The New York Times is to be commended for ferreting out Jayson Blair, the reporter recently discovered making up facts, plagiarizing other news organizations and lying about nonexistent trips and interviews. A newspaper that employs Maureen Dowd can't have had an easy time settling on Blair as the scapegoat. Blair's record of inaccuracies, lies and distortions made him a candidate for either immediate dismissal or his own regular column on the op-ed page.
The editors have set up a special e-mail address for readers to report falsehoods they discover in Jayson Blair articles. OK, but how about setting up one for Paul Krugman? They ought to claim all those front-page articles predicting a "quagmire" in Iraq were also written by Blair.
The Times has now willingly abandoned its mantle as the "newspaper of record," leapfrogging its impending technological obsolescence. It was already up against the Internet and Lexis-Nexis as a research tool. All the Times had left was its reputation for accuracy.
As this episode shows, the Times is not even attempting to preserve a reliable record of events. Instead of being a record of history, the Times is merely a "record" of what liberals would like history to be – the Pentagon in crisis, the war going badly, global warming melting the North Pole, and protests roiling Augusta National Golf Club. Publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger has turned the paper into a sort of bulletin board for Manhattan liberals.
In the Soviet-style reporting preferred at the Times, its self-investigation of the Blair scandal included copious denials that race had anything to do with it:
"Mr. Boyd [managing editor] said last week that the decision to advance Mr. Blair had not been based on race."
"Mr. Blair's Times supervisors ... emphasize that he earned an internship at The Times because of glowing recommendations and a remarkable work history, not because he is black. The Times offered him a slot in an internship program that was then being used in large part to help the paper diversify its newsroom."
Did Blair write that? If the Times "diversity" program refused to consider Blair's race, then it wasn't much of a diversity program, now was it? This is like job advertisements that proclaim: "Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer." Well, which is it?