Patterico's Pontifications

4/28/2006

Tell L.A. Times Editors Whether You Think They Handled the Hiltzik Matter Properly

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Dog Trainer,General,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 11:03 pm

I mentioned this in my Hiltzik roundup below, but I think it’s worth highlighting.

At the “Opinion L.A.” blog at the L.A. Times, Matt Welch has done a post about the Hiltzik affair. He has provided background links that shed light on the matter, including a link to my original post on Hiltzik’s sock-puppet pseudonyms.

And the post allows comments.

You should respect that. And you should also take advantage of the opportunity.

No matter what your opinion may be about the Hiltzik affair — including what he did, and how the paper handled it — you can now express that opinion on an L.A. Times blog. I think you should. Let the editors know what you think. Go here and leave a comment.

P.S. Be civil. And save your comments. I want to see if any comments get blocked. (I doubt it, especially if Matt Welch has the final say as to whether comments are approved or not — but he might not.) If any comments do get blocked, I want to know what they said.

P.P.S. The policy on comments is that they prefer for commenters to use their real names. (I guess that lets out “Masha” and “workingjournalist” from participating!) Also, comments are indeed moderated, meaning that your comment posted after midnight will not go up immediately.

If you leave a comment there, let me know.

P.P.P.S. Most commenters are reporting that their comments are being published at the Times blog, usually instantly. It seems that — with the exception of one fringe leftist who commented both at the Times blog and my blog, leaving profanity all over his comment at my site — most of the discussion is civil, respectful, and substantive. That’s good to see.

50 Responses to “Tell L.A. Times Editors Whether You Think They Handled the Hiltzik Matter Properly”

  1. My comment looks like it’s up right away even though I did not use my Typekey account.

    nk (57e995)

  2. Go fuck yourself, you ignorant piece of shit.

    Why am I unsurprised that some halfwit goosestepper-wannabee who was probably chased home from school every day for being the kind of dweeb in desperate need of being kicked would find that the only job he could get was Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles – a sinkhole of incompetence one can see daily in the reports of how you numbskulls screw the pooch – the only way you win your cases is with coaching from the former persecutor who buttfucked enough politicians to become the judge.

    And I’m not using your bullshit “anonymity” here either.

    Do us all a favor and be the guest of honor at a single car fatality, you incompetent fuckwit.

    T.M. Cleaver (ac8f95)

  3. For crying out loud, delete #2, Patterico.

    nk (57e995)

  4. #2, Beaver: Take your medicine. It’s important. Take your medicine.

    nk (57e995)

  5. Patterico:

    I left a comment (after logging in via TypeKey), and it appeared right away, too. I don’t think Matt Welch is moderating comments, though I hope he’s monitoring them!

    By the way, you have a far more liberal comments policy than I; I would have deep-sixed comment #2 in two seconds… whether directed at me or at somebody like “T.M. Cleaver.”

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  6. I think he’s sleeping, Dafydd.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  7. leave #2 up, check out the ip and post the relevant info. If he’s proud of the comment he posted, he shouldn’t have a problem with the extra info being posted.

    Boss429 (c39aeb)

  8. As “four star ragegasms” go, this one’s pretty tepid, Pat. Nicely played on your part. Regardless of the Times’ discipline of Hiltzik, you’ve exposed the sort of dishonest guy he is and that’s the most important thing that’s happened here. And now, when many in your position would be whooping and hollering a victory cry, you’re not. Thanks for having a sharp eye and being a class act.

    Mr. Hiltzik, I hope you’re paying attention. You could use a strong role model.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  9. T.M. Cleaver’s blog is http://www.thatsanotherfinemess.com/

    I’m sure he’d love to have his graciousness reciprocated.

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  10. The psychology of someone that would post that comment #2 is fascinating to me.

    What is there about this post to inspire that? Did that person even read this post? Perhaps they are angry about something else Patterico posted, but what? Or is it perhaps about something else entirely? Does the poster think someone else already knows what he’s angry about – or is he/she even really angry at all, is that really just a prank by someone having a bad day?

    Is there some satisfaction derived from posting something like that and if so what exactly is the internal button that gets pushed?

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  11. Patrick – I have mixed feelings about this. I think I would prefer a public and genuine apology in his column and on his blog, and that the LA Times should keep publishing them as before. In the blogosphere, people make mistakes, they admit their mistakes, then keep on blogging. I respect that, and it makes the blogger seem more honest. The way the Times is doing this, it feels more like damage control than an acknowledgement of the error.

    In any case, congratulations for your good work (again).

    Regret (27245e)

  12. Judging from the comments left on Ward Cleaver’s blog in the past (none), I’m guessing there might be a little blog envy here.

    Either that, or this guy got Patterico’d in court.

    RightNumberOne (11dd90)

  13. And let me tell you, you DO NOT WANT to be Patterico’d.

    Ouch.

    RightNumberOne (11dd90)

  14. I posted over at LA Opinion and it came right up–no filter. I did look at T M Cleaver’s blog, and it would appear that his political leanings mirror the language in post #2 above. I’ll simply note that that sort of personal invective seems to be the preferred form of discourse over on the left. If you don’t have a very good argument, just shout louder.

    Mike Myers (3a4363)

  15. T.M. Cleaver,

    You say (among other things):

    Go f*ck yourself, you ignorant piece of sh*t.

    Why am I unsurprised that some halfwit goosestepper-wannabee who was probably chased home from school every day for being the kind of dweeb in desperate need of being kicked would find that the only job he could get was Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles – a sinkhole of incompetence one can see daily in the reports of how you numbskulls screw the pooch – the only way you win your cases is with coaching from the former persecutor who buttf*cked enough politicians to become the judge.

    Actually, Deputy D.A. is not the only job I could get. I was a clerk to a federal judge and an associate at the L.A. office of a large New York law firm before I decided to take a nearly six-digit pay cut to take a job serving the public and putting criminals away.

    When I accepted the Deputy D.A. position, I turned down offers from major law firms including O’Melveny and Myers and Irell and Manella.

    Just in the interest of factual accuracy. Because I know that concerns you.

    While I haven’t risen quite as high as you — a writer of soft-porn films with no writing credits for the past nine years — I am perfectly content with my career.

    I am sure it comes as no surprise to you that your comments are not welcome here. But I am leaving the one above, with the profanity lightly edited, as an example of the nastiness of many on the fringe left.

    Patterico (156eed)

  16. Basic rule #1: You take their money and you do what they tell you to do or you resign. You especially don’t tell everyone who reads your new gig that you work for the LA Times. I’d have shut him down in a micro-second or fired him.

    Howard Veit (28df94)

  17. Michael Hiltzik Watch: Golden State Column and Blog Discontinued for Ethics Violations – The Round-Up

    Patterico has an excellent round-up of the Hiltzik’s Los Angeles Tmes reassignment: Hiltzik Column Discontinued; He Won’t Be Fired
    and……
    Tell L.A. Times Editors Whether You Think They Handled the Hiltzik Matter Properly

    FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog (baa0b4)

  18. I tried twice to leave a comment but to no avail. I was “timed out” by the site after maybe two or three minutes. Oh well. What I would have said was something to the effect of the LAT throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This reminds me of the Jimmy The Greek, Al Campanis(sp?)situations where the punishment did not fit the crime. Also if they don’t trust Hiltzik with a column or blog, why as a reporter?

    btorrez (bbda7f)

  19. Flap commented over there just now and it was not moderated. TypeKey sign up was required but I have that already.

    Flap screwed up his link though – but what else is new.

    I don’t think that blog has much traffic.

    Flap

    Flap (e18e4d)

  20.         My comment was as follows:

            The Times did the right thing in suspending Hiltzik.

            Reporters should be honest.  I can see why Hiltzick might want to comment on various blogs without revealing that he is “Michael Hiltzik, Pulitzer Prize-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times.  Concealing your identity on-line isn’t necessarily dishonest.

            But to sign some posts on a given website with your own name, and others with psuedonyms, is dishonest.  You pretend to be more than one person, which you are not.  Hiltzik was wrong to do it.

            And the people here who criticize “Patterico,” and who try to make this an issue of ‘psuedonyms vs. real names,’ are also dishonest.

            They didn’t censor it so far.

    Stephen M. St. Onge (0a341f)

  21. Re:#16

    Come on Patterico, go easy on the Beaver. Like the guys at Powerline said about Maureen Dowd, fisking her wasn’t fun anymore because it was too easy. There just wasn’t any sport in it.

    TakeFive (22a4f7)

  22. My comment was:

    The LA Times had a choice of doing nothing about Hiltzik’s sock puppetry and openly acknowledging that liberal ideology is what matters most at the paper or disciplining him and pretending that ethics trumps ideology. The real problem at the Times is not the immature behavior of a single columnist but using its news columns to editorialize for liberal policies and candidates.

    I do not have a Typekey account. I used my own name and the comment appeared right away.

    Stu707 (18fdc8)

  23. Nicely done with regards to comment #2 Patick. Anyone reading it that has a shred of honesty towards themselves would recognize that if someone entered their house and became similarly verbally abusive would be told to leave and not return.

    Boss429 (c39aeb)

  24. Just to make it clear, I don’t believe you find nastiness like the above (comment #2) only on the fringe left. That’s where I see it from. But that makes sense because I am conservative, so the people getting angry, profane, and abusive at me are usually those on the fringe left. Doesn’t mean those on the fringe right can’t be equally nasty. I know for a fact that many can.

    Patterico (156eed)

  25. I just took a look at Potty-Mouth Cleaver’s website (thatsanotherfinemess). His commentary is very pedestrian, thus not original enough to encourage repeat viewing. And I noticed that on every one of his postings there are ZERO comments left. Maybe someone who knows this blogstuff can find his “hit” numbers. The only indication that he has any viewers at all is his own comment: “….to all those who emailed me….” That could be a shadow sock puppet in itself.
    I’ll bet you that he lives in his car.

    Bill Schumm (33ab73)

  26. Patrick, here’s the comment I posted. I should have known that Tom Cleaver would be over here foaming at the mouth. Having a bad weekend, Tom?

    I believe I recognize Tom Cleaver from a past dialogue I’ve had with him over on the Golden State blog, and it’s clear that he is still as fiercely flippant and condescending as ever.

    This is not about Patrick Frey, as much as some insist. One of the best attributes of the blogosphere is its ability to bring instances of dishonesty and/or selective fact-checking to the fore, and let the chips fall where they may. The “chips”, in this case, are the ethical rules of the LAT. If they carry are to carry any weight, they must be applied when put to the test.

    In the case of Mr. Hiltzik, it’s clear that the rules were tested, and the Times chose to honor those rules rather than rationalize the situation. Regardless of whether one agrees with the severity of the punishment, the Times should at least be applauded for taking the side of its own rules.

    Brian (f4849e)

  27. My latest comment didn’t go up (maybe because of the pseudonym. Cross posted at the latimes website:

    Re: Housecleaning

    Matt -Given the topic, it’s understandable why you would call for us to use our real names. But my reason for not doing so is perfectly exemplified by Tom Cleaver and his fellow travelers. Read the comments Mr. Cleaver left on Patterico’s site and you’ll see that we are dealing with someone that is ill. I don’t mean that as an insult, honestly.

    An example of this illness was detailed in a Washington Post article a couple weeks ago about a woman that runs a website called Talk Left, or My Left Foot, or something akin to that. Anyway, the woman is basically being consumed by Leftist anger. My opinion is that when these sorts of people finally admit how ineffectual they are in advancing their positions, they either suffer a mental breakdown or turn to more devious methods.

    Witness what happened to Michelle Malkin this past week. She re-posted a flyer on her website that a Santa Cruz anti-war group had handed out, and the Left went ballistic. They dug up anything they could find on Michelle, her husband, even her small children – and posted this on the Lefty forums. I think the implied threat was pretty clear.

    My policy, even when using a pseudonym, is to never write anything I will regret seeing attributed to me or would be embarrassed to have my family read. Or my employer. But when one side of the political spectrum will not, or cannot debate in good faith, I don’t find it reasonable to open myself or my family to potential threats just because I wish to join the discussion.

    TakeFive (710971)

  28. Sorry Matt & latimes – jumped the gun. earlier comment posted immediately. This one had a transport delay.

    TakeFive (710971)

  29. Comments require approval (company policy), and we currently don’t have people approving on weekends & in the wee hours, though we’ll hopefully keep this weekend covered as much as possible. We are asking — not requiring — people to use their real names, at this & all our other Opinion Section blogs (we also have a new one that deals w/ immigration), and will subject pseudonymous comments to a higher level of scrutiny. Also, for the moment, you can’t leave a URL in the text of your comment; nor can you use any formatting like blockquotes or even italics. I hope to fix the latter stuff ASAP, but we’ll see.

    Matt Welch (9ebe62)

  30. I would think, from a business point of view, if the circ numbers stay the same before and during his suspension, that they should save the salary.

    Perhaps they can donate his salary to Planned Parenthood in his mother’s name.

    Huey (81c03e)

  31. T.M. Cleaver? Never heard of him, but I’m guessing the initials stand for “Toilet Mouth.” He can’t possibly be any relation to Beaver with that sorry sort of vocabulary!

    And for what it’s worth, I for one thank God that there are people like Patrick Frey in the world, taking on the job of a Deputy D.A. We need a million more like him — and a million less T.M. Cleavers — in this world!

    Ann (cc9923)

  32. Well, Ann, you’re the first person I have ever seen wish for a million more lawyers.

    😉

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  33. I left the following at Matt’s Blog:

    Face it, you’re not going to see an acknowledgment of Hiltzik’s actual transgressions here. Bradley made the key point: if you want the facts, they aren’t available at the LAT. They pretend it’s about the use of screen names, but that’s pure smoke and mirrors. They’re being deliberately obtuse, with a little fancy footwork thrown in for cover.

    The issue is blindingly obvious: it’s sock puppetry. Oh, there are ambiguous weasel words aplenty, a virtual fig leaf, readily available to misdirect the debate. But that’s it, they simply refuse to engage on the issues. Nothing new here, so let’s move on.

    Black Jack (d8da01)

  34. Patterico on 6-29-06 at 6 a.m.

    What? Did I just miss my own birthday?

    Xrlq (576284)

  35. Comment left, just a couple of minutes ago; it’s in the moderation queue.

    Dana (a90377)

  36. I would ask that our esteemed host unban T M Cleaver. From my perspective, Mr Cleaver does his own side much more harm than good — especially since the good he does his side measures out at zero.

    Perhaps you could set your site to automatically dump him into the moderation queue, if you are concerned with his foul mouth.

    [Already done. — P]

    Dana (a90377)

  37. The Times must be expecting a lot on this subject; my comment has already been approved. Looks like they’ve got someone assigned to keep it going full-time, at least for now.

    Dana (a90377)

  38. I think that Patterico doesn’t mind when his leftist ideological opponents make emotional vulgar irrational even threatening comments that make their side look insane.

    It’s just like when a prosecutor is cross-examining a defendant at an assault trial and the well-dressed young thug gets mad at the questions and starts screaming at the top of his lungs and threatening the prosecutor and the cops while the bailiffs rush in… does he shout back or does he stand there looking reasonable and concerned and let the judge and jury take it all in?

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  39. Has the the Times even defined what is a pseudonym?

    The Google cache I found of the Times Code of Ethics on the ASNE’s Web site — the actual link wasn’t working — doesn’t do so.

    If someone commented using just his or her first name — let’s say “Mike” or even “Mike in Los Angeles” (or California), is that a pseudonym?

    Is a simply failure to disclose one’s employer (in a non-work-related discussion off hours), the same as concealment?

    I sent these questions to the Times blog, but they have not yet appeared.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  40. I don’t have any problem with what the LA Times did. As Patterico said it is their call.

    Patterico and others have claimed the problem was the sock puppetry not the anonymity. I don’t agree especially from the point of view of the LA Times. Many employers tolerate some internet usage (via their computers) which is not strictly part of an employee’s job. There are lots of ways employees can abuse this privilege of which sock puppetry is just one. It is reasonable for an employer to require all internet posting via their equipment be signed with the employee’s name as this will make it easier to monitor and will discourage abuse. Hiltsik posted anonymously (in violation of a company rule)because he didn’t want the LA Times to know what he was doing. This is sufficient reason for them to discipline him.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  41. You’re far less of a snob than I am, Patrick, re the enraged troll “T.M. Cleaver,” who probably just got more hits on his blog in one day than in its entire existence. I almost never respond to commenters I consider that far beneath me. (And that would include M. Hiltzik and his various aliases.) Occasionally I slip, and I usually regret it.

    Cathy Seipp (72a034)

  42. Very elitist of you, Cathy. It’s nice to see, just from a balance point of view, that so-called right-thinking Conservatives can be jerks too.

    Very sporting of you. Why confine rudeness, elitism, and disdain to the left?

    Well played… almost equitable. Don’t reply now: I am beneath you.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  43. I owe you an apology, Cathy. I misread your comment in haste. You said, “I almost never respond to commenters I consider that far beneath me,” which is rational and understated under the circumstances.

    I left out the word “far” and I thought you were stating that all (your) commentators are beneath you. I was mistaken.

    Good, now I can get back to enjoying your writing.

    [I *wondered* what that was all about . . . — P]

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  44. Interesting.

    A quick check of imbd shows that TM Cleaver has directed Chad Everett, James Brolin and Jan Michael-Vincent in adventure films rich with power and emotion. As one reviewer from Arizona wrote of his 1989 epic, Heroes Stand Alone:

    “Anyone who couldn’t make the cut to even be in the background of a McDonald’s commercial has been signed up to have speaking roles in this little flick.”

    While Cleaver defends Hiltzik for journalist bravery, he allows his plot to twist and swerve as a crack team of commandos are sent into enemy territory in South America to recover the black box from a crashed Air Force cargo plane. Viewers were shocked at the haunting images on screen:

    “Within the first five minutes, I was laughing so hard that my eyes were filling with tears. Of course, the problem is that ‘Heroes Stand Alone’ isn’t meant to be a comedy.”

    Don’t miss this video.

    Cleaver spares no expense in capturing the visual flavor of guerillas at the zoo:

    “An American spy plane crashes in the jungles of San Pedro, a fictional Central American country. The US government sends in a team to retrieve the black box. […] The sole special effect which the makers of this film could afford was pyrotechnics. That would be fine if there were such things as a plot or actual actors.”

    While reading Post #2 may have taken a certain amount of personal courage, rest assured the real work is not at the newspaper or at the DA’s office or even here at the computer screen. It’s in front of the TV set. Watching a TM Cleaver production. Will *YOU* survive 83 minutes?

    “The only thing heroic about this movie is you if you can sit through it all.” (1/10 stars)

    Full Review:
    http://imdb.com/title/tt0097501/#comment

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  45. There have also been comments to the effect that the real problem with the LA Times is liberal bias and that this somehow disqualifies them from enforcing other rules. I think these comments are wrongheaded for the following reasons.

    First I don’t think the existence of bigger problems means little problems should be ignored.

    Second I don’t expect news organizations to be unbiased. Any news organization filters the news, attempting to briefly present what is important for their readers to know. This means the contents of a newspaper will be biased towards things the editors think are important. If Patterico edited the LA Times the content would change but it would still be biased just in a different direction. As a reader I expect stuff to be left out and I can adjust for that. I do not expect stuff to be made up and what Hiltzik was doing was close to that.

    In my view the big problem with the LA Times is not bias, it is poor news judgement. An example is their omission of McCarthy’s political contributions. Even if you grant the daft notion that these contributions do not make it any more likely that she would leak damaging information about the administration, her contributions are still important because they make it more likely that she would be wrongfully accused or scapegoated.

    James B. Shearer (7b1498)

  46. #46 There have also been comments to the effect that the real problem with the LA Times is liberal bias and that this somehow disqualifies them from enforcing other rules. I think these comments are wrongheaded for the following reasons.

    James, I am one who thinks that the real problem with the Dog Trainer is liberal bias in its news columns. That does not mean the Times as an employer is disqualified from enforcing rules that are a condition of employment.

    Agreed that selecting a sample of the daily news for inclusion in that day’s edition necessarily reflects editorial bias. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of ideological diversity of the Times’staff.

    Agreed also that the poor news judgement is a major problem. I think that too, at least in part, is a function of liberal bias.

    Stu707 (18fdc8)

  47. Patterico,

    I think I’ve discovered another “Hiltzik” situation, but this time it’s happening at IMDB, and involves the rabid Mr. Cleaver (comment #2).

    The reviews of Beaver’s films include the following comments:

    Raiders of the Son is by far one of the worst movies ever made.

    MST3K is gone, sad to say. This would have been perfect fodder.

    DUNE WARRIORS is low on many things. The plot is very sluggish, and hardly discernable, except that there is not much water kicking around, and everybody wants it.

    Typical jack-in-the-box scares are not near enough to save so much unwanted dead time. Turkey (0 stars out of 5).

    This movie went above and beyond a stinker, it sucked!

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse piece of garbage in my life. I love B grade horror films, but this stinker takes it to a new low. Acting stinks. Script stinks. Effects stink.

    To be fair, there are a couple of positive reviews, but those of a certain “Eric Spudic” are a bit over the top:

    Why waste your time with filth like Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, or The Siege of Firebase Gloria? Well, I have to admit, too, that those are all great films, but they don’t live up to the excitement of Beyond the Call of Duty.

    Gosh! How come nobody in my town has seen this masterpiece? Probably ’cause it’s too hard to find. Either way, I have taped it off of HBO and love every minute of it.

    Something tells me that when Beaver’s not blogging and/or foaming at the mouth, he’s busy hyping his own movies at IMDB.

    John from WuzzaDem (dfd3ae)

  48. Who is Michel Thomas?

    William Carpenter (Hamilton)
    Del Mar, Ca

    william carpenter (b730bb)

  49. For those of you not familiar with the infamous Thomas McKelvey Cleaver, his outburst in post #2 is actually pretty tame. Cleaver has managed to enrage nearly everyone he has ever come in contact with. He blames his profane and disgusting outbursts on Asperger’s Syndrome. But in fact, he’s nothing but a vile, bitter, cynical old man that has never accomplished anything of any merit his entire life. His comments above are but a very brief glimpse into the mental illness that has completely taken over his life. In his eyes, he’s a victim of a conspiratorial society, steadfastly clinging to the fact all the bad things that have happened in his life (and there are MANY) are always someone else’s fault.

    Scott (97d046)


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