Carol Platt Liebau: Hiltzik's Journalistic "Standards"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hiltzik's Journalistic "Standards"

The inimitable Patterico points out that regrettable L.A. Times blogger Michael Hiltzik appears to be adopting pseudonyms to defend himself and attack others -- while being less than honest about his practice.

As Patterico notes, "This just isn’t the way that bloggers do things."

Is anyone surprised? Heretofore, it's seemed that Hiltzik's one M.O. is to lob nasty personal attacks at other bloggers with whom he disagrees, in hopes of eliciting a response which will, in turn, boost his traffic. (My personal favorite was when he called me "vacuous." To the extent that the term is most often applied to pretty blonde cheerleaders, I accepted the compliment with no small degree of amusement.)

But apparently Hiltzik stoops to other devices, as well.


Blogger The Ugly American said...

What many in the MSM fail to realize that what Hiltzik has done is nothing new on the internet.

Using multiple names in an attempt to hide your already anonymous self to make a particularly offensive comment, or create phony allies for your arguments is considered bad form, and cowardly, and has resulted in lots of people being run off of websites, blogs, message boards, video game communities, etc in shame and ridicule.

3:46 PM  
Blogger nk said...

Mr. Hiltzik dug his hole deeper with his response. There are a dozen better ways to have handled the expose than his lame "What's wrong with blogging anonymously?" (my phrasing, not his) ranging from, "So, what of it?" to "I'm sorry and I've stopped doing it".

4:30 PM  
Blogger Sven said...

I feel I must come to the defense of deceptive "sock puppet" pseudonymity, which has a long and distinguished history.

For Søren Kierkegaard, aka aka Johannes Climacus, aka Anti-Climacus, aka Johannes de Silentio, aka Hilarius Bookbinder, aka Vigilius Haufniensis, pseudonymity was a means to a justifiable end and always justified in the hands of the righteous. In The Point of View for My Work as an Author he explained his method of "indirect communication:"

"From the total point of view of my whole work as an author, the esthetic writing is a deception, and herein is the deeper significance of the pseudonymity. But a deception, that is indeed something rather ugly. To that I would answer: Do not be decceived by the word deception. One can deceive a person out of what is true and - to recall old Socrates - into what is true. Yes, in only this way can a deluded person actually be brought into what is true - by deceiving him.

"The one who is of another opinion thereby betrays that he is simply not much of a dialectician, which is precisely what is necessary in order to operate in this way. In other words there is a great difference, that is, the dialectical difference, or the difference of the dialectical, between two situations: one who is ignorant and must be given some knowledge, and therefore he is like the blank sheet of paper that must be written upon - and one who is under a delusion that must first be taken away."

Søren was also a masterfully subtle polemicist.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

As far as I am concerned the L.A.Times yanking Hiltzik's blog is the right move. He has no credibility hiding behind fake names.

In fact, I think NONE of us, if we wish to be taken seriously as a commentator, should hide behind kitschy screen names on our blogs.

I talk about this incident on my blog...
Publius' Forum

Warner Todd Huston

6:04 PM  

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