Skip to comments.Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception
Posted on 05/10/2003 10:29:40 AM PDT by sarcasm
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I believe the NYT has never returned Duranty's Pulitzer Prize. It may well be that they have never admitted that his career was one of systematic mendacity.
Is this SOP at all newspapers? Call me dumb, but I assumed that editors were there to occasionally/sometimes/frequently check sources?
"First CNN, now The Times. Who's next?"
Yes, and like CNN's mea culpa, there is no indication whatsoever that any of the principals -- editors and executives -- believe they did anything wrong. "It's all his [Blair's] fault".
It is as if the leadership of the mainstream media is congenitally incapable of fault. They don't even have the honor and decency of corporate executives found guilty of board room malfeasance. It doesn't even occur to Howell Raines, Eason Jordan & Company to throw anybody overboard...
You've got it! I use this throughout my novel to skewer the liberal media. The villain understands this dynamic, so he provides a "right-wing gun-nut militia fanatic" patsy for the stadium assault rifle massacre.
He understands this false culprit will be accepted eagerly by the media, with almost no digging for deeper truths. And he's right.
The villain calls his concept "probable culpability", the converse of the well known "plausible deniability."
Just commit an outrageous gun crime, and leave a "disturbed veteran" with an AK-47 nearby for the SWAT boys to shoot. Case closed.
ollowing is an accounting of the articles in which falsification, plagiarism and similar problems were discovered in a review of articles written by Jayson Blair, a reporter for The New York Times who resigned May 1. The review, conducted by a team of Times reporters and researchers, concentrated on the 73 articles Mr. Blair wrote since late October, when he was given roving national assignments and began covering major news events including the Washington-area sniper attacks and the rescue of Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch. Spot checks of his previous stories also found errors of fact and possible fabrications.
Detective Says Sniper
Suspect Was Interrogated
After He Requested Lawyer
APRIL 29, 2003
DENIED REPORTS Michael S. Arif, a lawyer for Lee Malvo, the younger of two men charged in the Washington-area sniper attacks last fall, was quoted as saying: "Not one of Mr. Malvo's five attorneys who had been appointed by the court to represent him was given any information about the action taken." Through a law partner, Thomas B. Walsh, Mr. Arif said he had not spoken to Mr. Blair that day or uttered the quoted words to anyone.
FACTUAL ERRORS The first sentence of the article stated that Detective June Boyle, the lead Fairfax County investigator in the sniper case, testified that she continued to interrogate Mr. Malvo without a lawyer after he had requested one. While Detective Boyle acknowledged in her testimony that Mr. Malvo had asked a question "Do I get to see my attorneys?" she did not say that he had invoked his right to counsel. In a later ruling, the judge in the case found that Mr. Malvo's question was not an unambiguous request for the assistance of counsel.
In Military Wards, Questions And Fears From the Wounded
APRIL 19, 2003
WHEREABOUTS The scenes described in the article took place ostensibly inside a ward of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. But Lt. Cmdr. Jerry Rostad, the public affairs officer for the center, said there was no record that Mr. Blair had visited or interviewed patients there.
DENIED REPORTS Of the six wounded soldiers quoted in what Mr. Blair described as "long conversations" at the medical center, one, Lance Cpl. James Klingel, said he was interviewed by Mr. Blair, but by telephone from his home in Lodi, Ohio, after he had been discharged. Telephone records described by Times officials suggest that Mr. Blair made this 27-minute call from his desk at the paper in New York on April 17. Three men Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, Lt. Col. Jonathan Ewers and Hospitalman Brian Alaniz said they had not spoken to Mr. Blair, Commander Rostad said. (Two others could not be reached.)
In a telephone interview, Corporal Klingel said that Mr. Blair had manufactured or embellished parts of the article. He said that, for example, the following quotation attributed to him by Mr. Blair had been made up: "I am still looking over my shoulder. I am sure I will be standing on the back porch and worry about who might come shooting at me out of the bush."
Corporal Klingel also disputed the portion of the article that described him as "disheartened because he will most likely limp the rest of his life and need to use a cane." He said he was neither limping nor using a cane now.
In addition, he denied he had told Mr. Blair he was having nightmares about his tour in Iraq. And he said he had not spoken to Mr. Blair about "his mind wandering from images of his girlfriend back in Ohio to the sight of an exploding fireball to the sounds of twisting metal," as Mr. Blair described.
Because he interviewed Corporal Klingel by phone, Mr. Blair was not in a position to describe him as he did in his article: speaking from a hospital bed and contemplating a visit to a chaplain, as Sergeant Alva lay in the bed next to him.
Reached by phone, Sergeant Alva's mother, Lois, declined to comment. But Commander Rostad said that Sergeant Alva contended that he did not say any of the comments attributed to him by Mr. Blair. These included the following: "But in more private moments last week in the hospital, Sergeant Alva acknowledged that he had anger that he directed inward and toward the news media that he said were too hard on soldiers and a public that he said did not really understand the costs of war. `There is no point in explaining how I feel,' he said, `because no one really is going to be able to understand it.' "
SNIP, nine more pages of this stuff...
Posted earlier from an AIM article... http://www.aim.org/publications/weekly_column/2003/05/08.html
On CNN, Kurtz asked why Blair, "a promising young black reporter," had been able to get away with 50 mistakes "and still be at that job." The investigation could lead to Gerald Boyd, the Times managing editor who is also black. Curiously, Blair had nominated Boyd as "Journalist of the Year" in a competition sponsored by the NABJ. It seems unusual for a young reporter like Blair to have made such a nomination.
.....apparently has ended without looking for any other violators. What a joke the Times has become.
It would cost all of $10,000 to put a junior accountant and some reporters to run a cross check on datelines and expense accounts for the rest of their so called reporters...I wonder if they are afraid to turn over too many rocks 'cause of what's under 'em.
Heck, if the NY Times won't do it, let the Washinigton Post do it for them. ~snicker
A "major league a**hole"
In an embarrassing gaffe, George W. Bush insults a New York Times reporter.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Jake Tapper
Sep. 04, 2000 | At a Labor Day event in Naperville, Ill., Monday morning, apparently oblivious of the microphone just inches from his mouth, Gov. George W. Bush made a crude offhand remark about a reporter that those in the campaign of his rival, Vice President Al Gore, hope will take some of the shine off Bush's warm and sunny veneer.
Waving and smiling to the crowds, Bush and his running mate, former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, seemed to be enjoying the generous reception offered by the Republican enclave in the Chicago suburbs.
Then Bush spotted New York Times reporter Adam Clymer, who has been with the paper since 1977, serving as national political correspondent during the 1980 presidential race, as polling editor from 1983 to 1990 and as political editor during the successful presidential campaign of Bush's father in 1988.
"There's Adam Clymer -- major league a**hole -- from the New York Times," Bush said.
"Yeah, big time," returned Cheney.
Because of the crowd noise, few if any of the audience could hear the remarks. But reporters -- especially those with radio or network TV sound equipment plugged into the microphone -- heard the remark clearly. As of early afternoon Monday, media executives were reportedly deciding whether or not to use the tape.
The Bush campaign had no comment. Gore's campaign, however, was quick to seize on the gaffe. "Bush promised to change the tone and now he's broken his word twice," said Gore spokesman Douglas Hattaway. "He launched negative personal attacks on Al Gore" both through a recent negative ad against Gore, "as well as on the stump, and now he's using expletives to describe a New York Times reporter in front of a crowd of families. He talks out of both sides of his mouth about changing the tone."
Bush has made civility a major issue in the campaign. When Gore expressed irritation at Bush's waffling on the presidential debate schedule, calling it "put up or shut up time," Bush said, "We have to do something to change the tone of the discourse," adding that "politics doesn't have to be ugly and mean."
Yet within hours a Bush-approved attack TV ad that mocked Gore personally and was paid for by the Republican National Committee was running in more than a dozen swing states.
"I thought it was tongue-in-cheek," Bush said, when asked if the ad went against his pledge to "change the tone." Later, when asked about the ad by two of Clymer's colleagues at the Times, Alison Mitchell and Frank Bruni, Bush dismissed complaints about the ad, saying, "This is politics."
Though he's done a decent job of hiding it in this election cycle, Bush has been known to use salty language. At the Republican National Convention in 1988, he was asked by a Hartford Courant reporter about what he and his father talked about when they weren't talking about politics.
"Pu**y," Bush replied.
I suppose that Editor-in-Chief Raines made it clear to the gaggle of reporters covering the "Jason story" to steer clear of the "affirmative action goes bad" part of the story.
What an excellent article.
This contrition and self-outing is so elaborate that it's almost like they've resolved to be honest or something --THESE GUYS ARE GOOD!
Reading this, you'd almost think their readership wasn't displaying a long and sustained pattern of decline.
Perhaps but when even NPR mentions it, the cat's out of the bag...http://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2003/0509.asp
Times Watch for 05/09/03
Raines: Diversity More Important Than Better Journalism
Melissa Block, a host of the National Public Radio program All Things Considered, interviewed Times executive editor Howell Raines on the Blair fiasco--and challenged Raines with a rather incriminating blast from Raines past:
Mr. Raines, you spoke to a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in 2001, and you specifically mentioned Jayson Blair as an example of the Times spotting and hiring the best and brightest reporters on their way up. You said, 'This campaign has made our staff better and, more importantly, more diverse.' And I wonder now, looking back, if you see this as something of a cautionary tale, that maybe Jayson Blair was given less scrutiny or more of a pass on the corrections to his stories that you had to print because the paper had an interest in cultivating a young, black reporter.
Raines defensive reply: No, I do not see it as illustrating that point. I see it as illustrating a tragedy for Jayson Blair, that here was a person who under the conditions in which other journalists perform adequately decided to fabricate information and mislead colleagues. And it is--you know, I don't want to demonize Jayson, but this is a tragedy of failure on his part.
It sounds like a failure of nerve on the part of Raines. And as for his proud admission to the NABJ that increasing racial diversity was more important to him than increasing the quality of his papers journalismthats just pathetic.
~~THE ENRON TIMES~~
I read the entire article, and the above is the one sentence that really stuck with me. Read it again...
``There has never been a systematic effort to lie and cheat as a reporter at The New York Times comparable to what Jayson Blair seems to have done.''
That's telling, IMO.
Off the Record
On the evening of April 28, Jim Roberts, the national editor for The New York Times, called his reporter, Jayson Blair. Questions, he said he told Mr. Blair, had arisen about an April 26 story Mr. Blair had written about Juanita Anguiano, the mother of a 24-year-old Army mechanic whod gone off to Iraq and was then the last American soldier declared missing in action. A reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, Macarena Hernandeza former Times internhad called the paper that day in distress, alerting The Times to similarities between Mr. Blairs story and hers, also about Ms. Anguiano, that ran on April 18.
Mr. Blair was in Fairfax, Va., Mr. Roberts said, but now he wanted to meet with him in New York.
"I had been told he was covering a hearing [on the Washington, D.C., sniper case] in Fairfax, Va.," Mr. Roberts said. "Now, Im not certain of anything."
Jayson Blair was a 27-year-old reporter who, according to newsroom sources, was well-liked in the newsroom of The Times. He first joined as an intern in 1998, was hired as an intermediate reporter in 1999, and became a full reporter in 2001. As it turned out, Mr. Blair hadnt traveled to Texas to interview Ms. Anguiano about her son. He lifted whole swaths, including descriptions and quotations, from the work of Ms. Hernandez, whom he knew and once worked with. Confronted with this evidence, Mr. Blair resigned his post on Thursday, May 1.
In a letter Mr. Blair wrote to Times executive editor Howell Raines and managing editor Gerald Boyd, Mr. Blair apologized for his "lapse in journalistic integrity."
"This is a time in my life that I have been struggling with recurring personal issues, which have caused me great pain," Mr. Blair wrote. "I am now seeking appropriate counseling. Journalism and The New York Times have been very good to me and I regret what I have done.
"I am deeply sorry," Mr. Blair concluded.
When reached by Off the Record, Mr. Blair declined to comment. But speaking to Off the Record on May 5, Mr. Raines accepted Mr. Blairs mea culpa.
"The last thing we want to do is demonize Jayson Blair," Mr. Raines said. "He wrote a public letter apologizing for a journalistic lapse in integrity. He apologized for it. I can accept that. But my concern is for our readers and our integrity."
For Mr. Raines and The Times, the episode began on Tuesday, April 22. Since the start of the war in Iraq, Mr. Roberts said, The Times had maintained a database, tracking the dead and missing, producing yearbook-esque eulogies about those who had died. Mr. Roberts said hed heard from a researcher working on the database that there were only two soldiers left whod been deemed M.I.A.s. When another set of remains was identified, that left oneEdward Anguiano. Mr. Roberts thought it would be a good idea to profile the family of the last missing soldier, and Mr. Blair got the assignment. (Mr. Anguianos remains were later found.)
Mr. Blair posted an e-mail saying he was "off to San Antonio," Mr. Roberts said, and turned in his copy on the afternoon of Thursday, April 24. Mr. Roberts said he liked what he saw, but that the Times desk sent Mr. Blair back for more phone reporting. The story ran in The Times two days later, in its April 26 edition. The following Monday, Mr. Roberts said he was called into a meeting with Mr. Boyd.
In the meeting, Mr. Boydjoined by Sheila Rule, a senior manager in charge of reporter recruiting, and Bill Schmidt, The Times associate managing editortold Mr. Roberts there was a problem. After looking over both pieces, Mr. Roberts agreed and called Mr. Blair. He asked him if hed ever seen the San Antonio story. Mr. Blair said no. According to Mr. Roberts, he told Mr. Blair to return to New York with his notes so they could meet first thing on Tuesday morning.
In the meeting that followed on April 29, Mr. Roberts said that Mr. Blair maintained his innocence, saying hed traveled to Texas and had met with Ms. Anguiano. Mr. Blair also said hed mixed up his notes with copies of other stories that hed downloaded onto his laptop, Mr. Roberts said.
Following the public disclosure in the Washington City Paper and The Washington Post of a note sent to both Mr. Boyd and Mr. Raines by Express-News editor Robert Rivard, Mr. Boyd met with Mr. Blair the following day, Wednesday, April 30, for five minutes. Mr. Boyd said he urged Mr. Blair to tell them everything that happened. Mr. Roberts said he told Mr. Boyd and others: "I just dont have any confidence he was ever there."
Midway through Wednesday, April 30, Mr. Blair, along with representation from the Newspaper Guild, met with Mr. Schmidt and members of The Times legal staff. In a session that lasted into the early evening, Mr. Schmidt said that Mr. Blair again gave his account of what had occurred. The Times, Mr. Schmidt said, asked that Mr. Blair provide receipts and documents of his travel. The meeting would be continued the following day.
The next morning, however, according to Mr. Boyd and Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Blair refused to appear. The Guild told Mr. Schmidt that Mr. Blair wouldnt furnish proof of his reporting, and that hed chosen to resign. The Times made the announcement the following day in an editors note and in a story about the incident by Times reporter Jacques Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg is now one of the reporters investigating Mr. Blairs past work.
Since his abrupt departure, Mr. Blair has been criticized by those outside and inside The Times who say the paper should have seen problems coming. Insiders say that Mr. Blair, while extremely amiable, often displayed erratic behavior. (In a report published in the Washington City Paper, Mr. Raines said that Mr. Blair had previously enrolled in a company program that provides counseling for employees with personal problems). Critics were quick to note that The Times had published the dozens of corrections regarding Mr. Blairs work since he began writing as an intern in 1998.
Speaking to Off the Record, Mr. Raines addressed Mr. Blairs errors. He acknowledged that following his jump to metro reporter from his apprenticeship in 1999 and 2000, Mr. Blair struggled to get things right. Indeed, from Sept. 11 to early 2002, he said Mr. Blair wrote 70 stories, with eleven corrections. But Mr. Raines said Mr. Blair improved (two corrections in 100 stories) after receiving a stern warning in April 2002 from metro editor Jonathan Landman and Nancy Sharkey, assistant to the managing editor.
Mr. Landman said he had seen talent in Mr. Blair, but had warned him several times about the mistakes. After the reprimand, there were only two mistakes in over a hundred stories.
"We told him to go real slow," Mr. Landman said. "I said, I dont care if you just do a brief a weekthe point is to get things accurate and in context."
Mr. Landman added that "the guy was a promising young reporter. You wanted to make it work."
Following a stint in metro, during which Mr. Boyd said the paper kept close watch on his work, The Times moved Mr. Blair in summer 2002 to an assignment in sports, where, Mr. Boyd said, "it was thought that based on his performance, he deserved a shot to see what he could do."
However, during the Washington, D.C., sniper crisis, Mr. Raines dispatched eight reportersincluding Mr. Blairto cover the story. Mr. Raines said he thought Mr. Blair was a good choice, since hed grown up in the area and went to school at the University of Maryland. As the clamor of the sniper arrests ended and the court cases began, Mr. Roberts said, "We felt it was wise to keep him on the story."
But The Times is now investigating Mr. Blairs reporting in at least two sniper-case stories from October 2002 to January 2003. On Oct. 30, Mr. Blair reported that U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio had interrupted the interrogation of the sniper suspect John Muhammad at the behest of the White House, a report that was later disputed by Mr. DiBiagio. In a piece on Dec. 22, he wrote that DNA evidence ruled out Mr. Muhammad as the primary shooter. Regarding the latter assertion, Fairfax County Commonwealths Attorney Robert Horan called a press conference to dispute The Times story. But Mr. Roberts told Off the Record that in his conversation with Mr. Horan, the prosecutor never made clear what his problems with the story were. (In a December piece about how Kent State University counted football attendance, Mr. Blair quoted an athletic-department official who later said he never spoke to Mr. Blair.)
As The Times begins the process of re-reporting Mr. Blairs stories, the paper has also taken shots for letting a young reporter rise too far, too fast. The conversation has also considered Mr. Blairs race (he is African-American). On May 4 on his CNN program Reliable Sources, Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz asked: "Look, this was a promising young black reporter. I wonder if a middle-aged hack would have gotten away with 50 mistakes and still be at that job."
Asked if he wanted to respond to Mr. Kurtzs assertion, Mr. Raines said: "No." But then he added that The Times had a commitment to "equal treatment of all our employees."
"If someone wants to have some unbecoming speculation on their television show, thats their prerogative," Mr. Raines said. "We have a diverse staff, and we manage them in a very evenhanded way."
Asked about Mr. Blairs youth, Mr. Raines said the paper had "lots" of correspondents in their 20s, and called upon his own and his predecessors history at the paper.
"Some people come here in their 20s," Mr. Raines said. "Some in their 30s. I came to The Times at the age of 34. [Former executive editor] Joe Lelyveld came at the age of 25. We dont discriminate against people because of their youth or their being old."
Sources within The Times have viewed the episode with a combination of anger and disappointmentanger over one of their own betraying a public trust, disappointment over someone who decided to implode their career.
"It makes you very, very sad," Mr. Landman said.
Yeah, but they can't pay him...
Obviously a democrat. Next he'll be running for office.
No one--he didn't file any.
To liberals, if character doesn't matter, give Slick fifteen minutes with your daughter in an empty room.
Yeah, but they can't pay him...
They don't have to pay him, he doesn't have any expenses.
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