Who Is Jayson Blair, Really?


As today's edition of the invaluable meta-media round-up ROMENESKO makes clear, the story of NY Times fraud Jayson Blair story is going to continue to be top-of-the-fold fodder for at least a few weeks longer. After all, the one foreign word journalists are born knowing how to spell is schadenfreude.

Here's a thought though: How do we know that "Jayson Blair" isn't simply the most fully realized fake story concocted by journalistic flim-flammer Stephen Glass, who just happens to be staging a comeback as the the puffy-faced, faux-contrite author of the confessional novel, The Fabulist?

Think about it for a second. Glass brilliantly faked sources, quotes, and whole stories during a spectacular run at The New Republic, a magazine whose credibility, reputation, and circulation have never fully recovered from a series of '90s-era body blows that included Glass' phoney-baloney journalism, wunderbrat Ruth Shalit's plagiarism, and the sacking of editor Michael Kelly by owner Martin Peretz for busting Al Gore's chops too often. Glass was as inventive as he was fraudulent and, as the noose was tightening around his neck, he tried to prop up his stories by faking web sites, corporate letterhead, cell phone calls, and the like.

Can it just be coincidence that the l'affaire Blair would blow up at just the moment that Glass p.r. campaign for The Fabulist was getting in gear? Does anyone ever remember reading a Jayson Blair story before they heard that he was getting canned for faking?

All props to you, Stephen Glass. You just may have pulled off the greatest con–even the NY Times seems to believe it–since Ohio State won this year's Fiesta Bowl and NASA faked the moon landing.

NEXT: Interns and Muskrats

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  1. I think Jayson Blair is Salam Pax.

  2. I believe Andrew Sullivan replaced Kelly as TNR editor. Doesn’t this make it unlikely that Gore bashing was the reason for Kelly’s dismissal?

  3. Just because the world underestimated the Buckeyes does not make their perfect season a “con”.

  4. You’ve got the chronology backwards, Joe. First came Sullivan, then Kelly.

  5. I remember Blair in the metro section and his sniper stories, especially the several that were contradicted at the time (the videotape/”To watch her is to watch a master” [what cop speaks like that?] and Muhammad’s interrupted confession especially).

    As for credibility, TNR’s or otherwise–glib conspiracy theories aren’t much good at building it either.

  6. I think that “the l’affaire Blair” is redundant, as “the” and “l'” denote the same article.

  7. *snort* Jayson Blair is Salam Pax. Heh heh heh. Veeery sharp, m’dear!

  8. Of course Glass wasn’t black! Therein lies the brilliance of said master-con. Did anyone have to mention the race of the 4077th’s “legendary” Captain Tuttle to have believed that he existed? Maybe Jayson Blair is Glass’s “Tuttle,” non?

  9. Er, but Stephen Glass isn’t black.

  10. Jayson Blair is my illegitimate love child.

  11. Jayson Blair is Nick Gillespie.

  12. That is what America get for poorly rearing their white childrens, people who insist that people pander to certain others (usually, the White Men) who steals(Richard Scrushy and a slu of others) simply because GOD died and left them in charge!
    I’ve like to know is Jayson’s parents are uncle toms too? If not, why didn’t they teach him better, I’ve read the comments of other credible black journalist, who said their stay at the NYTimes was a short stay because they didn’t have the talent for eating dodo, brown nosing, scnoozing up to the “BOSS” or whomever it is that does the character destroying. That’s what happened to Mike Price the Alabama Coach. Republicans are some nasty folk. This all started during the Reagan administration with that “Make My Day” bull.

  13. Frankly, I feel someone should knock that smug grin off Jayson Blair’s face…but why end there? The “man” is a repugnant waste of skin…Jail time for him would be amusing, but it’s really not enough.

  14. The truth will come out. Ask William Safire what his part in this travesty was. Mark my words, there is more to this than meets the eye.

  15. i hope francescoles isn’t implying that the folks at the new york times are republicans! there probably isn’t a republican on the entire staff! the entire organization is made up of the most liberal group on the planet. all the butt kissing that you talk about is a purely liberal trait – taking the easy way out and not working to be better.

  16. I am Jayson Blair’s younger cousin and I would like all who read this to know a few things

    1. Jayson was raised by the most wonderful, caring, and intelligent people I know.

    2. Jayson is a great person and if you got to know him you would know that about him.

    3. He has never been exposed to drugs or any other substances.

    I want Jayson to know if he needs anything a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, or just a listening ear. I am here for him and so is his family, just look to us for help through this situation.

  17. Jayson Blair went to my high school (Centreville High School, 6001 Union Mill Road, Clifton, VA). I verified — he is in fact a graduating senior in the 1993-1994 yearbook, an the pictures show an unmistakable identity. Feel free to contact the school to find out for yourself 😛

  18. Jayson Blair is only human, true…then, why do I feel sick to my stomach when I see his face on T.V. I am a multiracial person (Chinese/anglo-saxon), but I do not expect a handout. He always says everone deserves a second chance. I watched a couple of his interviews– Katie Couric and larry King–the latter I couldn’t watch completely. he may be a decent person to his famil: blood is thicker than water…to me, an aspiring writer (not jouranlist) he is very elloquent..maybe too much so. Don’t believe his lies people!

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