Blair Fiasco Unfairly Taints Blacks in U.S. Newsrooms

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 16, 2003 | Go to article overview

Blair Fiasco Unfairly Taints Blacks in U.S. Newsrooms


Byline: Adrienne T. Washington, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A colleague at The Washington Times reminded me that I once had an occasion to reprimand Jayson Blair, the much-maligned reporter for the New York Times charged with plagiarism, among other offenses.

It seems that the young Mr. Blair was seated in The Washington Times' newsroom with his feet propped up on a desk and he was leaning back. He was "just chillin,' " as they say.

Imagine my horror. Here was this young, black University of Maryland intern, who was doing a brief stint for the journalism school's Capital News Service, seated in the midst of a conservative medium, yet he was acting as if he were John F. Kennedy Jr. and had it made in the shade. I would have none of that slacker image. Not here. Not that day.

In no uncertain terms, I told the child (to me) that I had better not ever walk into the newsroom and see him looking like a caricature of Steppin' Fetchit gone fishin'. I sternly suggested that he'd best "get busy," or at least look like he was attempting to earn his keep to get ahead. Read the news wires, if nothing else.

As I had done countless times with other cub reporters, I started into my old-school speech: "You know 'we' have to be twice as good and run twice as fast just to keep up."

Excuse the ebonics, but "we" be the generation of pioneering blacks whose elders refused to allow us to use excuses, even about acknowledged racism, when breaking through former color barriers. So what? they said about prejudicial treatment. Find a way to fight it and go around it to get to your goal. I instilled the same "keep your eyes on the prize" philosophy in my children and my charges.

Yes, a double standard will always exist in American culture. We see it played out even with this exploding embarrassment of press plagiarism, which the careless Mr. Blair mainly brought upon himself.

But it would be less than honest to put the full blame for this debacle totally on Mr. Blair's bent shoulders. Where were his editors? The New York Times' editors were woefully remiss in their duties not only to their staff, but more importantly to their readers, as the gatekeepers of the news.

As I've always said: The best writer needs an even better editor.

The First Amendment grants the Fourth Estate freedoms not expressly endowed to any other industry in this country. It is therefore the solemn oath of every member of the press to uphold the standards set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics to honor our awesome responsibility to keep the public informed so they can make the best decisions about their governance.

This is not to excuse Mr. Blair in any way. He was wrong. Indeed, being in this business is like being in a pressure cooker and we play a daily game of "Beat the Clock. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Blair Fiasco Unfairly Taints Blacks in U.S. Newsrooms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.