Black and White and Red All Over

BLACK AND WHITE AND RED ALL OVER….The New York Times ran a long story today about Jayson Blair, the black reporter who was fired last week for making up stories and plagiarizing other people’s work. Gerald Boyd, the Times’ black managing editor, “bristled when asked if Blair, who is black, figured in a bid by The Times to diversify its mostly white staff.” And media critic Howard Kurtz said of Blair, an African-American who was originally hired as part of a minority internship program, “Look, this was a promising young black reporter. I wonder if a middle-aged hack would have gotten away with 50 mistakes and still be at that job.”

Oh, have I mentioned that Blair is black?

In just the last few weeks, in addition to the Blair meltdown, the LA Times has fired a photographer for digitally enhancing a photograph, two reporters at the Salt Lake City Tribune have been fired for selling made-up rumors to the National Enquirer, and disgraced liar Stephen Glass released his autobiographical novel about his exploits at the New Republic.

Quick, what color were the skins of these reporters?

What’s that, you don’t know? But hasn’t every story about them mentioned it? And run a picture of them? No? That’s odd.

So why does Mickey Kaus treat us to this spectacular non sequitur?

Plenty of white journalists have done what Jayson Blair, the NYT reporter who recently resigned, is alleged to have done….Does the Blair case, then, have anything to do with affirmative action? I think so.

And why does Glenn Reynolds say that his “earlier skepticism regarding the role of affirmative action in the Blair matter was misplaced”? And why does Accuracy in Media devote an entire column to the notion that the Times’ desire to diversify its newsroom led directly to this incident?

This is ridiculous. Blair was an accomplished liar and suckup, and the Times screwed up badly in not noticing earlier that something fishy was going on. (They didn’t even notice that none of his expense accounts included plane tickets or hotel bills? Sheesh.) But when Glass did the same thing at the New Republic nobody ran stories suggesting that we ought to be more careful about hiring white guys in the future.

Why is it that when one ? one! ? black con artist scams the Times he’s a black con artist, but when white con artists scam the New Republic, the LA Times, and the Salt Lake City Tribune, they’re just ? con artists? Funny how that works.

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