Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stealing, getting caught, and rising up again

Eight years ago, Jayson Blair's career with The New York Times ended with a big splash. In a long piece, the Times confessed to printing numerous articles by the young writer which were fabricated or stolen. He plagiarized some sections and spun fiction to connect the thieved bits. The Times claimed it was one of the low points of the 150+-year life of the paper.

Jayson Blair rebranded himself as a life coach. From the "About" page on his website:
"In 2007, I joined Ashburn Psychologcail Serivces as a certified life coach." I guess we can safely say he no longer plagiarizes!

But Blair's web of lies cost no lives nor national treasure. Judith Miller, on the other hand, is a handmaiden of War, Death, and National Bankruptcy. She was a brilliant writer, also for The New York Times, and wrote the influential pieces that verified the Bush regime's claims that Saddam Hussein was assembling nuclear weapons. Her work was the influential stamp of the nation's most renowned paper of record and it was all hogwash. Eventually, under pressure, she resigned, but she, more than any American journalist, is responsible for persuading the public that we needed to invade Iraq. I think she owes a good share of the $2 trillion back to the taxpayer. Sorry about the 5,000 American lives and the 600,000 Iraqis.

Her cover blown, she jumped on the paywagon of the overtly rightwing war media. "Later she was a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute think-tank. On December 29, 2010, numerous media outlets reported that she had signed on as a contributing writer to the conservative magazine Newsmax," according to Wikipedia.

Crime pays. Bigger crime pays bigger. Meanwhile, I'm trying to convince students to write honestly. Thanks, Fox News and Newsmax, for the stellar moral compass you offer to young writers. I expect more Jayson Blairs.

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