Since New York Times reporter Jayson Blair was exposed as a fabricator and plagiarizer, there’s been a debate: Was Blair a pathological liar out to dupe the prestigious newspaper, or was it Times editor Howell Raines‘ newsroom management that left the paper open to the fiasco?
Both could still be true, but an interview Blair gave to the New York Observer last week tilted speculation to the former.
“I fooled some of the most brilliant people in journalism,” Blair boasted, at the same time complaining — as if there were a Pulitzer Prize for phony reporting — that he wasn’t getting due credit.
“I don’t understand why I am the bumbling affirmative-action hire when Stephen Glass is this brilliant whiz kid,” Blair whined.
Content to let the focus move from the Times to Blair’s mental state, the paper formed a committee to examine newsroom policies.
And U.S. Attorney James Comey, who was looking into criminal fraud charges against Blair, announced he was dropping the matter since the Times refused to cooperate.
That, one assumes, will give the disgraced reporter more time to work on his book and movie pitch, which agent David Vigliano is shopping.