Friday, January 06, 2006

Hiltzik v. Patterico ...

... and pretty much everyone else in range.

I spent a goodly portion of my surfing today reading of the amateurish blog rants by Michael Hiltzik about Patterico's Year End Review of the LA Times in 2005 and Patterico's responses here and here. Tom Maguire had some good comment, too. Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

I have to say Kathleen Parker's column came to mind several times during my reading and it helped me understand Kathleen Parker's perspective a little better. I'll be a smidge more reluctant to think less of Parker if she rants like that again but it would certainly help her perspective if she spent more time at Patterico's blog and a little less time at Hiltzik's blog.

Finally, to take Maguire up on his suggestion, my favorite quote from Hiltzik's rant was this one (taken from Patterico's post, emphasis his):

"Patrick Frey's end-of-the-year gloss on the L.A. Times's ostensible sins of bias, cited in my post yesterday, goes on for many screens; I assume that the members of his personal choir have been devoting close scrutiny to the indictment. Uncritical readers, wishing to have their ignorant preconceptions reinforced without straining a brain cell, are no doubt gobbling it up. Those seeking serious commentary and analysis on the role and performance of the press will more likely abandon it in mid-course, on the principle that life is too short to waste on such flapdoodle."
This is just nasty belittlement primarily of Patterico's regular readers who appreciate his sharp eye for error and incisive argument in pointing them out. But based on Heltzik's trigger happy, shotgun style rhetoric, I infer Hiltzik meant to cover anyone who stops by Patterico's site and doesn't damn him for some reason, any reason, in the comments section.

So, I wonder if Hiltzik harbors this same opinion of the uncritical readers of the LA Times. I wonder if deep down Hiltzik feels that the Times' readers are ignorant, too, but in a good way -- they buy the paper, gobble up whatever is printed and he gets his regular paycheck. I wonder if he even thinks that of those readers that send snail-mail or e-mail to him praising him for his analytical acumen, candor or breadth of knowledge.

If you have the level of contempt for your opponents in debate as Hiltzik appears to harbor safely until stung, it's not unreasonable to think he has a similar opinion of the lackeys and head-nodders that gobble up his every word. I wonder if those are the adjectives that dance though his head or whether he has different pet names for them. I wonder if he laughingly whispers "grima's" as he types an especially poignant sentence at his work desk or grumbles "damn those frey's" when he has to work extra hard to fix his copy.

In any event, I don't think I could read Hiltzik again -- whether I agreed or disagreed with him, I'd always have this feeling he think's I'm a just a piece of shit.


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