Patterico's Pontifications

5/3/2006

People Are Awfully Confused About That Thing We Didn’t Explain Very Well

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 7:00 am



I’m trying to wind down my posts about Michael Hiltzik. But I note that Cathy Seipp has also heard the rumor floated by Nikki Finke that Hiltzik will be reassigned to “sports investigations.” It’s still a rumor, of course, but I find rumors to be more credible coming from Cathy than from Finke.

One of Cathy’s commenters has this tongue-in-cheek speculation about Hiltzik’s first assignment.

In all seriousness, I wish Mr. Hiltzik good luck at his next assignment, whatever it is.

By the way, Cathy also notes (as did Kevin Roderick the other day) editor Baquet’s befuddlement that the crowd at the book fair didn’t seem to understand why Hiltzik had lost his column:

The Hiltzik affair may be a hot media story, but one that probably leaves average Times subscribers scratching their heads. “I think our readers representative said that maybe 20 people wrote in about Hiltzik,” Baquet said, adding that a lot of readers may be awfully confused by what happened to Hiltzik’s business section column, which was cancelled late Friday afternoon.

You mean readers don’t all read the little Editor’s Notes they publish in a small box on Page A2?

As commenter Bradley J. Fikes said in a comment at Cathy’s blog:

Going way out on a limb here, but that confusion just might be related to the Times’ nearly non-existent coverage of the issue.

Fikes has been saying that the paper ought to publish Baquet’s explanation for the reassignment, as explained to Roderick the other day: that he couldn’t have a business columnist unable to credibly write about duplicity. Perhaps they could publish some variant of this passage from an internal staff memo, which didn’t make it into the Editor’s Note about Hiltzik:

A columnist has a special place within The Times. Editors, colleagues and, most of all, readers must trust the integrity and judgment of a columnist because of the freedom that comes with the job. Mike often used his column to pillory business leaders for duplicity or violating the trust of employees, shareholders or the public and we are no longer comfortable granting him that special place within our newspaper.

Mr. Baquet, wouldn’t publishing this explanation be better than leaving your readers “awfully confused” about the reasons things are happening at your newspaper?

9 Responses to “People Are Awfully Confused About That Thing We Didn’t Explain Very Well”

  1. If the Times went on record as to exactly why Hiltzik’s column was dropped, it would become part of public record. If that were the case, Hiltzik would have a much harder time trying to spin revisionist history that it was all about his posting a comment on a blog under a pseudonym. I think that is the reason the paper has clammed up about it — they want Mikey to be able to confuse the issue years from now when everyone’s memory has faded.

    JVW (d667c9)

  2. So, he’ll be covering Barry Bonds now?

    Crank (3fed2a)

  3. Only used car dealers rank higher in integrity than the elite decision-makers at the Times.
    Control, deceive, manipulate… just another day at the editor’s desk.

    Vermont Neighbor (a9ae2c)

  4. Stop insulting used car dealers.

    Mike Myers (3a4363)

  5. Echo…echo…echo…

    Tom (eb6b88)

  6. Do you happen to know if Hiltzik has made any public comments since this all has happened? How about that event he was supposed to be at last week with Patt Morrison & Kevin Drum… did you ever hear anything about that?

    I’m SO curious!

    Susan (7fa117)

  7. Never heard a thing. I kept hoping that Doctor Demento (or whatver his name is) at L.A. Voice would blog it, but I never saw anything.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  8. Just possibly, Hiltzik and the LA Times brass are trying to keep a low profile on this matter (as if that were possible) because of more pressing concerns.

    Bradley J. Fikes (e619fc)

  9. […] The rumors were apparently true. Hiltzik’s first piece after his suspension is a sports-related investigation piece, about Elton Brand’s troubles as a movie producer. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Hiltzik is Back in the LAT (421107)


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