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One silver lining in the New York Times/Jayson Blair imbroglio is the opportunity to further expose the twin towers of institutional racism and double standards which continue to plague American journalism.
Already there is a cacophony, nay, a mighty wind of anguished liberals and joyful conservative voices pointing the finger at affirmative action as the culprit responsible for making it possible for Blair to supposedly destroy the “best newspaper in the world.”
Most of these mighty windbags, however, ignore the obvious fact that there are more than a few white men who have willfully practiced journalistic fraud but are enjoying thriving careers.
Take the mighty windbag from Boston, Mike Barnicle: this serial plagiarizer who was fired from the Boston Globe after being caught several times borrowing the words of others, is a semi-regular presence on MSNBC.
Take ABC’s John(Give Me a Break) Stossel: despite being informed otherwise, Stossel knowingly told his viewers t that ABC news had commissioned a study proving his claim that organic farm products were no safer than those where pesticides were used.
There was little outcry and white boy Stossel, a self-proclaimed free marketeer ideologue who refuses to do reports on corporate malfeasance, is sitting in the cat birds seat at ABC.
Not only is American journalism rife with white boy reporters who continue to thrive despite their willful transgressions, there’s the institutional sin of ignoring malfeasance due to fear of rattling the cage of the conservative status quo.
Recall only that Ronald Reagan directed his outrage to that “dirty little rag in Lebanon” that broke the Iran-Contra story.
As we now know many U.S. journalists were aware of the story but with the exception of a couple of reporters, such as Robert Parry then of the AP, few of the journalistic titans had the nerve to touch it.
And then there’s ramblin gamblin morality man, Bill Bennett.
According to Vegas insiders who leaked the story that Bennett was a degenerate gambler(They leaked it because Bennett’s organization “Empower America” put legal gambling in the cross-hairs) many of those Washington big mouths who have legitimized Bennett’s morality credentials, knew full well the whole sordid story and refused to report it.
Yes, Jayson Blair, hold your head down in shame. For shame that your name isn’t John Stossel or Mike Barnicle . And learn the lesson well: if you’re white (and a cheat) you are all right. If you are black (and a cheat)stay back.
JACK MCCARTHY lives in Tallahassee. He can be reached at: email@example.com