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Jayson Blair doesn't know when to shut up.
May 22, 2003 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Jayson Blair doesn't know when to shut up. The first interview with the disgraced New York Times reporter indicates that if he's feeling bad about what he did, he's not exactly showing it. Oh, and he has "a book full of anecdotes." Very subtle, Jayson.
posted by solistrato (36 comments total)

 
Screw anecdotes, I want limericks!
posted by insomnyuk at 6:21 PM on May 22, 2003


(scroll way down)
posted by insomnyuk at 6:21 PM on May 22, 2003


Check out the fake Jayson Blair blog.
posted by Vidiot at 6:26 PM on May 22, 2003


I love that guy! I tell my kids that when teachers tell themn that cheating, lying, faking is bad, bad, bad, just mentionJason's upcoming contrasts for books and films...that will shut the underpaid suckers up.
posted by Postroad at 6:52 PM on May 22, 2003


Just a legal inquiry here- if the Times can prove that Blair's actions deliberately caused financial harm to the paper and its reputation, can't they sue him for any profit he tries to make as a result of said actions?

I seem to recall, for example, a few murder cases where the judge issued injunctions forbidding accused criminals of profitting off of "tell-all" books about their alleged crimes... if this is true, can a similar concept be applied to Blair?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:54 PM on May 22, 2003


And the book will be so easy to write! Copy-paste-copy-paste: Call me Jayson. It was the best of times...
posted by planetkyoto at 6:56 PM on May 22, 2003


In all seriousness, I saw something on the internet that claimed he had bipolar disorder. Altho this diagnosis is turning into the flavor-of-the-month. But since grandiosity can be part of the spectrum, who knows?
posted by konolia at 7:23 PM on May 22, 2003


he could also claim to have been molested as a child, to suffer from ADD and chronic fatigue syndrome and other hard-to-diagnose illnesses. he's already blaming the supposed racism of NYT staffers, who knows. there's no limit to the guy's chutzpah, apparently

on the other hand, the stephen glass book does not seem to be flying off the shelves, so, maybe there's a little justice for people like them.
I've argued from the beginning that his bosses should have stopped him much, much sooner, before he could damage the NYT's credibility like he did. sulzberger and raines are responsible, too. but Blair's then one who's making up stuff, and "reporting" from his Brooklyn apartment

of course, this whole sorry mess is everybody's fault, but Jayson Blair's, right?
posted by matteo at 7:34 PM on May 22, 2003


He's a liar, clear and simple. He might try to justify it all he wants, but the bottom line is that he got paid to report facts, or at least try to, but instead he made stuff up. All his justifications are just more lies - even if he is so good at it that he believes it himself.

Now, whereas for example J. H. Schon lied to a small, dedicated group of people that actually care, Jayson lied to the world in general.

And, as the old adage goes, the world wants to be deceived.
posted by spazzm at 8:27 PM on May 22, 2003


I mean, it's not like this is the first lie told in this war, is it?
posted by spazzm at 8:27 PM on May 22, 2003


The once was a man from Nantucket,
posted by hama7 at 9:14 PM on May 22, 2003


He should be made an example of.

A journalist who is completely inept and incapable of reporting the truth should be run out on a rail.

Someone who does this purposefully should be put in the stockades for passers-by to exact their own retribution.

I also think it would be funny to deliver daily proclamations to him promising his release "tomorrow". But of course those would just be made up.

The role of journalist is a sacred position to me, just like doctor, lawyer, or accountant. There are legal ramifications if the latter 3 lie to you or mislead you, but for some reason the former is held harmless, and that somehow the burden should be on YOU.

Makes no sense.

He's a fool and a fraud. I hope he dies alone, forgotten, and penniless.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:15 PM on May 22, 2003


Jayson is a fucking liar. Period. He's not interesting, newsworthy or worth spending any time trying to deconstruct his destruction. The environment that produced Blair is worthy of discussion but Blair IMO is a bottom feeder. Once again, the perpetrator is the victim. Whatever.
posted by photoslob at 9:18 PM on May 22, 2003


Just a total class act, all the way around and, BTW Ynoxas, I appreciate your purity of essence.
posted by Pressed Rat at 9:30 PM on May 22, 2003


I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about him that reminds me of a phase some of the previously-closeted gay men that I knew went through during college.

There's no pleasure in writing this, because somebody'll say I'm slamming gays by associating them with him, and somebody else will decide I'm saying he's gay to slam him, but, but it really does seem like there's something there.
posted by NortonDC at 9:31 PM on May 22, 2003


so who's gonna believe his book of bullshit memoirs either? phonies like him lie to create a fiction about themselves in the first place. what's to stop him from creating another fiction to suit his purposes now?
whoever buys the rights to the book is as much a bottom feeder as he.
posted by reality at 9:35 PM on May 22, 2003


I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about him that reminds me of a phase some of the previously-closeted gay men that I knew went through during college.

Norton, I'm guessing that's more indicitive of people that live a life of deceptoin versus those that are gay (which you weren't implying anyways). If Blair is still an addict or has mental disorders or whatever, what seems most evident to me is that he's a master of playing the game of self-deception. Everyone is to blame except for him. Blame the game, not the cheater. He's a victim of bad editors, being in "the snake pit", etc. This whole ordeal would be a much different (and smaller) story if he had handled it with a bit more class and grace.

whoever buys the rights to the book is as much a bottom feeder as he.

It'll happen sure as death and taxes, though. Add to your list those that buy the book when it comes out.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:04 PM on May 22, 2003


On that same Romenesko page with the last limericks (there are a bunch more pages of them, if you have the stomach for journalists trying to write verse) there's an interesting link from Kurt Blumenau to a Web page purporting to be Blair's resume - the one that got him the job at the Times.

As Blumenau points out, the thing is a mess, and I'm not even talking about whether we can believe all of it's true - the top-of-page heading, for god's sake, is "JOURNALISM EXPIERENCE" - that's right, EXPIERENCE. There are over a dozen typos and/or misspellings on this thing - "locan," "Abredeen," "inaugeration," and more minor glitches, and if we can believe this thing is authentic, it's very troubling.

Why? Because a journalism resume isn't Metafilter. A print journalist is a wordsmith, and should prove in a resume that s/he cares about words, and about getting things right. Unlike the resume of a regional sales manager, a reporter's resume is another piece of that person's work being presented, showing an ability to write compellingly according to a given form and not make stupid mistakes. One typo doesn't sink it (though how many of us have gone over our resumes with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there's not even one goddamn typo? I certainly have). But Jayson couldn't even be bothered to reread the first heading on his own resume??? And more tellingly, that's only one of a pattern of lazy mistakes throughout?

Of course it's easy in retrospect to see how consistent this is with Blair's work ethic. But I gotta say, if it's real, it damns the Times to hell. How many other candidates had resumes with equivalent work experience, a few less"names" dropped, but rigorously and flawlessly presented to show their earnestness and commitment - and yet didn't get hired? More troublingly, why not?
posted by soyjoy at 10:18 PM on May 22, 2003


lolz
posted by delmoi at 10:55 PM on May 22, 2003


( in loud voice to everyone in the soup kitchen )

- let me to the front of this queue ! i used to work for the new york times !
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:00 AM on May 23, 2003


I would like to think I am being cynical, but I will not be surprised if he ends up with a feature magazine show on Fox news. Very soon.
posted by zaelic at 2:57 AM on May 23, 2003


But I gotta say, if it's real, it damns the Times to hell.

Maybe they were dazzled by this:

posted by timeistight at 3:15 AM on May 23, 2003


If that thing isn't Blair's resume, then someone's gone to a tremendous amount of work faking a whole directory full of his stuff.
posted by timeistight at 3:25 AM on May 23, 2003


Sidney Blumenthal's new book very clearly describes many other so-called journalists that have committed as great or greater "journalistic sins" in the past decade. I say we string 'em all up and don't pick on just Jayson!

I truly feel the only the Jayson case has been made over so much is that many feel it is a case of "reverse discrimination." If this were not so then all of the targets Sid points out should also be drummed out of the business. Hear me Gerth?
posted by nofundy at 4:37 AM on May 23, 2003


If that thing isn't Blair's resume, then someone's gone to a tremendous amount of work faking a whole directory full of his stuff.

Check out the truly awful poetry therein.
posted by Vidiot at 5:07 AM on May 23, 2003


Can’t escape thoughts of how I love the curves on your body
From your waste to your eyes


Now there's an unfortunate spelling error.

One particularly frustrating part of the Observer interview:

Mr. Blair said he experienced "numb, blank" thoughts like "I don't want to be getting on a plane for The New York Times"

Imagine how many aspiring journalists would do anything for that privilege.
posted by rory at 5:37 AM on May 23, 2003


There is no way that resume wasn't doctored. How could the first heading at the top of the page be spelled incorrectly. Although, spellcheck in Microsoft Word doesn't catch it at all. But, if you are the NYT's then you HAVE to toss this resume the second you see "EXPIERENCE".
posted by LouieLoco at 6:37 AM on May 23, 2003


Imagine how many aspiring journalists would do anything for that privilege.

Imagine, indeed. How many young people are dying for any kind of career opportunity these days, let alone the best entry-level position available in their chosen profession? The ingratitude is even more galling than the lack of remorse.
posted by Epenthesis at 7:07 AM on May 23, 2003


Can’t escape thoughts of how I love the curves on your body
From your waste to your eyes


Sounds a little like this guy, (discussed here) except for that mastery-of-the-English-language thing...

There is no way that resume wasn't doctored.

If it was doctored, by whom? To what end? How would they not be found out - the thing's on the UMD server, right? - and tarred & feathered for playing a hokey prank in the midst of this huge story? It boggles the mind either way.
posted by soyjoy at 7:10 AM on May 23, 2003


The problem is with Raines, he's taken the once venerable gray lady and turned it into a rag not worth lining the bottom of a birdcage with.
posted by Mick at 7:18 AM on May 23, 2003


Denial. Capital D.
posted by Tacodog at 7:20 AM on May 23, 2003


The guy's either mentally ill or a complete shit, maybe both. I'm putting him in that special category I have, the "Just Ignore" category, along with certain others who will remain nameless. Because in our media-driven age of information, the attention of others is power.
posted by orange swan at 7:37 AM on May 23, 2003


"Howell and Gerald have certainly had their problems," Mr. Blair said. "But using me against them is kind of unfair. Because what I'm a symbol of is what's wrong with The New York Times and what's been wrong with The New York Times for a long time."

Would that be Affirmitive Action, Jayson? I couldn't agree more.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 7:52 AM on May 23, 2003


I think this pretty obviously is his resume, although that doesn't mean it's his only resume. Didn't he leave University early? Maybe this is just a work area that never got cleaned up.

The guy obviously can't spell, but as we've seen recently, that doesn't seem to be a handicap in journalism any more.
posted by timeistight at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2003


Really, truly, reading just a few lines of Blair's poetry made me feel much better about this whole situation. I'd much rather see him as outright pathetic rather than bitter and slimy.

Does anyone know of any journalists we could send these poetry links directly to so that all of his vast skills are appropirately exposed to the public? I know the resume link came from Romenesko, but perhaps this needs special attention?

Poem One - Heathery
Poem Two - ka·lei·do·scope in brown eyes
posted by VulcanMike at 9:27 AM on May 23, 2003


Alternate titles that make the poems even more poetic:

  • Sacred silly
  • poisioness

    And timeistight, you're right, it's not necessarily the exact version the Times got. But it seems to be right at the period he would've been applying for that job, and in light of the paper's other exhaustive attempts at mea culpa, I think the onus is on them to show us otherwise - i.e. a file copy of his resume that spells "experience" right.

  • posted by soyjoy at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2003


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