May 10, 2003


THE BLAIR AFFAIR: What luck for Simon & Shuster that journalistic fabrication (and, in this case, plagirism) is now back in the news, just as Stephen Glass's The Fabulist is about to hit bookstores. The cases are not the same, though: Stephen Glass (or at least his narrator) went to great lengths to game the fact-checking system, and, because he knew how the system worked, went a long time without raising any red flags. As the reports that Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan have been collecting demonstrate, Jayson Blair raised many red flags, and they were ignored. The Times itself reports that their metropolitan editor, Jonathan Landman, sent a short email to newspaper adminstrators reading simply, "We have to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now." That email was sent a full year ago. This was an institutional problem at the Times, and using Glass as an example to bat down the suggestion that Howell Raines's "commitment to diversity" played a big role in the Blair scandal simply won't wash.

Posted by John Tabin at May 10, 2003 09:23 PM