Friday, April 28, 2006

Hiltzik loses blog and column

Click the hed -- Patterico has the scoop. He links to a post by Mack Reed of LA Voice that gets to the heart of the matter. Reed points out that the LA Times still has not seen fit to describe Hiltzik's offense, other to vaguely say his posting under a pseudonym was misrepresentation.

"But from a blogger's point of view, Hiltzik's sin wasn't posting under a pseudonym. Half the bloggers on the web do that, and some even make a living at it.

"No, he stumbled by manufacturing two of his greatest fans, posing as them on his own blog and others, and trying to mislead the public as to his own popularity - both the height of vanity and the depth of stupidity for a blogger. It was only a matter of time before someone exposed him. If you proclaim yourself a truth-teller and analyst of fact, you can't get away with lying for long in this venue."

The LA Times has consistently dodged this issue and issued in its editors' note what I can only call disinformation:

"Over the past few days, some analysts have used this episode to portray the Web as a new frontier for newspapers, saying that it raises fresh and compelling ethical questions. Times editors don’t see it that way. The Web makes it easier to conceal one’s identity, and the tone of exchanges is often harsh. But the Web doesn’t change the rules for Times journalists."

Here they go again: The old dodge of mischaracterizing an argument you don't want to answer. But refusing to discuss the issue won't make it go away. The Times' evasions fool no one, any more than did Hiltzik's.

This unwillingness to face reality sheds light on the Times' culture of self-deception, a culture that let Hiltzik think he could get away with deceiving others.

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