New York Times should be ashamed of itself for abrogating
"the trust between the newspaper and its readers,"
as chairman Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. put it. But the Jayson
Blair affair is the least of the newspaper's transgressions
against truth. Racism, not affirmative action, is what ails
rights, the Times' embarrassment should be of no collective
concern to Black people. Whites control every important aspect
of the publication's decision making. White management devised
their own version of what they chose to call affirmative action,
hiring those Blacks that appealed to their corporate tastes.
Black people in general bear no responsibility for white people's
hiring decisions. Yet, in the wake of 27-year-old Blair's
alleged plagiarisms and fictions, media racists immediately
sought to somehow blame the very concept of affirmative action
for what is, at root, just another instance of white management
incompetence. "Affirmative action" didn't hire Blair,
and Blair didn't hire and assign himself - white management
is a deeper current underlying this story, one that allows
the Times to escape its own responsibilities by hiding behind
supposed good intentions. The paper poses as a social do-gooder,
when in reality it is an unreconstructed bigot. The Times
needs an affirmative action program because it does a terrible
job of hiring competent Black reporters, many hundreds of
whom are willing and able to perform the corporate mission.
The same racism that has historically prevented the Times
from sufficiently staffing itself with minorities also causes
it to hire the wrong candidates. White people have been screwing
up affirmative action since before the term was coined, sometimes
on purpose, more often through an inability to objectively
assess non-whites - one of the definitions of racism.
on The Gray Lady
Blair denouement was bigger news than a thousand dead Iraqis.
Basically, the story was framed as an affirmative action-induced
erosion of standards at the highest levels of journalism -
an assault on American media integrity as represented by The
New York Times. Blacks were having their corrupt way with
the Gray Lady - a symbol of white intelligence and competence
as potent in some respects as Lady Liberty, a few miles south
of Times Square.
starting point of American racism is the assumption that white
people and their institutions represent the proper, normative
standards against which all other people and institutions
are judged. Once the white normative assumption is internalized,
a racist worldview flows from it as surely as water to the
sea, polluting every social space in its path.
logic of this seminal assumption dictates that people hired
by the New York Times are either gifted human beings, or people
who have been bestowed a gift. It is a circular kind of logic,
since the Times has the power to set standards based on -
New York Times functions as a corporate arbiter of white American
discourse. We gain vital clues to the workings of white corporate
minds by noting the content and treatment of "All the
News That's Fit to Print." We do not learn what is actually
important, but only what the Times deems important enough
to publish. And that's critical to know, if only to understand
how the mighty think, and what they think about.
who are shackled by racist assumptions are led to conclude
that a Black person fortunate enough to measure up to the
standards of The New York Times - one who is privileged to
breathe that rarified white air - carries a double obligation.
He must prove that the brilliant whites who hired him picked
the right Black person for the job, and he must ensure
by his comportment in the position that other white institutions
will hire more Blacks to assist them in their corporate mission.
the Black candidate - a person picked by whites - fail, it
is the aspirations of Black people as a whole for upward mobility
that are made to seem unreasonable, ridiculous, even criminal.
This is white mischief at its most automatic and insidious.
Blair failed his white folks, giving the New York Times a
"huge black eye," as Sulzberger said with a straight
face. The Times compiled a 7,500-word account of the Blair
affair, essentially concluding that the newspaper had allowed
its good intentions to be "betrayed" by a bad Black.
control the asylum
has the newspaper acknowledged that Blair was an affirmative
action hire - this is simply assumed to be the case. In one
sense, however, all Black recruitment at historically
white work environments is affirmative action, in that it
is reluctant hiring - white people doing what does
not come naturally, and is against their distorted judgment.
Persons who are reluctantly hired are often reluctantly supervised
and not mentored at all. It is crystal clear that Jayson Blair
was not part of any formal or informal "team" at
the New York Times. Had he been connected with the life of
the paper, half his stories would not have later been found
to be bogus in some respect, including "frequent acts
of journalistic fraud." Blair acted utterly alone.
there is something inherently wrong with affirmative
action as practiced in the United States and at The New York
Times: white people still make all the decisions. The perpetrators
of the historical crime, the people whose delusional worldviews
created the societal distortions that plague Black America
in the first place - the same people that make the New York
Times an unfit interpreter of reality - remain the arbiters
of societal standards, values, and hiring. They decide what
is "Fit to Print," and who is fit to engage in the
process. Let them live with their choice of Jayson Blair -
that's white folks' business.
Americans did not craft the New York Times affirmative action
program, nor are there enough Blacks in the organization to
decisively influence the paper's editorial or workplace policies.
Blair's alleged transgressions are proof only that the New
York Times is a bad judge of Black people - as is normal among
Americans should not be drawn into a conversation based on
the assumption that The New York Times sets a high standard
for journalism, or that the paper's white managers are capable
of recognizing any aspect of reality whatsoever, in hiring
decisions or news judgments. Black people bear no onus for
white incompetence in selecting Black people to carry out
white corporate missions.
frauds and mega-lies
New York Times violates truth, every day, with no assistance
from African Americans. Jayson Blair is accused of writing
stories about people he had not spoken to, and places he had
not been. For this, he is crucified, and made a symbol of
Black pretensions. The Great White Liar William
Safire wonders, "How could this happen at the most
rigorously edited newspaper in the world?" Yet Blair's
misdeeds, so innocuous that he could commit 36 of them before
being caught, pale when compared to the Stalinist crime against
reality perpetrated by valued Timesman Adam Nagourney, May
5, in full view of the paper's editors.
was entrusted to divine the larger truths that emerged from
the televised Democratic primary debate, in South Carolina.
noted in last
week's issue, he disappeared three of the candidates:
then proceeded to delineate the opposing Democratic camps,
comprising six of the nine candidates: Lieberman, Kerry,
Edwards, Gephardt, Dean and Graham. In over 1,000 words,
Nagourney not only failed to once mention the names Al Sharpton,
Carole Moseley-Braun or Dennis Kucinich, he did not indicate
in any manner that the three candidates existed on the planet
Earth! The two Blacks and one lefty white did not rate
even a throwaway line about the "others" vying
for primary votes. The fact that they lived and breathed
was not deemed fit to print - an amazing but honest exposition
of the world as it should be in the judgment of the New
York Times and corporate media, in general.
New York Times erased three important politicians from a nationally
televised event in which they were full participants, leaving
not a trace of their presence in the Newspaper of Record.
Presumably, the editors were pleased. Stalin's scissors men
would have been proud.
of the disappeared, Sharpton, is likely to come in first or
second in South Carolina, next February. Will Times readers
wonder how and why that happened? "It's an abrogation
of the trust between the newspaper and its readers,"
said Times chairman Sulzberger. But he was talking about Jayson
Blair's little tricks and inventions, not Adam Nagourney's
racial and political mutilation of a nationally significant
event. Jayson Blair invented quotes of transient interest
from rather unimportant people. Adam Nagourney whited out
a national debate.
Times vastly underestimated the October 26 anti-war march
in Washington, reporting that turnout was only in the "thousands,"
far "below expectations."
between 100,000 (police estimate) and 200,000 (Pacifica's
count) people gathered that Saturday on the Mall for a protest
of global, historic impact. It took a monsoon of emailed complaints
to prompt the Times to issue a corrective story on the following
Wednesday, confirming that the huge turnout had served to
"Invigorate the Antiwar Movement."
Executive Editor Howell Raines neglected to assemble a task
force to investigate "how such fraud could have been
sustained within the ranks of The New York Times" by
reporter Lynette Clemetson, an assassin of history, itself.
Such language is reserved for petty revisionists, like Blair.
Times prints only the news that fits its version of reality,
and discards the rest. It now pillories Jayson Blair for doing
the same thing, piecemeal.
think he is a Timesman, after all.