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It’s the morose delectation, stupid!

April 21, 2006

Update: Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers! My first big link… I’m blushing like a schoolgirl… I hope you look around and find something you like. Comments are much appreciated!


When considering the misfortunes of others, especially those who so richly deserve it, it is important for the Christian to have the correct attitude. As Fr. Neuhaus once wrote "There is a thin line between Schadenfreude, which I take to be measured satisfaction in the discomfiture of opponents, and the sin of morose delectation." Or as Jack Handy thought deeply "It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man".

So I have just one thing say: Michael Hiltzik is sooo good lookin’!

Who is Mr. Hiltzik you ask? He happens to be Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the LA Times! What do you mean you don’t read the times? I don’t either anymore- haven’t for years. I only know him because Hugh Hewitt interviewed him last December, and his  reluctance to reveal his vote in the 2004 Presidential election struck me as so painfully obtuse it was comical. Why the charade? It was as if someone with a split personality was being interviewed- Michael Hilzik the journalist and Michael Hitzik the free citizen. He so clearly wanted to be viewed only as journalist devoid of opinions, especially political ones, and not a person whose occupation was that of journalist. He tried to pawn off this ridiculous stance as being too complicated for Hugh’s conservative audience to handle (inside I bet he was screaming "YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!"), but now the truth seems to be… well pretty much what Hugh was accusing him of: hiding his bias.

Patterico found the goods:

Since at least 2004, Hiltzik has left comments on the Internet under an invented pseudonym, at times explicitly pretending to be someone other than Michael Hiltzik. Actually, as we shall see below, the evidence is overwhelming that he has used more than one pseudonym. Hiltzik and his pseudonymous selves have echoed each other’s arguments, praised one another, and mocked each other’s enemies. All the while, Hiltzik’s readers have been unaware that (at a minimum) the acid-tongued “Mikekoshi,” who pops up from time to time at Hiltzik’s favorite blogs (including his own) defending Hiltzik and his newspaper, is in fact Hiltzik himself.

It’s just too rich for words! Please read all of Patterico’s exposé, then treat yourself to Hiltzik’s response "On Anonymity in Blogland", including his mendacious defense of his tactic of posting at Patterico’s blog, then alerting his own readers that Patterico was "getting his head handed to him" which was significant because "that’s a conservative blog".

Why would a person go to such great lengths to conceal their opinions, and then deny it? Consider this exchange from Hewitt’s interview:

HH: Okay. You think it’s trivial, but I think if you’d voted for every Democrat, and say you voted for Barbara Boxer three times, and Dianne Feinstein three times, that your readers would know that you’re a partisan Democrat. But that by refusing to answer that, you’re trying to conceal that in fact, you might be a partisan Democrat.

MH: My readers know exactly what I think about the issues of the day. And what I don’t write about, they can probably intuit from what I do write. They can tell…I don’t hide anything. If you’ve read my…

HH: You’re hiding things right now.

MH: No, no. The last thing I do is conceal what I think about what I’m writing about.

Yet by assuming a pseudonym, and then commenting about himself and his work, he did just that!


The Times has responded by shutting down Hizlk’s blog. Seems Hiltzik’s behavior was in violation of the LAT ethics code.

The response from the brown-shirt blog crowd?

Ace of Spades:

Patterico deserves credit for showing up a dishonest tool for what he is, but no one on the right is going to claim that he beat Goliath to death with the jawbone of an ass.


That code of ethics is a joke. I bet there’s hardly a reporter or columnist at the L.A. Times who has always lived up to it.

I think it’s enough that he’s embarrassed. He doesn’t need to be fired, or even disciplined, in my view. I think the suspension of the blog, perhaps even only temporarily, is punishment enough.

I had hoped all along that he might simply learn a lesson from this. Perhaps naively, I continue to hold out the hope that he will express genuine contrition, show that he understands why this was a problem, and simply pledge not to do it again. I think if he does that, the paper should let it go.

Armed Liberal at Winds of Change:

I’m human enough to want to crow, but mature enough not to, to be a bit concerned that the damage to Hiltzik’s career will be more serious than would be justified by this, and to be very concerned that the Times will use this as an excuse to step away from the baby steps toward interactivity that it has taken in the last year or so.

As to Hiltzik, I’m not sure what to say, so I’ll say little. He’s at best been ungracious, we disagree about policy pretty significantly, and most important, he’s tone-deaf. From the reviews of his books, he’s a good writer and a smart guy, and I genuinely hope that he’s smart enough to absorb the lesson and come out the other side a better person and a better journalist.

And Hugh says "Give him back his blog and give up the absurd pretensions."

Have a good laugh, a drink, and maybe see a therapist if you are so truly ashamed of your real views.

Joe Klein was recently interviewed by Hewitt and it went something like this:

HH: But first, Joe, let’s get you centered on the political map for the listeners. You are an old style liberal. You admit it…have you ever voted for a Republican for president?

JK: Came close a couple of times, but I haven’t.

HH: No. So you’re…it’s Kerry, Gore, twice for Clinton, once for Carter, all the way back, right?

JK: Yeah.

It’s really quite painless!

Now let’s check the score: Hewitt attacks Rob Reiner, Hitzilch defends him. Reiner resigns. Hewitt questions Hitzilch, Hiltzich defends, blog shut down. Hewitt and Co. then appeal for Hitzilch’s blog to be reinstated… why it must be double-super-secret-reverse phychology! They’re so afraid of the mighty Mike… going away, they demand he must come back! After all, without his bitter lefty tirades, they’d all be out of business with nothing to laugh about. Because ultimately, it really is all about Mr. Hiltzik THE BIGGEST STORY OF OUR TIMES.

(Not that it matters, but I stole the title of this post from here.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ucerg Divad permalink
    April 21, 2006 1:13 am

    Great post dude! And I’m a liberal! My world view has been changed forever by your witty, insightful prose. I’m going to tell the world about Strange Monkey Doll!!!

  2. April 24, 2006 3:24 pm

    Hey SMD, Ucerg, or whatever your name is, how can we ever trust any comment again?

  3. April 25, 2006 9:54 pm

    Ucerg, you witty little gremlin, you!
    Keep that Grecu in his place.


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