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

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  • rogpower
    . ... Hey Chris, I just wanted to address your last statement. I understand what you re
    Message 1 of 8 , May 13, 2003
      <<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 2 of 8 , May 13, 2003
        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 3 of 8 , May 15, 2003
          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 4 of 8 , May 15, 2003
            --- 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 5 of 8 , May 15, 2003
              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 6 of 8 , May 15, 2003
                "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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