Monday, April 24, 2006

Remarkably inaccurate NYT article on Hiltzik

"I've begun thinking of the MSM as 'news for people who aren't really paying attention.' " --
Comment on the Web site of Patterico (aka Patrick Frey) regarding Michael Hiltzik's use of sock puppets (Internet aliases a dishonest person creates to back him up in Internet forums ).

Speaking as a card-carryiing MSM member: Ouch!

More than a grain of truth to that comment, I'm afraid, considering the near-total failure of the MSM (mainstream media) to accurately report what Hiltzik did.

The comment was in response to a post by Patterico over yet another article that fails to spell out the exact nature of Hiltzik's offense: Posting under aliases as well as his own name to back up arguments and attack critics. This creates the illusion for those deceived that Hiltzik had more support than he actually did.

The combination is critical. The aliases are like a ventriloquist's dummy or a sock puppet, giving the illusion of independence yet actually controlled by someone else. Except in the case of ventriloquism, everyone knows it's an act. Hiltzik tried to fool people.

The closest the New York Times article came to spelling it out is this sentence:

"Michael A. Hiltzik, 53, a business columnist and a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the paper, acknowledged using the names Mikekoshi and Nofanofcablecos not only in posts to his own blog, but on other Web sites as well."

Patterico, aka prosecutor Patrick Frey, was also incorrectly described in the NYT article:

"Along those lines: I haven't mentioned this until now, but now that it's in the freaking New York Times: I am a Deputy District Attorney. You hear that? Deputy! Every single article that has come out on this, including the NYT piece, has called me an "assistant Los Angeles district attorney." That's gotta come as news to the actual Assistant District Attorneys in our office. There are only three of them, and they are among the five top-ranking supervisors in the entire office of 900+ attorneys."

Even worse, writes Patterico:

"By the way: no. None of these news organizations has ever called me in connection with this story. The only person I ever heard from was Hugh Hewitt's producer."

The New York Times article doesn't even quote from Patterico's blog, although it does quote from Hiltzik's column and blog.

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