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Thread: The NY Times - Jayson Blair Story

  1. #1
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    The NY Times - Jayson Blair Story

    Jayson Blair, worked for The Times for four years before resigning on May 1 after being accused of many ethical violations. If you have not read this story I think you shouldn't miss it. Take a moment to read it and then consider giving us your observations.

    What is really going on here? To me, I detect undercurrents of race (hidden indictments of affirmative action - where if anything it was an informal process) and a whiffs of vindictiveness on the part of the NYT. What are your observations?

    Me, It think they got sloppy in their supervison, have serious egg on their faces and they were seriously taken advantage of by a lazy kid that kept getting away with it. I think that "liberal-white-guilt-syndrome" perhaps kept the kid from getting a early ass chewing that might have kept him on the straight an narrow.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The story I first read was not accompanied by a photo, and I guess I just assumed he was white. I didn't read anything into the story that I would not have considered had he been white; so no thought of affirmative action or liberal white guilt. To be honest, I have seen this sort of thing many times before, and color doesn't matter.

    This guy was either lazy or incompetent, so he faked his work. It seems the first editor was catching on, but the guy managed to transfer to another section, and then again to his final post. There, it seems that the supervisor began catching on as well. Unfortunately, getting rid of people is not easy, especially in a large organization.

  3. #3
    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    The story I first read was not accompanied by a photo, and I guess I just assumed he was white. I didn't read anything into the story that I would not have considered had he been white; so no thought of affirmative action or liberal white guilt. To be honest, I have seen this sort of thing many times before, and color doesn't matter.

    This guy was either lazy or incompetent, so he faked his work. It seems the first editor was catching on, but the guy managed to transfer to another section, and then again to his final post. There, it seems that the supervisor began catching on as well. Unfortunately, getting rid of people is not easy, especially in a large organization.
    I agree with you. I use to work for a small paper and on that small scale there were either lazy or incompetent, and both, for that matter - who managed to do this sort of thing and manage to know how to play the system wll enough to live another day.

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Did Blair work for the Pueblo Chieftan, El Paso Times, Orlando Sentinel, or St. Louis Post-Dispatch?

    Nope. He went straight from college -- which he didn't graduate from -- to the Times.

    How many planners end up working in planning utopias for their first jobs? Not many ... the majority do the "three and out" in someplace like Greensboro, North Carolina, Xenia, Ohio or Ocala, Florida before moving on, if they aren't lucky enough to find a job in their hometowns.

    BTW, Blair's life is now totally ruined, like that of another African-American "journalist," Janet Cooke. Imagine having your dirty laundry aired on the front page of the New York Times. Ouch. I actually feel sorry for the guy. I fear what's going to happen next ... the skills of any African-American professional in the workplace will be subject to scrutiny and question. "Affirmative action ... "
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    First class A**H***.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I don't see this as vindictiveness (or having any racial undercurrents) at all on the part of the NYT. I think they were very open and honest about it. It's totally embarassing to them and they posted a 10-page article on the front page of their Web site as early as Saturday.

    It's a shame because Blair is a tremendous writer. He had interned at the Boston Globe in the late 90s (which is owned by the NYT company) and rose to the Times that way. He had terrific potential - but just pissed it all away. Many, many journalists would kill to be a national reporter for the Times - they have a tremendous and unrivaled reputation and now, hopefully, someone with a stronger ethical constitution will take his place.

  7. #7
    As El Guapo stated, I can see the white liberal guilt playing a part in this. Seems this guy got a pass that most others at the paper would have been canned for.

    I also agree with Michael Stumpf, this guy was plain LAZY. Any journalist could write for the Times if I made up quotes and grabbed stories from the internet. Seems like he had talent and he let it go to his head.
    Last edited by Repo Man; 12 May 2003 at 11:41 AM.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Anyone interested in a concise article about this scandal, can read a William Safire column in today's Times.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/12/op...12SAFI.html?th

  9. #9
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    I am confused...

    Why is this an issue?

    He lied. He fabricated events and quotes. He did not perform his duties. And he was fired as a result.

    The Times must face the fact that they didn't micromanage a professional writer...but should they need to? As a journalist, he has a professional responsibility...and he didn't do it. Do your job or you are gone.

    I do not feel bad for Blair, nor the Times.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  10. #10
    Blair is in the hospital with "personal problems."

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Re: I am confused...

    Originally posted by prudence
    The Times must face the fact that they didn't micromanage a professional writer...but should they need to?
    This is an interesting thought. As professionals, it should be expected that we do our job professionally, and no less. I wonder how many of us are in a similarly unsupervised environment. As for myself, I report to a board and ultimately to the common council. I receive very little regular supervision from anyone.

  12. #12

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    Originally posted by Dan
    I fear what's going to happen next ... the skills of any African-American professional in the workplace will be subject to scrutiny and question. "Affirmative action ... "
    To me, that's the great unspoken issue. As an African-American professional, one who's not certain whether I've been favored in my academic or professional career because of affirmative action, I wonder if people judge me as being incompetent because of the foolishness and laziness of one person.

    I read William Safire's editorial in today's NY Times first, without seeing Jayson Blair's picture. And I did something many blacks are familiar with -- I said to myself, "please don't let him be black!" Alas, he was.

    His career is ruined, and it should be. He was beyond careless in his job, and he should've been fired. Was he given a NY Times position because of affirmative action? Probably so. Was he not micromanaged or did he survive deeper scrutiny because of "liberal white guilt"? I don't know. I just know it makes it harder for other black professionals like myself who, when we make a minor mistake, might get the same scrutiny and scorn.

    I envy the fact that a white person can be accused of crimes or misconduct without a veiled condemnation of his/her race, while blacks are held accountable for the actions of all the bad apples

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    pete-rock - Great post! It's nice to hear your perspective on this.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    The as I read I thought more and more about how he "PLAYED" the people who read his articles, and then I realized that the paper should have had more checks on him.

    We live in a world today where it is not unusual for people to lie. We hear everyday about major corporations and there CEO's going to Jail for fraud, lying, and bad books. Yet, we as a society do not do what we need to stop this.

    I know that I may not be the most educated person who graduated in my class. I know I do not know more than most my co-workers and may not advance as quickly as some, but I know that I am honest with what I do, and I can sleep with a smile at night knowing that.

    Many in today's society do not live by any ethical standards. But I am pleased to find a group of people on this web site, who demand more, and still live ethically.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  15. #15

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    But Michaelskis, most CEOs don't go to prison. The Frontline (evil, liberal PBS) show on the WorldCom/CitiCorp scandal ended with a footnote that one of the criminals responsible was given a major bonus by his board, another was given a severance package of $13,000,000, and the third has, if I remember, moved on to a cushy job.

    His only mistake was to be a relatively small cog. The big gears never suffer.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    His only mistake was to be a relatively small cog. The big gears never suffer.
    I agree. As with any machine, the important/vital parts are protected or insulated from impending harm.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

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