Media Blog reader Kevin C. pointed us to this post by Patrick Frey of Patterico’s Pontifications. In it, Frey alleges that L.A. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik used the pseudonym “Mikekoshi” to defend himself in the comments section of Patterico’s blog — in the third person:
The simplest way to prove it is through a simple Google search for Hiltzik and Mikekoshi. Among the top results are links to what appears to be an Internet mailing list having something to do with sumo wrestling. The first link is a page with a message responding to a message from Hiltzik. From here you can scroll backward in time to the original message, which bears Hiltzik’s full name, his title as a Los Angeles Times Financial Staff Writer, his work e-mail address, telephone number, and fax.
The message is signed “Mikekoshi.”
Hiltzik responds, and essentially admits, to these allegations <a href="http://goldenstateblog.latimes.com/goldenstate/2006/04/anonymity_on_th.html“>here:
Patrick Frey seems to think that pseudonymous posting is deceptive, though he can’t articulate why that should be, given the abundance of pseudonyms and anonymity on his own blog starting with the name on the banner.
But this is not merely a case of pseudonymous or anonymous posting. While the secretive nature of pseudonymous writing does not always entail deception — some people may legitimately need to hide their identity for reasons of safety or security — this is obviously not the motivation in this case. Hiltzik has used his fake identity to interact with and defend his real identity, intentionally creating a situation that is misleading to readers. While we may never know Hiltzik’s exact reasons, we can certainly hazard some educated guesses as to why he defended himself pseudonymously: to create the illusion of supporters, to protect his pride, or perhaps to defend his own ideas without appearing self-absorbed.
Whatever the precise reasons, an upfront apology and explanation would have been better than what Hiltzik has so far given: a stubborn refusal to admit any guilt, along with some blatant ad hominem attacks lobbed at Frey.