Monday, May 12, 2003
Blair Witch-Hunt: The bloggers are all over the NYT-Blair scandal, as the hated bastion of liberal, elitist thought has gotten its just desserts, some argue. Sullivan makes a good point that as bad as Blair was, the fact that he got away with it for so long and so easily, is even worse. His expense reports (the ones that he did submit) easily show that he was operating in NYC, while purporting to be elsewhere. More disturbing, however, are those problems that didn't take any effort to uncover; namely his writing and reporting. The 7,000 page correction cites to years of mistakes, sloppiness and rebukes, but onward and upward he goes, getting moved from bureau to bureau as he burns bridge after bridge. All of this comes to the inevitable, already made point that if it wasn't due to his being black, then the NYT is a pretty shoddy operation. I don't know what the usual learning curve is at my local paper, but my guess is that at the NYT it's the most grueling anywhere. Yet, this guy was allowed to consistently fail upward...even from his days as a lowly intern, and presumably, easier to fire. The whole thing is shameful, and while I'm sure the efforts to shore this up will be sincere, and the NYT's sorrow real, this may have damaged the Grey Lady's reputation beyond repair.