I don't write this to minimize the damage caused by the Jayson Blair incident. The response of New York Times management seems dangerously similar to the response of the Catholic Church hierarchy to their recent scandals. To merely fire the aberrant priest or reporter (and ceremoniously to lash themselves) is to miss the centrality of the scandal. It was the system of management that sheltered such an aberration for so long a time that is the true scandal. And the persistence of such a management system could lead not just to a continuing scandal, but to the downfall of the institution.
Moreover, just as the Catholic Church's scandal brought forth longtime haters of the church to opportunely pile on when the Church was vulnerable, The New York Times' current agony has brought out similar longtime foes to thrash the paper when she is down. Many of them are ill-motivated and should stop before they do irreparable harm. I have heard of phony charges of plagiarism being made against renowned New York Times reporters (whose careful work over the years I am personally familiar with) by low-life news outlets seeking an ill-deserved moment in the media sun. The public should be skeptical of such charges when they stumble across them. The scrutiny under which the New York Times news reporters currently suffer may yield a very few more aberrations (under microscopic observation, few of us in any line of work -- plumber, politician, soldier or doctor -- could be shown to have performed without error all the time). But, my guess is there will be few, if any, such further cases.
New York Times news reporters -- the proud hunters of objective facts -- should continue to stand tall. And their management should clean out the stables immediately -- even if they must sweep themselves out -- for the good of a great and needed institution.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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