Patterico's Pontifications


Nofanofrepublicans Gives Readers the “Business”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 1:12 am

Hey, look! It’s another “business” column by Michael Hiltzik that is actually a political rant against conservatives!

Whaddya know!


Hiltzik “Business” Column Plenty Political

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 7:06 am

We’ve always known that Michael Hiltzik, the sock-puppeting “business” columnist, has ambitions to be a purely political pundit. Let’s take a look at a couple of passages from his recent “business” columns.

January 22, 2009:

It’s proper to recognize that “experience” isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s merely a smoke screen for the hidebound, burned out or lazy.

Nor is it a substitute for judgment and intelligence. Just the other day we inaugurated a president who repelled attacks on his supposed “inexperience” by displaying intellectual depth and a singular maturity of purpose. The defeated ticket, by contrast, was led by a superannuated politician who seemed to have forgotten all the lessons of a lengthy public career and a running mate whose “administrative experience” cloaked a worldview so shallow it would drown in a wading pool.

That one had something to do with experience and business.

January 12, 2009:

No. 1 on the perp walk hit parade of 1987, for instance, was the arrest of three Wall Street traders allegedly involved in the big insider trading scandal of the moment. As news cameras rolled, one was led tearfully from his trading floor and handcuffed by agents of Rudolph Giuliani, then the federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

The charges against all three were dropped four months later. Who was the net beneficiary of this stunt? Only Giuliani, who gained a political platform that enabled him to infest our national politics for the next 20 years.

See, he’s talking about Wall Street there, so it’s “business.”

He’ll be back taking potshots at Hewitt and me and all the other right-wing bogeymen before you know it. It’s not personal. It’s strictly “business.”


Jamie Gold (Apparently Prompted by Patterico Readers) Did Explain Why Hiltzik Is Considered “Redeemed” by the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 10:57 pm

From the “Things I Missed While on Vacation” File: L.A. Times Readers’ Rep Jamie Gold eventually did publish some critical comments about Michael Hiltzik’s return to column writing. (She did so only after I published a post noting the lack of critical comments; note that Marc Danziger’s comment, cited in that post, was never approved.) Gold apparently wrote editor Russ Stanton to get his take on why Hiltzik should get his column back. Gold writes:

The essence of the response from editors: Hiltzik has redeemed himself.

Russ Stanton, now editor of The Times, was Business editor when Hiltzik’s popular column for the Business section was discontinued. As the editor’s note published at the time said, Hiltzik had been found to be violating The Times’ ethics guidelines by using pseudonyms to post comments on the Web that dealt with his column and other issues involving the newspaper.

Readers were also told in the 2006 editor’s note, “Mike did not commit any ethical violations in his newspaper column, and an internal inquiry found no inaccurate reporting in his postings in his blog or on the Web.”

Hm. An external inquiry has. Try this, as one example. But then, external inquiries tend to be a bit more vigorous than L.A. Times internal inquiries. Back to Gold:

Since his column was pulled in 2006, writes Stanton, Hiltzik “has been an invaluable asset to the paper. He has earned the right to return as a columnist.” In those two years, more than 35 news articles written by Hiltzik have been published on the front page. Stanton says editors believe that what readers can learn from Hiltzik the columnist will be as trustworthy as what he’s delivered in his news reports.

So, you know, rest easy.

Thanks to a reader.

P.S. As with my last post, I think this warrants inclusion in my recent Year in Review, which I will be updating.


Readers’ Representative Blog Not Publishing Comments Saying Why Hiltzik Lost His Column?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 9:02 pm

I told you Friday night that noted sock puppet Michael Hiltzik is getting his business column back. In her blog entry titled Michael Hiltzik to return to writing Business column, the Readers’ Representative makes no mention why Hiltzik lost his column in 2006 and took a little vacation to Sports and elsewhere. (In fairness, she is quoting an internal memo by an editor who also fails to mention it.)

So my pal Marc “Armed Liberal” Danziger left the following comment on the entry:

It’s somehow perfect timing that a dishonest reporter is brought back to cover business at a time when dishonesty is so much a part of the story.

Look, I’d kind of like the LA Times to survive; when will it become apparent to the powers-that-be there that what you are selling me is credible information.

And reporters like Hiltzik – who have shown that they have a – broad – set of values about candor and honesty don’t help convince people like me that the apples in your produce stand don’t have worms in them.

Oh – and were you not going to mention why?


No, they were not. Nor does it seem likely that they are going to post Marc’s comment. He left it Friday evening. It’s been 48 hours now, and there’s still not a single comment on the item.

Oh well. Maybe nobody approves comments on the weekends. We’ll take a look at it tomorrow.

Marc has more here.

In the meantime, leave a comment of your own, if you feel so inclined. Go here to express your thoughts.


Hiltzik-Bashing from Mary K.

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 1:47 pm

On his L.A. Times-sponsored blog, Michael Hiltzik once described Mary Katharine Ham as “a twentysomething Georgia grad who received postgraduate training in vacuous sarcasm from the Heritage Foundation.” Hiltzik added, for good measure:

I don’t know if Ham grew up as a trust fund baby in North Carolina, but if not, she’s sure learned to talk the talk.

Mary K. is engaging in a little delayed schadenfreude today. I mean, “realism.”

UPDATE: Spelling of Mary K.’s middle name corrected. Thanks to jeff.


Still Nothing from Baquet — But We’ll Be Working on the Transcript

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 12:14 am

Dean Baquet was back in the office as of Tuesday. So yesterday (Thursday) I sent him a friendly note asking again whether he’ll allow me to print his reason for declining to let me interview him about the paper’s disclosure of the Swift bank monitoring counterterror program:

Mr. Baquet,

According to your out-of-office reply, you should be back in the office.

I realize it’s always busy when one returns from vacation. Still, could you respond to my request that I be allowed to quote your e-mail explaining why you won’t be interviewed?

I’m told by many people who would know that you probably expected it to be quotable, without my having to ask your permisison. But I think the polite thing for me to do is to ask, since I didn’t make it clear that I intended to print any reply.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

I have the feeling that I’m talking to a brick wall, but you never know. We’ll give him a few more days before we conclude that he is simply refusing to reply. If he never responds, I won’t publish it. But if it happens that way, it will be a disappointment and, I think, an example of cheating members of the public out of something they have a right to know.

In the meantime, I’ll work on transcribing portions of Luke Ford’s tape recording of Baquet’s interview regarding the Hiltzik matter and “pushback.” (Some of you may have missed the fact that there is a recording; it was a late update to the “pushback” post.)

I am especially interested in the parts where he claims that what happened to Hiltzik was in part a result of the paper’s failure to “push back” effectively (!). That is an odd statement that I hadn’t noticed in Luke’s description. Also, he believes that part of the reason for the paper’s declining circulation is “cheap criticism” of the paper. (And he sounds plenty angry when he says it, too!)

This could be the real reason he won’t let me interview him after all: maybe he thinks my blog is an example of the “cheap criticism” that is costing him readers — and that cost him a business columnist. (He didn’t say any of this; I’m speculating here.)

If that’s what he thinks, I disagree. I think my criticism is well-founded and fair — not “cheap.” Maybe he agrees; maybe not. But I wish I could ask him myself, and get him to answer.

Anyway, these are just teasers. There is a lot more to discuss from Luke’s recording. But it will be a more focused discussion with a transcript. So stay tuned.


Hiltzik Makes Wikipedia “Sock Puppet” Entry

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 9:04 pm

Michael Hiltzik earns a mention in the Wikipedia entry for “sock puppet”:

“Sock Puppet” is also an internet/weblog term for an anonymous alias duplicitously used in the comment section by someone who is better known by another name. For example, L.A. Times Columnist Michael Hiltzik came under fire in April 2006 when it was revealed that he was anonymously posting under the “sock puppet” name of “Mikekoshi”, and possibly “Nofanofcablecos”, to attack those critical of his writings.[2] He did this both on the blogs of his critics, and even on his own blog in response to hostile commenters.

I quote it here for posterity’s sake, because Wikipedia fame is fleeting: here today, gone today (one second later).



Hiltzik is Back in the LAT

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 9:37 am

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.


Reporter Fired for Posting Anonymous Comments on the Internet

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik — Patterico @ 6:09 am

Allah sends the link to this story about a reporter fired for posting anonymous comments on the Internet:

A daily newspaper fired its courthouse reporter after he posted anonymous opinions on the public forum portion of the publication’s Web site, including comments critical of his own employer, the reporter said.

[Name redacted] said he was fired last month from the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, where he had worked for more than six years. He declined to discuss the content of his postings.

Editor Ray Shaw confirmed that [name redacted] no longer worked at the newspaper but declined to comment further on a personnel matter.

Wow. Maybe Hiltzik did get off easy.

UPDATE 5/23/14: I have redacted the name of the person who was fired.


Yamashiro, Hiltzik, Etc.

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Hiltzik,Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:44 am

I got to hang out with the media types again on Friday night at the Yamashiro restaurant.

I sat next to Chief Bratton, but didn’t talk to him much. He looked a little like he wanted to be somewhere else. His wife was wonderfully friendly and interesting.

I rather monopolized Jill Stewart’s time — but if you could, wouldn’t you?

I also said hi to Mickey Kaus, Cathy Seipp, and Bob Sipchen, whom I complimented for his excellent piece on education last week. (Today’s installment is good too. Also don’t miss Bob’s new education blog.)

I think that most of what people say at these events is presumed to be said in confidence. But I believe I’m at liberty to say this: that panel I told you about with Mickey Kaus, Bob Sipchen, Kevin Drum, and Michael Hiltzik? I had said that would have been interesting to see. But, it turns out, Hiltzik didn’t make it.

Speaking of Hiltzik, Steve and Cokie Roberts have a dismal piece about him. Not only do they downplay the sock-puppet angle (which they do mention, in passing), but they seem to think he was fired.

Not too Careful or Accurate. But that’s Big Media for you!

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