Skip to comments.Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception
Posted on 05/10/2003 10:29:40 AM PDT by sarcasm
click here to read article
Usually when you think of fraud, you think of unusually high expenses or billings being claimed.
Few think of unusually low expenses or no claims for legitimate expenses as a sign of fraudulent activity.
Uh, isn't Jayson Blair following in the grand tradition established by Walter Duranty?
en days ago, Jayson Blair resigned as a reporter for The New York Times after the discovery that he had plagiarized parts of an article on April 26 about the Texas family of a soldier missing in Iraq. An article on Page 1 today recounts a chain of falsifications and plagiarism that unraveled when The Times began an inquiry into that Texas article. At least 36 articles written by Mr. Blair since October reflected plagiarism, misstatements, misrepresentation of the reporter's whereabouts or a combination of those. An accounting of the flaws will be found on the right side of this page, under "Related."
Today's article and the accounting result from a weeklong investigation by five Times reporters and a team of researchers. The newspaper organized it in the belief that the appropriate corrective for flawed journalism is better journalism accurate journalism.
The reporters have telephoned news sources cited by Mr. Blair and have interviewed other journalists who worked with him. Executives have read them summaries of telephone records and expense documents. To examine the newsroom processes that went awry, they have had unrestricted access to other Times staff members, including top editors, involved with Mr. Blair's copy and the management of his career. Within the limits of laws and ethical codes governing health and employment records, Times managers have described documents for the reporting team.
The reporters' examination has centered on the last seven months, a period in which Mr. Blair increasingly received assignments distant from the newsroom, which allowed him wider independence. His earlier work, done under closer supervision, will be spot-checked. If another major examination appears warranted, it will be carried out. Readers and news sources who know of defects in additional articles should send e-mail to The Times: retrace@ nytimes.com.
In online databases that include copy from The Times, cautionary notices will be attached to the faulty articles in coming days.
The Times regrets that it did not detect the journalistic deceptions sooner. A separate internal inquiry, by the management, will examine the newsroom's processes for training, assignment and accountability.
For all of the falsifications and plagiarism, The Times apologizes to its readers in the first instance, and to those who have figured in improper coverage. It apologizes, too, to those whose work was purloined and to the hundreds of conscientious journalists whose professional trust has been betrayed by this episode.
Most of the other reporters write to fit the template also.
Apparently they are better at covering their tracks.
There are people here on this board who were questioning the veracity of Jayson Blair's reporting even as the Times remained blissfully ignorant.
If we, who are not in the newsroom, can detect error (or outright fabrication) why cannot editors of the sainted Times?
Because they don't want to, that's why...
No, it suggests that the fact-checking was nil, as long as what he wrote conformed to the editor's prejudices.
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...
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.