Thomas Sowell

Years later, medical authorities suspended Patrick Chavis' license -- and then revoked it -- after discovering his incompetence and gross negligence when they investigated the suspicious death of one of his patients.

Back in the 1970s, Professor Bernard Davis of the Harvard Medical School warned about lower standards being used there to allow black students to become doctors, saying that it was cruel to abandon standards "and allow the trusting patients to pay for our irresponsibility." Not only were his warnings ignored, he was denounced as a racist.

Mistakes will be made in any institution. Real disasters usually require more than that. A key ingredient in many disasters is utterly blind arrogance in disregarding all warnings and all evidence, in order to persist in some headstrong course of action.

That is what the New York Times leadership has shown before, during, and even after the Jayson Blair fiasco.

The newspaper's publisher now says that there will be no search for "scapegoats" in the Jayson Blair scandal. In other words, holding the responsible officials accountable for what they do or don't do is called scapegoating. Even Blair himself is referred to as a "troubled" young man, rather than as someone who caused huge trouble to others because he knew how to hustle.

Having gotten away with so much, Blair knew that the rules and standards that applied to others would not be applied to him because he represented "diversity." He just pushed it a little farther than it would go.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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