NEW YORK TIMES MUSINGS
William Safire argues that, while the scandal surrounding Jayson Blair has been ‘Huge Black Eye’ for the Gray Lady, it is still one fine newspaper. I agree. I virtually always disagree with the editorial page, although mainly second hand since I rarely read anyone’s editorial pages. I often read their regular columnists, some left and some right, but they’re actually professional writers.
Safire agrees with Susanna (here and here), Andrew Sullivan (virtually every post for days), and others that the Blair mess is partly a function of what others have called the soft bigotry of low expectations: giving jobs to minorities that whites of similar qualifications would never even be considered for is a bad idea. But, while a well-intentioned personnel policy gone wrong is a problem, it is, so far as I’m aware, one that has hurt the paper only in this one instance. Granted, this one is a biggie–lots and lots of bad journalism from one hire–but there is no indication yet that this is a widespread problem.
The Times and WaPo are still the two American papers I read most. I’d add the WSJ but, since most of their content is pay-per-view and their competitors are not, I don’t. No US paper does a better job of international coverage than the Times.