When It Raines It Pours

I haven’t touched on the scandal over Jayson Blair and The New York Times mainly because it’s been covered in more depth by others such as Andrew Sullivan. Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit also has a good compendium of information on the scandal as well.

It looks very bad for the Times, although they’ve done everything to deserve such treatment. Howell Raines, the managing editor, seems to have been willing to ignore Blair’s questionable activities so long as he toed the editorial line. I don’t feel this is a racial issue (even though Jayson Blair is black), I have the feeling it’s more the kind of petty office favoritism that often develops in a place with poor and disinterested management. As Howard Kurtz finds:

Some Times staffers say what they call Raines’s "autocratic" management style – a "culture of favoritism," as one described it – helps explain why Blair was deemed untouchable. Since Raines took over in September 2001, several top editors – including the national editor, assistant national editor and two investigative editors – have either left the paper or moved to other assignments. Staffers have complained that Raines runs a top-heavy "Politburo" in which their influence was greatly reduced and managers were categorized as being either on or off the team.

Hopefully Raines will step down (unlikely) or be fired, and someone with better management skills will provide actual leadership in the wake of this scandal.

2 thoughts on “When It Raines It Pours

  1. In an operation as large as the New York Times, shouldn’t something like this be expected every now and then? The important thing now is that the problem has been corrected. I consider Blair’s plagiarism to be small potatoes next to Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera giving out national security information during the war with Iraq. However, you failed to call for the firing of the head of Fox News when Geraldo made his gaffe. I wonder why?

  2. The problem is that I don’t think the problem has been fixed. While the Times did, to their credit, admit that there was a mistake and issue a lengthy correction, the institutional culture of the Times still has not changed. Raines should be removed from his position for allowing this to happen, and creating the kind of climate that allowed this to happen.

    As for Geraldo… I don’t even consider him a journalist. Why FoxNews chose to hire him is beyond me, and he was right to have gotten booted out of Iraq. Personally, I’d like to see him flung into the sun as to not pollute the airwaves ever again, but that’s probably too much to ask for.

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