On the May 12 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball on which both your employee, Seth Mnookin, and my employee, Liz Swasey, appeared, Mr. Mnookin ridiculed Liz for suggesting that affirmative action run amok could explain New York Times executive editor Howell Raines’ failure to supervise his plagiarist former reporter, Jayson Blair.
Given the time constraints and format of Hardball, I might have let Mr. Mnookin’s condemnation of my employee’s position pass. However, on the following day on Newsweek.com, Mr. Mnookin’s Raw Copy, “What’s Race Got To Do With It?” accused Liz of “smearing” Howell Raines, being “intellectually dishonest” and “twisting reality to make her point” to such an extent that Mr. Mnookin said he “openly laughed at” her.
This morning, the New York Times ran “Editor of Times Tells Staff He Accepts Blame for Fraud,” by Jacques Steinberg. The National Journal summarized the piece as follows: “New York Times exec. ed. Howell Raines, on whether Jayson Blair lasted as long as he did at the paper because of his race: ‘When I look into my heart for the truth of that, the answer is yes.’”
Despite Mr. Raines’ admission, Mr. Mnookin’s discredited piece smearing my employee remains the number two story on Newsweek.com. I ask that the piece be removed. I also challenge Mr. Mnookin to be man enough to apologize to Ms. Swasey.
L. Brent Bozell