I’ve got an update coming with background, but most of you know already who the players are here and why it’s a must-listen. Tune in to Rightalk at 4:05 EST, when Patterico will be Ace‘s and Jeff‘s guest on their weekly talk show, “Hoist the Black Flag.” If you can’t listen at 4:05, no worries: the program repeats at five minutes after the hour all day long.

For those of you who don’t know what this is all about, stay tuned to this post for an update.

UPDATE: As promised, some background. Michael Hiltzik is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times. He also runs the paper’s weblog, Golden State, which is currently on hiatus. More on that in a minute.

Patterico is a blogger based in L.A. who specializes in exposing the Times’s factual errors and leftist bias. He’s tangled with Hiltzik off and on since the Golden State blog began. Read this and this for a taste of how a Pulitzerian responds to his critics.

Last Thursday, Patterico dropped this on Hiltzik and the blogosphere. I won’t recap it; read it in its entirety. If you don’t know what a “sock puppet” is (the Internet version, I mean), Wikipedia will explain.

Hiltzik responded to Patterico’s accusations with this excruciatingly lame effort on the Golden State blog, in which he tried to duck questions about his dishonest use of pseudonyms by focusing instead on the propriety of using pseudonyms generally. A few hours later, the Times suspended the blog. Hiltzik’s regular business column didn’t appear in the paper yesterday, either.

Journalist/blogger Cathy Seipp alleges that the paper is currently investigating the rest of Hiltzik’s work for possible instances of dishonesty. What’s more, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post wrote a column about the episode (actually, two columns) reminding readers that Hiltzik’s been busted for Internet dishonesty before — having gotten caught hacking into his colleagues’ e-mail accounts when he worked in the Times’s Moscow bureau in 1993. Why did he do it? From the Kurtz column: “‘His answer was that he was nosy and curious,’ says Carey Goldberg, a former colleague in the Moscow bureau who now works for the Boston Globe. ‘We were extremely upset. It was an incredible invasion of privacy. There were a lot of personal e-mails in there.'”

Kurtz isn’t the only mainstream reporter to cover the story. Articles have appeared from Reuters, the AP, and the New York Times. The L.A. Times has kept largely mum about it except for columnist Tim Rutten, to whom Patterico responded here. And yet, despite all the coverage, not only have most media accounts continued to misrepresent why Hiltzik’s actions were objectionable, but only one reporter has even attempted to contact Patterico about the story. Fancy that.

Patterico has said more than once since the story broke that Hiltzik shouldn’t be fired, that suspending his blog is sufficient. For what it’s worth, I agree. See here and here for reasons why.

And now you’re ready to listen to Hoist the Black Flag. Again, the show re-airs five minutes after every hour for the rest of the day.

Before I conclude, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that, thus far, practically no one on the left is defending Hiltzik’s actions. And as for those who are, let’s just say that their credibility is somewhat tainted.