May 22, 2003

The Dearth of Shame Jayson

The Dearth of Shame

Jayson Blair's repulsive interview with the Observer here:

"That was my favorite," Jayson Blair said. It was the morning of Monday, May 19, and the disgraced former New York Times reporter was curled in a butterfly chair in his sparsely furnished Brooklyn apartment. He was eating a bagel and talking about one of his many fabricated storiesÑhis March 27 account, datelined Palestine, W.Va., of Pvt. Jessica LynchÕs familyÕs reaction to their daughterÕs liberation in Iraq.

Mr. Blair hadnÕt gone to Palestine, W.Va. HeÕd filed from Brooklyn, N.Y. As heÕd done before, he cobbled facts and details from other places and made some parts up. He wrote how Private LynchÕs father had "choked up as he stood on the porch here overlooking the tobacco fields and cattle pastures."

That was a lie. In The TimesÕ lengthy May 11 account of Mr. BlairÕs long trail of deception, it reported that "the porch overlooks no such thing."

Mr. Blair found this funny."

The cheap solipsism and melodrama:

"He stayed with that concept. "So Jayson Blair the human being could live," he said, "Jayson Blair the journalist had to die."

The utter lack of contrition and aggressive handling of the racial issue:

"I donÕt understand why I am the bumbling affirmative-action hire when Stephen Glass is this brilliant whiz kid, when from my perspectiveÑand I know I shouldnÕt be saying thisÑI fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism," he said. "He [Glass] is so brilliant, and yet somehow IÕm an affirmative-action hire. TheyÕre all so smart, but I was sitting right under their nose fooling them."

Mr. Blair continued: "If theyÕre all so brilliant and IÕm such an affirmative-action hire, how come they didnÕt catch me?"

Are you totally grossed out yet? I wish this utter fraud wouldn't get a hefty book deal but fear, per the "moronic inferno" that is so often the American cultural mill, that he's going to get a big one.

NB: Jayson on Howell:

"Mr. Blair called characterizations of himself as a Howell Raines favorite "kind of funny." Though his status rose when Mr. Raines became executive editor in September 2001, Mr. Blair said he felt more at ease during the tenure of his predecessor, Joseph Lelyveld.

"I identify much more with the old guard than I do the new guard," he said. Still, he had empathy for his ex-boss.

"Generally, I felt like Howell did what he had to do," Mr. Blair said. "I feel bad for the situation heÕs in. But I think a lot of it is by his own hand. He is a good man. He is well-intentioned.

"Maybe itÕll make him a little mature," he said. He broke out into laughter, stomping his foot on the ground. "ThatÕs coming from me!"

And, for more on the dearth of shame, here's another angle from Eliot Spitzer.

Posted by Gregory at May 22, 2003 08:29 AM

pioieklaeof oiyiylllfi.

Posted by: Kenelm at August 30, 2004 02:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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