The Corner

Diversity & Blair

Thanks to TimesWatch for this item:

Melissa Block, a host of the National Public Radio program “All Things Considered,” interviewed Times executive editor Howell Raines on the Blair fiasco–and challenged Raines with a rather incriminating blast from Raines’ past:

“Mr. Raines, you spoke to a convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in 2001, and you specifically mentioned Jayson Blair as an example of the Times spotting and hiring the best and brightest reporters on their way up. You said, ‘This campaign has made our staff better and, more importantly, more diverse.’ And I wonder now, looking back, if you see this as something of a cautionary tale, that maybe Jayson Blair was given less scrutiny or more of a pass on the corrections to his stories that you had to print because the paper had an interest in cultivating a young, black reporter.”

Raines’ defensive reply: “No, I do not see it as illustrating that point. I see it as illustrating a tragedy for Jayson Blair, that here was a person who under the conditions in which other journalists perform adequately decided to fabricate information and mislead colleagues. And it is–you know, I don’t want to demonize Jayson, but this is a tragedy of failure on his part.”

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