Patterico's Pontifications

5/1/2006

Baquet: Hiltzik Could No Longer Write Credibly About Duplicity

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 6:58 am

Kevin Roderick has an interesting post about Hiltzik:

Michael Hiltzik came up, of course, during my interview of Los Angeles Times Editor Dean Baquet on Sunday at the Times Festival of Books. He beat me to the punch, alluding to the controversy as soon as the discussion turned to the paper’s online struggles. The bottom line is that Baquet called Hiltzik’s undoing a professional tragedy, but said he knew immediately that—regardless of what the blogosphere thought—Hiltzik’s use of pseudonyms to post favorable comments about himself and disparage his critics violated Times ethics. Baquet said he wasn’t certain sure how to punish Hiltzik until he read about Ken Lay’s trial last week and thought how the Enron saga would make great fodder for a business columnist. He realized then, Baquet said, that his business columnist—Hiltzik—could no longer write credibly about duplicity in the business world. There’s no place, he said, for dishonesty under the Times banner.

I’m not sure very many people in the audience other than the dozen or so Times staffers and a handful of bloggers (Cathy Seipp posed the first question from the audience, about the Hiltzik affair) had the slightest clue what we were talking about. Here’s a link to Friday’s news that Hiltzik’s column and blog were discontinued. For what it’s worth, almost every Times staffer and journalist I talked to about it this weekend thought Hiltzik was lucky to keep his job.

Go to Kevin’s post for the links and more Hiltzik reaction.

5 Responses to “Baquet: Hiltzik Could No Longer Write Credibly About Duplicity”

  1. Patterico:

    And that, in a nutshell, is why I personally disagree with your take on the proper LA Times response to Hiltzik’s actions.

    If a paper is supposed to trade on its credibility, Hiltzik spent his.

    Put it differently: If it turned out that a reporter (for any paper) was lying about their professional qualifications, would that not be grounds for termination, even if it didn’t directly affect his stories? If a reporter, frex, claimed to have gone to MIT, and in fact had not, or even had gone to Middlesex Institute for Technology, once found out, clearly that would erode any confidence in what that person wrote.

    I think Hiltzik’s actions were more along those lines (i.e,. blatant misrepresentation of himself) that undercut any confidence I should have in the person’s credibility.

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  2. Will Baquet ever publish that explanation in the Times for the benefit of his own subscribers?

    Bradley J. Fikes (0c73f4)

  3. I very much agree with Post #1.

    As a fan of the Times Sports section, I’m distressed with Hiltzik’s rumored new assignment in “sports investigations.” My take is posted at my blog:

    http://laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com/2006/05/just-what-la-times-sports-section.html

    Best wishes,
    Laura

    Laura (d8da01)

  4. He realized then, Baquet said, that his business columnist—Hiltzik—could no longer write credibly about duplicity in the business world.

    Why not? It would seem to me that he researched the subject personally! :)

    Dana (dd8e7e)


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