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Re: [SciFiNoir Lit] Off Topic: The New York Times/ Jayson Blair Scandal

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  • rogpower
    ... The link I gave was to the NY Times articles about the story. Since I ve already signed up I didn t realize it would send non-members to the sign-in/up
    Message 1 of 8 , May 13, 2003
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      --- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, Frofidemus@n... wrote:
      > The message did not come through.


      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      The link I gave was to the NY Times articles about the story. Since
      I've already signed up I didn't realize it would send non-members to
      the sign-in/up page.

      Just take a few minutes and sign up at the Times online. I feel it's
      worthwhile as and info source and it's free. If you really don't want
      to sign up there. The story is all over the place since other
      newspapers love it when "The Gray Lady" screws up. Just type in
      Jayson Blair in your search engine.

      The NY Times articles are the best because their really into some
      unprecedented self-flagalation over the scandal
    • rogpower
      . ... Hey Chris, I just wanted to address your last statement. I understand what you re
      Message 2 of 8 , May 13, 2003
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        <<This is easy to do when someone is under the gun, tired, lazy,
        etc.>.
        >
        > Chris hayden

        --------------------------------------------------------------

        Hey Chris, I just wanted to address your last statement. I understand
        what you're saying and maybe hoping but for me that's just not going
        to cut it. My boy put so much effort into the deception that if he
        would've put as much effort into doing things the right way he
        probably would have gotten a Pulitzer or something.

        I'm all for cutt'n a brother a brake but sometimes you just gotta say
        this ain't right!

        Here's a little of the NY Times self-expose on the scandal:


        May 11, 2003
        Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception

        staff reporter for The New York Times committed frequent acts of
        journalistic fraud while covering significant news events in recent
        months, an investigation by Times journalists has found. The
        widespread fabrication and plagiarism represent a profound betrayal
        of trust and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.

        The reporter, Jayson Blair, 27, misled readers and Times colleagues
        with dispatches that purported to be from Maryland, Texas and other
        states, when often he was far away, in New York. He fabricated
        comments. He concocted scenes. He lifted material from other
        newspapers and wire services. He selected details from photographs to
        create the impression he had been somewhere or seen someone, when he
        had not.

        And he used these techniques to write falsely about emotionally
        charged moments in recent history, from the deadly sniper attacks in
        suburban Washington to the anguish of families grieving for loved
        ones killed in Iraq.

        In an inquiry focused on correcting the record and explaining how
        such fraud could have been sustained within the ranks of The Times,
        the Times journalists have so far uncovered new problems in at least
        36 of the 73 articles Mr. Blair wrote since he started getting
        national reporting assignments late last October. In the final months
        the audacity of the deceptions grew by the week, suggesting the work
        of a troubled young man veering toward professional self-destruction.

        Mr. Blair, who has resigned from the paper, was a reporter at The
        Times for nearly four years, and he was prolific. Spot checks of the
        more than 600 articles he wrote before October have found other
        apparent fabrications, and that inquiry continues. The Times is
        asking readers to report any additional falsehoods in Mr. Blair's
        work; the e-mail address is retrace@....

        Every newspaper, like every bank and every police department, trusts
        its employees to uphold central principles, and the inquiry found
        that Mr. Blair repeatedly violated the cardinal tenet of journalism,
        which is simply truth. His tools of deceit were a cellphone and a
        laptop computer — which allowed him to blur his true whereabouts — as
        well as round-the-clock access to databases of news articles from
        which he stole.

        The Times inquiry also establishes that various editors and reporters
        expressed misgivings about Mr. Blair's reporting skills, maturity and
        behavior during his five-year journey from raw intern to reporter on
        national news events. Their warnings centered mostly on the errors in
        his articles.

        His mistakes became so routine, his behavior so unprofessional, that
        by April 2002, Jonathan Landman, the metropolitan editor, dashed off
        a two-sentence e-mail message to newsroom administrators that
        read: "We have to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now."

        After taking a leave for personal problems and being sternly warned,
        both orally and in writing, that his job was in peril, Mr. Blair
        improved his performance. By last October, the newspaper's top two
        editors — who said they believed that Mr. Blair had turned his life
        and work around — had guided him to the understaffed national desk,
        where he was assigned to help cover the Washington sniper case.

        By the end of that month, public officials and colleagues were
        beginning to challenge his reporting. By November, the investigation
        has found, he was fabricating quotations and scenes, undetected. By
        March, he was lying in his articles and to his editors about being at
        a court hearing in Virginia, in a police chief's home in Maryland and
        in front of a soldier's home in West Virginia. By the end of April
        another newspaper was raising questions about plagiarism. And by the
        first of May, his career at The Times was over.

        A few days later, Mr. Blair issued a statement that referred
        to "personal problems" and expressed contrition. But during several
        telephone conversations last week, he declined repeated requests to
        help the newspaper correct the record or comment on any aspect of his
        work. He did not respond to messages left on his cellphone, with his
        family and with his union representative on Friday afternoon.

        The reporting for this article included more than 150 interviews with
        subjects of Mr. Blair's articles and people who worked with him;
        interviews with Times officials familiar with travel, telephone and
        other business records; an examination of other records including e-
        mail messages provided by colleagues trying to correct the record or
        shed light on Mr. Blair's activities; and a review of reports from
        competing news organizations.

        The investigation suggests several reasons Mr. Blair's deceits went
        undetected for so long: a failure of communication among senior
        editors; few complaints from the subjects of his articles; his
        savviness and his ingenious ways of covering his tracks. Most of all,
        no one saw his carelessness as a sign that he was capable of
        systematic fraud.

        Mr. Blair was just one of about 375 reporters at The Times; his
        tenure was brief. But the damage he has done to the newspaper and its
        employees will not completely fade with next week's editions, or next
        month's, or next year's.


        http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/national/11PAPE.html
      • Frofidemus@netscape.net
        Rog: I understand where you are coming from. I wouldn t like to find myself in Mr. Blair s shoes--I would hate to think that through weakness, laziness or
        Message 3 of 8 , May 13, 2003
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          Rog:

          I understand where you are coming from. I wouldn't like to find myself in Mr. Blair's shoes--I would hate to think that through weakness, laziness or stupidity I had done what he did.
          I would like to hear his side of the story. I'm going to bet that he found himself in over his head for personal or professional reasons or because he just couldn't handle it and, instead of saying I can't handle this and resigning he tried this hoping he wouldn't get caught. Which was almost impossible.

          I am willing to bet you are young. You probably have not suffered the ultimate betrayal, which is betrayal of self. Once you do, it sort of tempers one's willingness to pile on somebody who has screwed up--one day one knows, one will be on the bottom of the pile and hoping nobody jumps on.

          Scandals--hmm. What about executives stealing billions from their companies and wiping out investors--some of whom were depending on the funs to retire--some of whom commit suicide in despair. How about stolen elections? How about wars started and fought under false pretenses?

          Scandals? It seems that Blair has hurt no one but himself--I am living in a state where several towns were just wiped off the map and there are storm clouds on the horizon.

          Scandals? 10 Americans were just blown to bits and there are some more folks out there wanting to do more of the same.

          Scandals? They are conducting disaster excercises in two major American cities right now because the likelinood of similar attacks is dangling over all of us like the sword of Damocles.

          I think, sir, all this discussion might have been relevant a couple of years ago but right now it is nowhere on my radar screen.

          Chris Hayden

          __________________________________________________________________
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        • Tracey deMorsella (TMA)
          In the case of Jason Blair of the NYTimes. Don t Blame Diversity By Terry M. Neal Thursday, May 15, 2003; Page A29 The plagiarism and deceit of former New York
          Message 4 of 8 , May 15, 2003
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            In the case of Jason Blair of the NYTimes.

            Don't Blame Diversity


            By Terry M. Neal

            Thursday, May 15, 2003; Page A29

            The plagiarism and deceit of former New York Times

            reporter Jayson Blair are an affront to journalism. He

            disgraced an honorable profession that already suffers

            a credibility problem.

            But why can't Blair just be one severely troubled guy

            who did outrageous things? Why are some people using

            him as an example of the evils of commitment to

            diversity? Why is it that when white reporters commit

            similar acts of outrageous fraud, no one in the

            establishment media launches breathy social

            commentaries about the continued existence of white

            privilege and entitlement in the newsroom?

            The reaction to the Blair story was predictable. When

            the story broke, many minority reporters I know said

            in private conversations among themselves that it

            would take only a day or two before some people

            erupted in paroxysms of indignation and anger about

            the effort to diversify newsrooms. Those journalists

            were right. In recent days, the subject of race in the

            Blair travesty has crept into newspaper columns and

            talk television.

            The Blair case evokes memories of Ruth Shalit, the

            young white reporter who was shooting to journalistic

            fame and fortune in the early 1990s with her fearless,

            often scathing stories about people and institutions

            in Washington. In 1995 she took on The Post with a

            13,000-word opus in the New Republic on the

            newspaper's diversity efforts. She drew the conclusion

            that the quality of the newspaper had been compromised

            by its efforts to hire minority reporters.

            Post editors documented nearly 40 factual errors --

            some big, some small -- in that one article. Howie

            Kurtz reported in The Post in September 1995 that

            twice in the previous year the New Republic had

            "acknowledged that she used material from other

            publications without attribution." Yet many in the

            establishment media supported her and kept giving her

            jobs and high-profile assignments.

            Stephen Glass of the New Republic was another reporter

            who wowed readers, bosses and top editors with some of

            the most vivid, colorful writing this town had seen in

            years. Only problem: Much of what Glass, who is white,

            was writing was untrue. Just completely pulled out of

            his head. Eventually he was fired for faking all or

            parts of 27 stories.

            The point here is that journalists of all stripes and

            hues -- black and white, men and women -- have been

            accused of fake reporting, but it seems only the

            transgressions of black journalists evoke the race

            card.

            When Boston Globe columnist Patricia Smith was fired a

            few years ago after it was discovered she used made-up

            characters and dialogue, many in the media said the

            black writer had been coddled at the newspaper because

            of her race. Smith's fellow columnist Eileen McNamara

            brought in the matter of race in a column she wrote

            about it. Yet McNamara expressed no outrage, at least

            not in her column, when, a few months later, white

            fellow Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, who had been

            accused previously of fabricating quotes, was caught

            plagiarizing.

            Barnicle, by the way, was "punished" with a nice job

            at MSNBC. Shalit is back in journalism. And Glass has

            a book deal. Meanwhile, Smith and former Post reporter

            Janet Cooke, an African American who fabricated a

            Pulitzer Prize-winning story in The Post, have

            disappeared into obscurity.

            None of this is to say race is not an issue in the

            Blair case. Many news reports have focused on Blair's

            arrival at the Times through an "intermediate

            program." Reports have also noted that his career was

            pushed along by Gerald Boyd, who is black and now the

            managing editor of the paper.

            True as those things may be, viewed in a larger

            context they mean little. First, the New York Times,

            as well as The Post and other top newspapers, hire a

            small number of young, inexperienced reporters --

            black, white, Asian, Hispanic, whatever -- and give

            them a chance on the belief that they hold promise.

            But I know that The Post (and I suspect it's true of

            the Times as well) has hired more young white

            reporters with relatively little experience than black

            reporters of similar background in recent years. Some

            of those reporters have walked into highly visible and

            important positions on the national and foreign desks.

            Why did Blair keep getting promotions and prime

            assignments? Here's my theory: Freed from the normal

            constraints of truth and veracity, "journalists" such

            as Blair, Shalit, Barnicle, Smith and Glass outshine

            their counterparts. They're promoted ahead of the pack

            because their stories, sneakily cloaked as journalism,

            read better than everyone else's.

            Some people are acting as if they're amazed that a

            reporter as young as Blair would be given such great

            opportunities -- as though this sort of thing never

            happens with whites. But consider the case of Jodi

            Kantor, a white 27-year-old with just four years of

            journalism experience, who was hired away from the Web

            magazine Slate by the New York Times to become editor

            of its prestigious Arts & Leisure section. Kantor may

            be fabulous and do a remarkable job, but no minority

            journalist has ever gotten a break like that.

            To suggest that Blair is unique in being coddled by

            upper management is nonsense. What about all of the

            young, aggressive white reporters who are pushed along

            by overeager white mentors even though they're clearly

            not ready for prime time? The fact is that their

            editors intrinsically trust these young people. They

            feel more comfortable with them. They understand their

            worldview.

            One of the things that was astonishing to me was that

            Blair had powerful mentors at the paper. In my 14

            years as a journalist, I have never heard of a young

            black reporter with such close ties to upper

            management. Perhaps Blair was promoted not because he

            was black but because his editors were enraptured to

            the point of delusion with him. No doubt some editors

            figured his accuracy problems were a small price to

            pay for his scoops. And no doubt some editors were

            happy to have a black reporter who fit the hotshot

            bill.

            The fact that Blair, who crumbled trying to live up to

            his star billing, went astray says nothing other than

            this: He's an embarrassment to himself and journalism.

            And the New York Times failed horribly by not reining

            him in sooner.

            The writer is chief political correspondent for

            washingtonpost.com, where a version of this column was

            published Tuesday.



            ) 2003 The Washington Post Company

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Frofidemus@... [mailto:Frofidemus@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2003 3:17 PM
            To: SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [SciFiNoir Lit] Off Topic: The New York Times/ Jayson Blair
            Scandal


            Rog:

            I understand where you are coming from. I wouldn't like to find myself in
            Mr. Blair's shoes--I would hate to think that through weakness, laziness or
            stupidity I had done what he did.
            I would like to hear his side of the story. I'm going to bet that he found
            himself in over his head for personal or professional reasons or because he
            just couldn't handle it and, instead of saying I can't handle this and
            resigning he tried this hoping he wouldn't get caught. Which was almost
            impossible.

            I am willing to bet you are young. You probably have not suffered the
            ultimate betrayal, which is betrayal of self. Once you do, it sort of
            tempers one's willingness to pile on somebody who has screwed up--one day
            one knows, one will be on the bottom of the pile and hoping nobody jumps on.

            Scandals--hmm. What about executives stealing billions from their companies
            and wiping out investors--some of whom were depending on the funs to
            retire--some of whom commit suicide in despair. How about stolen elections?
            How about wars started and fought under false pretenses?

            Scandals? It seems that Blair has hurt no one but himself--I am living in a
            state where several towns were just wiped off the map and there are storm
            clouds on the horizon.

            Scandals? 10 Americans were just blown to bits and there are some more
            folks out there wanting to do more of the same.

            Scandals? They are conducting disaster excercises in two major American
            cities right now because the likelinood of similar attacks is dangling over
            all of us like the sword of Damocles.

            I think, sir, all this discussion might have been relevant a couple of years
            ago but right now it is nowhere on my radar screen.

            Chris Hayden

            __________________________________________________________________
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          • rogpower
            ...
            Message 5 of 8 , May 15, 2003
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              --- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, Frofidemus@n... wrote:
              << Rog:

              I understand where you are coming from. I wouldn't like to find
              myself in Mr. Blair's shoes--I would hate to think that through
              weakness, laziness or stupidity I had done what he did.

              I would like to hear his side of the story. I'm going to bet that
              he found himself in over his head for personal or professional
              reasons or because he just couldn't handle it and, instead of saying
              I can't handle this and resigning he tried this hoping he wouldn't
              get caught. Which was almost impossible.

              I am willing to bet you are young.>>

              Wrong! LOL!!! I'm 45 yoa -rog


              <<You probably have not suffered the ultimate betrayal, which is
              betrayal of self...>>


              Wrong again, Like most folk my age, I have suffered from the "slings
              and arrows of outrageous fortune".

              I have also suffered from the "occasional" stupidity of my own
              actions! LOL!!!

              So, it is not lightly that I condemn Mr. Blair's stupidity and
              laziness. I will also admit to having a background in journalism(a
              B.A. degreee.) That's why I can state unequivocally that what bro
              Blair did was beyound the pail.

              I'm all for cutting a brother some slack, but sometimes we have to
              say, "Damn! that just ain't right!"


              << Once you do, it sort of tempers one's willingness to pile on
              somebody who has screwed up--one day one knows, one will be on the
              bottom of the pile and hoping nobody jumps on.>>

              Wrong again! LOL! I have been on the bottom of the pile like most
              black men in this society. That's why I realize the bro Blair's
              actions does not help the rest of the tribe! And I don't mind saying
              so!

              I think because we black folk have been treated so unfairly by the
              larger society for so long. We go out of our way sometimes to excuse
              the lunacy of some of our higher profile bretheren! We cannot condemn
              the lunacy of the larger society if we refuse the recognize it in our
              own community!


              << Scandals--hmm. What about executives stealing billions....>>

              Yes, yes, all that is true, but it does not excuse the actions of bro
              Blair!


              << I think, sir, all this discussion might have been relevant a
              couple of years ago but right now it is nowhere on my radar screen.

              Chris Hayden>>


              If a standard of morality and ethics ever becomes "irrelevant" in our
              community then we are indeed a doomed people. IMHOP!

              Carl aka rogpower


              Live Long and Prosper!
            • rogpower
              This was posted in the SciFi Noir group rog ... Fabrications by anyone tarnish journalism Last Updated: May 12, 2003 By Eugene Kane There was once a black
              Message 6 of 8 , May 15, 2003
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                This was posted in the SciFi Noir group

                rog

                ------------------------------------------


                Fabrications by anyone tarnish journalism
                Last Updated: May 12, 2003


                By Eugene Kane

                There was once a black reporter named Janet Cooke who became a
                scourge for any young African-American trying to break into
                journalism.

                These days, it's Jayson Blair. But the effect will likely be the same.

                Cooke was The Washington Post reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize in
                1981 for a series she made up about an 8-year-old heroin addict.

                She was subsequently disgraced when the truth was revealed and the
                paper had to return the prize.

                Her deceit left a large, looming shadow over an entire generation of
                young black journalists trying to get their feet in the door at a
                major newspaper.

                I know. I was one of them.

                Black friends who worked at The Washington Post during that time
                often told me the entire newsroom seemed to turn a suspicious eye on
                the work of any black reporters after the Cooke fiasco.

                It happened at lots of other places.

                Nobody mentions Cooke much anymore. You can bet, from now on, they
                will mention Blair.

                Blair, a 27-year-old reporter for The New York Times, is the current
                poster boy for plagiarism, deceitful conduct and outright
                journalistic fraud.

                He apparently duped his bosses at the nation's most esteemed
                newspaper of record into publishing suspect news articles about some
                of the country's most gripping stories, everything from reactions of
                families of soldiers killed in the Iraq war to the Washington, D.C.,
                sniper case.

                After reading a 13,800-word account of Blair's transgressions in the
                Sunday New York Times, some pundits are questioning whether Blair's
                long record of incompetence would have been tolerated if he weren't
                black.

                Some have even claimed Blair is a prime example why affirmative
                action is flawed.

                But if you read The New York Times account, it's obvious the main
                heads that need to roll belong to top editors who either ignored or
                disregarded numerous warning flags during the young man's career as
                an erratic intern and cub reporter.

                What also becomes apparent, Blair didn't get ahead because of his
                journalism skills or lack thereof; he rose through the ranks because
                he was a consummate brown-noser, an office politician who sucked up
                to big-name editors, black and white.

                After learning about the spectacular enormity of Blair's deceit, it
                seems ridiculous to treat his situation as anything more than a
                chilling tale of a pathological liar who found himself working for
                the nation's most famous newspaper.

                For those ready to jump on his blackness to justify their own hard-
                hearted attitudes against affirmative action - I've already heard
                from some of you - there's nothing in this sad tale to suggest black
                reporters working in Milwaukee or elsewhere need to hang their heads
                in shame.

                Contrary to what some believe, young blacks don't usually waltz into
                jobs at The New York Times.

                It's a white enclave; the Times is still trying to create a newsroom
                reflective of society.

                As for any "black mark" on the business from Blair, here's the
                ultimate reality check:

                Mike Barnicle was a white Boston Globe columnist who resigned for
                making up columns. Stephen Glass is a white writer who was just
                on "60 Minutes" Sunday delivering his latest mea culpa for
                fabricating numerous stories.

                And don't forget the white reporters at The Salt Lake Tribune who
                sold stories to the National Enquirer.

                Journalism is about finding the truth. When you lie, it makes that
                ideal more elusive.

                No matter what your color.




                From the May 13, 2003 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
                ___________________________________________________________________
              • rogpower
                That s why I can state unequivocally that what bro Blair did was beyound(sic) the pail(sic). I can also state unequivocally that it is was beyond the
                Message 7 of 8 , May 15, 2003
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                  "That's why I can state unequivocally that what bro Blair did was
                  beyound(sic) the pail(sic)."

                  I can also state unequivocally that it is was "beyond" the "pale".
                  ROTFLOL!!!

                  Writing on an internet messageboard is not conducive to good writing!

                  Will you cut "me" some slack as well as bro Blair? ROTFLOL!!!

                  Would that bro Blairs transgressions were limited to spelling
                  mistakes!


                  Peace Out!

                  rog
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