More letters on the New York Times and the firing of Jayson Blair
23 May 2003
Below we post a selection of recent letters on the New York Times and the firing of junior reporter Jayson Blair.
An excellent analysis of the NY Times “confession.”
The big three, the NY Times, LA Times, and the Washington Post have always had intelligence connections, and by claiming to be liberal could rightly be charged with running false flag operations.
These three papers led a coordinated attack on the San Jose Mercury and its reporter Gary Webb for the story on the CIA and Drugs. They misstated what was in the series and then denounced Webb and the Mercury for claims that had not been made. While many newspapers did not print the original Mercury series, they did print one or more of the attacks from the big three. Webb, a noted investigative reporter that the NY Times had tried to recruit, had his career destroyed, and he became an example to all other investigative reporters as to what can happen if you target the CIA.
In their coverage on Bush, they have used two reporters who do not write so much about him as gush over him—Frank Bruni and Elizabeth Brumiller. Bruni was so bad that I became convinced that he was in love with GW.
So the NY Times has an undeserved reputation for objectivity, and certainly for liberalism. When it counts, they are going to come down on the side of the establishment, as they did with Webb, as they do with Bush, and as reflected in the blatant propaganda of Judith Miller.
The NY Times in its extensive story on Blair certainly raises questions about why they are doing so. Not only that, as I’m sure you noted, they asked readers having more unfavorable information on Blair to contact them at “firstname.lastname@example.org.” This in itself is curious as one would think that four full pages in the print edition and some 10 pages on the Internet would have exhausted all they have to say or would want to say.
How much do you have to do to destroy a man? Why the continued vendetta?
Often, such diversions are to direct attention away from some other story or crisis. The total destruction of Blair will most likely result in his not being able to, should he want to, present his side of the story. Perhaps there is more to the Blair story than is being told.
Perhaps they are attempting to divert attention away from such stories as those by Judith Miller, which certainly do not meet any reasonable journalistic standard but could be easily classified as intelligence disinformation.
In any case, to tweak their noses I wrote “retrace@nytimes” and asked why Blair and not Judith Miller.
12 May 2003* * *
Great article! The reaction of Times management and editorial staff exposes them as having no discernable powers of discrimination in framing the importance of Blair’s missteps...a sad fact given their profession. If it had never occurred to me that the Times was full of pompous blowhards—unfortunately it already has—this episode suggests they have a few...and that the place is overrun with third-rate minds. Clearly, race played a role in management’s over-reaction. One can only wonder what it must have been like for Jayson at the office the first or last day, take your pick. Isn’t it funny how projection (in the psychoanalytic sense—casting aspersions onto others which we find intolerable in ourselves, and to a great degree are unconscious to us) betrays prejudice!
15 May 2003* * *
I have to agree with you on this one. I think the Times was way over the top on Blair. Things could have been done in a more humane fashion and the Times does have a checkered track record on a number of issues, as you pointed out. That paper’s record with regard to the Iraq war was reprehensible. They’ve basically kissed a lot of government butts by overlooking the excesses with respect to civilian casualties, insider contracts favorable to government officials and the checkered past histories of the gentlemen sent to rebuild (read re-politicize) Iraq. I am hardly a socialist, but one has to give credit where it is due, and you people are doing an excellent job of oversight—which the press has failed to do. I’ve gotten more pertinent information from the web site of Le Monde than I have from the US press.
14 May 2003* * *
Dear Mr. Vann,
Dear Mr. North,
Thanks for putting the Blair story into perspective and your readers in the broader picture. Indeed, the Blair incident is a mere slip compared with the NYT’s collusion with the unelected administration in its pursuit of a policy of blatant disregard of all hitherto established norms and laws of international behavior. If this trend in the US media characterized by the phrase “let’s not dwell on the past and move on”—it came into prominence after the Florida “vote count” and the subsequent appointment of Mr. Bush—continues, we will soon be looking back with nostalgia to the days when the USA was a democracy and when book-burning could only happen in Nazi Germany.
12 May 2003* * *
I was out of town and away from my computer, so I am trying to catch up on your articles. I’m glad I read this one because the whole episode had me a bit stumped. It definitely seemed to me to be blown way out of proportion. One junior reporter’s misdeeds, or what I would call mistakes, being described as a “...a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper” just struck me as an overreaction. To be honest, I couldn’t read the four-page article, it just bored me. What I did read struck me as very harsh for a young man who, it seemed to go without saying, was troubled in some way.
As far as legal action, it would be well justified, as your article convinced me. The result of the Times’s public release of personal details about Blair and their character assassination can only have a devastating and immensely damaging effect on his life, both personally and professionally.
The history of the paper in the article was fascinating and enlightening. And the excellent political interpretation of the event brought the real meaning together for me. Absolutely. Relative to the New York Times’s and the rest of the mainstream media’s collusion in the morally repulsive and criminal activity our government has been engaging in, Jayson Blair’s violation pales to insignificance.
Furthermore, has the degradation of civil liberties in America, as well, become so pervasive that this is the extent corporate management of the media will go to instill fear in journalists? The public sacrifice of a vulnerable young man who, perhaps in his self-destructiveness, unwittingly volunteered to play the role.
19 May 2003* * *
The NPR reports and the lengthy story in the NY Times would lead one to believe that Mr. Blair was responsible for the anthrax mailings, the 9-11 fiasco, and current Bush recession. In times like these, we vigilant few must be on aware of the techniques of David Copperfield the Magician and keep our eyes on the hand that is not making dramatic gestures. I imagine that Winston Smith (1984) will be purging the Times’s archives of all mention of Mr. Blair as though he never existed.
12 May 2003