Eyes Wide Shut - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Eyes Wide Shut

Will the newspapers that ran columns downplaying or denying race as an element of the New York Times scandal now publish corrections? No, liberal newspapers don’t confess ideological deception. Their corrections pages are reserved for more weighty announcements, such as disclosing that they erred in the spelling of a subject’s middle name.

Race has little or nothing to do with the Blair case, declared numerous writers long before they examined the facts. Isn’t that dishonest journalism? The liberals blasting Blair practice a more subtle variant of his dishonesty. He reported on events unseen; they pronounce on evidence unseen.

These promoters of affirmative action in the newsroom don’t want readers to look too closely at the facts in the Blair case — and certainly don’t want readers interpreting the facts on their own, without the benefit of journalistic supervision. “Don’t Blame Diversity,” the Washington Post’s Terry Neal instructs. “The New York Times Scandal: About Values, More Than Race,” reads the pontifical decree from the Wall Street Journal‘s Albert Hunt.

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday on the New York Times powwow about the Blair scandal. But it couldn’t find room in its story to report editor Howell Raines’s admission that diversity goals contributed to his indulgence of the hoaxer.

“Our paper has a commitment to diversity and by all accounts [Blair] appeared to be a promising young minority reporter,” Raines is quoted as saying at the meeting. “I believe in aggressively providing hiring and career opportunities for minorities.” He said that “you have a right to ask if I, as a white man from Alabama, with those convictions, gave him one chance too many by not stopping his appointment to the sniper team. When I look into my heart for the truth of that, the answer is yes.”

Pretty important quote from the meeting. Too bad the Los Angeles Times missed the story.

After Raines’s admission, will the crowd saying “This has nothing to do with race” now permit readers to draw the conclusion that it does? Perhaps not. To acknowledge reality here, they fear, may derail the train of progress and we can’t have that. As Terry Neal says, “why can’t Blair just be one severely troubled guy who did outrageous things?”

Why is it so important to leave it at that? So nobody will think too deeply about the corrosive effects of affirmative action. Howard Kurtz reports that New York Times Managing Editor Gerald Boyd told staffers that “this is not about a failure of minority journalists,” and, “Let’s not make this about race or youth or anything that divides the most talented newsroom in the country and indeed the world.” Got that? No examination of the evidence that might lead to division is welcome. Don’t draw any conclusions from the facts that might arrest the liberal agenda.

Desperate to divert attention from a diversity project gone bust, liberals are talking about all the white fakers of the recent journalistic past. “To those who say the scandal over the fraud committed by New York Times reporter Jayson Blair is a byproduct of affirmative action, there are numerous rejoinders, including Stephen Glass, Ruth Shalit and Foster Winans,” writes Al Hunt. Did he skip Logic 101? How could the facts in the Blair case possibly depend upon these other cases? Terry Neal wants to know, “Why is it that when white reporters commit similar acts of outrageous fraud, no one in the establishment media launches breathy social commentaries about the continued existence of white privilege and entitlement in the newsroom?”

If, say, Stephen Glass had hung out with editors who talked about the aggressive recruitment of spoiled white kids and nominated one of them as journalist of the year for the National Association of White Journalists, does Neal think race wouldn’t have come up in stories about Glass’s fraud?

Blair engaged in blatant and damaging dishonesty. But the less obvious forms of journalistic dishonesty are damaging too. The diversity cheerleaders he exploited also falsify reality, yet they never lose their jobs and never issue corrections.

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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