Patterico's Pontifications

4/21/2006

On Commenter Masha, Commenting from . . . You’ll Never Guess!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 8:45 pm



This is rich. Commenter “Masha” says (all emphasis mine):

The LA Times presents far more news, far more fairly, and with far more use to the public than anything this blog ever has published. I never see anything on your blog about, say, what happened at my last city council meeting, or school board meeting. You never report in any useful fashion on local crime, or state legislation. You say nothing useful or intelligent about economic policy. You add nothing to the debate about social policy. You could be serving a public purpose, but instead you focus on narrowing my choices of information by trying to persuade me that people like you should be trusted to inform me. Please. (And this, by the way, goes double for Hugh Hewitt et al). If it were up to you, I’d know nothing but your idiotic propaganda. You’re all worse than Pravda. Hiltzik, Schmiltzik. All this incident shows is that blogging tempts people to overstatement and dishonest behavior. At least The Times chooses to do something about it. Not like you.

The bloggers made him do it!

Read that comment again, with its ringing praise of the L.A. Times, and its silly caricature of bloggers as “worse than Pravda,” spewing “idiotic propaganda.” Doesn’t it sound just like something that someone from the L.A. Times would say?

And the punchline is, as you have no doubt already guessed: it is.

The comment was posted from IP address 144.142.21.5, which comes back to The Tribune Company, The Times‘s parent company. More specifically, it is an L.A. Times IP address, one that is “registered to lye1.latimes.com and is shared by multiple users.”

(You did realize I could check that — didn’t you, Masha? Have you paid no attention to this scandal at all?)

What Masha has done here is to defend the L.A. Times without telling us that she works for the L.A. Times. That’s a little weaselly, Masha. But that’s okay: most of the commenters suspected you were a Times person anyway.

Let’s hear more from Masha, because she is just so dang entertaining (the emphasis is once again mine):

Hiltzik’s ideas are smart and well put and useful to the public, whether or not you agree with him. His work in the column is vetted by editors. He shouldn’t have dummied up phony reader comments on his own work, but most bloggers do it and he fell prey to that trap. So the LAT’s decision is easy: Take away the blog (which nobody but Hugh Hewitt and Patterico read anyway), keep the column (which is read by lots of people), run only letters that have been verified as being from readers (which I think they do anyway). Yes, it’s true that all a journalist has is his reputation, and now Hiltzik’s is now tarnished. A little. But only because he tried to play by two sets of rules — yours and the LAT’s. There are mortal sins and venial sins. Say what you will about the guy, he doesn’t concoct the information in his columns. Which is more than I can say for most bloggers.

I am especially amused by the assertion that “most bloggers” have dummied up phony reader comments on their own work — and that poor Michael Hiltzik simply “fell prey to that trap.” I’m convinced! Why, all the bloggers go around using sock puppets! How could he have possibly avoided it?

Then there is the assertion that “they” verify that letters are from readers. Doesn’t it seem a little odd that a person commenting from the L.A. Times would use the term “they”? Yes, I know: if “Masha” is not an op-ed page editor, then the term “they” is technically correct. But when people talk about the practices of their own organization, they usually say “we” — unless they’re trying to hide the fact that they work for the organization.

Again: weaselly.

I enjoyed reading the various replies to “Masha,” but enjoyed Xrlq’s best of all:

Translation:

I’m an idiot who has never read this blog before, yet who nevertheless fancies myself as qualified to comment on it.

Why did the commenters suspect you were from The Times, Masha? I suspect it’s because, with the disappearance of Mikekoshi and Nofanofcablecos, nobody seems to be rising to Hiltzik’s defense — except you. I have yet to see a lefty blogger come to his defense. Lefty blog Shakespeare’s Sister, in a post titled “LA Times blogger suspended for being a douchebag,” says this:

Patterico says this shouldn’t be a firing offense, but I disagree; this wasn’t just some random personal blog of some dude in Nowheresville—it was the employer-sponsored blog of a professional journalist, whose credibility is now zero, which doesn’t just affect him, but his employer and their reputation. Frankly, he should have been shitcanned after he was busted snooping into his colleagues’ email back in 1993.

And in comments at Cathy Seipp’s site, Tim McGarry, who has scarcely a nice thing to say about me, says this:

My overall view of Patrick Frey is negative. I see him as an extreme partisan who cares little about journalism. In this instance, however, he deserves only praise. He was right to disclose his discovery and was completely on target in pointing out why Michael’s deception mattered. Whatever else one can say about him, Patrick’s a very intelligent and determined individual.

Show me the people defending Hiltzik.

I think the only people left who think I’m the bad guy in this scenario are working at The Los Angeles Times — folks like Hiltzik and Masha. And you know what? I doubt any of them are going to say so, but I bet you that even at The Times, Hiltzik and Masha are in the minority on that question.

I don’t think everybody at The Times is like Hiltzik, who once compared me to a Stalinist; or Masha, who says bloggers like me are “worse than Pravda” — or “Biff” (remember him?), the Tribune Company guy who, in January, said this:

Patrick Frey? a deputy district attorney? commenting on the LA Times? and people care what you think because….????

Apparently people care now, Biff. And that includes some of your Los Angeles colleagues down at The Times, not all of whom are high-handed folks like you, Hiltzik, and “Masha.”

UPDATE: It turns out that Masha is not a first-time commenter. She called me and the Power Line bloggers “fascists” in December. More details here.

52 Responses to “On Commenter Masha, Commenting from . . . You’ll Never Guess!”

  1. I’d come to Hiltzik’s defense but I’m afraid that the satire would be too much for me to handle. You won’t find anyone but those that are either friends or collegues of his that would touch him with a 10 foot pole now.

    People don’t like to be deceived except by magicians and I don’t think Mike’s been touring with David Copperfield.

    SeanS (49487a)

  2. This just gets better and better. You should start giving odds on which LAT staffer will be next to make a total jackass of themselves.

    Twenty bucks on Joel Stein!

    Allahpundit (4ba106)

  3. I read about this Hiltzik dust up and decided to leave a few comments about it myself on the Times website.

    One was under the “Editor’s” Comments regarding the suspension (?!?) of Mr. Hiltzik. The second was under the last post dated yesterday. Both were scathing remarks, though very clean, and posted this afternoon around 3:00pm, as HH was talking about it and mentioned Mr. Patterico, er Frey, and being a fan of his, I check it out for myself.

    I just checked the Times site (9:06pm) and wouldn’t you know it; NEITHER of my comments have been posted.

    Hmmmmmm……

    Excellent work, Mr. Frey. Keep it up.

    Michael Blankenship (84404b)

  4. Since the blog is suspended, I don’t think they’re taking any comments.

    Patterico (156eed)

  5. Whoa! A brief comment search reminds me that Masha is not a new commenter! I sense a new post coming . . .

    Patterico (156eed)

  6. Give us a hint, Patterico! Masha’s really Dean Baquet, isn’t s/he? AND S/HE’S HAVING MICHAEL HILTZIK’S BABY!

    Allahpundit (4ba106)

  7. You guessed it, Allahpunditkoshi.

    Patterico (156eed)

  8. Holy crap – you can’t make this stuff up. Well, I guess you can, now. Heh.

    John from WuzzaDem (dfd3ae)

  9. This is just too much! It’s like the Stephen Colbert show where he keeps showing up to “inteview” Democrats and they keep falling for it. I posted it on my blog as a courtesy. “Hey lefties! Let your representatives know that Colbert isn’t a real journalist!”

    It’s like these guys don’t live in the real world or know how TV or computers work.

    Wait….This explains so much.

    Rightwingsparkle (934a68)

  10. Okay, the new post is up. Let me introduce you to Masha.

    Patterico (156eed)

  11. “Interesting. It turns out that “Masha,” who posted a couple of comments today from an L.A. Times computer, is not a new commenter. She posted some comments in December accusing me and the Power Line guys of being “fascists.” Now that we know she’s associated with the Los Angeles Times, let’s take a little trip down memory lane, and revisit some of Masha’s old comments.”

    You might want to inform Scott Johnson over at Powerline on the specific IP addresses. Perhaps this sock-puppeteering goes even further…

    John Ekdahl (1fe18c)

  12. Give Yourself A Big Pat On The Back

    Just don’t get caught. You’re the man! No, you’re the man! That’s gonna leave a mark UPDATE: Pwn3d! UPDATE II: You leave him alone!

    WuzzaDem (72c8fd)

  13. Oh, man. This is too good.

    CraigC (28872d)

  14. This story just keeps getting better. Next thing you know you’re going to get a threatening call collect. No wait, that’s what’s happened to me.

    On a more serious note, I think you are right about them being in the minority at the Times. I would expect that the majority of people there are thoroughly embarrassed by the actions of Hiltzik–especially his conduct following being called out.

    insider (1fbbf1)

  15. From the LA Times ethics policy:

    In general, we identify ourselves as staff members when covering news events. There are some instances when offering such identification is impossible, impractical or counterproductive, but in no case should a staff member lie about his or her affiliation with The Times. We should deal honorably with people and institutions we cover, just as we expect them to deal honorably with us.

    Not as cut and dry (since she’s not covering a story here, just defending the LA Times, on the clock, at her office, using LA Times IT resources, duing a controversy affecting the organization), but still VERY weaselly….

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  16. The only way this story could possibly get any better is if it turns out that Asinistra is really Robert Scheer.

    JVW (d667c9)

  17. […] A commenter called “Masha” left this nice message on Patterico’s blog today: If it were up to you, I’d know nothing but your idiotic propaganda. You’re all worse than Pravda. […]

    Independent Sources » Blog Archive » You won’t believe this: More Times Employees Leaving Moronic Anonymous Comments (dd41d6)

  18. Pat; before you assume my role again, would you please get me laundered? I’m starting to get a bit ripe.

    Alan Kellogg (0f28ba)

  19. I pretty much feel like #8 John from Wuzzadem above, “Holy crap – you can’t make this stuff up.”.

    I saw the headline on this post and couldn’t believe what I was about to read. I had to go have some coffee and spend some time with my dogs before reading it. Utterly amazing.

    “What Masha has done here is to defend the L.A. Times without telling us that she works for the L.A. Times. That’s a little weaselly, Masha.”

    Actually what Masha has done is precisely what the editors of the times describe as Hiltzig’s transgression, at least if Masha is a reporter or editor at the Times:

    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 guidelines, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public.

    “UPDATE: It turns out that Masha is not a first-time commenter. She called me and the Power Line bloggers “fascists” in December. More details here.”

    No. NOOOOOOO! This cannot be happening.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  20. Being in a hole, one might think its about time for the Times to stop digging…yet they keep flailing like a gopher on crack.

    Purple Avenger (22bdfb)

  21. Oh my. This one will go down in history.

    Gaius Arbo (76d7c1)

  22. […] Patterico has documented yet another sock puppet commenter from the Los Angeles Times. This time it is someone defending Hiltzik, using an IP from inside the LA Times! […]

    Blue Crab Boulevard » Blog Archive » The Gift That Keeps On Giving (a177fd)

  23. FLASH! Another exclusive photo from inside the LA Times Newsroom. Damn we’re good.

    Gaius Arbo (42d160)

  24. Oops. Link is in #22.

    Gaius Arbo (42d160)

  25. Great story.
    This brings up the opportunity that frey has,
    being: sockpuppet.com

    Bumpersticker of the day:
    WWLCD
    What Would Lambchop Do?

    StainlessSteelRat (016e23)

  26. Fascinating journalism from a district attorney! Although I have not lived in Southern California for many years (living in Canada), I regularly read blogs for news down south. Now you have me reading about the paper I boycotted for years because of unproven liberal bias! Choice!

    CanadianAlly (ad4386)

  27. “Give us a hint, Patterico! Masha’s really Dean Baquet, isn’t s/he? AND S/HE’S HAVING MICHAEL HILTZIK’S BABY!”

    Actually this can’t be true because Tim McGarry is having his baby. Or would like to. The lyrical love note on Cathy Seipp’s blog went on for paragraphs.

    The interesting aspect about this story is that it may be another Hitler-Stalin nonagression treaty. The communists (No, Tim I’m not calling you a communist) did a 180 from calling for Hitler’s head to trying to obstruct the defense against the Nazis. Then, after the German invasion of the USSR, they did another 180 and demanded “A Second Front Now!”

    Watch who defends Hiltzik and write it down. The next time you wonder about their political affiliation, it may be useful.

    Mike K (529717)

  28. P.S. We have our own battles here in British Columbia with journalists who call people who disagree with them “fascists”. We just haven’t been lucky enough lately to have a journalist ignorant of IP addresses. Keep up the good work! Excellent propaganda, comrade! 🙂

    CanadianAlly (ad4386)

  29. Wow, this is like watching The Wizard of Oz and pulling back the curtain at the end. Inside, though, is the high school Young Socialists Club, furiously, impotently, pulling all the levers.

    Patricia (2cc180)

  30. “…flailing like a gopher on crack.”

    Great! …now can anyone tell me how to get a large mouthful of coffee out of a keyboard?

    Bumpersticker: “LAT – flailing like a gopher on crack.”

    daver (e37860)

  31. If you DID make this stuff up, no one would believe it. We’d all say, “Nah – after Hiltzik was exposed, no LAT staffer would be stupid enough to keep doing the same thing. At least, if they did, they would be smart enough to steer well clear of Hiltzik topics and LAT-related issues altogether.”

    We’d have only ourselves to blame, though, wouldn’t we? We already knew the propensity of LAT to employ and publish leftist ideologues and attempt to pass them off as “objective journalists.” Why would we expect such people to have any ethics – OR any common sense?

    Adjoran (28be46)

  32. […] I suspect the times will mete out some type of punishment for Hiltzik. And now Patterico has found another LA Times IP address commenting on his blog using two new pseudonymw (Masha, and Working Journalist). If it were up to you, I’d know nothing but your idiotic propaganda. You’re all worse than Pravda. Hiltzik, Schmiltzik. All this incident shows is that blogging tempts people to overstatement and dishonest behavior. At least The Times chooses to do something about it. Not like you. […]

    The Real Ugly American.com » Blog Archive » Slumber Party at the LA Times? (4e8dcb)

  33. Excuse me for being cynical but the only reason that Hiltzig and “Masha” are in the minority is they got caught. My guess is that the majority would be loudly cheering them on if not for that fact.

    Capitalist Infidel (b6f4f6)

  34. Perhaps Hiltzik should adopt a new anonymous commenter name: “Pinocchio”

    jack (b38812)

  35. LA Times Gets the “Award” — & Boy Do They Deserve It!

    I didn’t think that I would get to award another of these so soon, but it just can’t be helped. The Los Angeles Times and it’s columnists Michael Hiltzik and Tim Rutten, along with another Patterico outed comment poster from the Times IP address all…

    OKIE on the LAM - In LA (e2cef7)

  36. […] I have several posts below (here, here, and here) about an apparent L.A. Times journalist named “Masha” (aka “workingjournalist”) who has left comments calling me a fascist and otherwise spewing radical leftist propaganda. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » The Point of the Posts About Masha (421107)

  37. Masha squawks:

    I never see anything on your blog about, say, what happened at my last city council meeting, or school board meeting. You never report in any useful fashion on local crime, or state legislation…You could be serving a public purpose, but instead you focus on narrowing my choices of information by trying to persuade me that people like you should be trusted to inform me.

    Got that? The right to comment on the LAT is contingent on covering city council meetings etc.

    The Great Chickenhawk Meme is mutating!

    Alan Furman (a446a7)

  38. […] While we’re chronicling Journalists Who Act Like Bloggers, check out the LA Times Sock Puppet. 22. April 2006, 15:46 o’clock […]

    Vie de Malchance (58d64b)

  39. The LA times would have an IT record of the Masha posts. Maybe file a freedom of information act to them to get the info.

    jd (3af358)

  40. Newspapers religiously pursue other organizations who hide information from them. But when the chickens come home to roost?

    jd (3af358)

  41. I’m me own sock puppet.

    I post and then write other posts supporting my previous posts.

    Not quite as good as being me own grandpa.

    M. Simon (174140)

  42. I support what M. Simon in #42 says. He is very smart and totally understands the issues at hand.

    Send him money.

    M. Simon (174140)

  43. I can do better than that even. Prospective support.

    As in:

    I totally support what M. Simon in #42 is going to say. The guy is awesome and has a crystal ball.

    Send him more money.

    M. Simon (174140)

  44. I’ll put this as coldly as I can to those who care in Chicagoland:

    I do not think That Jack Brickhouse would approve of the behavior or the storylines being peddled from the Tribune Company. There’s a standard of optimismn and goodness that has disappeared.

    Orbit Rain (5abe2e)

  45. I can’t believe these stupid people are being paid to be journalists. Explains a lot though.
    I hope they keep it up.

    Rusty the Infidel (f9c22d)

  46. It all started with Rathergate. We’ve got the failing Air America, and far too visible flounderings all over the liberal machine. Oh, how days have changed since I found my father laughing hysterically the night of the Reagan landslide. It was a rare moment of triumph then, but they’re falling fast and free now.
    *rubbing hands together* I would not miss this for the world.

    mungagungadin (b6d23d)

  47. I’ve gotta hand it to you, Patterico, you’re a hell of a prosecutor. Thank goodness I’m practicing law in New York rather than L.A. If you were holding the jacket for some guy I was defending, my best advice would be “take whatever deal he offers you, because if you make him start digging before you know it you’ll be going down for the Jack-the-Ripper murders!”

    Of course such a charge might not be a stretch for these jokers at the LAT. Keep up the good work.

    lostingotham (47e18c)

  48. And isn’t there the slightest possibility that Hiltzik is Masha? He’s been stupid enough to go stealing his co-worker’s emails, then after having another 12 years’ worth of internet experience is too dense enough to not even consider that somebody would catch his sockpuppetry, and then even to deny its implications…

    Didn’t “masha” say you’re worse than PRAVDA?
    Didn’t Hiltzik work for the Times in MOSCOW?

    Fishy.

    Don (b6906b)

  49. You know, it just doesn’t get much funnier than this. They say it’s the coverup that gets you, if not the crime.

    CavalierX (e075ae)

  50. P.E.T.A. Begins New Spring Campaign: People for People

    Washington – (AP) With the swirl of recent world events, P.E.T.A have found themselves on the media sidelines …. Plus the LosAnglos/SUV Liberal Times are currently involved with their own re-organization and name change. Now calling themselves The Hi…

    Anechoic Room (04aa1a)

  51. […] And now you’re ready to listen to Hoist the Black Flag. Before I conclude, though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that, thus far, practically no one on the left is defending Hiltzik’s actions. And as for those who are, let’s just say that their credibility is somewhat less than stellar. […]

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


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