The Corner

Blair and Falwell

Readers of The Nation are reminded again and again that those who

sought to expose communist spies during the 1950’s were paranoid,

conspiracy nuts.

Thus the shock of reading the magazine’s June 9th issue, in which Patricia

Williams suggests in her column (not available online) that the New York

Times might have been a victim of an enemy subversive within its ranks:

[Former Times reporter Jayson] Blair … is a con man who used his

considerable literary talent — and imagination — to discredit one of the

world’s great papers and the last genuinely liberal voice in America. . .

.Blair’s deceit was calculated, multifaceted and skillful. Let me suggest

the following, not conspiratorially but rather in the spirit of

individual responsibility: Surely if Blair, who attended Jerry Falwell’s

Liberty University before transferring to the University of Maryland, were

white, wouldn’t the question of ideological motive at least flicker across

the table?

Full disclosure: I worked for Dr. Falwell during the mid-1980s and had a

chance to meet and work with several Liberty University students. They

were all good kids with strong religious convictions, but their political

opinions varied quite a bit more than those of the staff of the New York

Times.

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