Well, not killed. “Grievously wounded,” maybe.

Suspended without pay, column cancelled, blog shut down. Over sock puppets.

If they’re going to go that far, why not just fire him? It smells like the Times recognizes his credibility is shot but doesn’t want to pull the trigger on a guy who won them a Pulitzer — and whose termination would be a regarded by some as a feather in the cap of the blogosphere in general and their bete noire in particular. So you end up with an odd compromise in which Hiltzik is publicly humiliated by the paper even while it reaffirms its association with him. And Patterico gets a scalp he doesn’t want. Bizarre.

I thought suspending his site was sufficient. Not because what he did wasn’t wrong, but because blogging is already too dangerous, as my boss knows only too well. If he’d plagiarized, defamed someone, or invented facts to support his stories, that’d be one thing. Being a wanker in need of an occasional comment-section security blanket is something else. Especially when you’ve already been caught and publicly disciplined by the Times’s own personal wanker police.

So: free Hiltzik. I guess. Now, let’s see what the Times does about a new blog.

Update: If you’re new to this story, there’s background here.