Saturday, April 09, 2005



My friend Harry Broertjes, who works at the Miami Herald, forwarded me Mitch Albom's column about Jayson Blair, the plaigiarizing reporter who snookered the New York Times. Albom's column is about how Blair is a disgusting excuse for a human being, and I have to agree with Albom.

Blair apparently spent his entire journalistic career, starting in high school, writing stories of marginal truthfulness. Nobody called Blair on his act, apparently because Blair is an African-American.

The Times gave Blair many extra chances, and admits in part it was because he is African-American. Blair also apparently got internships at the Washington Post and the Boston Globe, also as part of those newspapers' efforts to incorporate diversity in their workplaces.

So what we have is Jayson Blair being reprehensible in at least two ways. Not only is he a lying sack of crap as a reporter, but he has used other people's attempts to do good -- by rendering the playing field fair -- for his own wicked purposes. Kind of like asking for a glass of red wine so you can throw it on the hostess's new dress.

There was a time when the phrase, "a credit to his race" was bandied about, and I'm equally sure that there were similar statements about the Irish, the Jews, and the Italians. If I were an African-American working to make a mark in the world -- Barack Obama, Kweisi Mfume, Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey -- I would make it part of my mission to go over to Blair's residence and read him the riot act. But then again, perhaps that's wrong, too. Maybe we shouldn't worry about Blair's ethnicity. Let's just pick on him because he's a lying sack of crap. I'm good with that.

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