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mea culpa, sua culpa, tua maxima culpa

By Fr. Paul Mankowski, S.J. (articles ) | May 11, 2003

Today's New York Times carries a lengthy article reporting on an internal investigation into the scandal caused by dismissed reporter Jayson Blair. Here's the lead sentence:

A staff reporter for The New York Times committed frequent acts of journalistic fraud while covering significant news events in recent months, an investigation by Times journalists has found. The widespread fabrication and plagiarism represent a profound betrayal of trust and a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.

The article is curiously unsatisfying. On one hand it is blunt about the factual details of Blair's numerous frauds and about the failures in judgment of the editors who accepted his work and furthered his career. On the other hand it is wholly silent about Blair's grotesque ideological bias and the overwhelming likelihood that it was a shared ideology that blinkered the editors and impaired their judgment. Worth a look, if only for the glimpse of newsroom politics.

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