in. By about 4:35 p.m., he hadn’t called me back, so I tried again, and was told that he had gone home for the day.

Okay, then.

But hey — at least he called!

18 Responses to “AP Calls . . . Once”

  1. I agree, Patterico. Calling a potential source (who broke a major news story) is a good first step. Kudos to Mr. Javelin. ‘Tis a reporter’s job, after all.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  2. He could beat the NYT simply by quoting from this blog.

    Bradley (e619fc)

  3. Maybe you are less interesting because you aren’t calling for him to be fired. It would fit the angry stereotype more if you were calling for his head.

    I do wonder how you are feeling about his article not running, Patterico. I know you didn’t want him to be forced out.

    MayBee (c5700f)

  4. Well, as I say, I don’t know what to make of it. But I’m not happy about it, because it seems to indicate that the editors think it’s a big deal, and may be intent on disciplining him further. And, as you have noted, I am firmly of the opinion that he should not be further disciplined.

    Indeed, by now, the embarrassment he has suffered already far exceeds any appropriate punishment, in my opinion. This was going to be one of my two major talking points to the AP guy (the other was that the media keeps mischaracterizing the offense).

    Patterico (156eed)

  5. As you know, several people think differently, Patterico, and I’m among them. I believe that (dishonesty in covering the story since it broke notwithstanding) we may be in the improbable position of the LA Times doing exactly the right thing.

    I believe Vermont Neighbor said it best:

    Yet the LAT continues in its rich tradition of spin control by trying to rephrase all this as silly blog pseudonyms, as opposed to what it really is: a paid reporter writing under false names to support his own viewpoints! It’s deceptive and misleading. It’s dishonest journalism.

    (emphasis mine)

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  6. The key point is: “a paid reporter writing under false names to support his own viewpoints!”

    That is a disciplinable offense. If you don’t feel he should be disciplined by the Times, frankly, you shouldn’t have brought it up.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  7. After the Moscow incident, most people would be mortified to cross the line again or even come near it.

    Like a repeat offender, an arrogant journalist may just wait it out. His affiliation with the Times indicates his style of thinking: above it all. He likely still embraces the first response he gave when all this started.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  8. If you don’t feel he should be disciplined by the Times, frankly, you shouldn’t have brought it up.

    Well, the genie is obviously out of the bottle. I thought it was worth posting to show what a weasel he is. Believe me, I wanted him to be badly embarrassed. But I wasn’t interested in costing him his job, so I am arguing against that.

    Part of what I don’t like is the (in my opinion) phony characterization of his offense by the editors of the paper. If anyone posting under a pseudonym can be punished, that covers a lot of people. How far are they going to take this? Are they truly interested in hunting down “Masha”? (I doubt it — nor should they be.) Can freelancers be banned from making contributions to the paper if they have posted anonymous comments on a blog? Ridiculous. At a certain point the whole thing looks absurd.

    Patterico (156eed)

  9. If you don’t feel he should be disciplined by the Times, frankly, you shouldn’t have brought it up.

    Chris- I agree with a lot of your comments, but this is unfair to Patterico. I don’t agree with it at all. I will say that if it was a disciplinable offense, Hiltzek shouldn’t have done it. It was his responsibility to know how it would affect him, not Patterico’s.

    MayBee (c5700f)

  10. Yeah, he’ll write, “Patterico could not be reached for comment”. Or something close.

    “the other was that the media keeps mischaracterizing the offense”. You know, for a lawyer and prosecutor … . There’s no crime without law. Pseudonimity is against the rules at LAT. Sockpuppetry is not — at least not in writing. So what would the other MSM accuse him of? His employer’s substantiated accusation of pseudonimity (violation of the employer’s rules using your evidence) or sockpuppetry (still with your evidence) but no violation of a written rule against sockpuppetry. Also, journalists need a “hook” for their stories. Pseudonimity is ready-made for them. Sockpuppetry is something they have to sell. So they pick pseudonimity.

    Wanna bet against Mr. Hiltzik looking for a new job within this week?

    nk (32c481)

  11. Don’t misunderstand me, Patterico. I’m glad you brought it up precisely because I believe it was serious unethical behaviour in a journalist who has a history of it within his organization (the Moscow password stealing /employee email reading scandal for the three people who haven’t heard of it yet).

    Since your focus is, quite rightly, bias in the LA Times, I’m sure you see this as wrong, but it probably doesn’t bother you as much as it does his employer.

    These incidents, even discounting what most of us agree are his intellectually dishonest arguments, are or should be serious to his employer.

    It points to a pattern and it’s plainly a violation of journalistic ethics on its face. You can argue that the LA Times is a biased “Dog Trainer” and that’s the worse sin. Well, that may convince me or other conservatives, but it’s unlikely to sway the Times’ editors and management. What may sway them, I feel, are the standards of honest reporting in so far as not making up complete personalities in support of writing made under the LAT banner.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  12. And MayBee, I appreciate your thoughts. I will just say that as you’ll read above, that’s not how I mean it.

    I don’t imply for a second that Patterico did anything wrong — Hiltzik did. Simply stated, I agree with you lock, stock, and barrel.

    I do strongly feel though, as do many others’, that Mr. Hiltzik’s actions were more serious than Patterico believes they were. And if the LAT thinks that way too, since they have a larger vested interest in Mr. Hiltzik’s work and are more in jeapordy of the results of Mr. Hiltzik’s past, present, and potential future misbehavior, then they may judge him more harshly than Patterico would like.

    So while Patterico isn’t responsible for Mr. Hiltzik’s actions, and I’m certain he knows this, it was not unforseeable that the LA Times may take a dim view.

    It’s to Patterico’s credit that he exposed dishonest reporting at the Times.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  13. “It’s to Patterico’s credit that he exposed dishonest reporting at the Times.” >>

    Seriously, why wait for calls to come in. This is your baby. Get Mark Levin’s agent and find out who handles guests. Don’t ya wanna be on TV?

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  14. Patterico, you asked [rhetorically]:

    “Are they truly interested in hunting down “Masha”? (I doubt it — nor should they be.) Can freelancers be banned from making contributions to the paper if they have posted anonymous comments on a blog?”

    I feel that they should hunt down Masha if they feel it’s damaged their reputation and the effort is worth it. That’s doubtful. They may just want to send memos around advising employees not to use their IT resources while at work to post personal comments. However, if Masha Hamilton believes this may damage her reputation (which is far from certain, but if she draws that conclusion) then in fairness to her and to avoid liability they should investigate it. I would have thought that as a lawyer that’s a no-brainer.

    And freelancers shouldn’t be banned from posting views on blogs, but that’s a red herring. He didn’t just post anonymously using sock-puppets to advance his viewpoints on any blogs… he did it on the LA Times Golden State blog.

    Yes, freelancers who do this:

    “a paid reporter writing under false names to support his own viewpoints! [using the company’s brand name and computer resources]”

    … can be banned from making contributions to the newspaper.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  15. Thanks, Chris. I understand now.

    MayBee (c5700f)

  16. Chris,

    I think you’re onto something with the letter versus spirit angle on why LAT and the rest of the MSM is holding to pseudonimity as the crime. It’s easier. We indeed see this all the time in legal cases too. And corp personnel departments do it often rather than wrestle with things like intent/motive.

    Of course, if the intent/motive WERE to play into the story on their end, it would be even less pretty so we still have room to suspect that damage control is part of the motive of LAT and MSM also.

    And damage control would explain his being journalistically disappeared (if that’s what’s happening with his missed column).

    I think Patterico’s worry (*tongue in cheek*) is that he’ll lose his favorite punching bag at the Dog Trainer.

    Relax, Pat. I’m sure you’ll find a dozen more that haven’t quite risen to the same level. He was just the highest weed in that field full of them.

    Dan S (4f3e88)

  17. Dan’s post makes you think about what’s next. The arrogance at the LAT is such that getting rid of one offender may be symbolic, if important. After Rathergate, I figured Mary Mapes would be embraced by some section of the media. But apparently she wrote her book and promoted it and that’s about it.

    If MHiltzik is released, will he find new employment? Blogs have done enough to ensure that the earliest offenders are getting tagged.

    Actually, after journalism they could probably teach at a university and enjoy a blog-free environment! (/joke)

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  18. […] Kurtz isn’t the only mainstream media reporter to cover the story, either. Articles have appeared in 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. […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Radio Alert: Patterico To Discuss Hiltzik on “Hoist The Black Flag” (3ca10e)


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