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One interesting tidbit in the USA Today report touches on a central aspect of the case: “At one point, according to one staffer, Raines acknowledged that perhaps his growing up in segregated Alabama may have prompted him in his professional life to want to right past wrongs against blacks.” In so doing, Raines was merely confirming what he had publicly said all along about why he was championing Blair’s career. It has left him vulnerable to charges that he held Blair to lower standards and even promoted him at times when he should have been demoting or firing him.
One effect of his forbearance is that other black journalists now feel that they’ve been put on the spot. One such reporter is the Washington Post’s Terry Neal, who until now was known mainly as the author of the “Talking Points” column on the Post’s website whose name bears a striking resemblance to Joshua Marshall’s “Talking Points Memo” website. Now he feels compelled to knock down the notion that Blair’s case was in any way race-related, a hard case to make given what Raines has already said about Blair. But his effort does drive home how difficult it is to escape the stigma affirmative action attaches to its targets.
Defensiveness is one characteristic — which in turn gives way to divisiveness. In his column Neal openly criticizes his colleague Howard Kurtz for suggesting Blair’s editors gave him breaks on account of his race. “‘Look, this was a promising young black reporter,’ he said. ‘I wonder if a middle-aged hack would have gotten away with 50 mistakes and still be at that job.’”
Neal’s response? To criticize the New Republic, which gave plenty of tolerance and room to two white plagiarists and fabricators in the 1990s, one of whom allegedly made at least 40 errors in a piece she did on the Washington Post for her magazine. Well, so what? We’re talking about the N.Y. Times. Has it tolerated comparable shoddiness from someone not hired in the name of diversity?
Neal doesn’t ask. Instead he suggests that Blair’s close relationship with top brass was an aberration. “In my 14 years as a journalist, I have never heard of a young black reporter with such close ties to upper management.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?