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.